Amgueddfa Blog: Industry & Transport

Forget Raindrops on roses, you can keep your whiskers on kittens…

With such varied collections that we have in the museum I can’t help noticing some fabulous objects.

Thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery, we have had funding so we can enhance records and add images for you to view in Collections Online, soon you’ll be able to search the museum catalogue and discover your own favourite things.

These are a few of my favourites:

Image in chalk pastel on paper of Welsh rugby player scoring a try against the All Blacks

The Try that Beat the All Blacks by Frank Gillett (1874 – 1927)

What a fabulous picture this is! (I may be a little biased). This picture shows the first ever test match between the Wales and New Zealand rugby teams in 1905. Wales won 3 – 0 (a try was only worth 3 points in those days rather than 5 points as it is now).

Seated figurine of a mouse holding a disc

Roman copper alloy figurine of a mouse

This lovely little mouse (only 3cm high) was found in Loughor, or Leucarum as the Romans knew it. Is it nibbling some cheese, or has it found a biscuit somewhere?

Locomotive painted bright yellow and black

Electric locomotive

It might look like something from Thunderbirds, but this is an electric locomotive used in Glamorgan Haematite Iron Ore Mine (Llanharry Iron Ore Mine) from the 1960s. These locomotives replaced the use of horses for haulage in the mine.

Section of blue damask fabric with intricate silver thread embroidery

Close up of court mantua fabric

This shows detail of a dress from the 1720s. This is a very grand court dress (known as a mantua) which would have been worn for presentation at court by Lady Rachel Morgan the wife of Sir William Morgan of Tredegar House. Just look at the incredibly detailed embroidered silver thread on silk damask. The best thing about it I think, is that it was altered during the 19th century by one of Lady Rachel’s descendants, probably to wear as fancy dress! The dress will be on display in the new galleries at St Fagans National Museum of History in the autumn of 2018.

Jug with a cut out trellis-like design of circles and lozenges at the top, with a ring around neck from which protrude three bulbous spouts.

Puzzle jug made by the Cambrian Pottery c. 1800

What’s the puzzle about this puzzle jug? Try and pour from it, and you’ll end up with beer all over the place. To find out how these were made, and importantly, how you’d use it, check out this video by the V&A museum.

If you want to see more of the collections you can explore online or come and visit one of our museums. Not all of our items are on display, so before you make a special trip to see something specific, check that it’s on display first.

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Over the last few months we have added some interesting objects to the collections. As usual this month I’d like to share with you some of these, to illustrate the range of objects collected for the industry & transport collections at Amgueddfa Cymru.

Illustrated here is a debenture for The Western Counties and South Wales Telephone Company, Limited. Dated 6th May 1889. This company was formed in 1884, a few months after liberation of telephone regulations made regional networks feasible for the first time in the UK. It was one of the seven regional telephone companies that covered the UK in the 1880s and early 1890s prior to the National Telephone Co. Ltd. achieving UK-wide dominance. By 1888 the south Wales portion of its network extended from Cardiff and Newport, westwards to Swansea and Llanelli, with some connections to valleys towns – connecting all the major industrial and urban centres of the south Wales coastal belt.

This Western Mail Ltd., Cardiff, employees' Roll of Honour, 1914-1918, was almost certainly displayed in the company’s main offices in Cardiff. It lists the names of 152 men who served during the First World War, with the names of those who died picked out in gold. The roll of honour joins an important collection of objects related to Welsh industry and the First World War. These items plus others from the National collection can be viewed on this online database

We are not sure exactley why this fretwork of 'The Lord's Prayer' was made. It was however, made by Llewelyn Richards, a haulier at Lewis Merthyr Colliery. 

This brass object is a 'Turnip', and was used to protect a miner’s watch whilst he was working underground. It was used at Oakdale Colliery, and was donated along with an MSA self-rescuer, c.1989. Self rescuers such as these are still used at Big Pit National Coal Museum where they are part of the safety equipment given to visitors on the underground tour. These objects were both collected as part of St. Fagans Oakdale Workmen’s Institute re-interpretation project. You can find out more about this here.

We have acquired a few objects relating to the Mathews family. This oval shaped brass twist box has an inscription on the lid that reads ‘D.MATHEWS / GORSEINON 1897’. It belonged to David John Mathews, who was born on 7 July 1891 in Gorseinon. He died on 8 September 1959 of lobar pneumonia following massive pneumoconiosis at the West Wales Isolation Hospital in Upper Tumble. Coal miners were unable to smoke underground for fear of causing an explosion, so many chewed tobacco, and twist boxes such as this one were used to hold this chewing tobacco. They are usually oval in shape, made of brass and have an inscription on the lid (such as this example), although there are variations on this. A large collection of twist boxes can be seen on display at Big Pit National Coal Museum.

Along with the twist box, the Museum was also donated a photograph and newspaper cutting relating to the death of Ifor Mathews who was tragically killed in an accident at Great Mountain Colliery in 1936. Ifor Mathews had played rugby for Neath, Swansea, Carmarthen 'Quins', Llandebie, Penygroes and Cefnithin. The photograph was taken about 1926, and shows him wearing a rugby shirt. Can anyone identify the club?

Finally, this photograph shows a blacksmith with a horse, and dated from the early 20th century. The photograph was probably taken at a slate quarry in north Wales, possibly in the Blaenau Ffestiniog area. Can anyone help confirm or identify the location? 

   

Mark Etheridge
Curator: Industry & Transport
Follow us on Twitter - @IndustryACNMW

The first few months of 2017 has already seen Amgueddfa Cymru acquiring some interesting additions to the industry and transport collections. As usual this month I’d like to show you some of the objects that have recently been added to these collections.

This red brick is inscribed Ynysddu Brick Co. It was found fly-tipped at ‘Cyfarthfa Willow Cinder Tip’, Merthyr Tydfil, a tip used by Ynysfach Ironworks from around the 1830s, until 1868 when construction of the Brecon & Merthyr Railway severed access to the tip.

The brick was manufactured at Ynysddu Brick Works, which was closer to Cwmfelinfach than to Ynysddu in the lower Sirhowy Valley, Monmouthshire. The works operated for a limited period in the early twentieth century, it was not shown on the 1899 OS map, and had been demolished by the time the 1948 OS map was surveyed. The works was connected by a three quarters of a mile long tramway to Wentloog / Yr Ochr Wyth Colliery, from where it probably obtained its coal, and clay or shale. Closure of the colliery in 1920 may have caused closure of the brickworks also.

This oil on board painting depicts a miner with a pit pony, and is titled ‘Pit Pals’. It was painted by William Salton in the 1970s. We believe the artist was an ex-miner, but don’t have any further details. If anyone can help with further information, please get in touch.

This photograph album contains 77 black and white photographs showing the construction and refurbishment works at the docks in Swansea, Port Talbot and Briton Ferry. The photographs date between 1927 and 1935.

We were also recently donated another photograph album. This one contains 92 photographs taken between 4th May and 6th June 1957. The photographs show the installation of 33kv package type switchgear at Cardiff Power Station.

As mentioned in previous blog posts, Amgueddfa Cymru holds by far the largest and wide-ranging Welsh-interest share certificate collection held by any public museum. This month we have added three certificates to this collection

The first certificate is a Aberdaunant Lead Mining Co. Ltd. share certificate dated 31 March 1876. The company was registered in 1869 to reopen the ancient lead and zinc mine of the same name near Llanidloes, Montgomeryshire. The mine was worked on a modest scale until 1876 when it was abandoned, producing 150 tons of ore. Little was achieved in the first three or four years of the company’s existence and application was made in November 1872 to reduce its capital from £75,000 to £15,000 in 1872 following financial difficulties. Almost all recorded production occurred in 1873-75. Despite much development work, no further ore was produced and the mine closed in 1879. The shareholders resolved in 1879 to liquate the company but liquidation was not completed until 1898, and the company was struck off in 1902.

The next is a British Motor Corporation Ltd. share certificate dated 8 May 1965. The company was formed in 1952 to merge Austin and Morris motor vehicle production. Morris was the holding company that owned Nuffield which included MG, Riley and Wolseley. In 1965 BMC acquired the Pressed Steel Co. Ltd., a major body panel manufacturer previously part-owned by Morris. In 1966 BMC was renamed British Motor Holdings Ltd. and in 1968 merged with Leyland to form British Leyland. BMC owned a number of Welsh production plants and subsidiary companies, notably Morris Motors at Llanelli, and the Pressed Steel plant, also at Llanelli. Both were, and continue to be major employers.

The last certificate is a Carnarvonshire Great Consols Lead Mining Co. Ltd. share certificate dated 15 September 1884. The company was registered in 1881 to take over the operating of Llanrwst Lead- Zinc Mine. Work tailed off at the mine in 1883-84 and thereafter it was kept on care and maintenance until the extensive plant was auctioned off in 1887. The mine was not subsequently worked but was dewatered in the 20th century by the underlying Parc Mine and is now well-known for the rare exposure of nineteenth century pumping equipment in the shaft bottoms after over half a century beneath water.

This sculpture is titled The Crown Dragon / Y Ddraig Goron. It was made by the artist David Petersen in September 2011. It was commissioned by Crown Packaging UK Neath Works (former Metal Box Works) and made from can components manufactured at the works. The Metal Box Works at Neath was a major local employer with over 3,000 staff in its 1960s – 1970s peak, and as a manufacturer of tinplate can components was intimately connected with the deeply important Welsh steel and tinplate industries which supplied its raw materials. We are hoping to put The Crown Dragon on display at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea in time for St. David’s Day.

This Grovesend Steel & Tinplate Co. Ltd. World War 2 employee registration card issued to Stanley Thomas, a second helper in the tinplate works hot mills. At the start of the war, many substantial employers would have had identity and registration documents printed for issue to employees. Survivals are few and scarce. Their low survival rate is probably due to wear and tear of daily use and continually being carried in a pocket or wallet, and also potentially due to their being superseded by National Registration Cards which were issued by the Government to all members of the population on 1-2 October 1939.

 

 

Mark Etheridge
Curator: Industry & Transport
Follow us on Twitter - @IndustryACNMW

As usual in this monthly blog post I’d like to show you some of the objects that have recently been added to the industry and transport collections.

 

The first object this month is a passport issued to Cardiff shipowner Robert McNeil for travel on the continent. It is dated 16 September 1896. Robert McNeil was the founder of the Cardiff shipping company McNeil, Hind & Company.

 

One collection accessioned this month consists of three certificates and two photographs. The certificates were all issued to William Challenger of Hafodyrynys, who was a colliery manager. The certificates comprise a Second Class Certificate of Competency, and a First Class Certificate of Competency both issued under the Coal Mines Act, 1911. This Act had set up a Mining Qualifications Board to make sure that colliery managers, firemen, deputies and other staff responsible for mine safety were suitably qualified and to issue these certificates of competency. The third certificate was issued to William Challenger electing him a Member of The South Wales Institute of Engineers in 1944. Also in this collection, are two photographs (both illustrated here).

The first is a group photograph showing the Llanhilleth Colliery Rescue Brigade, 1923-24, with some wearing rescue apparatus. The photograph is mounted onto card with a handwritten title and list of names. William Challenger appears in the photograph (seated front left) and was the captain.

The second photographs is a group photograph showing "Monmouthshire Education Committee Mining Students' Tour in Lancashire, 1922'. Photograph includes William Challenger (seated second from right) who later became a colliery manager. The photograph is mounted on card with title and names of students printed on it.

As mentioned in previous blog posts, Amgueddfa Cymru holds by far the largest and most wide-ranging Welsh-interest share certificate collection held by any public museum. This month we have added to this collection a share certificate for the Anglo-Belgique Shipping Co. Ltd. This company was based in Mount Stuart Square, Cardiff, and was established in 1916 by Evan Owen of Llangrannog and E.L. Williams of Penarth to take advantage of high war time shipping rates. They acquired the steamer Kyleness which was renamed Cymric Prince. When Williams left the partnership, Evan was joined by his sons Alwyn and Aneurin. Boosted by the post First World War shipping boom, by 1922 they were operating three steamships prefixed Cymric- The difficult years of the late 1920s caused the company to mortgage its two remaining ships to Barclay’s Bank which foreclosed on the mortgages in 1933, whereupon the company was wound-up. The distinctive name suggests an intention to trade with Belgian ports.

 

Finally this month, we have acquired a Tata Steel Port Talbot fortnightly works newspaper. It is Issue 221, and dated 28 April 2016. It would have been given away free to employees at Port Talbot works, and visitors to the plant.

 

Find out more about the industry and transport collections here on the monthly blog post.

You can also learn more about the collections on our web pages here.

 

Mark Etheridge
Curator (Industry & Transport)
Follow us on Twitter - @IndustryACNMW

As usual in this monthly blog post I’d like to share with you some of the objects that have recently been added to the industry and transport collections.

 

The first object this month is wooden plaque carved with a profile of Joseph Stalin. Stalin was leader of the Soviet Union from the mid 1920s right up until his death in 1953. The plaque was carved in situ on a pit prop at a west Glamorgan colliery in the 1930s. Later it was removed from the prop, presumably after it had been removed from underground. It was thankfully preserved by a worker who was a member of the Communist Party.

 

I have also included two images from the historic photography collections. The first is an underground view showing miners working on the coal seam at Penallta Colliery circa 1940. Metal props can be seen at the centre, with wooden props either side.

The second image shows a miner and pit pony at the pit prop dump at Blaencuffin Colliery in 1974.

 

The second object to enter the industry collections this month was an underground battery locomotive used at the Glamorgan Haematite Iron Ore Mine, or as it was locally known, Llanharry Iron Ore Mine. This was one of eight battery locomotives built in 1961 by Greenwood and Batley Ltd., of Leeds that was supplied to the mine.

This photograph is an aerial view showing the mine and tips. The image is taken from the Tempest Collection.

 

Finally this month, we have acquired a brass time check from Chislet Colliery North Pit, Kent. The 'D' on the check denotes the ride down the pit - A, B, C, and D. The donor was a Welsh man who went to work in Kent.

You can see more examples from the check collection here.

 

Mark Etheridge
Curator: Industry & Transport
Follow us on Twitter - @IndustryACNMW