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May 2017
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Diary Dates

Ongoing – WW1 Exhibition in the Museum

Annual LunchMonday 15th May at Ty Ebbw Fach, Six Bells

Saturday 20th MayCoffee Morning with Whitsun Walks photos and memories

Saturday 1st July Aberfest (the museum will be putting on an event)

SeptemberRalph Robinson Memorial Lecture  (date to be fixed)

Annual Lunch

The Museum Society’s Annual Lunch will be on Monday 15th May at Ty Ebbw Fach, Six Bells.  Please arrive at 12.30 for lunch at 1.0pm.  The cost will be £12 to include a two course lunch, guest speaker and quiz.  The main course choices are roast beef, lamb, chicken or a vegetarian option.  The restaurant will have a selection of desserts available on the day.  This is always an enjoyable event so please call at the museum or contact Peggy Bearcroft to make your menu choice and pay your money. If we have spare places we can offer them to non-members in due course.

Museum Faces

Gareth murphy

Museum volunteer Gareth Murphy

Palaces for the People

The Kickplate Gallery in Church Street will be holding an exhibition of photographs of cinema buildings in South Wales, as photographed twenty years ago and then more recently, to see how they may have changed.  The exhibition runs through May. An exhibition is also to be held at the museum – more details from Don Bearcroft.

Fundraising April - £236

Local Voices                

Copenhagan 1953 (Part two)

Last month I told of how I had found a photo album and journal belonging to my late mother, Betty Evans (later Wayne), relating to her trip to Denmark in 1953, aged 24, with her friend Betty Arndell.  Below is the actual journal. The A, B C etc I added in and relates to the map.

Saturday 8th August 1953. Got on train at 3.05pm.  Met three girls, Mary, Dorothy and Brenda on station. Also made friends with Rose and Chick.  Arrived at Harwich (Essex) – went through customs and then onto the ship.  Had dinner on board, then danced in evening.  Went to bed 10.30pm.

Sunday 9th August. Sea not quite so calm but lovely.  Arrived at Esbjerg (A) 12.30pm.  Went through customs then onto boat-train.  Train pulls onto ferryboat.  Arrived at Copenhagan (B) 7.30pm.  Tove, Else and Sirin (Else’s beau) met us at station and gave us a bunch of carnations each.  Took taxi to Tove’s flat.  Went to Tivoli Gardens in evening.

Monday 10th August. Wrote letters in morning.  Went to zoo in afternoon.  Went to see Little Mermaid in evening with Tove, Else and Mr & Mrs Tinnerup.

Tuesday 11th August. Took lunch to Belle Vue beach – went swimming.  Rang up the three girls and then met them later.  Got sunburnt.  Went to see film in evening.  It was in German with Danish translation underneath.
Wednesday 12th August.  Went to visit Tove’s cousin Rigmor at Roskilde (E).  She is a nurse in an asylum.  Visited Roskilde Cathedral.  Stayed in flat in evening.

Thursday 13th AugustWent to Sweden.  Changed money in bank.  Went on boat, landed at Landskrona (C).  Caught bus to Helsingborg (D). Bought some presents.  Leather goods very cheap.  Caught boat at Helsingborg back to Copenhagen.

Friday 14th AugustVisited school in Copenhagen – very old one but a palace compared to ours*.  H.T. arranged for us to visit a modern school.  Went to museum in afternoon then shopping.  Saw English film in evening “Brief Encounter”.

Saturday 15th August  Went to modern school as arranged – never seen anything like it*.  Went swimming at Belle Vue after lunch then met Mr & Mrs Tinnerup at Deer Garden.  Went to Bakkon afterwards which is like Tivoli.

Sunday 16th August.   Went to Grundtvigs church which is shaped like a (church) organ.  After lunch we visited Frilands (open air) museum which consists of old cottages.  Watched a display of traditional dances.  In evening went to Atlantic Palace – night club.  It was a dream.

Monday 17th August Went to Bank am.  Saw Little Mermaid again then to shops.  Saw King’s castle (Rosenborg).  Saw French film in evening.

Danish Map

Tuesday 18th AugustLeft house at 11 o’clock and did shopping all day.  Had lunch at Tivolis’.  Evening – Else and Sirin came in.

Wednesday 19th August.   Went out to lunch to Sophie’s (Tove’s cousin) flat. Tove’s cousin Ingrid came over for the evening and Else came in too.

Thursday 20th August.  Went for a car ride with Miss Borch.  Visited Hamlet’s Castle at Kromborg and Frederiksborg Castle.  Travelled along coast for miles.  Miss Borch came in to dinner and Else’s family came in for coffee.

Friday 21st August.  Went inside Rosenborg Castle.  Did shopping in afternoon.  Had coffee in Else’s in evening.  Given presents.

Saturday 22nd August.  Left Copenhagen 11.15am.  Tove, Else, Mrs T and Mr Rassmousin came to the station.  Train left at 11.45am.  Arrived at Esbjerg at 5.  Boat left at 6 o’clock.  Sea very rough, everyone ill except me!

Sunday 23rd August On water all day – very bad crossing.  Arrived at Harwich 8 o’clock instead of 5.30pm.   Went through customs  and arrived at London 11 o’clock.  Tom met me.
Sally Murphy

Note – my worked as a secretary in a school until she married in 1955, hence her comments 

On the beach

From left, Betty Evans, Betty Arndell and Tove on Belle Vue beach, Denmark August 1953. Sally Murphy

Museum Archives

Arrael Griffin Old Medical Aid and Hospital Fund

The introduction of the National Health Service in 1948 didn’t meet all needs as you will see from the provisions and rules of this Fund, as set out in a little green covered book issued to one of the Fund members who worked at No. 4 Pit, Six Bells.

1.That member shall obtain a Doctor’s Certificate and place it in the Steward’s hands within 24 hours. Such certificate shall give full particulars of accident or sickness, and also state whether confined to bed or couch.

2.Appliances – We assist to purchase any appliance not covered by the National Health Scheme, or meet any extra cost caused our members in special cases.

3.Nursing and attendance - We allow £1 per week to cover inconvenience caused to wife, sister, or house-keeper when a member receives any accident and is confined to bed or couch. Up to twenty six weeks if in bed and eight weeks if on a couch.

4.Special nourishment - £1/5/0d a week is payable as above i.e. sickness cases, confined to bed or couch. If a member is confined to bed 14 days we allow one extra week at £1/5/0d as a convalescence grant, or one week out of bed allowance if member has not started work. This rule applies to nursing cases.

We also allow Milk Foods, such as Benger’s, Horlicks etc when ordered by a doctor. This particular note must be handed to the secretary.

5.Changes of air and travelling expenses – When a member goes to a Convalescent Home, we allow 30/- (Bournemouth excepted). We also pay fares three times a week to any hospital and in all changes of air cases we pay up to 40/- travelling expenses, and 20/- additional allowance.

6.Whisky – A grant is provided up to 35/- for whisky or brandy when ordered by a doctor.

7.Amputation or fracture – When a member suffers either of the above we grant four weeks at £1 per week.

8.Serious injuries – Consideration will be given to all serious injuries.

9.Electric massage – When special treatment is necessary the fund agree to pay for this, provided that same treatment cannot be given at your Local Hospital. Members must consult the secretary before receiving treatment.

10.Chiropodist – If a member requires treatment to his feet this fund will allow a grant towards the total cost.

11.Rheumatic treatments – The fund will assist members to get to a Rheumatic Hospital and cover travelling expenses also four weeks treatment without charge.

12.Bone setter – When necessary we pay cost of bone setter if advised by a doctor.

13.Death Grant – The fund will allow £5 as a death grant in all cases.

14.Spectacles – The fund will allow 6/2d to assist members to obtain frames for spectacles. The secretary to be consulted before purchasing.

15.Doctor’s certificate – No benefit will be allowed without a doctor’s certificate. This applies to all members and to every rule.

16.The committee shall have full power to vary any or all the rules at all times.

Editor’s Note – do any of our readers remember using this fund? If so, it would be good to hear from you.

Wartime Tips

The following ‘tip’ was issued by the ‘wartime clothes serviceby theLux News Scout’ (i.e. Lever Brothers, producers of Lux).

Net Result …curtains into Brassieres

The best parts of worn-out fine net curtains make lovely brassieres – ones that have a pre-war French accent!

You will have to be extra careful when washing these now there’s no longer Lux to be had. When using ordinary soap, rinse well, or specks of undissolved soap may stick to the fabric and give it a dingy appearance.”

What’s On National Museum Cardiff

Dinosaur Babies  27th May – 5th November    

An exciting family-friendly exhibition bringing together some of the world’s most amazing finds of dinosaur eggs and embryos. Includes full size dinosaur skeletons and replicas, touchable models of dinosaur embryos and eggs, and even a huge 2.5 metre model dinosaur nest! Learn about dinosaur family life and how they cared for their babies
Learn to identify eggs from different dinosaurs, based on their shape and texture, find out about palaeontologists and much more.
Entry charges apply.

Museum Matters

Living on Rations

Ration BooksOne of the most requested subjects for school visits is WWII on the Home Front. The children dress up in uniforms, handle deactivated weapons and shop using Ration Books. Rationing meant at least now there would be fair shares for all.

From the outbreak of war until D-Day, JL Germany did its best to starve Britain into submission. Every household felt the effect of shortages as the economy swung into martial gear. Factories which in peacetime had produced consumer goods were now turned over to the panoply of war. Overseas imports were drastically cut in order to save reserves of currency, and even this trickle of incoming ships was reduced by the activity of U-boats, which were sinking half a million tons of shipping every month at the height of the Battle of the Atlantic in 1942 so rationing was introduced.

Bacon and ham, butter and sugar were restricted in January 1940, followed over the next two years by cooking fat, meat, tea, cheese, jam, eggs and sweets. To add variety and an element of choice, the ration was supplemented with a points allocation gave everyone coupons worth 16 points a month, which they could spend on biscuits, cereal, tinned fruit or fish. The 'point’s value' of these foods could change. Salmon was rated at 16 points in December 1941 and at 32 points by March 1942. Some goods were never rationed. Tobacco and alcohol, for some the very staples of existence, became more rare and more costly as the war went on. A bottle of Scotch, which had cost 12s 6d in 1939 fetched £1 5s 9d three years later. Beer, which was 3pence  a pint before the war, went up to 6d. It became common to see signs saying 'No Beer' tacked to pub doors.

The rationing of clothes was introduced in June 1941 by Oliver Lyttelton, President of the Board of Trade. food coupons, clothing coupons were not a substitute for money: you had to hand over exactly the same number of coupons whether you chose to buy your clothes from a Savile Row tailor or off the peg. Each man, woman and child was given a yearly allowance of 66 coupons. A man's three- piece suit took 26 coupons, and a woman's woollen dress about 11. Even a tie needed one coupon, as did two handkerchiefs or two ounces of knitting wool.

In 1942, Utility clothing was introduced. Utility clothes were designed with an eye on economising on raw materials the look of the finished garments was of secondary importance. Pleats and flounces went out of fashion by government diktat, hemlines were raised, and double-breasted coats were banned. Fresh fruit was the first casualty. Lemons and oranges vanished altogether, and luxury fruits commanded extraordinary prices: melons were going for £2 each in August 1941, and grapes sold for 7s 6d a pound - which was about ten days' wages for a private soldier. Bananas were missed until GIs gave them to small children, who did not know how to go about eating them. They dived straight into bananas without peeling them, or to discard the skin. The absence of common home-grown foodstuffs such as onions, in 1941, a one-and-a-half pounder was raffled by the staff of The Times for a staggering £4 3s 4d.

Fresh eggs were like gold dust. Powdered egg, imported from the United States, Yorkshire pudding made with dried egg always came out of the oven as flat as it went in. People joked mirthlessly that dried-egg sponge was only good for patching holes in the lino. A more successful import was Supply Pressed American Meat - Spam, for short. It looked like fresh meat and tasted something like fresh meat. It could be cooked and served in any way that meat could It even appeared in heavy French disguise on the menu of the Strand Palace Hotel, where it was called ballotine  de jambon Valentinoise.

Dr Carrot

Sugar Rationing to help counter it food advice was given, 'Raw carrots added puddings and cakes will sweeten them,' a bespectacled cartoon character called Dr Carrot strode across the recipe books carrying a bag of vitamin A. Fish was never rationed, but it was in short supply, because Britain's fishing grounds were infested with U boats. Substitutes were found some unfamiliar varieties, but whale meat was a novelty which even the hungriest Britons found hard to swallow. At an hotel all the guests had sent back their whale steaks back; the cook admitted that 'even the dog won't touch it. Schoolchildren who did not have the option of complaining to the chef, learnt to live with the fishy aftertaste of whale-meat shepherd's pie.

Potato Pete

People were told never to waist anything jingo’s such as “Those who have the will to win, Cook potatoes in their skin, Knowing that the sight of peelings, Deeply hurts Lord Woolton s feelings!

Luxuries were limited Frank Cooper Ltd, had to announce in 1942 that the government had requisitioned its factory, so 'the manufacture of Oxford marmalade must cease until after the war'. The 350 varieties of biscuit which had been available before the war were reduced to 20. Many products were 'zoned' to reduce the need for transport. 'Zoning now restricts Mars to the southern counties,' read an advertisement in 1944, 'so here's hoping for a quick victory, and plenty of Mars'. For most people a single bar would have constituted Bear logo'plenty of Mars', since the only correct way to eat a Mars bar was to slice it into transparent slivers and make it last a month.


Don Bearcroft Curator



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