Here at the Mary Gillham Archive Project hub we’ve recently begun ‘timehopping’ on social media.

This involves using Mary’s detailed writings to find out what she was doing on today’s date, so many years ago, and then posting it on Twitter and Facebook (i.e. “on this date, in this year, Mary was doing this…”). It’s an interesting way to learn about Mary’s life history and see the many activities that she got up to in her day-to-day life.

A recent and particularly intriguing timehop posted on 16th October described how on that day in 1982, Mary witnessed the enormous humpback whale lying washed up on Gilestone beach at Aberthaw, near the Power Station.

This sparked the interest of many and after a twitter conversation with National Museum Cardiff it turns out that the bones of the whale are now on display at the museum, right here in Cardiff! This means that you can still visit this gigantic sea mammal today and see a part of Welsh history with your own eyes, just like Mary did.

Crowds on Aberthaw Beach

For those fortunate enough to be there in 1982 Aberthaw, the experience was an unforgettable one.

In her archive, Mary explains that it was almost “impossible to photograph the whale” due to the thousands of people congregating to get a glimpse.

The coastguard had tied the tail of the whale to a large iron post in the ground with ropes (to prevent the animal from washing back out to sea).

Mary describes how she got the chance to hold one of the whale’s gigantic flippers while Piers Langhalt, formerly of National Museum Cardiff, cut the large barnacles from the animal. These same barnacles can be found preserved at the museum, alongside the whale!

One volunteer on the Mary Gillham Archive Project, Julia Banks, recalls the “overpowering, rotting smell” of the beached whale that she witnessed as a young child. Julia visited the scene with her parents and remembers joining the masses of locals all gathering for the unusual sight, as well as seeing a group of people measuring the whale in order to figure out its age.

Julia also remembers visiting National Museum Cardiff when the skeleton was put up on display, and “feeling proud that [their] whale was in the museum”.

For more of the story and info on how the whale was managed by National Museum Cardiff, why not take a trip to the museum to see for yourself how it stands today?


The Mary Gillham Archive Project is a Heritage Lottery funded project at South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre
For more info about the project visit our website:



Hello Bulb Buddies,

Thank you for the comments and observations you sent in with last weeks weather readings. I've included some of these below. Many of you have commented that the temperature has dropped and that you have had higher rain fall. Some of you have even had snow! For this reason I want to talk to you about how Meteorologists (weather scientists) measure snow. 

It is a lot trickier to measure the amount of snow that falls than it is to measure the amount of rain. This is because snow misbehaves! Snow is often blown by the wind into drifts, which causes some areas of deep snow and less snow in the areas around it. Because the snow fall is uneven the measurements from these places will be wrong! This is why we have to measure snow on flat surfaces, in the open and away from areas where drifts happen! Snow also likes to play games with Meteorologists who want to measure it, it melts into water and re-freezes into ice! This means that the snow measured on the ground isn’t always the same as the amount of snow that has fallen. Another problem is that new snow settles on old snow, so it is difficult to tell how much snow has fallen in one day from the snow that fell the day before! 

Meteorologists have to take all these tricks the snow plays, and work around them to discover how much snow has fallen. They look at snow fall (the amount of snow that falls in one day) and snow depth (how deep the total snow level is, old snow and new snow). One way that Meteorologists measure snow fall is to use a piece of ply wood. They place the wood in an open location away from areas where snow drifts occur, and measure the snow on the board at 6hr intervals, clearing the snow from the board each time they measure it. This means they are only measuring the snow from that day, which will tell them how much snow has fallen on that day in that area! 

Snow fall can also be measured in its melted state, as water. This means that you can use your rain gauge to measure the water equivalent of snow fall! If you only get a bit of snow then it should melt in your rain gauge anyway. But if you get a lot of snow, take your rain gauge inside to the warm and wait for the snow to melt into water. Then measure the water in the same way as you have done each week and report this as rain fall in your weather logs. 

If you have snow and enough time for an extra experiment – why not have a go at measuring snow depth? To do this all you need is a ruler (also known as a snow stick!). Place the snow stick into the snow until it touches the surface underneath, and read the depth of the snow.You need to take these measurements from flat surfaces (benches work well) in open areas and away from snow drifts! You need to take at least three separate measurements to work out the average snow depth in your area. You work out the average measurement by adding the different readings together and dividing them by the number of measurements. So, if I measured the snow depth of three surfaces at 7cm, 9cm and 6cm, I would add these together (7+9+6 =22) and divide that by three, because there are three readings (22÷3=7.33). So 7.33 would be my average reading for snow depth on that date. 

Weather stations such as the MET Office have come up with new ways of measuring snow depth, using new technologies. The picture on the right shows one of the MET Offices snow stations. These use laser sensors to measure how deep the snow is on the flat surface placed below it. This means that Meteorologists can collect readings from all over the country at the push of a button – which is far more reliable and a lot easier than sending people out into the cold with snow sticks! The map on the right shows how many snow stations the MET office has and where these are, is there one close to you? 

If you have snow and measure the snow fall with your rain gauge or the snow depth with a snow stick, then please tell me in the ‘comments’ section when you are logging your weekly records! I would be very interested to know what the snow depth is compared to the snow fall collected in your rain gauge! 

Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies, 

Professor Plant


Your comments:

Carnbroe Primary School: The weather in Carnbroe changed throughout the week. It started with beautiful crisp sunny days, snow on Wednesday and finally it rained and rained. Our plants were all well watered. Hooray!!

East Fulton Primary School: We had snow during Tues evening which is why rainfall reading is so high on Wed.

Auchenlodment Primary School: On Tuesday night it snowed so the rain gauge was filled with snow on Wednesday. We had to melt the snow so we could get a reading.

St. Charles Primary School: It was very icy this week and the water in the water gauge was frozen.

Ysgol Y Wern: Mae'r tywydd wedi oeri ond mae hi wedi bod yn heulog.

Arkholme CE Primary School: First really cold weather also got a bit of frost and one of the pots fell over. None of the bulbs have started to sprout yet though.

Stanford in the Vale Primary School: Frosty mornings, bright blue skies we have experienced this week.  Heavy rain on Wednesday.

Henllys CIW Primary: We had a lot of rain on Wednesday and it was cold on Monday

Beulah School: very rainy Tuesday night !!!!!!!!!!

Trellech Primary School: It rained on Wednesday but not any other day of the week. It was fun measuring the rainfall.

St. Nicholas Primary School: We had a lot of rain on Tuesday night.

Barmston Village Primary School: The weather has been rainy this week.

Ysgol Glanyfferi: A wet week in Wales! Getting colder. Looking forward to seeing green shoots.

Broad Haven Primary School: It was very windy to start this week but with some sun. We had more rain and it was cold in the mornings.

Ysgol Rhys Prichard: A lot of rain on Wednesday. Really cold on Tuesday.

Darran Park Primary: The rainfall hasn't been very consistent. On the other hand the temperature has been very consistent has only varied by 1 or 2 degrees.

St. Charles Primary School: It was very icy this week and the water in the water gauge was frozen.

Garstang St. Thomas' CE Primary School: We were on half term this week but Mrs Bosson kept a record of the rainfall and temperature for us.

Professor Plant: Thank you Mrs Bosson!

Breckon Hill Primary School: We have measured the temperature and the rainfall in the location of the pots (front of the school) and in the flower beds (at the back of the school). We have noticed that it is slightly warmer at the front of the school as this area gets a little bit more sun.

Archwilio Achau Emlyn Davies y Draper

Mae'r gwaith o ddatblygu sesiwn i blant am Siop Draper Emlyn Davies yn parhau yma yn yr Amgueddfa Wlân.

Roedd modd dechrau creu llun cyffrous o’r siop a’i  pherchennog trwy bori trwy dudalennau bywgraffiad Alan Owen: Emlyn Davies The Life & Times Of A Dowlais Draper in the first Half Of The Twentieth Century.

I ddechrau, roedd gan Richard Davies (sef enw genedigol Emlyn Davies) linach deuluol drawiadol. Roedd yn perthyn i'r Parchedig John Williams, a oedd yn bregethwr, bardd, cyfansoddwr emynau ac ysgrifwr nodedig; a John Havard a fu’n lawfeddyg ym mrwydr Waterloo.

Ar droad y ganrif ddiwethaf mae’n debyg fod y teulu yn gerddorol tu hwnt, ac yn un o’r rhai cyntaf yn yr ardal i fod yn berchen ar ‘phonograph’, sef dyfais fecanyddol i recordio sain. Mae’n debyg y deuai cymdogion a pherthnasau i fewn yn slei i gyntedd ei cartref i wrando arno!

Blynyddoedd o Eithafion

Bu 1912 i 1914 yn flynyddoedd o eithafion i’r siop a’r ardal:

1912:  Bu streic chwerw yn y gweithfeydd rhwng Mawrth 1af a diwedd Ebrill a gafodd effaith ddifrifol ar fusnesau lleol. Yna i’r gwrthwyneb yn llwyr fe siriolwyd Dowlais ddigysur gan faneri ac addurniadau lliwgar ar Fehefin 29fed pan ymwelodd y Brenin a’r Frenhines â’r dre.

Hydref 1913: Bu trychineb gwaethaf y diwydiant glo yn yr ardal sef Tanchwa Senghennydd, lle cafodd 439 o ddynion a bechgyn eu lladd.

Y stori fwya hynod ac annisgwyl efallai oedd cysylltiad y siop a storm ddifrifol a ddigwyddodd bythefnos ar ôl y digwyddiad ofnadwy hwnnw. Bu corwynt enfawr a chwythwyd a chlwyfwyd Doli - un o geffylau cludo parseli y siop, drosodd yn y gwynt!

1914: Ac ar nodyn ddwysach fyth - yr Ergyd Farwol - Y Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf a’i holl erchylltra a gyffyrddodd â phob cymuned.

Rhyfeloedd Byd: Newid Byd yn Nowlais

Bu byd o newid i nifer o bobl wedi‘r rhyfel byd 1af, ac yn enwedig i ferched. Mae Miriam - Minnie fel y gelwid - merch hynaf Emlyn Davies, yn esiampl o’r effaith yma.

Yn ystod y rhyfel er ei bod hi’n astudio mewn ysgol breswyl yn Aberhonddu, fe ddychwelodd i helpu yn y siop oherwydd bod nifer o’r dynion wedi gorfod mynd i ymladd. Yna, yn 1937 wedi marwolaeth ei thad, etifeddodd y siop mewn cyfnod anodd a thywyll arall.

Fe wnaeth y rhan yma o’r stori a’i chymeriad a’i bywyd hi gynnig ei hun fel spardun i greu sesiwn ysgolion yma yn yr Amgueddfa Wlân.

O fantais hefyd oedd bod hwn yn hanes o fewn côf. Cyffrowyd fi wrth feddwl mod i’n mynd i gael cyfle i wrando ar Mr Owen yn darlunio’r siop yn ystod y cyfnod cythryblus yma.

Cwrdd â Theulu Emlyn Davies

Dyna od fel mae rhywun yn dechrau tueddu dychmygu bod cymeriad mewn ffilm, llun neu lyfr yn parhau i fod yr un oed am byth - ac wrth deithio gyda'r curadur Mark Lucas i fwthyn bach ar gyrion Castell Newydd Emlyn i gyfarfod a Alan Owen (wyr Emlyn Davies), bron i mi argyhoeddi fy hun fy mod yn mynd i weld bachgen bach gyda chapan a throwsus byr a la y 30au!

Yr hyn sydd yn arbennig am gael cyfarfod wyneb yn wyneb a phobl sydd ynghlwm â hanes fel hyn yw eich bod yn cael gwell amgyffred o bersonoliaethau. Cofiai Mr Owen ei dadcu fel person hoffus, cariadus, a charedig - ac er ei fod yn amlwg yn ddyn busnes llwyddiannus gyda chyfrifoldebau mawr yn ei waith a’i gymdeithas, roedd hi’n ddifyr i ddarganfod y berthynas a fu rhyngddynt.

Cofiai fel y deuai ei dadcu ag anrhegion yn ôl iddo fe a’i chwaer bob tro y teithiai ar hyd y wlad ar fusnes. Cofiai gael llwnc o gwrw ganddo hefyd a chael ei gwrsio rownd y cownter!

Soniodd llawer am y gymuned fel yr oedd yn blentyn - roedd llawer o Wyddelod yn byw yn yr ardal yr adeg honno ac roedd  atgofion ganddo am orymdeithiau lliwgar ‘Corpus Christi’yn Dowlais.

Bu Mr Owen a’i chwaer ‘fach’ Mrs .Joan Preston (trwy ebost) yn garedig tu hwnt yn rhannu nifer o’u hatgofion o’r siop yn ystod y rhyfel pan fu eu mham Miriam Owen (Minnie) yn rhedeg y siop – ond eto mwy am hyn yn y blog nesaf!

Y gamp nesaf fydd cwtogi yn ofalus hanes hanner cant o flynyddoedd y siop i script 45 munud!








Hello Bulb Buddies,

Thank you for all the work you have done so far and for sharing your photos! It was extremely hard to choose just five winners. The chosen photos are from schools in Wales who are not participating in the Edina extension projects. If you are participating in the Edina Trust extension projects then your photo has been entered into that competition, and the Edina Trust will announce winners soon.

Here are the winning schools:


Severn Primary School

Ysgol Trellech

Ysgol San Sior

Ysgol Abererch

Ysgol Pennant


Your prizes will be posted to you soon. Well done Bulb Buddies.

I’d like to send a big thank you to all the schools that have shared photos with us. It has been lovely to see the work that you have been doing, so please continue to share your photos!

Some lovely comments were sent in with the weather data entries this week. It has been very interesting to read your observations. Here are my favourites:


Your comments

YGG Tonyrefail: Mae wedi bod yn wythnos sych iawn....a very dry week Professor Plant!

Ysgol Tal y Bont: Mae'n oeri yn araf yn nhal y bont wythnos yma yr athro planhigin

St. Charles Primary School: The weather this week was cold and mostly dry.

The Blake CE Primary School: It has been a bit damp this week especially at the end of the week. It is starting to feel a lot colder as winter is coming.

St Robert's R.C Primary School: It's been getting colder!!

Boston West Academy: We think the weather has been warmer than we would have expected for this time of year and there has been hardly any rain.

Darran Park Primary: We have noticed that the temperature has started to drop over the week. It has been mostly dry, however, there was a shower on Thursday night.

Ysgol Iau Hen Golwyn: It was fun. There wasn't much rain.

Broad Haven Primary School: A dry sunny week cold in the mornings but warm by the afternoon. Rain expected this weekend -but only showers

Stanford in the Vale Primary School: Monday we had no school. Enjoying looking at our planted bulbs! We have had some frosty mornings.

Carnbroe Primary School: We have had a sunny, dry but cold week. We have decided to make predictions about our bulbs and we are all excited to find out what will happen.

Henllys CIW Primary: We have had no rain and we have been allowed out to play!!!

Hudson Road Primary School: It has been really nice Autumn weather. We hope our bulbs are warm in the soil.

Ysgol Rhys Prichard: First frost of the Autumn this Wednesday!

Auchenlodment Primary School: We all enjoyed collecting the data and from next week we will work in pairs to collect the data.


Trellech Primary School: Thank you for letting us complete the bulb activity we really enjoyed taking our measurements. Diolch yn fawr.

Professor Plant: Thank you for taking part Bulb Buddies, I’m glad that you are enjoying the project!


Breckon Hill Primary School: We have measured the temperature and the rainfall in the location of the pots (front of the school) and in the flower beds (at the back of the school). We have noticed that it is slightly warmer at the front of the school as this area gets a little bit more sun.

Professor Plant: It’s fantastic that you are observing these differences and logging them Bulb Buddies! Which bulbs do you think will flower first?


Our Lady of Peace Primary School: This was our first week. Mr Kelly showed us what to do.


Barmston Village Primary School: We are noticing some liquid in the rain gauge when it has not rained. We think it is like the dew that has been on the grass as there is only a little bit of it.

Professor Plant: Hi Bulb Buddies, well done for noticing the liquid and questioning how it will have come to be in the rain gauge! I suspect that you are right and that the water is the result of dew forming inside the gauge. Air contains water vapour, and the higher the temperature the more water vapour it contains. When the temperature drops (as it often does overnight) the air cools and releases the water vapour it has been carrying. When surfaces or objects cool to the point that the air around them can no longer contain its level of water vapour, the air will condense and form droplets on the surface of the object. Fantastic Work Bulb Buddies!


Law Primary School: All pupils in Primary 5 have really enjoyed planting the daffodils and crocus. They are working in pairs to record rainfall and temperature each day.

On a bright and breezy Saturday morning in September an enthusiastic group of children and adults gathered at the Mumbles in wellies and hi-vis jackets ready for a Big Beachcomb.

The Beachcomb was the first activity of Swansea Museum’s Lost Treasures of Swansea Bay project, which is being funded by the Saving Treasures; Telling Stories project based at Amgueddfa Cymru.

Led by Paul Huckfield of the Glamorgan Gwent Archaeological Trust and Mark Lodwick of the Portable Antiquities Scheme Cymru we set out with the retreating tide to see what treasures of Swansea’s past we could find.


The vast expanse of mud, sand, rocks and shallow pools did not look promising at first. But almost as soon as we had set off Paul was showing us the blackened and glistening remains of a prehistoric forest. Within another hour he had pointed out the sites of seven shipwrecks, old mooring points and other remains of Swansea’s maritime past.

On the surface of the shore we found hundreds of pieces of old pottery, metalwork, animal bones, glassware and pieces of clay pipe. A particularly evocative find was the base of a wine bottle, dating back to the 1600s.

The glass was thick, and so dark that you could only see its muddy green colour by holding it up to the sun. This was a high-status object - once, it would have held a decent vintage rather than plonk.


When enough pieces had been collected in carefully labelled bags we laid them out on the slipway and sorted them into categories with the help of Paul and Mark – ceramics, glass and metalware, organic material.


We speculated about who the objects had belonged to, when they were made, and how they ended up in Swansea Bay. Some, such as the bottle and some of the pots, were imported items – could they have been among the cargoes of one of the wrecked ships? Had the pipes been smoked by sailors and fishermen with wheezy chests? Were the bones the remains of their dinner?

Our treasures have now been taken back to Swansea Museum where they will be studied by the Young Archaeologists Club and used as inspiration for the Dylan Thomas Centre’s Young Writers Squad.

Look out for the next chapter in their history in a future blog.