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August 2012
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Your Museum Needs You!!!

Regulars to the Museum will know that we have lost a number of our stalwart volunteers over the last 18 months or so and unfortunately we haven’t had enough people come forward to fill their places. Our Museum is entirely dependant on its volunteers – if we don’t have enough people on duty, we can’t open, we can’t continue the recording of artefacts, or have schools visiting, or provide the many other activities which the Museum has been proud to offer. If you think you might be interested, please come along for a chat. There is sure to be something you can help with, so please give it a try. Some examples of the work of our volunteers are – meeting and greeting visitors, simply being a presence in the Museum during opening times, manning the café and shop, helping with school and other organised visits, recording the artefacts, office work, cleaning, answering the telephone, being a Mr or Mrs ‘fixit’….there is bound to be something you could do and we are sure you would find it rewarding. Can you spare two or three hours of your time once a week or once a fortnight or whenever you can manage? Please have a think, then head for the Museum and find out more. We are keen to welcome young and old to ensure our community Museum continues to thrive.

If you yourself can’t help, but you know of someone who might be interested, please pass this Newsletter item on to them.

100 Club – July

No. 40 Sylvia Pickford £25
No. 131 Chris Budd £10
No. 108 Sandra Tranter £5

Urgently needed – someone to take over running the 100 Club!!!

Diary Dates

Saturday 22nd September Coffee Morning (topic to be announced)

Monthly lectures

We had hoped to start these up again but we need a volunteer. We need someone to arrange a talk on a topic of local or historical interest for the first Wednesday in the month, the lectures taking place at 2pm in the Museum. Can you help by arranging speakers for October, November and December? The talks were a regular feature of the Museum diary but we need a programme secretary.

Fund raising July – to be announced

Poetry Corner

What a couple of weeks it’s been,
and what a lot we’ve seen.

We have returned from Italy,
our fourth floor apartment in Fiuggi
where we stayed for a week
sweltering in the soaring heat.

I’ll tell you about Rome: -
You may think, just a pile of ancient ruins,
crumbling buildings, nothing doing:
falling down walls,
a once proud city, humbled,
a contemporary tale of rise and fall.

But we must not forget the Vatican City,
the Sistine Chapel, sculptures,
a definite treat for the eye,
such beauty no person can surely deny.

But no more of Rome.
I’ll tell you instead about Tallistown,
Cwm and the Church that has become my new home,
where a warm smile greets you
if ever you come.

Here’s a Church that’s not dead but alive
no ancient ruin but a place with a vibe
and people, warm, who long to tell you
about Jesus our King, who came to save you!

Yes you! Whether you go to church or not.
You! Who belong to Him who loves you so much.
That’s our simple message, I share it now
and pray that one day all will believe,
not as we, for it’s not about saying, we told you so
rather, it’s the plain and simple truth,
so now you know.
Robin Tranter July 2012  

Robin is the husband of Sandra Tranter, the Museum Society’s Secretary. Robin is an accomplished poet and we are pleased that he has written a poem for our Newsletter. As you will see from the next article, Robin was recently inducted into the pastorate of the Church at a ceremony in Cwm which several Museum Society members were pleased to attend.  

A Celebration

The 9th of June was an exciting day for Sandra and myself and the people of Tallistown Cwm, for that was the day I was to be inducted into the pastorate of the Church. We were also very fortunate to have our friend Ann, from Haverhill, Suffolk staying with us for the week, a visit long planned but how appropriate it should turn out that this service was taking place during her stay. Anyway, it was a wonderful day and I know from comments received afterwards that everyone enjoyed the service very much. The worship was led by a member of Tallistown Church, Malcolm Green and the address was given by Rev Chris Gillham, Secretary of the Congregational Federation in Wales, an inspiring message. Rev Jill Stephens, wife of the late Pastor George Stephens who did so much to support the Church in Tallistown when things were not going well, led the congregation in prayer.

There are so many people I need to thank for making the day such a memorable one for Sandra and myself and the Church, not least friends from Abertillery who came to the service to lend support. We are truly grateful and ask you to remember us and the work Sandra and I and the Church have been called to undertake together.

Now it’s all over bar the shouting, so to speak, the real work begins. I mean the everyday work of a pastor in charge. Here I wish to say that any pastor is only as good as his or her congregation. We’re not supermen and need the prayers of our congregations if our ministry is to flourish. I would also like to remind us all that ministry is a shared responsibility. It’s quite wrong to think that any one person should be made responsible for all the work.

How will I feel a year from now? I would like to invite this newsletter to approach me in a year’s time and ask me how things are going. At this moment I’m positive about the future. I believe that God has called us in Tallistown to be a church together and that he will bless the work we do in his name.
Robin Tranter July 2012  

Have you been to

Breedon on the Hill in Leicestershire? I recently went to this fascinating place with two relatives from Texas, who previously lived near here and were keen to revisit this unique place.

Breedon is perched on the top of a natural rise from the surrounding countryside. Its origin has been suggested as a natural upthrust because marine fossils have been found in excavations and the soil is a mixture of dolomite and limestone. The dolomite is a yellow/pink stone and, mixed with the grey limestone stained by deep red clay, gives a striking colour to the bare quarry face which one sees when approaching this place.

The actual church at Breedon was originally a monastery/nunnery but what makes this place so special are the wonderful carvings and friezes around the walls.

When Britain was invaded by the Saxons in the 4 th and 5 th century, the monks at Breedon carefully removed these wonderful carvings and buried them underground for safety. Later they were exhumed and given their rightful place in the church. They extend around the walls depicting strange animals and beasts, flowers, and carvings of humans including The Three Saints which date from 800 A.D. and also the Breedon Angel and carvings of Adam and Eve and the Serpent of the same date, which partly confirms the opinion that this place was a mixture of male and female habitation. The view from here is fantastic and lower down in the village itself is a village lock up for misbehaving felons of the area. It has an unusual conical roof and is built entirely of stone.

On a clear day Derbyshire Hills and the tip of the Pennines can be seen and a glimpse of the Trent valley, Nottingham and Derby. I spent a memorable few hours here.
The Roving Reporter

Holidays by Roy Pickford

We went on a trip to Austria
It really was a joy
And on this very coach trip
We met a man called Roy.
Now Roy had a problem
To some it may sound silly
But Roy’s problem was
He couldn’t get out his willy.
Sylvia said, Roy sit down,
Don’t give me all that lip.
But we know Roy’s secret
He didn’t have a zip.
The moral of this story is
If it’s shorts you are out buying
Please make sure they have a zip
Or like Roy you will end up crying.  

Charles Robert Darwin

It is most appropriate that our notable ancestors are remembered on our currency. This time I’ll study the £10 note, you know, the orange/brown one. Charles Darwin is depicted on the reverse of the £10 bank note. Born in 1809, he was the grandson of Erasmus Darwin a famous poet, physician and naturalist. Charles Darwin’s name has become familiar from the publication of his book “The Origin of Species”, and the more recent television series which explained his theories regarding all living things, including man.

He was married to Emma Wedgewood of the famous pottery firm and had several children. He was dedicated to learning about our origins and he believed that natural selection rooted out the substandard gene to leave the dominant gene the victor. His example was furnished by his research into the humble pea.

He famously travelled as a naturalist on H.M.S. Beagle to the Galapagos Islands where he collected many hitherto unknown plants and was the first Englishman to record the giant turtle, who travels hundreds of miles to lay its eggs in the same sand from which it hatched. He made observations leading to his theory of modification of the species.

He wrote “The Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection”, which placed the whole world of living things into an intelligible pattern. It aroused bitter controversy because it did not reflect the literal sense of The Book of Genesis. He himself played little part in the ensuing debates but his work “The Descent of Man” added fuel to the theological discussion in which J.V. Huxley took a leading part.

Darwin subsequently devoted himself mostly to botanical subjects, until his death in 1882. He was buried in Westminster Abbey. Of his five sons, several were eminent scientists.

I wonder what he would make of science today with IVF pregnancies, transplants, missions to outer space, atomic energy etc?
The Roving Reporter  

Holiday Reading

“Beyond the Pampas: In Search of Patagonia” by Imogen Rhia Herrad, Seren Books, £9.99

This is an exploration of the lives of the descendants of 19th century Welsh settlers in Argentina, the mix of Welsh and Spanish culture and heritage, the differences between metropolitan Buenos Aires and the rural hinterland, and the impact on Patagonia’s indigenous peoples - the Tehuelche and Mapuche.

Museum Matters

“Moving House”

Before I was married I lived at 75 Pant-y-Pwdyn Rd, these were a row of back to back houses that ended in the quarry. They were some the oldest houses in Abertillery mentioned in early documents as a place where a Dame School was once held. The quarry was started to provide stone to build the houses.

On the old Ordinance Survey maps the quarry starts out small but increases in size as the houses are built. When I was researching for our History 2000 book at C.R.O I came across a document where a lady was charged for transporting stone from the quarry by tram to build the houses in Somerset Street. The tram road was made by placing stones on edge and was still in existence at the front of our house. These were responsible for the scar on my forehead. I fell on them when I was young.

When Peggy and I were first married we lived at 21 Heol Gerrig, Upper Pant-y-Pwdyn these houses were built above the quarry. They were small

Houses and when we started a family after living there for 5 years we moved to 48 Princess Street.

Peggy and I have lived in Princess Street for 45 years and we had thought that we would end our days there, but it wasn’t to be. Due to my health problems eventually I could no longer climb our stairs. The bed was brought downstairs but I could not use the bath, the shower, or the toilet.

As my problems increased we put our names down for a flat in a sheltered housing. After waiting we were eventually offered a suitable flat in Davey Evans Court.

Built in 1993, Davey Evans Court is situated in Abertillery, and is a modern sheltered scheme provided by Tai Calon. There are 26 flats including 25 one bed flats and a guest bedroom.

The accommodation is built on four floors and benefits from a lift to all levels. It is situated close to Abertillery high street, and has limited enclosed parking on the ground floor.

Tai Calon Community Housing was launched on the 26th of July 2010, following the transfer of the housing stock from Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council.

It is a not-for-profit organisation and is Blaenau Gwent’s largest provider of social housing with over 6,200 homes.

Davey Evans Court is named in honour of Councillor Davey Evans, a prominent member of Abertillery Urban district council and the father of Corinne Taylor.

He led an interesting life going to live in America where he met and married his wife and where his son was born, returning to Abertillery where their daughter Corinne was born. Becoming a councillor he endeavoured to improve the life of the people of Abertillery and was awarded an M B. E for his work with the death & dumb. Peggy and I found the spelling of Davey unusual Corinne informed me that due to a mix up e was inserted into the name. the plaque inside reads Davy Evans Court officially opened Friday 19th 1993. Opened by the Mayor Councillor Michael Mochan accompanied by Mrs. Gwladys Evans the sign outside reads Davey Evans Court.

Old Firesation

The site where the complex is built first held the Old Fire station and the old council offices. The new Abertillery Fire Station was first opened in 1966, built on the old Railway Sidings. The Station has won awards for its unusual chalet style design. The old council office was moved to Mitre Street and the building taken over as a clothing factory making uniforms before Davey Evans Court was built.

Davy Court

Don Bearcroft

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