Y postmon

January 27, 2023 0 Comments
Y postmon

Un o’r ychydig swyddi sydd heb newid yn ei hanfod dros y blynyddoedd yw postmon.  Mae rhywbeth sylfaenol, anostyngadwy am gerdded o ddrws i ddrws lawr yr heol i ddanfon llythyrau a pharseli i’r trigolion, a thorri gair cyfeillgar â nhw ar y ffordd.  Daeth y gair ‘postmon’ yn gyffredin yn yr 1860au, ac ers […]

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A port painter

January 20, 2023 0 Comments
A port painter

The Glynn Vivian Art Gallery has got into the excellent habit of displaying a good mix of works from its permanent collection along a long wall in one of its upstairs rooms.  This has the advantage of letting us see paintings that would not otherwise often see the light of day.  When I was there […]

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Some nineteenth century Cardiff archaeologists

January 13, 2023 0 Comments
Some nineteenth century Cardiff archaeologists

Nineteenth century Glamorgan saw the birth and rapid growth of an industrial working class. But also significant was the rise to prominence, and eventually to power, of an enlarged middle class.  Cardiff, though it failed at first to diversify industrially much beyond coal-exporting, found a role as the chief commercial and administrative centre of south-east […]

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Francis Place, pioneer artist and potter

January 6, 2023 2 Comments
Francis Place, pioneer artist and potter

In the late seventeenth century York was a lively intellectual centre.  The York Virtuosi – modesty was not one of their features – were a group of scientists, historians and artists including the zoologist Martin Lister, the antiquarian and historian of Leeds Ralph Thoresby and the glass painter Henry Gyles.  Another member was a pioneering […]

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Some books I read in 2022

December 30, 2022 3 Comments
Some books I read in 2022

Covid may have loosened its grip, but its ‘stay home’ message has lingered, so just as many books got read in 2022 as in the previous year.  I’ve been steered to some of them by research needs, but that hasn’t reduced the enjoyment.  Here are some of my favourites.  The list doesn’t include any charity […]

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Caerdydd, mas o’i gof

December 22, 2022 1 Comment
Caerdydd, mas o’i gof

Daeth y newyddion yr wythnos hon bod Cyngor Dinas Caerdydd yn bwriadu cau Amgueddfa Caerdydd (‘Cardiff Museum’ neu ‘The Cardiff Story’ yn Saesneg), a leolir yn yr Hen Lyfrgell yn Yr Aes, reit yng nghanol y ddinas.  Dymuniad doethion Cabinet y Cyngor yw troi’r gwasanaeth yn ‘amgueddfa symudol’ yng ngofal ‘tîm bach allweddol’ o staff […]

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Dorian Gray discovers world music

December 16, 2022 0 Comments
Dorian Gray discovers world music

In the cosy light of our post-colonial glow-lamps we tend to imagine that ‘world music’ was discovered, and given its long-deserved recognition, by our own generation.  We still have dozens of LPs and CDs of Indian and west African music, rooted out in Tower Records in Piccadilly Circus in the 1980s.  We kept an eye […]

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On magpies

December 9, 2022 1 Comment
On magpies

We’d both noticed that there seemed to be more of them, now that the cold weather has arrived and the last of the leaves have fallen.  Always in pairs, they perch like snipers on the higher branches of the large, ailing cherry tree at the bottom of the garden.  Often they land on the kitchen […]

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Pant Glas: a Meirionnydd commune in 1840

December 2, 2022 2 Comments
Pant Glas: a Meirionnydd commune in 1840

Barmouth was not the only place in Meirionnydd to host utopian settlements in the nineteenth century.  Fanny Talbot’s Ruskinian village there was preceded by a quixotic attempt to set up a socialist commune in a very different part of the region, Abergeirw. In Liverpool in 1839 a splinter group began to break away from Robert […]

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Castle of light

November 25, 2022 2 Comments
Castle of light

Barmouth and utopia make an unlikely combination.  But for a brief period the town, best known for its donkeys, candy-floss and Brummies, was the home of an idealistic social experiment, and an historic act of generosity. Fanny Talbot was born in Somerset in 1824, the youngest daughter of John and Mary Bowne.  Her father was […]

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