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Friday, 11 December 2009

Aerofilms Collection Project News

The Aerofilms Collection contains lots of early aerial photographs of Britian. Many of these historic images are facinating and I'm looking forward to creating some great web pages using the images to compare places in Wales across time. These images will spark many memories I'm sure.

The Royal Commission is developing a project with English Heritage and RCAHMS to make the Aerofilms Collection of aerial photography accessible by conserving it, cataloguing it and putting the images online. If you would you like to be kept up-to-date with this project, please send an e-mail to asking to join the mailing list and we will occasionally send you news and information by e-mail. Your e-mail address given in this way won't be used for any other purpose.

A colleague has shown me some facinating images of a huge ordnance factory just outside Bridgend that were taken just after the war, and a series of images of Cardiff Arms Park at different points in its life. I have chosen a couple of Aerofilm images to upload here to give you a flavour of the collection.

The first is Cardiff Docks, taken in 1925. Here you can see part of Bute Town (bottom left), including Bute Cresent, George Street and Louisa Street. The oval shaped basin is Bute West Dock Basin, connected to Bute West Dock via a lock. Bute East Dock Basin is more rectangular in shape and connected to East Bute Dock, again via a lock.

The second is an image of Gresford Colliery, Wrexham. This photograph was taken just a month after the terrible disaster at the mine in September 1934 when an explosion and subsequent fire killed 266 miners.

Prydain o’r Awyr - Awyrluniau Prin a Bregus o Gasgliad Aerofilms Wedi’u Diogelu
25/06/12 Mae’r wefan ar gael i’w defnyddio am ddim yn awr, felly mewngofnodwch i weld beth y gallwch ei ddarganfod.

Britain From Above - Rare and Fragile Aerial Photos from Aerofims Collection Conserved
25/06/2012 The website is free and available to use now, so log in and see what you can discover. 
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Friday, 4 December 2009

Digital Past 2010: Conference At National Museum Wales

Preparations for Digital Past 2010 are now in full swing. This years’ conference is being hosted by the National Museum Wales at its St Fagans site, near Cardiff. Papers, seminars and practical training sessions covering the latest technical survey and interpretation techniques are on offer to those working in the archaeology, museum and heritage interpretation sectors. To see a list of confirmed papers and seminars check the Events Diary on the Royal Commission website and to register for the conference visit the see3d website.

These 2 images are stills from the reconstruction animations created from the digital surveys of the Chirk and Pontcysyllte Aqueducts. The animations were built by Commission investigators and See3D to support the World Heritage Site status bid for the Llangollen Canal.

The videos below were made to accompany the Hidden Histories II TV series.

Reconstruction Animations from Hidden Histories II

1. The Bridge, a sculpture by Jonah Jones - an animated reconstruction.

2. A virtual tour of Vivan Slate Quarry.

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Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Hidden Histories II

The Commission has again been caught up in the excitement of another Hidden Histories television series. This second series focuses on recent work of the Commission and the items on the origins of the Stonehenge bluestones and the recently discovered site in Ceredigion, possibly a Roman villa, have aroused much interest and debate. This is great: research and debate is what the study of the past is all about. If you haven't yet seen any of the new episodes you can watch them on the BBC iplayer .

Recently some Commission staff attended a conference in Bath hosted by English Heritage. We discussed ways of improving our public and specialist services in the chilly climate of tighter budgets. I was interested to hear about Scotland's Rural Past, a project launched in 2006 which is hosted by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS). The project works with local communities to research, record and promote the vanishing settlements and landscapes of Scotland's rural past. If you are interested in setting up a project to explore the history of where you live, take a look at the project website and be inspired.
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Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Swansea City Centre In The 1970s

A colleague has just passed me this newly digitised image of Swansea city centre taken in 1970. It shows the then newly-constructed subway and roundabout, which have recently been filled in as part of the redevelopment of the city centre. The image comes from the Central Office of Information Collection in the NMRW. This image collection is being digitised at the moment.

Underpass as Roman amphitheatre with a clinical twist.

Here is a link to the online exhibiton celebrating Swansea's 40th birthday as a city. Thanks for the comment letting us know about this.
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Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal

There are many fantastic images of the aqueduct on Coflein, the Royal Commission's online database of archaeological and architectural sites in Wales. Take a look.
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Photograph of Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal

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Aerial View of Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal

It was party time at Pontcysyllte Aqueduct last Saturday 3rd October. Representatives from partner organisations, including Wrexham Council, British Waterways and the Royal Commission were invited to join local people in a ...
Mae Traphont Ddwr Pontcysyllte yn eicon o Chwyldro Diwydiannol cyntaf y byd ac am ddau gan mlynedd hi oedd y draphont uchaf ar unrhyw gamlas yn y byd. Cafodd dwy draphont ddwr arloesol Pontcysyllte a'r Waun eu ...
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct & Canal - Historical Background. The Llangollen Canal, formerly the Ellesmere Canal, originated in a scheme to link the rivers Mersey and Severn, which would also access the iron and coal fields ...
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Pontcysyllte Aqueduct World Heritage Site

It was party time at Pontcysyllte Aqueduct last Saturday 3rd October. Representatives from partner organisations, including Wrexham Council, British Waterways and the Royal Commission were invited to join local people in a fun-packed celebration of the award of World Heritage Site status. The Prince of Wales sent a special message, which was read out on the day:

"I am very sorry not to be with you today to join in such a special celebration. However, I could not let the occassion pass without sending my heartfelt congratulations to all who have worked tirelessly to bring about theis wonderful success... The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal, the third World Heritage Site in Wales, now takes its rightful place among the world's elite cultural sites... As someone who has an abiding interest in protecting and promoting enjoyment of this county's rich architectural and industrial heritage, I beleive it is essential that this great legacy is passed on by our generation to the next, through educating young people to learn respect for, and take pride in, the unique heritage they inherit."

The partners had worked hard to produce the nomination bid that won World Heritage Status for the aqueduct and canal. Commission staff surveyed and recorded both the aqueduct and canal and helped to produce the detailed gazetter of the features, which was a major contribution to the nomination document. Commission staff also produced a 3D computer-generated model of the aqueduct and working in partnership with See3D at Aberystwyth University, animated the model to demonstrate the stages in the construction of the aqueduct. You can view this animation by on the Royal Commission website, where you can also read a detailed account of the aqueduct and canal.
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Friday, 2 October 2009

Monnow Bridge in Monmouthshire, Wales.

The BBC Wales Big Picture features digital images of bridges in Wales at the moment. I've searched Coflein for interesting images of bridges across Wales - and found this fantastic black and white image of the Monnow Bridge and gateway. The date and origin of this image isn't known but we have a copy in the National Monuments Record of Wales site files. If you are interested in a particular bridge in Wales you could try searching Coflein for any information we may hold - or contact our free public enquiry service.

I haven't forgotten that I've been asked to post more great images of Cardiff - will get onto it soon.

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Monday, 21 September 2009

Remembering the Beddgelert Meteorite strike!

Beddgelert isn't only famous for the resting place of the faithful hound - apparently 60 years ago this month a meteorite fell through the roof of the Prince Llewelyn Hotel in Beddgelert, fortunately no-one was sleeping in the room where the rock struck - but the meteorite smashed through the roof leaving a round hole. The bright light and the sound of the meteorite breaking the sound barrier as it entered earth's atmosphere were seen and heard across north Wales.

I am wondering if the meteorite was hot - and if so, why didn't it start a fire at the hotel? Perhaps someone will let me know.
Meanwhile another excellent aerial photograph for you - this time of Beddgelert.
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Thursday, 3 September 2009

Anglesey's Coastline Enhancement Scheme

A £5.6 million project, funded by the European Union, the local council and the Welsh Assembly Government has been announced. The project to improve accessibility, coastal infrastructure and provide more information about isalnd's coastline will enhance the visitor experience and create tourism opportunities to boost the local economy.

Anglesey has a rich cultural heritage and I've listed some sites that we recommend you visit

Bryn Celli Ddu a neolithic chambered burial tomb near the village of Llanddeniel Fab.
Din Lligwy, just outside Moelfre on the northern coast, has preserved remains of a prehistoric settlement including two roundhouses and several rectangular buildings.
St Eilian's Church, Llaneilian is a medieval church which retains many medieval features and paintings.

Penmon Priory is thought to be an early medieval foundation and has a holy well associated with it.
St Pabo's church, Llanbabo is worth a visit to see the carved stone memorial to St Pabo.

Beaumaris Castle is located close to the water's edge and was the last link in the ring of defence to the north Wales seaboard built by Edward 1st. The castle remains largely intact.

Porth Amlwch was the main port and smelthing site for the copper mines in north Wales
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Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Filming for Hidden Histories series 2 has been completed

Filming for the second sereis of Hidden Histories has just finished and Element, the production company, are now editing the footage taken over the summer. Filming has been taking place in many locations across Wales and we'll let you know when we have a transmission date for the first episode of series 2... watch this space.
You can still see series one on the BBC iplayer on the BBC Wales History webpages or look at the Royal Commission website for information about the series.
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Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Moelfre on Anglesey

Scrappy, the 3 year old dog was rescued by the RNLI from steep cliffs at Moelfre on Anglesey. This was the second cliff incident this week as a young girl had narrowly escaped injury on Sunday, when the car she was sitting in rolled down out of control over the cliff edge at Benllech.

Moelfre doesn't look too dangerous in this image of the harbour, taken by David Howarth!

To find more images of Wales take a look at Coflein, the online database of historic sites and buildings in Wales. You can search by map or by entering the name of the place you are interested in into the quick and advanced search features.

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Dinorwic Slate Quarry 40 Years After Closure

The National Slate Museum of Wales is organising several events to mark the 40th anniversary of the closure of the Dinorwic (Dinorwg) Slate Quarry. A play - "Y Cau" (The Closing) will be staged at the museum on 20th, 21st and 22nd of August. The quarry includes the remains of the Braich levels of the Dinorwic Slate quarry which operated from around 1770 to 1969. There are substantial remains which survive at the site, helping to show how the quarry operated in its heyday. To find out more check the site entry for Dinorwic on Coflein (The Royal Commission's online site database).
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Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Discovering a Roman Road in Newtown

The BBC Wales newspage is reporting that one of the longest sections of Roman road ever found in Wales is being unearthed at the site of a new Tesco in Newtown, Powys. The road is thought to have linked two forts , one at Forden and one at Caersws. Archaeologists from the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust are working on the site of the town's old Smithfield market. You can search for Roman Roads and sites on Coflein.
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Kinmel Military Camp

The news that 302 jobs in north east Wales will be lost when Indesit close their factory at Kinmel Park, Bodelwyddan has just been announced. This is a serious blow for the area and for those who may loose their jobs. The factory was built on the site of Kinmel Military Camp which was a huge facility constructed during the First World War. The Camp is infamous for the riot of homesick Canadian troops in 1919 awaiting de-mobilisation after World War I. The Kinmel Camp entry on Coflein will tell you more.

Map image: © Crown copyright. All rights reserved. Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments of Wales. Licence number: 100017916, 2009.
© Hawlfraint y Goron. Cedwir pob hawl. Comisiwn Brenhinol Henebion Cymru. Rhif trwydded: 100017916, 2009.
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Friday, 5 June 2009

Stephanie Holland Attended Cardiff University

Apparently Big Brother contender Stephanie Holland studied music at Cardiff University, based in Cathays Park, Cardiff. You can find information about the university buildings in Cathays by searching Coflein, our online database. Cardiff's a great city and the Cathays area is particularly grand!
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Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Hidden Histories TV Series Screens Again

Great news that the Hidden Histories TV series is to be screened again on BBC4 starting on June 18th at 20:00hrs - make sure you see it if you haven't already - or watch it again!

The Commission hosted a very successful Open Day at the offices in Aberyswtyth on Saturday May 9th. About 150 people visited the library and had tours of the archive and listened to talks and presentations by members of the staff. We were so please to meet lots of new visitors and welcome back some old friends and hope that everyone enjoyed the day. In particular we met the members of the Aberystwyth Young Archaeologists Club - and we are hoping to arrange some more activities with them in the near future.
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Tuesday, 3 March 2009

How Can We Improve Our Services?

What users require from web services is not always obvious to providers.
The Royal Commission is interested to know what its users think about the web services it provides and how they can be improved.
These services include Coflein and the RCAHMW website.
If you have a view why not let us know about it here on the blog? We can't promise to change things immediately - but we can promise to listen and to consider ways to meet your needs more effectively.
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Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Hidden Histories On The Web

Recently I've been spending my time adding the major essays from the Hidden Histories book to our website. These essays are great introductions to Welsh history which follow a chronological theme. They are written by experts in each field and are illustrated with photographs and images from the National Monuments Record (the RCAHMW archive). The pages can all be seen in the Heritage of Wales pages of the Royal Commission website and we hope they are great resources for everyone who wants to discover more about the history of Wales. I'd be glad to hear what people think about them and the other pages in the Heritage of Wales section of the website.

We have so many spectacular images and we thought that this was a good way of showing a selection of them to a wider audience within a context that explains the significance of what is illustrated - but maybe we could do this in a better way?

Any ideas for new pages?
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Welcome to the Heritage of Wales News Blog

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales would like to hear your news and views on current archaeological and architectural recording in Wales.

Let us know what you think of our web-services, which include Coflein and the RCAHMW website or if you have any ideas for improving our services we'd be glad to hear them.

If you have seen the latest publication from RCAHMW Hidden Histories tell us if you like it - if you haven't check it out by visiting our website

Join the blog and tell us about it!
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