Author Archive: Andrew Green

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Carnegie libraries in Wales

September 18, 2021 0 Comments
Carnegie libraries in Wales

Alfred Zimmern, the classicist and first professor of international politics in Aberystwyth (and the world) is now largely forgotten, except for one striking phrase he coined, ‘American Wales’.  He was referring to the explosive industrialisation of south Wales in the second half of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, which produced an […]

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Michael Faraday watches water fall

September 10, 2021 0 Comments
Michael Faraday watches water fall

In 1819 a brilliant young chemist came to Wales on a walking tour.  He had little money – his family was poor, and he was still technically an apprentice at the age of twenty-seven – so walking was more economical than coach or horseback.  He was eager to see the country, but he had a […]

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A Gresford decapitation

September 3, 2021 0 Comments
A Gresford decapitation

Today is 29 August, the traditional date, faithtourism reminds me on Twitter, for remembering the Decollation of St John the Baptist.  Decollation is a euphemism for having your head violently removed from your body.  It’s often used of this particular episode, when Herod Antipas, puppet ruler of Galilee and Perea, ordered John to undergo this […]

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Two versions of interwar pastoral

August 27, 2021 0 Comments
Two versions of interwar pastoral

The charity shops have yielded two beautiful books in succession.  Both, as it happens, are novels in which first-person narrators look back, many years afterwards, to painful turning points in their lives in the English countryside between the two world wars. Melissa Harrison was much praised in 2018 for her astonishingly detailed picture of a […]

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Y cartŵn Cymraeg cyntaf?

August 20, 2021 2 Comments
Y cartŵn Cymraeg cyntaf?

Yn ôl Marian Löffler, hwn yw’r cartŵn cyntaf i ymddangos mewn print yn yr iaith Gymraeg.  Mae’n wynebddalen mewn llyfryn gan Thomas Roberts a gyhoeddwyd yn Llundain yn 1798, Cwyn yn erbyn gorthrymder. Brodor o Llwyn’rhudol Uchaf ger Pwllheli oedd Thomas Roberts.  Cyfreithiwr oedd ei dad, William.   Ganwyd e yn 1765 neu 1766, a symudodd […]

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Another day at the cricket

August 13, 2021 0 Comments
Another day at the cricket

This year there’s no county cricket at St Helen’s – dark rumours circulate that it may never return to Swansea – so C and I make the journey to Cardiff.  It’s my first time in Sophia Gardens since I lived in in the city in the 1980s.  At that time there was little more than […]

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‘Zounds!’: Tristram Shandy’s rude bits

August 6, 2021 0 Comments
‘Zounds!’:  Tristram Shandy’s rude bits

In the gallery at Shandy Hall at the moment is an exhibition of ingenious ceramics by Katrin Moye.  Entitled Filthy trash, it takes its inspiration from an aspect of Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy that’s obvious, but often skated over by scholars more interested in its grander themes, like time, digression and reflexivity – its sly […]

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Father Toban, the greatest scholar in the world

July 30, 2021 0 Comments
Father Toban, the greatest scholar in the world

It’s late summer, 1854.  George Borrow, walking around Wales, has arrived at Holyhead.  He stays overnight at the ‘Railway Hotel’ – reluctantly, because he detests railroads and never takes a train if he can do the same journey on foot.  In the morning he explores the town and then finds himself on the breakwater at […]

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John Thomas: lluniau confensiynol, lluniau hynod

July 24, 2021 0 Comments
John Thomas: lluniau confensiynol, lluniau hynod

Mae’n anodd astudio bywyd cymdeithasol yng Nghymru yn ystod ail hanner y bedwaredd ganrif ar bymtheg heb droi at y drysorfa fawr o luniau, dros 3,000 ohonynt, a dynnwyd gan John Thomas, Lerpwl rhwng y 1860au a’i farwolaeth yn 1905.  Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru yw eu cartref bellach, a gallwch chi weld y mwyafrif ar wefan […]

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‘A Gentleman had just arrived, with – a black servant!’

July 16, 2021 0 Comments
‘A Gentleman had just arrived, with – a black servant!’

The gentry of eighteenth-century Wales, like most rich people in any country at any time, longed to be fashionable.  One of the rarer badges of fashion for them was to be seen as enjoying the services of a black servant.  As Chris Evans, the historian of Wales and slavery, puts it, ‘their presence spoke of […]

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