Amgueddfa Blog: Ffotograffau Hanesyddol

Working at Amgueddfa Cymru’s History and Archaeology department over the last few months has revoked my interest in history… and even my own heritage.

One of the many benefits of working in the department is being able to preview the work by the staff of the museum’s Saving Treasures, Telling Stories project; the project highlights our nation’s treasures. It’s both a delight and eye-opener to see the objects collected by the museum, which hold more value than gold (from which some are made of), as these treasures stir our interest, provide us with knowledge… and can even fill us with pride when acknowledging that their roots lie in Wales.

A few weeks ago, museums across the UK were involved in #TakeOverDay; a day when social media pages were voluntarily taken over by youth community groups and schools.

Saving Treasures gladly took part and had young people to voice what they believed was treasure, then they got to ask the public what they considered as treasure. I know it’s a bit late but I thought I’d have a go at writing this blog to mention mine.

So, what’s my “treasure”?

It’s difficult for me since I’m not what you’d call a “materialistic” person but if you were to put me on the spot I’d have to say one of my top treasures would be... the collection of family photographs.


It comes down to a combination of my love for photography and my interest in family history.

I began my photographic love affair nearly a decade ago and my relationship with the art form is still as strong as ever after achieving a degree from the University of South Wales last year.

Though the end results from a simple photograph can give us a brief glimpse into the past, the cherished family photograph can give us much more; there’s more feeling towards an old family photograph than there is for an Ansel Adams… or should I dare say a photographic depiction of Wales by David Hurn!

More of these treasured photographs and the stories behind them can be found via my blog:

Over the last few months we have added some interesting objects to the collections. As usual this month I’d like to share with you some of these, to illustrate the range of objects collected for the industry & transport collections at Amgueddfa Cymru.

Illustrated here is a debenture for The Western Counties and South Wales Telephone Company, Limited. Dated 6th May 1889. This company was formed in 1884, a few months after liberation of telephone regulations made regional networks feasible for the first time in the UK. It was one of the seven regional telephone companies that covered the UK in the 1880s and early 1890s prior to the National Telephone Co. Ltd. achieving UK-wide dominance. By 1888 the south Wales portion of its network extended from Cardiff and Newport, westwards to Swansea and Llanelli, with some connections to valleys towns – connecting all the major industrial and urban centres of the south Wales coastal belt.

This Western Mail Ltd., Cardiff, employees' Roll of Honour, 1914-1918, was almost certainly displayed in the company’s main offices in Cardiff. It lists the names of 152 men who served during the First World War, with the names of those who died picked out in gold. The roll of honour joins an important collection of objects related to Welsh industry and the First World War. These items plus others from the National collection can be viewed on this online database

We are not sure exactley why this fretwork of 'The Lord's Prayer' was made. It was however, made by Llewelyn Richards, a haulier at Lewis Merthyr Colliery. 

This brass object is a 'Turnip', and was used to protect a miner’s watch whilst he was working underground. It was used at Oakdale Colliery, and was donated along with an MSA self-rescuer, c.1989. Self rescuers such as these are still used at Big Pit National Coal Museum where they are part of the safety equipment given to visitors on the underground tour. These objects were both collected as part of St. Fagans Oakdale Workmen’s Institute re-interpretation project. You can find out more about this here.

We have acquired a few objects relating to the Mathews family. This oval shaped brass twist box has an inscription on the lid that reads ‘D.MATHEWS / GORSEINON 1897’. It belonged to David John Mathews, who was born on 7 July 1891 in Gorseinon. He died on 8 September 1959 of lobar pneumonia following massive pneumoconiosis at the West Wales Isolation Hospital in Upper Tumble. Coal miners were unable to smoke underground for fear of causing an explosion, so many chewed tobacco, and twist boxes such as this one were used to hold this chewing tobacco. They are usually oval in shape, made of brass and have an inscription on the lid (such as this example), although there are variations on this. A large collection of twist boxes can be seen on display at Big Pit National Coal Museum.

Along with the twist box, the Museum was also donated a photograph and newspaper cutting relating to the death of Ifor Mathews who was tragically killed in an accident at Great Mountain Colliery in 1936. Ifor Mathews had played rugby for Neath, Swansea, Carmarthen 'Quins', Llandebie, Penygroes and Cefnithin. The photograph was taken about 1926, and shows him wearing a rugby shirt. Can anyone identify the club?

Finally, this photograph shows a blacksmith with a horse, and dated from the early 20th century. The photograph was probably taken at a slate quarry in north Wales, possibly in the Blaenau Ffestiniog area. Can anyone help confirm or identify the location? 


Mark Etheridge
Curator: Industry & Transport
Follow us on Twitter - @IndustryACNMW

Dyn wedi ymddeol, Dawns Perchnogion Car MG 1967 Hawlfraint David Hurn Magnum Photos
Dyn wedi ymddeol, Dawns Perchnogion Car MG, 1967. D.U. ALBAN, Caeredin. © David Hurn/MAGNUM PHOTOS

Mae Amgueddfa Cymru wedi derbyn rhodd anhygoel gan y ffotograffydd Magnum, David Hurn. Mae Hurn yn un o ffotograffwyr dogfennol mwyaf dylanwadol Prydain. Ac yntau bellach yn byw ac yn gweithio yma yng Nghymru, mae wedi dychwelyd at ei wreiddiau Cymreig – ac yma y bydd ei gasgliad o ffotograffau’n aros diolch i’w rodd hael.

Mae’r casgliad yn rhannu’n ddwy ran, sef tua 1,500 o’i ffotograffau ef ei hun sy’n cwmpasu ei yrfa o dros drigain mlynedd fel ffotograffydd dogfennol; a thua 700 o ffotograffau gan ffotograffwyr eraill o’i gasgliad preifat. Wrth sôn am ei rodd, dywedodd Hurn:

“Fy atgofion gweledol/diwylliannol cynharaf yw ymweld â’r Amgueddfa pan oeddwn i’n bedair neu’n bump oed. Dwi’n cofio’r cerflun drwg – y Gusan gan Rodin – a chasys yn llawn stwff oedd pobl wedi ei roi. Wel, bellach mae gen i gyfle i dalu rhywbeth yn ôl – bydd rhywbeth gen i yno am byth. Mae’n fraint o’r mwyaf.”

Detholiad Diffiniol o Waith Oes

Dros y ddwy flynedd ddiwethaf, mae David wedi bod yn dewis ffotograffau o’i archif ef ei hun sy’n ddetholiad o waith ei oes. Mae’r casgliad o tua 1,500 o brintiau newydd yn cynnwys gwaith a wnaed yng Nghymru, Lloegr, yr Alban, Iwerddon, Arizona, Califfornia ac Efrog Newydd.

Mae’n cynnwys rhai o’i ffotograffau enwocaf, fel Dawns y Frenhines Charlotte, Barbarella a Grosvenor Square.

Fodd bynnag, ei ffotograffau craff a gofalus o Gymru yw prif ffocws y casgliad. Yn dilyn rhodd hael David, Amgueddfa Cymru yw ceidwad y casgliad mwyaf o’i luniau yn y byd.

Y Promenâd yn Ninbych y Pysgod 1974 Hawlfraine David Hurn Magnum Photos
D.U. CYMRU. Dinbych y Pysgod. Y promenâd yn nhref glan y môr Dinbych y Pysgod, De Cymru. 1974 © David Hurn/MAGNUM PHOTOS

Casgliad Cyfnewid

Drwy gydol ei yrfa hir, mae Hurn wedi bod yn cyfnewid llun am lun â’i gyd-ffotograffwyr, llawer ohonynt yn gydweithwyr iddo yng nghwmni Magnum.

Mae’r casgliad pwysig ac amrywiol hwn o tua 700 ffotograff, sydd hefyd yn dod i law’r Amgueddfa, yn cynnwys gweithiau gan ffotograffwyr blaenllaw’r 20fed a’r 21ain ganrif.

Yn eu mysg mae Henri Cartier-Bresson, Eve Arnold, Sergio Larrain, Bill Brandt, Martine Franck, Bruce Davidson a Martin Parr, Bieke Depoorter, Clementine Schneidermann a Diana Markosian. Henri Cartier-Bresson, Eve Arnold, Sergio Larrain, Bill Brandt, Martine Franck, Bruce Davidson a Martin Parr, a ffotograffwyr sy’n dod yn amlycach megis Bieke Depoorter, Clementine Schneidermann a Diana Markosian.

Bydd detholiad o ffotograffau o gasgliad preifat David yn cael eu harddangos am y tro cyntaf yn Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Caerdydd o 30 Medi 2017 ymlaen. Bydd Llun am Lun: Ffotograffau o Gasgliad David Hurn yn lansio oriel ffotograffiaeth newydd yr Amgueddfa.

Casgliadau Ffotograffig yn Amgueddfa Cymru

Mae casgliadau ffotograffau Amgueddfa Cymru’n unigryw am eu bod yn cwmpasu cynifer o feysydd a phynciau, gan gynnwys celf, hanes cymdeithasol a diwydiannol a’r gwyddorau naturiol.

Mae hefyd yn cynnwys ffotograffau pwysig iawn, fel rhai o’r ffotograffau cynharaf i gael eu tynnu yng Nghymru gan y ffotograffydd arloesol John Dillwyn Llewelyn a’i deulu. Bydd rhodd David yn gweddnewid casgliadau ffotograffiaeth yr Amgueddfa ac yn creu cyfleoedd cyffrous i ehangu’r casgliadau mewn ffyrdd newydd.

Grwp ffitrwydd yng ngymuned ymddeol Sun City, Arizona 1980 Hawlfraint David Hurn Magnum Photos
UDA. Arizona. Sun City. Grwp ffitrwydd y tu allan ben bore yng nghymuned ymddeol Sun City. Ras can metr 50 eiliad i bobl rhwng 60 a 94 mlwydd oed yn y Senior Olympics. Roedd teimlad o hwyl a chymdeithas i'w deimlo'n gryf yno. 1980. © David Hurn/MAGNUM PHOTOS

Bydd yr arddangosfa yn Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Caerdydd yn dilyn cyflwyniad o waith David Hurn yn Photo London, y digwyddiad ffotograffiaeth rhyngwladol a gynhelir bob blwyddyn yn Somerset House, Llundain. Wedi’i churadu gan Martin Parr a David Hurn, mae arddangosfa Photo London, David Hurn’s Swaps, yn dathlu pen-blwydd Magnum Photos yn 70 oed.

The Voices from the Archives series is based on recordings in the Oral History Archive at St Fagans National History Museum. Connected to the agricultural activities, demonstrations and displays at the Museum - they provide an insight into the lives and histories of farming people, the agricultural practices in the past, how they developed into contemporary agriculture.

Lambing in Pembrokeshire, 1984

March is lambing time at Llwyn-yr-eos Farm, the Museum’s working farm. Lambing in the past and present was described by Richard James, Portfield Gate, Pembrokeshire, south west Wales, in a recording made in 1984. Aged 79, he recalled lambing in an interview about his life in farming, but also described how it was being done on a farm in the area in the year of the interview. The following short clips are from the recording.

Pembrokeshire born and bred, Richard James had farmed at Lambston Sutton in the south west of the county. It stood between the large county town of Haverfordwest a few miles to the east, and the coastline of St Bride’s Bay to the west. The lowland coastal areas, warmer climate and lower rainfall made agriculture more diverse than in many other parts of Wales, with the keeping cattle and sheep and the growing of early potatoes and cereal crops. The coastal areas could be exposed to the winds and rain from the Atlantic Ocean though, and weather conditions could strongly influence lambing, to which Richard James refers in the first clip:

Richard James, Portfield Gate, Sir Benfro

When lambing was to take place was decided by when the ewes were put to the rams. Up until then the rams on the farm had to be kept separate from the sheep. It was always a concern that rams might break through a poor fence or hedge and cause lambing to start at the wrong time. Also, a ram of poorer quality or a different breed from another flock could also result in poorer quality lambs and reduced income. After mating, a ewe is pregnant for between 142 and 152 days, approximately five months or slightly shorter.

In this clip, Richard James describes at what time of year lambing took place on a local farm, and how it was being done by a farmer using a former aircraft hangar.

Richard James, Portfield Gate, Sir Benfro

The final clip is about working the day and night shifts:

Richard James, Portfield Gate, Sir Benfro


Ym Medi 2017 bydd Institiwt y Gweithwyr Oakdale yn dathlu ei gan-mlwyddiant. Wedi ei adeiladu yn ystod y Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf, mi roedd unwaith yn ganolbwynt gymdeithasol bwysig i drigolion pentref Oakdale. Symudwyd yr adeilad i’r Amgueddfa yn 1989 ac i nodi penblwydd yr adeilad eleni, mae’r Amgueddfa wedi lawnsio prosiect #Oakdale100. Bwriad y prosiect yw ail-ddehongli’r adeilad a’i ddod yn fyw unwaith eto gyda lleisiau’r gymuned.

Fel rhan o’r gwaith paratoi, mae staff yr Amgueddfa wedi ail-ymweld ag archifau’r adeilad, gan dynnu ynghyd ffotograffau, cyfweliadau hanes llafar a gwrthrychau perthnasol. Dwi wedi bod yn edrych ar y casgliad ffotograffau yn benodol. Gyda chymorth yr Adran Ffotograffiaeth, rydym wedi digideiddio cannoedd o ddelweddau a oedd gynt ar gael ar ffurf negatifau yn unig. Mae’r ffotograffau hyn yn dangos ystod y digwyddiadau ar gweithgareddau a oedd yn cael eu cynnal yn y Stiwt – o ymweliad y Tywysog Albert yn 1920 i berfformiadau dramatig y 50au. Maen nhw hefyd yn dogfennu pensaerniaeth yr adaeilad a manylion yr ystafelloedd mewnol. Fy hoff lun i yw hwnnw o’r bachgen yn ei arddegau yn pori silffoedd y llyfrgell.

Yn ogystal â digideiddio’r deunydd sydd eisoes yng nghasgliad yr Amgueddfa, rydym hefyd wedi bod yn brysur yn ymgysylltu gyda’r gymuned yn Oakdale heddiw. Llynedd cynhaliwyd gweithdy galw-heibio yn y pentref i annog trigolion yr ardal i rannu storiau ac i sganio eu ffotograffau ar gyfer archif yr Amgueddfa a Casgliad y Werin.

Yn ddiweddar, rydym hefyd wedi agor tudalen Facebook ar gyfer y prosiect ac mae’r ymateb wedi bod yn anghygoel! Mae llu o bobl wedi cyfrannu eu hatgofion, gadael sylwadau a rhannu delweddau ar y dudalen. Yn ddi-os, mae Facebook yn adnodd gwych i ail-gysylltu gyda’r gymuned.

Os oes gennych unrhyw storiau neu ffotograffau sy’n gysylltiedig â Stiwt Oakdale, cysylltwch â ni. Byddem wrth ein boddau i weld unrhyw ffotograffau o bartion neu gigs yn y Stiwt yn ystod y 1960au-80au.