Mining For History in Cwm Rheidol a Huge Success!

Thursday, 1 October, 2009

Saturday September 12th was a memorable day for the Rheidol Valley. Not only was it one of the sunniest days of the summer but it was also the day on which about 150 came together to celebrate the heritage of the valley, its landscape and the people who live there. Although there was an emphasis on the past and on the metal mining industry that had been so important in forming the Cwm Rheidol community, a lot of information was also gathered about the lives of the people today and their own memories.

Cloddio Am Hanes - Mining for History, Cwm Rheidol 2009

The event was part of the PLWM project, a Ceredigion County Council led and European funded project that exists to contribute to regeneration in upland Ceredigion through a focus on the heritage of the metal mining industry. It was held at the Statkraft Power Station Visitor Centre, where the company made space available inside the centre and also hosted activities on their green outside.

Cloddio Am Hanes - Mining for History, Cwm Rheidol 2009

The day got underway when Noragh Jones, a valley resident, gave a talk about the way that people have been central to the history of the valley and how, over the centuries, the lives of the people have responded to new activities and new demands. Meanwhile, Michael Freeman from Ceredigion Museum was kept busy scanning and recording photographs and archive material that was brought in by residents. Some exciting records were seen in public for the first time. More personal memories were gathered by making individual sound recordings and also by marking places and stories on Y Lle Arbennig, a colourful map of the valley. Memories of childhood and other good times came up in conversation with Sue Jones Davies.

 

Cloddio Am Hanes - Mining for History, Cwm Rheidol 2009

The Cwm Rheidol Dialogue was another unusual and creative way of getting people to exchange experiences. As ‘guests’ sat around a dining table, artist, Anna Evans, served them food and accompanying news extracts about the valley. This soon had everyone talking about food and traditions associated with the area. It was no surprise therefore that the Capel Bangor W.I. had present day food on sale in the form of delicious home made cakes and jam.

Cloddio Am Hanes - Mining for History, Cwm Rheidol 2009

For those who were looking for detailed information about the history of the valley, there were displays by the Dyfed Archaeological Trust, Ceredigion Archives, the Royal Commision on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, the Countryside Council for Wales, the Mid Wales Geology Club and the Welsh Mines Preservation Society. This thirst for knowledge was fully satisfied when John Latham, Bill Fitches, John Mason and Bill Perkins gave short talks about the underlying geology, the mineral extraction industry and the consequent pollution of the River Rheidol. The youngest contributor to the event was eleven-year-old Ioan Lord, who lives in the valley and who fascinated everyone with his detailed maps of the lead mines and with his drawings.

Cloddio Am Hanes - Mining for History, Cwm Rheidol 2009

The day was a good opportunity for talk with neighbours and with visitors to the valley. All the material and information gathered will be collected together and it is hoped that it will be the basis for an ongoing project about the valley. Organisers, Alice Briggs of Blaengar and Shelagh Hourahane of Creu-ad Heritage Interpretation were really pleased with how the day turned out after all the hard work to bring it together. They certainly hope that it will be the start of some exciting proposals from the community.

Cloddio Am Hanes - Mining for History, Cwm Rheidol 2009

PLWM is a Rural Development Plan project funded by Europe. It has two funding partners The Countryside Council for Wales and CADW. PLWM is working very closely with The Welsh Mines Preservation Trust, local community groups such as Pentir Pumlumon and local heritage trusts such as the Vale of Rheidol Railway as well as a number of other partner organisations including the Forestry Commission Wales and The Environment Agency.

Cloddio Am Hanes - Mining for History, Cwm Rheidol 2009

For more information on this event or the PLWM project please contact: Alice Briggs (Blaengar) 01970 880743, Shelagh Hourahane (Creu-ad) 01970 832898 or Natalie Moyce (PLWM project officer) 01545 574160.

Cloddio Am Hanes - Mining for History, Cwm Rheidol 2009

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