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Collectors & Collections

February 2014

A Window into the Industry Collections

Posted by Mark Etheridge on 27 February 2014

This month we have been donated six lamp checks to add to our very comprehensive collection of checks. Lamp checks informed colliery management of who was in work and became vital when rescue services needed to know how many men were actually underground during an incident such as a fire or explosion. Colliery check systems apparently became common during the late nineteenth century and became mandatory in 1913 after an amendment to the 1911 Coal Mines Act. The two lamp checks shown here were manufactured by E. Thomas & Williams at their Cambrian Works in Aberdare in 2013 using original dies owned by the company. The one on the left was produced to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Big Pit operating as a museum.

If you would like to find out more information on check and tokens then check out an article written by our coal curator on Rhagor.

http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/rhagor/article/lampchecks

You can also see a selection of checks and tokens from our collection on our online database ‘Images of Industry’.

http://amgueddfacms/industry/images/?action=browse_category&category=1716

 

 

This ophthalmoscope was used by colliery nurse Sister Iris Evans for checking ears and eyes in Pochin and Oakdale Collieries. After completing her training in 1952 Sister Evans joined the National Coal Board as a nursing officer at Pochin Colliery in 1955. Later she was transferred to Oakdale Colliery. She retired in 1985 finishing her career as Senior Nursing Officer for South Wales Area NCB. During her career she helped out during the Six Bells Colliery disaster in 1960. She also vaccinated many miners at Lady Windsor Colliery during a smallpox outbreak in South Wales in the 1950s.

 

 

This large 15 ton piece of coal is now located at Bedwellty Park, Tredegar, and is Grade II listed. It was cut at the Yard Level, Tredegar as a single block with the intention to display it at the Great Exhibition of 1851. It was originally 20 tons, however, after a 5 ton piece broke away in transportation it was decided not to transport it to London as it might not survive the journey. It was subsequently set up in the grounds of Bedwellty House. The smaller block of 2 tons (to the left) was cut in 1951 from the same seam as the earlier one. It was exhibited at the Festival of Britain in London, before being placed next to the earlier block in Bedwellty Park.

 

 

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January 2014

A Window into the Industry Collections

Posted by Mark Etheridge on 29 January 2014

We have had a number of interesting objects coming into the Industry collections since my last Blog. Here are just a few.

This wooden full hull ship model is of the m.v. Innisfallen. The Innisfallen was built in 1969 to inaugurate British & Irish Line’s Swansea to Cork ferry service. She was eventually sold to Corsica Ferries and then to Sancak Lines, Turkey. After a number of name changes she was broken up in 2004.

 

The commemorative plate below was manufactured by Ceramic Arts in 1989. It commemorates both the National Justice For Mineworkers Campaign, 5th Anniversary of 1984-85 strike, and the centenary of the National Union of Mineworkers.

 

This illuminated address was presented to Harry Brean by the workmen of the Risca Collieries for bravery during the “Gob Fire” at the Old Black Vein Colliery between July 12th and August 9th 1918. Presented towards the end of the First World War, it is interesting to note that the address states that “the Coal Mines produce their Great Heroes no less than the Battlefield”. The address is of a standard format that was printed by the Western Mail Ltd., Cardiff, and then hand illuminated. Note that his name is spelt incorrectly on address!

 

The object below we believe to be a calendar mount. It was printed on tinplate by Metal Box Company Limited in Neath, c.1960. The image is of a painting by the artist Harold Forster. The original oil on board painting depicts the hot strip mill at Abbey iron and steel works in Port Talbot and dates to 1955. The original painting is in our collection and details of this work and others by Harold Forster can be seen on our Images of Industry online catalogue - http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/industry/images/?action=search&search_type=artist_title&artist=forster&title=

 

 Mark Etheridge

Curatorial Assistant (Industry)

 

Vintage postcard heaven!

Posted by Jennifer Evans on 15 January 2014

From an original watercolour by E. W. Trick

Published by Valentine's & Sons Ltd

 Some people really are very kind. An anonymous donor left a little packet of these delightful Welsh postcards in one of our departmental pigeon holes. They will be sent over to the Archives Department at St Fagans: Museum of National History but I couldn't resist posting a small selection of them here first.

 

From an original watercolour by Edward H. Thompson

Published by Valentine's & Sons Ltd

 

"CARBO COLOUR" postcard

Published by Valentine's & Sons Ltd

 

Published by E. T. W. Dennis & Sons Ltd, London and Scarborough

 

From an original watercolour by Brian Gerald

Published by Valentine's & Sons Ltd

 

From an original watercolour by Edward H. Thompson

Published by Valentine's & Sons Ltd

 

 

The cards are mostly landscape views of Llangollen but this bright little quartet was also included

 

 

Seven of the more picturesque cards were published by Valentine's & Sons Ltd as part of their "Art Colour" series and there is a good a bit of information available on the company via the links below: 

http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb227-ms38562

http://www.collections.co.uk/postcards/publishers/valentine.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Valentine_(photographer)

Other publishers include E. T. W. dennis & Sons [London and Scarborough], N. P. O. Ltd [Belfast], J. Arthur Dixon Ltd. [G.B.], Judges Ltd. [Hastings, England], Walter Scott [Bradford], J. Salmon Ltd. [Sevenoakes, England], and Photo-Precision Ltd. [St Albans]. 

 

Unfortunately, none of the cards has been written on.

 

December 2013

An Industry Christmas Special

Posted by Mark Etheridge on 18 December 2013

Christmas is almost upon us, and we thought we would bring you some festive cheer from the industry collections.

This Christmas Lego set was donated in 2000, and represents the post-1930 industry collections, and toy manufacture in Wales. The set comprises Father Christmas with reindeer and sleigh, and is complete with its original box. The brand name Lego comes from the Danish words "LEg GOdt" meaning to "play well" and in Latin it means “I put together”. In 1963 British Lego Ltd. set up a new headquarters and factory in Wrexham, Wales and this set was manufactured there. Production at Wrexham ceased in 1977.

 

 

This mug, sold in aid of the "1984 Miners Children Appeal", was manufactured by Commemorative Pottery. It depicts a festive scene with children dancing around a Christmas tree hung with miners flame safety lamps. On the reverse an inscription describes that the aim of the Striking Miners Children Appeal Support Fund was to create “a happier Christmas for the children of Britain’s Mineworkers” during the strike of 1984/85.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Window into the Industry Collections

Posted by Mark Etheridge on 3 December 2013

This is the second of our monthly Blogs on the Industrial collections.

At the beginning of this year we were donated a painting titled “Frongoch Lead Mines Nr Aberystwyth”. This is by the artist P.S. Smith and it now joins three other paintings by this artist depicting lead mines of north Ceredigion. The artist was awarded a scholarship to Liverpool School of Art in 1942, but this was interrupted by National Service in the mines. Later he was Head of Art at Cardigan Grammar School, and was co-founder and chairman for many years of the Cardigan Art Society. He was inspired by the Cardiganshire landscape and its buildings. The four paintings in our collection can be seen on our online catalogue “Images of Industry” - http://amgueddfacms/en/industry/images/?action=show_works&item=1034&type=artist

 

 

Ian Smith, our Curator of Contemporary and Modern History has recently acquired two items for the collection that were made in Wales.

The first is a Hitachi CBP2038 television set. This was manufactured by Hitachi in Hirwaun in 1983. It was able to show teletext and was one of the first teletext models on the market. It came to us complete with stand and a remote control that slides in and out of the main television body.

These miniature figures were also recently donated to us. A member of the public had visited the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea and noticed that we had a lot of toys on display in our “Made in Wales” Gallery and so donated this "Miniature Masterpieces by Marx" set. The figures were manufactured by Louis Marx and Co. Ltd. of Fforestfach, Swansea in the early 1960s.

Some of our toy collection on display in the “Made in Wales” Gallery at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea.

 

 

November 2013

A Window into the Industry Collections

Posted by Mark Etheridge on 1 November 2013

Hello, and welcome to the first blog entry on our Industrial collections. In this blog we aim to let you know about some of the interesting and varied objects that enter the museum collections via our Industrial sites. These include Big Pit National Coal Museum, Welsh Slate Museum and National Waterfront Museum, as well as the National Collections Centre. We collect in all fields of industrial and maritime history and we hope through this blog to tell you more about new collections as they come into the museum and how we look after them.

Recently a number of unusual items have come into the collection relating to the coal industry.

Promotional keyring by Phurnacite Coal Products Ltd. Showing 'Phurnacite Man' in the shape of a coal briquette with arms and legs. This dates from c.1980s.

 

Four golf balls sold during the 1984-85 Miners' Strike. These show caricatures of Margaret Thatcher, Neil Kinnock, Arthur Scargill and Norman Tebbit.

 

 

This is an example of a Terry towelling baby’s nappy sold in the canteens of the National Coal Board. They would have been sold along with towels and soap. This example was purchased from Cwm Colliery cokework's canteen in the mid-1970s. The soap is stamped P.H.B. which stands for Pit Head Baths.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 2013

Roots of power and herbs of healing... "remedies for weak men and nervous women"

Posted by Jennifer Evans on 23 October 2013

 

 

There is an odd story attached to this little booklet. Some time ago, I received a telephone call from a lady offering to donate a catalogue from an old Cardiff herbalist. It sounded intriguing and something that would fit in perfectly at the library over at our sister museum St Fagans: Museum of National History, so we gratefully accepted the offer. A few days later, the Librarian and I were weeding through a pile of old booklets and we noticed an old Cardiff herbalist catalogue [date written in red ink - 29/11/29] and I remember saying how bizarre it would be if this was the same catalogue as the one that was on its way to us. Yes, you guessed it, it turned out to be exactly the same one! We ended up keeping both copies, placing one at the St Fagans library and keeping one here at National Museum Cardiff.

What exactly went into the herbal remedies is one mystery now most likely beyond solving [many of the ingredients are listed but not all] but it is the naive and whimsical wording of the ailments themselves that are so interesting to us now [Remedies for weak men and nervous women, Poverty of nerve force and That don't care sort of feeling spring to mind] and this naivity is illustrated further with the Disney-like wizard and his bubbling cauldron on the cover.

I have done a little research but, apart from a few scanned newspaper advertisements, have found no other information on Trimnell except for one of his old medicine bottles that sold recently on Ebay for £1.99 [see photograph below].

Glamorgan Archives hold some limited information on Trimnell but no actual documentation.

All photographs [except the Ebay one above] in this post taken by the author.

The Fern Paradise

Posted by Jennifer Evans on 1 October 2013

A lovely pressed fern found between the pages of The Fern Paradise [1876] by Francis George Heath. I'm always a little disappointed that we don't find more pressed flowers in our old botany books so this really made my day.

How long has it been lying quietly cocooned between these dry secure pages? Who picked a live and vibrant frond one summers day and slipped it away never thinking it would stay hidden for decades? Did the sun shine that afternooon? What news was ringing around the world? So many questions...

All photographs in this post taken by the author

 

August 2013

Kunstformen der Natur

Posted by Jennifer Evans on 23 August 2013

Step into a wonderland of colour, a celebration of the natural world in all its artistic and symmetrical glory...

Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919) was an eminent German zoologist who specialized in invertebrate anatomy. He named thousands of new species, mapped a genealogical tree relating all life forms, and coined many now ubiquitous terms in biology. A popularizer of Charles Darwin, Haeckel embraced evolution not only as a scientific theory, but as a worldview. He outlined a new religion or philosophy called monism, which cast evolution as a cosmic force, a manifestation of the creative energy of nature.

Haeckel’s chief interests lay in evolution and life development processes in general, including the development of nonrandom form, which culminated in the beautifully illustrated Kunstformen der Natur  - Art Forms of Nature, a collection of 100 detailed, multi-colour illustrations (lithographic and autotype) of animals and sea creatures prints. Originally published in sets of ten between 1899 and 1904, and as a complete volume in 1904.

The overriding themes of the Kunstformenplates are symmetry and organization, central aspects of Haeckel's monism. The subjects were selected to embody organization, from the scale patterns of boxfishes to the spirals of ammonites to the perfect symmetries of jellies and microorganisms, while images composing each plate are arranged for maximum visual impact.

Kunstformen der Natur played a role in the development of early twentieth century art, architecture, and design, bridging the gap between science and art. In particular, many artists associated with the Art Nouveau movement were influenced by Haeckel's images, including René Binet, Karl Blossfeldt, Hans Christiansen, and Émile Gallé.

Our copy of Kunstformen der Natur [photographed here] is a complete bound volume of all ten fascicules and sits in our folio section. It was donated to us in 1919 by the first Director of the National Museum of Wales [from 1909 to 1924], William Evans Hoyle. Hoyle’s trained as a medical anatomist and developed a life long interest in 'cephalopods'. Our BioSyB Department now holds Hoyle's cephalopod collection [over 400 of them] along with many other specimens and publications.

      

      

 

Haeckel biographical information:

Hoyle biographical information:

All photographs in this post taken by the author.

 

 

 

July 2013

Celebrating the tercentenary of John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute (1713-1792)

Posted by Julian Carter on 26 July 2013

[image: John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute ]

John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute

[image: Plate from Botanical Tables]

Plate from Botanical Tables

[image: Plate from Botanical Tables]

Plate from Botanical Tables

[image: Plate from Botanical Tables]

Plate from Botanical Tables

» View full post to see all images

In 2013 the tercentenary of the birth of the Third Earl of Bute is being celebrated across Britain with a series of events and new publications. Curators from Amgueddfa Cymru have contributed to a special publication published by Friends of the Luton Hoo Walled Garden, at one of Bute’s former residencies. Maureen Lazarus will also give a lecture at Luton Hoo in the autumn.

Bute was a powerful figure in eighteenth century Britain, both as a politician and as a botanist. He was a friend and confidante of George III who encouraged him to become a politician. In May 1762 he became Prime Minister. However, Bute proved an unpopular leader. Bishop Warburton wrote at the time “Lord Bute is a very unfit man to be Prime Minister of England, first, he is a Scotchman; secondly, he is the King’s friend; and thirdly he is an honest man.”

After a year of political turmoil and dissention, Bute resigned his post. He retired from public life to his house at Highcliffe in Hampshire with his vast botanical library. Here he rekindled his former enthusiasm for botany. Bute worked on several botanical publications and was strongly influenced by the renowned Swedish taxonomist Carl Linnaeus. Bute’s best known publication is entitled Botanical Tables containing the different familys of British Plants distinguished by a few obvious parts of Fructification rang’d in a Synoptical method (1785). Its aim is to explain the principles of Linnaeus’s new and controversial taxonomic system. Angueddfa Cymru is fortunate to own a complete set of this rare and exquisite publication.

John Miller (1715-1790) became the main artist of the Botanical tables, a huge task of over 600 illustrations detailing the sexual organs and their number to comply with the Linnaean system. The volumes cover the whole range of plant life from mosses, lichens and seaweeds to fungi and grasses, flowers and trees. Twelve copies of the Tables (each consisting of 9 volumes) were printed by Lord Bute at his own expense at a cost of £1,000. 

In his retirement, Bute was quite isolated. He was closer to European rather than British botanists, perhaps partly as a result of his travels on the continent but probably partly due to his unpopularity in Britain. Curiously, he was never elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London or of the Society of Antiquaries, something which his role as a patron alone ought to have virtually assured him. In spite of this rejection, botany was, no doubt, a satisfying way for him to spend his time in later life in order to avoid the melancholy he referred to in the introduction to Botanical tables.

Bute was particularly keen to explain the taxonomic system to women since he felt that this “delightful part of nature” was peculiarly suited to the attention of the fair sex. Botany, under their protection, would soon become a fashionable amusement. True to this aim Bute presented seven out of the ten copies to women including Queen Charlotte and Catherine II, Empress of Russia.

In 1994 Amgueddfa Cymru acquired a complete copy of the Botanical tables. The curators of the collection, as part of their background research, decided to trace all 12 copies. So far ten sets have been traced, seven of which can be identified with their original recipients. Full details of this project may be found in this paper; Lazarus, M.H. and Pardoe, H.S. (2009) Bute’s Botanical tables: dictated by Nature. Archives of natural history 36 (2): 277–298.

Heather Pardoe and Maureen Lazarus

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