Museum Logo
Home Page
About Us
Educational Activities
News And Events
Become A Member
Contact Us
Monthly Newsletter
Previous Month Button
January 2011
Next Month Button

AGM Monday 6th December

The AGM was hit by the bad weather and so the attendance was low but sufficient for business to go ahead. You evidently seem happy with the ways things are going and next year seems set for more of the same. Watch the Newsletter and visit the Museum to find out what is going on and remember, we are always glad of volunteers. If you have a little time to spare each week, call at the Museum and find out more about our volunteering options.

Fund raising December - £483

Thank you to everyone who bought and sold raffle tickets – they raised most of the funds in December. The Craft Fair raised £54 and the Winterfest £74. We were also very pleased to receive £100 from the Community Council towards the development of the education area.

Thank you Biffaward!

We were thrilled to hear that our application to Biffaward had been successful – their grant of £4500 will pay for most of the work involved in the new ‘pub display’ for the Museum. We have some original items from the old Royal Oak and an etched mirror from the time it was the headquarters of the Rugby Club. Work is to start shortly.

Annual Dinner 21st January

This will be at the Top Hotel in Llanhilleth. Please contact Roy Pickford for more details and to make your menu choices if you haven’t already done so.

Diary Dates

Friday 21st January 2011 Annual Dinner at the Top Hotel, Llanhilleth

Saturday 29th January 2011 Coffee morning -The topic is to be decided so come along and be surprised!

We have regular coffee mornings. Please call at the Museum for more information.

100 Club – December

No. 15 Gwyneth Cooper £25
No. 38 Penny Stockley £10
No. 88 Matthew Price £5

Coffee morning

Saturday 29th January the coffee mornings are a crucial part of our fundraising efforts so please come along. Topic to be announced .

Best wishes

We were sorry to learn that Sir Richard Hanbury Tenison, our President, has been ill and is presently convalescing in hospital. Sir Richard has long been an active supporter of the Museum and we have always been pleased to welcome him and his wife. We send our best wishes for a speedy recovery.

A letter from Canada

We were pleased to receive the following email.

from Mississauga Canada,

Just to say thank you for all of the many interesting Newsletters we are able to read on line. It's our way of keeping in touch with our hometown in the South Wales valleys. Our life in Canada has been very happy since we emigrated in 1964, but we are still very proud of our heritage and enjoy noting the many changes taking place in the valleys, socially, physically and politically. In particular, we have always been interested in the local history since our teenage years at Abertillery Grammar School. We have found memories, articles and photographs on your site and elsewhere from South Wales, which have kept us informed about life in and around Abertillery and the places we knew as children.

We are particularly interested in what has changed during the past fifty years there because on New Year's Eve 2010 we will celebrate our Golden Wedding Anniversary.

"Eric Gibson and Marian M. Jukes, formerly of Cwmtillery and Aberbeeg respectively, were married at Christchurch, Aberbeeg by Rev J Maclaren Price at 12 noon on December 31, 1960. The reception was held in The Station Hotel."

We look forward to more reading material about your work at the Museum and wish we could contribute some of our volunteer time to work with you. Eric and I give talks on historical and other subjects of interest to our own historical groups here in Ontario. Perhaps we might be privileged to tell some of them to your members at some time in the future, if that meets with your approval and policy. We also write articles for the Canadian Connection Journal for the American Topical Association of Philately. Themes of these articles are in some way connected to Canada on stamps issued by foreign countries, often involving history and literature.

Our very best wishes to you all for the coming New Year.
Marian M. Gibson

We look forward to receiving some articles from the Gibsons.

Impressions of the Museum

On the 10th of August I started my thirteen week placement at Abertillery and District Museum having been sent there from Groundwork. Groundwork is a charity organisation that aims to help young people gain the experience they need for employment.

The usual introduction to the town museum is by a class visit from school but in my case this did not occur and it was with my grandparents that I first visited the building in Market Street. I was not sure what I was likely to see but as the mining industry had been an important feature of the area I expected that this would be on display. There was a wide range of photographs of colliery surfaces and I was surprised that so many of these occurred in and around Abertillery. The most impressive part however was the exhibit of a typical underground coal face simulating the darkness, limited space and immense difficulty that men had to work in. While mining was the main reason for the creation of the town I was also aware from school history lessons that Romans once travelled in the area, mainly along the mountain tops and ridges. Typical figures of Roman soldiers and local inhabitants were on display, helping to bring to life these long departed occupants from another land.

The most interesting features for me were the items dealing with day to day living and how this has changed with time. The different role of the housewife was shown by improvements in washing clothes from hand to the later washing machine. Many items that had once been part of the town and its activities, have now found a new home in the museum’s exhibits.

A striking feature were the exhibits of the two world wars and the effect those wars had on the lives of the people. These varied from the uniforms of the fighting services (such as the Navy) to those of local wartime organisations like the Home Guard and the Air Raid Wardens where both soldier and civilian played their part.

Now many years later I have attended courses on archaeology organised at the museum with my granddad, as well as having the opportunity to go on many of the organised visits to places of interest which the museum society runs. Places like the Swindon Railway Museum, Wells Cathedral and the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.

I am very grateful I have had the opportunity to see how the museum works from the inside. I am aware of the time and effort of the members of the society, the type of visitor that the museum attracts, the kind of questions they ask and the growing interest of schools in the area. I have been impressed by the record keeping and photographic data preserved in the archives. I will fondly remember the special opportunity I have had to spend a period within the museum and to discover what really makes it function.
Sarah Hale

Sarah is the grand-daughter of Lawrence Hale and having worked at the Museum, she has since become our youngest member!

Poet’s Corner

‘Guardian at Six Bells’

Five thousand flocked to Six Bells in June of twenty ten In homage and in memory of forty-five brave men Who perished while their bread they earned fifty years before Working at the coal face on the mine’s dark daunting floor Lads as young as eighteen and men full in their prime Killed by a pit explosion in the bygone mists of time

Where once was Arrael Griffin with grimy slag and wheel Now flourishes a meadow sweet where stands a man of steel A memorial to those miners who died when coal was king Honouring the loved ones whose souls had taken wing Stripped to the waist the giant with his lamp his way to light O’er emerald field he gazed down on a Summer day so bright

Deeply all around his plinth dear names are etched with pride His mighty arms are fashioned to be ever opened wide Guardian is his title and as guardian great he towers Presiding o’er the noble names from Six Bells darkest hours Now the vale and tree clothed hills is nature’s work of art Evergreen like memories in many still aching heart

Thus on the twenty eighth of June came multitude to praise Those men with nerve of steel so steeped in miners’ ways Their Butties they referred to - all doughty mining blokes Supporting one another with comradeship and jokes Salt of the earth - great characters who made Great Britain flourish And bereaved like the Trojans their families to nourish

Glorious the Remembrance Day drenched in golden rays The brass band rang massed choirs sang with uplifting songs in praise Reverend Olwen lead proceedings with sincere empathy She the Baptist pastor of nearby Bethany The chapel where the casualties were borne that fatal day And bided for a time there until carried on their way

Canterbury’s Archbishop read the honoured names aloud And a minute’s silence followed –still and hushed the

fervent crowd The Reverend Patrick Coleman delivered an address As did Councillor Jim Watkins who could not start to guess How he too did not perish half a century before An electrician ordered elsewhere from the horror’s core

Right Rev Dominic Walker made his Act of Dedication The Bishop he of Monmouth who told in his citation That his own grandfather was a miner in his day (The industry has not survived but pride is here to stay) Archbishop Rowan Williams gave the final blessing there And the great crowd sang Cwm Rhondda which with passion filled the air

Air Training Corps from Blaina a Guard of Honour made And flowers were with reverence around great Guardian laid.

Gloria Elizabeth Griffiths , June 201 Daughter of rescue worker Kenneth Webb who died aged 47, of heart and lung disease, within two years of the Six Bells Disaster.

Newport Museum – on now

Until 5th February 2011 - an exhibition in the Art Gallery drawn mainly from the Museum’s own collection over its 120 year history, entitled Face Value: Portraiture in Art with historic and contemporary artworks featuring the human face. Many of the exhibits are quite modest and include drawings, prints and watercolours as well as oils. This is an exhibition well worth visiting. The Art Gallery is conveniently located in John Frost Square in the town centre and is open Monday to Saturday, free of charge. For more information ring 01633 656656.


We were very sorry to hear of the recent death of Museum Society member Nancy Meredith and send our condolences to her family and friends.

Abertillery& District Museum Committee 2011

Peggy Bearcroft
Sir Richard Hanbury Tenison
Jennifer Price

Peggy Bearcroft

Sir Richard Hanbury Tenison

Company Secretary:
Jennifer Price

Ron Selway
Don Bearcroft
Bernard Jones

Vice Chairman:
Ron Selway

Don Bearcroft
Bernard Jones
Enid Dean
Sandra Tranter
Margaret Gilson

Fund Raising Secretary:
Enid Dean

Sandra Tranter

Margaret Gilson

Margery Selway
Trevor & Margaret Cook
Roy Pickford

Margery Selway

Trevor & Margaret Cook

Events Secretary:
Roy Pickford


Top Of Page



Registered Musuem Logo

© Abertillery & District Museum 2011