Amgueddfa Blog: Cyffredinol

The Craft group of volunteers had been “coasting” for some time waiting for our next assignment from the museum. We’d made rag rugs for the houses at Rhyd y Car, we made mediaeval costumes for the children visiting Llys Llewellyn and we’d used the lavender grown in the castle gardens to make lavender bags to sell in the shops. For a few other meetings we’d been doing our own crafting projects in Gweithdy, talking to visitors, showing them how we made our various quilts, rugs, throws, and tapestries, but we were ready for a new project.

None of us had been familiar with the term Tip Girls, or the work they did in the mining industry when Noreen and Ceri from Big Pit visited us to ask for help in setting up a new temporary exhibition at the big pit Museum.

We were asked to design and make an outfit suitable for a Tip girl as would have been worn in the Welsh coal fields. Little research has been done on these girls in Wales but some records were kept of those girls working in the coal fields of Nottinghamshire and Durham. There were similarities between the two but also some distinct differences; most notably the names: Tip Girls in Wales and Pit Girls in the north of England

We obviously needed to research these Tip Girls and the period in which they were working, to find out the type of clothes they wore in order to undertake our task.

Until 1842 women and children had regularly worked underground, but after a dreadful mining disaster in Barnsley, Queen Victoria demanded an enquiry. This resulted in the Mines and Collieries Act banning women, girls, and boys under 10 from working underground.

This was a blow to many women who earned their living, or supplemented their household income from working underground, but women who needed to work adapted. They worked at loading wagons or hauling tubs up from the pithead and some became Tip Girls, sorting rocks and stones from the coal when it had been brought up from the mines below ground.

In our research we found that Tip girls developed a distinctive style of dress and different areas develop their own distinctive styles

The work was cold and wet and very dirty and the girls’ dresses catered for this.  In Wales, W. Clayton had taken photographs of these women; although they were posed and in a studio setting we still get a good idea of how they were dressed.  They wore long flannel skirts or frocks covered by leather aprons. Some wore breeches under their skirts, but this was frowned on in some mines, although it was commonplace in the mines in the north of England. They clothed their heads in hats and scarves, ensuring all of their heads were completely covered to prevent the coal dust saturating their hair.

Several members of the Craft group luckily have experience in costume design and they shared their expertise with us, helping us to design the costume.

We needed to decide what fabric we could use for the costumes, and we were lucky to be allowed the opportunity to see the museum exhibits in storage that would help us in designing the costume. We saw skirts, aprons, petticoats, stockings, socks and even boots that were all being carefully conserved by the museum.

 

We had been given a shop-window mannequin to use as the Tip Girl and were expected to dress her. However, her solid hands and feet posed a problem in that we needed to give her gloves and boots, and her elegant pose made making her resemble the Tip Girl very difficult.                                                                 

It took some time to work out that she couldn’t be used and something else had to be sorted out. There was no other mannequin available from the museum, so our resourceful team got together and manufactured one from various sources. (It does help having costume designers in the group!)

We used the original mannequin as the basis to design the clothes and even used our own members as models.  The tip girls hats seem to have been of special interest to the girls. They were all decorated quite lavishly with beads, ribbons, bows, flowers, and even birds and cherries and other fruit.  This seems to have been their gesture to glamour in the midst of the grime of the pit head.

We were getting on nicely with the manufacture of the clothes when Covid hit and we were locked down. We carried on our monthly meetings over Zoom but the Tip Girl project was side-lined for a while, while we made masks and protective clothing for the NHS. Edwina however was still working on our model and when a year later we resumed, we were nearly there with our very own Tip Girl, who we had nicknamed Brenda, for some unknown reason!

In discussion with a friend who is also doing research on the Tip Girls of the Welsh mines, I discovered that these girls were not the lowly workers they seem to be from their photos. In fact, they were quite well-paid and regarded themselves as better off than girls who had to go into service at the local “big houses”. Photographers also wanted to take their photographs and make them into postcards to sell to the public which made some of the tip girls into minor celebrities.

During lockdown we have made headscarf, skirt, chemise and socks. We’d made hands (ready for gloves) hats, bloomers and a bodice.  On returning to face-to-face volunteering, we collected what we had been working on and found we had been quite productive during lockdown.

The home-made mannequin was coming along at pace and caused some hilarity when we first assembled the legs and body as they weren’t quite compatible. Caroline, our expert in period costume, had knitted a wonderful pair of stockings that fitted the homemade legs perfectly.

 

 

The figure of the mannequin at the beginning caused much hilarity, and the arms and legs both had to be considerably altered. Having it made by different people in different places had its difficulties!


Our next meeting was at Big Pit, when we collected the disparate pieces of the costume and put them on the model. Our home-made model was not in use, and the museum was using another mannequin that was being altered to fit the brief. It was rather tall for the display case, but the staff intended shortening it discreetly.

The main reason for visiting Big Pit was to make the costume look as realistic as possible for the exhibition. They all looked newly made and pristinely clean, and we had to make them look as grubby and dirty as possible. So, after dressing up the model, we then undressed her again, and took the clothes over to the Forge where we had a good time rubbing them into the dirtiest and most filthy parts of the machinery.

 

It’s finished now, and we are waiting eagerly for the opening of the exhibition. We’ve left the clothes with the museum, along with both models, and it depends on which model best suits the display cabinet. When we visit the exhibition we will be very interested to find out more about the Tip Girls, and proud to see the small contribution we made to the exhibition on display. 

 

 

The next steps in a Professional Training Year

It’s been a little while since my last blog post and since then there has been a lot of exciting things happening! The scientific paper I have been working on that describes a new species of marine shovelhead worm (Magelonidae) with my training year supervisor Katie Mortimer-Jones and American colleague James Blake is finished and has been submitted for publication in a scientific journal. The opportunity to become a published author is not something I expected coming into this placement and I cannot believe how lucky I am to soon have a published paper while I am still an undergraduate.

There are thousands of scientific journals out there, all specialising in different areas. Ours will be going in the capstone edition of the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, a journal which covers systematics in biological sciences, so perfect for our paper. Every journal has its own specifications to abide by in order to be published in them. These rules cover everything from the way you cite and reference other papers, how headings and subheadings are set out, the font style and size, and how large images should be. A significant part of writing a paper that many people might not consider is ensuring you follow the specifications of the journal. It’s very easy to forget or just write in the style you always have!

Once you have checked and doubled checked your paper and have submitted  to the journal you wish to be published in, the process of peer reviewing begins. This is where your paper is given to other scientists, typically 2 or 3, that are specialists in the field. These peer-reviewers read through your paper and determine if what you have written has good, meaningful science in it and is notable enough to be published. They also act as extra proof-readers, finding mistakes you may have missed and suggesting altered phrasing to make things easier to understand.

I must admit it is a little nerve wracking to know that peer reviewers have the option to reject all your hard work if they don’t think it is good enough. However, the two reviewers have been nothing but kind and exceptionally helpful. They have both accepted our paper for publication. Having fresh sets of eyes look at your work is always better at finding mistakes than just reading it over and over again, especially if those eyes are specialists in the field that you are writing in.

As you would expect, the process of peer-reviewing takes some time. So, while we have been waiting for the reviews to come back, I have already made great progress on starting a second scientific paper based around marine shovelhead worms with my supervisor. While the story of the paper isn’t far along enough yet to talk about here, I can talk about the fantastic opportunity I had to visit the Natural History Museum, London!

We are currently investigating a potentially new European species of shovelhead worm which is similar to a UK species described by an Amgueddfa Cymru scientist and German colleagues. Most of the type specimens of the latter species are held at the Natural History Museum in London. Type material is scientifically priceless, they are the individual specimens from which a new species is first described and given a scientific name. Therefore, they are the first port of call, if we want to determine if our specimens are a new species or not.

The volume of material that the London Natural History Museum possesses of the species we are interested in is very large and we had no idea what we wanted to loan from them. So, in order to make sure we requested the most useful specimens for our paper, we travelled to London to look through all of the specimens there. We were kindly showed around the facilities by one of the museum’s curators and allowed to make use of one of the labs in order to view all of the specimens. The trip was certainly worth it. We took a lot of notes and found out some very interesting things, but most importantly we had a clear idea of the specific specimens that we wanted to borrow to take photos of and analyse closer back in Cardiff. 

Overall, I can say with confidence that the long drive was certainly more than worth it! I’m very excited to continue with this new paper and even more excited to soon be able to share the results of our first completed and published paper, watch this space…

Thank you once again to both National Museum Cardiff and Natural History Museum, London for making this trip possible.

Heddiw, mae Cymru’n genedl fodern, amlethnig, amlddiwylliannol, ac mae llawer o’n teulu, ffrindiau a chyd Gymry wedi’u gwasgaru ledled y byd. Rydyn ni wedi bod yn byw trwy amseroedd digynsail, mae ein byd yn newid. Felly wrth i Ddydd Gŵyl Ddewi agosáu, rydyn ni am weld os yw hunaniaeth Gymreig yn newid hefyd.

Rydym yn colli’ch croesawu i oriel Cymru yn Sain Ffagan Amgueddfa Werin Cymru lle rydym yn archwilio hunaniaeth Gymreig ac yn gofyn ichi rannu eich syniadau amdani, felly hoffem glywed gennych yn fawr iawn. Gofynwn i chi rhoi UN GAIR i ni – dim ond UN GAIR i ddisgrifio Cymru neu Gymreictod ar hyn o bryd. Gallai fod yn beth, yn emosiwn, yn lliw, beth bynnag ydyw i chi, nawr.

Un Gair am Gymru

Rydym am wybod a yw pethau megis cennin Pedr neu gawl neu gysyniadau fel ‘hiraeth’ neu ‘cwtch’ yn ein cynrychioli ni o hyd, neu a oes yna bethau a theimladau eraill sy’n dod i’r amlwg fel eiconau neu fel syniadau am Gymru gyfoes.

Mae gennym ddiddordeb mewn clywed gan bawb ac unrhyw un sy’n byw yng Nghymru, neu unrhyw un sy’n uniaethu fel Cymry – o ba bynnag gefndir ethnig neu ddiwylliannol, waeth ble rydych chi’n byw yn y byd ar hyn o bryd.

Byddwn yn casglu’ch holl eiriau gyda’i gilydd ac yn gwneud rhywbeth hardd gyda nhw i’w rannu gyda chi ychydig cyn Dydd Gŵyl Ddewi.

Mae croeso i chi drydar eich gair neu greu Instagram i’w rannu, ond cofiwch ychwanegu’r hashnod #gairamgymru i’ch post fel y gallwn ddod o hyd iddo a’i gynnwys yn ein hymatebion. Fel arall, e-bostiwch eich gair atom gan ddefnyddio: ungairamgymru@amgueddfacymru.ac.uk.

A chofiwch rannu hyn gyda ffrindiau a theulu ledled Cymru ac ar draws y byd.

To celebrate LGBT History Month this year I asked Vish to write a blog post about Glitter Cymru and why they founded it. Throughout 2019 I worked with members of Glitter Cymru to collect their banner, along with other objects and oral histories from its members. These all now form part of the LGBTQ+ collection at St Fagans National Museum of History.

In this blog post we have also included images from the collection, along with a video made by Vish to introduce Glitter Cymru’s Virtual Pride held in August 2020. This video has been donated to St Fagans and is preserved in the audio-visual archive.

Mark Etheridge
Curator: LGBTQ+ history
St Fagans National Museum of History

My name is Vish. I identify as Indian, Welsh and queer and I’m the founder and chair of Glitter Cymru. Glitter Cymru was set up in July 2016 as a meet-up and support group for ethnic minority people who are LGBT+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Trans) based in South Wales. Prior to March 2020, we used to meet on a monthly basis face to face, but due to COVID, we moved our meet-ups to a weekly basis on Zoom. We adapted to this challenging / isolating time and found great comfort in each other’s company.

Glitter Cymru came about after hearing the frustrations of my ethnic minority LGBT+ peers, as well as my own frustrations, of not feeling welcomed, understood or represented by the wider LGBT+ community and in society in general. So Glitter was born to be the possible antidote to the issue of invisibility that we continue to feel, particularly in smaller cities like Cardiff and Newport. We come together at our meet-ups to shine, sparkle and feel visible – hence our group’s name is wonderfully apt.

The truth is many of our group attendees and myself included, have experienced a great deal of exclusion and othering. For example, be it racism from the predominately white wider LGBT+ community to homophopia, biphopia and transphopia from people of our own ethnicities.

Don’t just take my word for it, recent research from Stonewall, a leading LGBT+ equality charity, found 51% of ethnic minority LGBT+ people had faced discrimination or poor treatment from the wider LGBT+ community. This issue was found to be greater for Black LGBT+ people where the figure rises to 61%.

Upsettingly, this stat highlights that many ethnic minority LGBT+ people feel they can’t be their authentic selves in British society. In a society where our identities are ignored and debated, we need spaces like Glitter Cymru to feel validated and in turn gain empowerment to face the wider world that can be bigoted.

Apart from our meet-ups, Glitter Cymru aims to raise awareness of ethnic minority LGBT+ identities and issues through campaigns and events. We’d put together a milestone event on 10 August 2019, Wales’ first BAME (Black Asian & Minority Ethnic) Pride in Cardiff where we celebrated our community.

We’ve donated our banner from this event and which we also marched with at Pride Cymru’s parade (on 24 August 2019) to St Fagans National Museum of History.  We’re deeply honoured that our handmade banner will be preserved at the museum and that it will continue to represent a moment in time where ethnic minority LGBT+ people in Wales came forward to be celebrated and acknowledged or in other words shine and sparkle as Glitter is supposed to.

© Glitter Cymru / Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales

Mae'n Ddydd Santes Dwynwen ar 25 Ionawr, y diwrnod pan rydyn ni'n dathlu cariad yma yng Nghymru. Rhag ofn eich bod ar wahan oddi wrth anwylyd yn ystod y cyfnod clo hwn, rydyn ni'n rhannu’r rysáit hon yn gynnar er mwyn i chi gael cyfle i'w danfon yn y post. Beth bynnag rydych chi'n ei wneud, rydyn ni'n anfon cwtch mawr Covid- ddiogel atoch o'r amgueddfa.

Daw'r rysáit hyfryd hon wrth ein tîm arlwyo yn Amgueddfa Wlân Cymru yn Drefach Felindre.

 

Pice Bach Siap Calon

 

CYNHWYSION:

Blawd hunan-godi 1 lb

Menyn 8oz

Siwgr caster 6oz

2 wy

2 lond llaw o gyrens - neu llugaeron os ydych chi am ychwanegu tipyn o liw coch ar gyfer diwrnod Santes Dwynwen!

Menyn ychwanegol ar gyfer seimio

 

DULL:

1. Hidlwch y blawd mewn i fowlen ac ychwanegwch y menyn wedi'i ddeisio.

2. Rhwbiwch â'ch bysedd, neu mewn prosesydd bwyd, nes bod y gymysgedd yn debyg i friwsion bara.

3. Ychwanegwch y siwgr, y cyrens / llugaeron a'r wyau wedi'u curo a'u cymysgu'n dda i ffurfio pelen o does, gan ddefnyddio sblash o laeth os oes angen.

4. Rholiwch y toes allan ar fwrdd â blawd arno i drwch o tua 5mm / ½ modfedd.

5. Torrwch y toes gyda thorrwr siap calon 7.5–10cm / 3-4in.

6. Rhwbiwch lech neu radell haearn trwm â menyn, sychwch unrhyw ormodedd a'i roi ar yr hob nes ei fod yn cael ei gynhesu drwyddo.

7. Coginiwch y picie bach ychydig ar y tro am 2–3 munud ar bob ochr, neu nes eu bod yn frown euraidd.

8. Tynnwch o'r radell a taenwch siwgr mân trostynt tra’n gynnes.

Dyma nhw! Pice Bach blasus a rhamantus!

Mwynhewch!!