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August 2018
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July 100 Club

No.  92             Margaret Phillips                    £20
No.  80             Margaret Cook                        £10

If you would like to join our 100 club and be in with a chance of winning, it costs just £1 a month. Ask at the museum for further details.

Coffee Morning ‘Schooldays’

Our recent coffee morning went well.  Many thanks to Trevor Cook who gave a short talk which was followed by photos and items from our archive to browse.

Coffe morning talk with Trevor Cook

New Vice Presidents

We are pleased to announce five new Vice Presidents, Mr Nick Simmons, Ms Trudy Williams, Mr Robert Phillips, Ms Tracy Dyson and Mr Ross Leadbetter.  All five are local Community Councillors representing the Abertillery Ward on Abertillery & Llanhilleth Town Council and we are very grateful to them for their  support. Indeed thank you to all our VP’s and members alike, without you we couldn’t survive.

Coffee Morning 18th August

Do join us for our next coffee morning as Val Rosser entertains us with her ‘Little Bits of Nonsense’.

Red mobile phone cartoonTips & Tricks for your Mobile

Last month I told you how the emergency number 112 can be dialled free anywhere in the world… well below you will find more useful tips and tricks for your mobile.


Disable a Stolen Mobile

Every mobile phone has a unique 15 digit code called the IMEI number (International Mobile Equipment Identity).  To find out yours key in the following 5 button sequence *#06#.  Make a note of the code and keep it safe.  If your phone is ever stolen you can give this code to your service provider and they can then block your handset so even if the thief changes the SIM card, your phone will be totally useless.  You may not get your phone back but you can at least take comfort from knowing that the thief can not sell it or use it.

Call ‘Time’ on Nuisance Calls

To opt out of unsolicited sales and marketing calls on your mobile, register your number with the Telephone Preference Service by texting TPS to 85095.  It is illegal for organisations to make unsolicited calls to anyone on the register.

Free Directory Enquiries

And finally, if you’ve ever been stung by the high costs of directory enquiries, then I’ve good news for you!  You can now access free directory enquiries by calling 0800 118 3733.  The catch?  You just need to listen to a short promotion.  Works for landlines and mobiles.

Promotional Videos, courtesy of Ben  Jones

Ben Jones fimlming with camera We will soon be releasing some promotional videos about the museum and some of our volunteers. The videos will be available on our Facebook page and the museum website. It is a marvellous project and it has all come about through Ben Jones who was born and brought up in Abertillery but who now lives in London where he works as a programme maker. When Ben read on our Facebook page that the museum was facing difficulties and needed to reduce its opening hours, he very kindly offered to help promote our museum by way of some professionally produced videos. Needless to say we said 'yes please'! Ben was at the museum recently with his camera and it was a very interesting morning for those of us unfamiliar with how films are made, if a little nerve racking for those volunteers featuring in the videos.  So, keep your eyes open for the release of the videos, probably some time in August. Meantime, a very big thank you to Ben for his very generous gesture.
Jen Price

Can you help?

The picture below is entitled ‘Horse and Haulier Underground’ and the artist’s name is Arthur Jones; a local man who is now deceased. The painting is to be the subject of an academic article but little is known about the artist.  If you know anything about the artist, please contact the museum.

The painting Horse and Haulier Underground

Open Day – Friday 31st August 10.30 ‘til 4

Following our successful Open Day last year, this is another chance to see behind the scenes at the museum. Visitors will have the opportunity to visit the archive store, see a little of what is involved in conserving some of the museum items, and how we records items and photographs.  We will be serving tea or coffee and cake for £1.

Last month I told the story of how my parents once boarded a plane, in essence illegally, and asked could it happen today?  Well the answer is yes!  An old friend has told me how a relative of hers just last year, managed to fly from France to the UK with the wrong passport!

Did we land on the moon? Part one

July 20th 1969, was the day I and millions of others around the world, watched with bated breath as Neil Armstrong said those now famous words ‘One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind’ as he stepped out onto the moon’s surface….or did he?  I always thought so until I watched a channel 5 documentary (‘Conspiracy Theory’ first shown June 2001) and by the end of the programme I didn’t know what to believe.  It may sound incredible to think it may have been a hoax but that’s exactly what this programme suggested….!

The Evidence

So what evidence is there to support the hoax theory?  Well firstly, the documentary showed video footage of the planting of the flag on the moon’s surface, and the flag could clearly be seen waving in the wind, yet with no atmosphere and therefore no wind, it should not be moving.  Secondly, the same footage showed no stars visible which is surprising as again with no atmosphere and no clouds, they should have been clearly visible.

Then there were the still photos taken by the crew.  The crew only had cameras strapped to their chests.  They had no viewfinders, all they could do was turn their bodies and press the shutter, yet photo after photo was perfect with not a chopped off head to be seen!  But there were other odd things in some of these photos too and one was that the shadows were going in different directions, for example, the astronaut’s shadow would be going one way and the moon buggies a different way.  The only source of lighting the astronauts had was the sun so how was this possible?

Then there was the question of the photos backgrounds.  The documentary showed photos, which, when superimposed one on top of the other, had identical backgrounds even though they were supposedly taken on different days and in different locations and, in some cases, on different missions!  Furthermore, for reference purposes, NASA had etched crosshairs onto the camera lenses so that they would actually appear in the photos, yet in many of the photos produced on the programme, the crosshairs can clearly be seen disappearing behind objects in the photo!

There were many other things mentioned on the programme too such as the lack of engine noise from within the craft on landing, the lack of blast crater left by the lunar module after it landed and no dust on the module’s feet and if you double the speed of the film of the astronauts ‘bounce-walking’ on the moon, then they look as though they are running normally. But if it were a hoax, then why?  Why would the US government want to pull off such a hoax and how might they have done it?  Find out in part two next month!
Sally Murphy

High Heels

High heels cartoon Do you remember your first pair of 'heels'?  Mine had what can best be described as chunky kitten heels - no chance of spraining your ankle in them! They were summer shoes of very soft leather, white with a pearlised finish. They had very pointy toes and a bow. I absolutely loved them! The first pair of 'proper' heels that I can remember were in dark brown patent with a mock crocodile finish and a strap across the front. You will have to take my word for it that they looked better than they sound!
Jen Price

Name the Bear

Our recent ‘Name the Bear’ competition was won by Val Rosser and we can now reveal the bear’s name is Jasper.

Peggy and Bethan Gilson picking the name the bear winner

Bethan Gilson (left), who picked the winning name, with Peggy Bearcroft.

Museum Matters

Mining Artefacts & Memories

We have many items relating to the Mining Industry in our Museum as regular visitors will know. A lot of these items we donated to the museum by the late Mr Jim Watkins who was chairman of Sixbells Lodge. When I look at these items it brings back memories working as a colliery electrician at Sixbells and some experiences that I had there, some comical and some bad.

On one occasion both Jim and I had been working late on a job underground. When we reached pit bottom the hitcher (the man who worked the signals at the bottom of the shaft ) was busy unloading medical supplies from the bond. He approach us saying that there were men trapped in H District and needed  these supplies. Everyone else had gone home so he asked if we wanted to take them in.  As there were men trapped we readily agreed. 

Jim took the smaller packages leaving a large package for me to carry. We set off up to H District. On the way the telephone rang and Jim answered it, it was the electrician engineer telling us we would not be paid because it was not our job. The answer we gave was unprintable our priorities were the trapped men not monetary gain. As we neared the accident we came across two men, one man was using a hacksaw to cut through roof support) that was pinning the other man to the floor a ring (by his foot, His steel toecap had saved his foot. We went further on into the roof fall where the men were being dug out. We passed the medical supplies to the ambulance man, as we did so Jim had a look of amazement on his face as my package although large was made up of bandages and cotton wool etc and was very light. The electrical engineer relented and paid us a few hours overtime.


Another experience was when I was working with two other electricians on a night shift.  We were working on the signalling system on the coal face. The Fireman and Overman working there told us the roof had not crashed for days and was still hanging and could come down at any moment.  Me being the smallest went up the face testing using my intercom and talking to the electricians at the face entrance. Suddenly there was a crack and a sound like thunder, and the roof came down around me.

Collapsed Mine

The stones knocked the intercom out of my hand and buried it.  I could hear the electricians shouting “are you okay and are you still there” eventually I retrieved my handset and told them with a relieved voice “yes Bear logoI’m okay where do you think I am.” They then started the Panzar Conveyor to clear the fall to enable me to get out,

Any man who worked underground would have had similar experiences.

Don Bearcroft



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