Monthly Update, January 2018
The period before Christmas was a very busy one in the Museum.
On November 17th, Cliff Kearns and Clwyd Wynne came to speak to us about Cliff's new book, 'A Town at War - Denbigh and the Western Front'. The book is based on the experiences of his father, Joe, in the First World War but it is a book which highlights the relationship which existed between Denbigh and the Western Front, even though they were a great distance from each other. Joseph Kearns was a trainee reporter with the Free Press and he joined the Welch Fusiliers when he was 16 years old. Because of his reporting skills and his ability to use short-hand and Morse code he was sent to the front lines with Senior Officers. Within the year, he had been killed. His name is recorded in a quotation from the Free Press, December 4th, 1915, along with 187 other young men from the area who were killed in the Great War.
The Campaign for S4C' was Angharad Tomos's subject when she visited the Museum on Friday evening, November 24th. She described her experience arriving at Aberystwyth University during the Welsh Language Society's campaign for a Welsh television channel for Wales. She had no interest in the broadcasting world, but since Saunders Lewis had said that "Television is the greatest killer of the Welsh language", she decided that she had to join the campaigning. Her first task, after being at University for only five days, was to climb Crystal Palace television mast in London and being sent to prison for five days. In 1977 she broke into the Winter Hill televison transmitter, near Manchester, and she was arrested by the Police. Their question was, "What is your link with the IRA?" After the 1979 referendum Gwynfor Evans decided to starve himself to death if Wales was not given a Welsh channel, and the people of Wales refused to pay their television licences. Because of this, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher decided to allow the setting up of a fourth channel which would include Welsh programmes. S4C commenced on Friday evening, November 1st, 1982, with great celebrations. By today, however, because of the lack of growth which has followed the financial cuts, the campaigning has restarted, and some people are refusing to pay their television licences once again. They maintain that it is 'high time to devolve broadcasting to Wales'.
Thank you to everyone who supported our Coffee Morning on December 2nd. Over £600 was raised for MaryDei, Vale of Clwyd Mind and the Museum.
Here are the next lectures in our series for the new year.
January 19th, "Making Jewels", by John Clark.
February 16th, "Broadcasting in the 1980s at Radio Havana Cuba", by Lila Haines.
March 16th, "Broadcasting in Wales", by Ifor ap Glyn. This will be the David Edward Hughes Annual Lecture.
April 20th, "The Sea Tragedies of the Ocean Monarch and the Lelia", by Tony Griffiths and Keith Mountain.
April 27th, a Welsh lecture on Sir T. H. Parry-Williams by Ioan Talfryn.
The lectures start at 7.00 p.m. and are followed by light refreshments. A warm welcome to everyone.
Monthly Update, December 2017
The Victorian Age:
The title of the latest public lecture in our series on science, history and broadcasting was'Victorian Pharmacy'. Sue Clark presented a clear picture of society in that period, with huge developments in industry leading to success and wealth for some, but to unemployment, poverty and starvation for others. She talked about the major diseases of the period, whooping cough, tuberculosis, typhoid, diphtheria, cholera, measles and influenza, and the appalling injuries which occurred in the factories and workplaces. People at that time didn't realise that diseases could spread from one person to another, through lack of hygiene, and health and safety rules hadn't been formulated. Wealthy people called a Physician to treat them when they were ill, but poor people had to go to the Apothecary who would dispense medicines for them. In 1841, the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain was created and the training of pharmacists began.
This is a picture of a typical Victorian pharmacy. It was a large place with a number of workers fulfilling different roles. The Pharmacist would treat all kinds of diseases and illnesses and he would create medicines by extracting ingredients from plants, bark etc, and mixing them. He would supply the local doctors, the dentist and the hospital, and he would also treat horses as they were so important for transport. It is doubtful whether these remedies were beneficial, and often poisonous ingredients were used unknowingly.
During this period also, the power of advertising became apparent and some of the products are still available today, as is seen in the picture.
The National Health Service was set up in 1948, and we are very grateful for it. It is dreadful to think that people across the world today are still suffering from Victorian major diseases because of poverty, famine, war and dirty water.
The Museum has created a 1940s living room where it is possible to sit to have a chat and a cuppa. It contains furniture from the period, radios, a gramophone and a television from 1948 which received BBC television from Sutton Coldfield only. There is also a RGD Radiogram from 1936, the best Radiogram produced in the UK before the war. It cost £126 - the wage of a teacher at that time being £2 a week.
There was great excitement in the Museum recently when Ceri, Brian and Hugh succeeded in contacting another Radio Amateur, Daniel, in Bogota, Columbia.
Here are the next lectures in the series:
January 19th, “Making jewels”, by John Clark.
February 16th, “Broadcasting in the 1980s at Radio Havana Cuba”, by Lila Haines.
March 16th, “Broadcasting in Wales”, by Ifor ap Glyn.
This will be the annual David Edward Hughes lecture.
April 20th, “The sea tragedies of the ‘Ocean Monarch’ and the ‘Lelia’”, by
Tony Griffiths and Keith Mountain.
April 27th, a Welsh lecture by Ioan Talfryn on Sir T. H. Parry-Williams.
The lectures commence at 7.00 p.m. and light refreshments follow.
A warm welcome to everyone.
Monthly Update, November 2017
This is a Minifon P55 miniature wire recorder, from 1955, which was presented to the Museum recently. The wire recorder was invented by Valdemar Poulsen from Denmark, who also carried out significant work with early radio broadcasting. The recorder worked rather like a tape recorder, as a very thin steel wire was pulled accross the recording / playback head at high speed. This gave a very long recording time, often up to one hour, which compared very favourably with the gramophone record. The wire recorders were very poplular 1945-1954 as dictation machines and for home recordings, but they were gradually replaced by tape recorders.
We had a very successful weekend at the Museum during Denbigh 'Open Doors'. More than sixty people visited the Museum, many of them from outside the town. Guided tours were arranged, along with demonstrations by the Radio Amateurs and art and craft sessions for children and adults. The highlight of the weekend was Lowri Jones's re-enactment of the life and successes of "David Edward Hughes the Inventor" through the eyes of Blodwen, the maid.
Our series of monthly talks continues apace. The next talks are:
In English - 'Denbigh and the Western Front', by Clwyd Wynne and Cliff Kearns on November 17th.
And in Welsh - 'The Campaign for S4C', by Angharad Tomos, on November 24th.
The lectures commence at 7.00 p.m. and light refreshments follow. A warm welcome to everyone.
Our joint Coffee Morning this year is on December 2nd at Eirianfa, at 10.00 a.m., with MaryDei and Vale of Clwyd Mind.
Monthly update, October 2017
The summer proved to be a busy time for Wireless in Wales. In addition to the usual maintenance, and welcoming visitors, we took exhibitions to a number of places:
The Science and Technology Pavilion in the National Eisteddfod in Môn
The Radio Amateur Event in the Llyn Brenig Centre
The Denbighshire Archives during Ruthin's 'Open Doors'
The North Wales Radio Society from Llandudno visited the Museum one evening also.
Ieuan Wyn Jones, the former deputy first minister, was our speaker in September. He gave a very interesting talk on his work as Director of Menai Science Park or M-SParc. He talked about how science parks in other parts of the world had made a significant contribution to the local economy and had created good jobs. He explained that the company was working with Bangor University to forge a link between the University and small and large companies. The park's first building near Gaerwen will open next year. It will contain offices, laboratories, workshops, a cafe etc. He said that they already have 8 tenants which is a good number initially for such a park .
A full programme of activities has been arranged for the Autumn season.
'The Victorian Pharmacy', by Sue Clark, on October 20th.
'Denbigh and the Western Front', by Clwyd Wynne and Cliff Kearns, on November 17th.
'The Campaign for S4C', by Angharad Tomos, on November 24th.
The lectures commence at 7.00 p.m. and are followed by light refreshments. A warm welcome to all.
Our Coffee Morning will be held jointly with MaryDei and Mind, in Eirianfa, on December 2nd, at 10.00 a.m.