history

Y llyn a ddiflannodd

February 23, 2024 0 Comments
Y llyn a ddiflannodd

Rydyn ni’n hen gyfarwydd yng Nghymru â’r arfer o greu llynnoedd newydd.  Cronfeydd dŵr yw’r rhan fwyaf ohonyn nhw, wrth gwrs.  Mae eu henwau – Efyrnwy, Clywedog, Elan, Claerwen, Brianne, Tryweryn – yn niferus, ac yn atseinio’n alarus trwy’r degawdau, ynghyd â geiriau cysylltiedig: boddi cymoedd, symud cymunedau, codi argaeau concrit.  Ond mae hanes arall […]

Continue Reading »

Swansea’s golden age of innovation

February 16, 2024 3 Comments
Swansea’s golden age of innovation

After five years of labour our baby was born last week.  It weighed in at a whopping 1.88 kilograms and almost 600 pages.  Its many parents are rightly proud of it.  You’ll have guessed by now that it’s a big book.  Entitled Swansea’s Royal Institution and Wales’s first museum, it will stand for many years […]

Continue Reading »

Cymru ar goll yn ‘Union’

October 21, 2023 1 Comment
Cymru ar goll yn ‘Union’

Bûm yn gwylio cyfres ddiwethaf David Olusoga at BBC2, Union, a wnaed ar y cyd â’r Brifysgol Agored.  Rhaid dweud bod y cymhelliad y tu ôl i’r cynllun pedair rhaglen yn un i’w ganmol: i esbonio sut y daeth y ‘Deyrnas Unedig’ i fod, a sut datblygodd y syniad, a’r realiti, dros y canrifoedd.  Y […]

Continue Reading »

On bedsits

April 28, 2023 2 Comments
On bedsits

We’re having some work done in our bedroom, so I’m currently sleeping in the attic, my normal place of work during the day.  In other words, the attic is now my bedsit.  It’s a slightly strange experience, and it’s got me thinking of bedsits of the past. My first was in Bath Street, in the […]

Continue Reading »

Against zips

April 14, 2023 0 Comments
Against zips

Technical innovation is a strange thing.  We tend to think that the growth of new and improved technologies is a constant.  Engineers, we imagine, are always searching for better ways of organising the way things work.  And, beyond perfecting existing devices, they’re always trying to abolish existing, inferior means of achieving ends by inventing completely […]

Continue Reading »

A Dada excursion

March 3, 2023 2 Comments
A Dada excursion

One of the pleasures of researching the history of the simple human act of walking is that, just like a good walk, it takes you in unexpected directions.  Recently, while considering the prehistory of walking as an artistic activity, I came across a Dada event, held in Paris just over a century ago, that stands […]

Continue Reading »

Where it all started: Alfred Russel Wallace in Cwm Nedd

February 24, 2023 2 Comments
Where it all started: Alfred Russel Wallace in Cwm Nedd

On Sundays I would stroll in the fields and woods, learning the various parts and organs of any flowers I could gather, and then trying how many of them belonged to any of the orders described in my book.  Great was my delight when I found that I could identify a Crucifer, an Umbellifer, and […]

Continue Reading »

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 […]

Continue Reading »

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 […]

Continue Reading »

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 […]

Continue Reading »