: Historic Photography

View of Swansea in 1858

Mark Etheridge, 20 Gorffennaf 2015

Recently working through the John Dillwyn Llewelyn collection, I was reminded of this amazing photograph of Swansea taken in 1858. The image was taken on the 15 March 1858 at 1 o'clock with an exposure of 15 minutes. It was taken by Welsh photographer John Dillwyn Llewelyn using a ground breaking process invented by him in 1856 called the Oxymel process. This was a development of the wet collodion process and used a solution of acetic acid, water & honey to preserve images. This meant that glass negatives could be prepared in advance and exposed in the camera as required, and produced a dry plate that could be kept for days. This new process meant landscape photographers no longer needed to carry with them portable laboratories and darkroom tents.

The photograph shows Swansea taken from St. Thomas on the 15 March 1858. To the far left, above the roofline, Mumbles Head can just about be made out. In the background (slightly to the right) can be seen the North Dock with buildings around it, and sailing ships in the dock. In front of that is the railway embankment alongside the New Cut of the river Tawe. In the foreground can be seen a number of houses, including the 'White Lion Inn', and to the far right it is just about possible to make out the remains of Swansea Castle.

I thought that it would be interesting to try and identify the viewpoint from where this photograph was taken and to see how the view might have changed since 1858. I therefore contacted my colleague Andrew Deathe at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea to see if his knowledge of the area would allow him to identify the viewpoint.

Living locally Andrew was able to take this modern view in May 2015. He took the photograph by standing on the road which is in the foreground of the 1858 image, which is called Bay View, in St. Thomas. The house in the original image is just behind his viewpoint. John Dillwyn Llewelyn seemed to be standing half way between Bay View and Windmill Terrace (which wasn't built for another 20 years).

The skyline of Swansea has seen many changes over the years and it is difficult to tell that the two images are taken from the same viewpoint. However it is still possible to make out Mumbles Head to the left and part of Swansea Castle to the right. The railway embankment has been completely removed, and there is no trace or it or the tunnel today. In place of the old North Dock buildings, you can see the glass pyramid of Plantasia. The tower of St. Mary's church can't be seen unfortunately, as it is behind the BT Tower.


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

A Window into the Industry Collections – May 2015

Mark Etheridge, 27 Mai 2015

Preserved within the collections is a Cardiff horse drawn tram. The tram was built by the Falcon Works, Loughborough in the 1880s and run by Cardiff Tramways Co. When the Cardiff Tramways Company was taken over by the City in 1902 the routes were electrified and the horse-tram was sold to the Cardiff Ladies Temperance Guild and used in the Docks as a snack-bar selling non-alcoholic beverages. About 1930 ownership passed to Mrs Elizabeth Leach of Tremorfa who ran it as 'Walters' Tavern' and in due course this ladies daughter, Mrs Walters, took it over. In 1955 her brother Mr Ekstrom, took it over and ran it for a further ten years until it closed in 1966. It was removed in Summer 1968.

This slide, recently accessioned into the collection, shows the tram in use as a refreshment stall at Roath Dock, Cardiff.


The tram is currently on loan to the National Tramway Museum in Crich were it is on display.

These photographs show the tram awaiting restoration in 1979, and then after restoration work was carried out by Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales.



The final photograph shows a similar tram on Newport Road, Cardiff c.1890. It ran on the The Royal Oak - Newport Road - Pier head service.



A recent donation was this wooden board with a paper roster/list attached. The roster lists information about locomotives, winding engines, and saw mills at Dinorwic Slate Quarries. Unfortunately it is in poor condition and will need some conservation work carried out on it. The board had three headings, ‘locomotives’, ‘winding engines’ and ‘saw mills’.
Under the heading ‘locomotives’ the following information is recorded: old name of locomotive; present name of locomotive; location of locomotive; works number; date; remarks e.g. firebox renewed; firebox and tubes material. The roster records information about 20 locomotives.
Under the heading ‘winding engines’ the following information is recorded: place; started working; drive; circ & length of winding rope; circ &  length of standing rope; remarks. The roster records information about 11 winding engines.
Under the heading ‘saw mills’ the following information is recorded: place; started working; drive; no of dressing machines; no of tables; kind; diar of line shaft; revs line shaft. The roster records information about 10 saw mills.



Last year we were donated this painting by John Uzzell Edwards. It was on display at the National Waterfront Museum for a while and has just come off display to be accessioned and stored at the National Collections Centre in Nantgarw. The painting is acrylic and mixed media on canvas. It was painted on 2011 and is titled ‘Swansea Quilt’. The painting was inspired by a quilt made in Swansea by a woman who worked in the milliners department of a Swansea shop (she used fabric off-cuts from the shop).


This print shows the quilt which inspired John Uzzell Edwards.



This month we also acquired another painting. Probably gouache on board/paper it shows Merthyr Vale Colliery from Aberfan, and is dated 1902. It is signed by an artist called David John Evans. We haven’t yet been able to find anything out about him, so if anyone has any information on this artist we would love to hear from you.


The sinking of Merthyr Vale No. 1 Colliery began in 1869, and coal was first produced in 1875. Merthyr Vale Colliery No 2 was sunk some years later. In 1902 the colliery employed 3,064 men and produced 830,000 tons of coal. Reaching its peak in 1913 , when it was the largest colliery in the South Wales coalfield, manpower and output reduced over the years until the colliery eventually closed by British Coal in August  1989.


This photograph shows Merthyr Vale Colliery in 1960 showing tips on the hillside. It was the spoil from Merthyr Vale Colliery that slipped down the mountainside onto the community of Aberfan on the 21st October 1966. Engulfing Pantglass Junior School and a number of houses 144 people were killed, 116 of whom were children.


‘J. Eurof Martin Collection’


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


Golwg ar y Casgliadau Diwydiant – Ebrill 2015

Mark Etheridge, 28 Ebrill 2015

Mae nifer o eitemau diddorol wedi cyrraedd y casgliadau diwydiant a thrafnidiaeth eto’r mis hwn. Yn y ffotograff isod, a dynnwyd ar 22 Gorffennaf 1926, gwelwn griw o 29 chwarelwr llechi. Mae’r lleoliad yn anhysbys ond mwy na thebyg taw yn chwarel Dinorwig neu’r Penrhyn y tynnwyd y llun. Os allwch chi helpu i leoli’r ffotograff, neu’n adnabod rhywrai o’r dynion, cysylltwch â ni.



Dyluniwyd a chynhyrchwyd y tri darn cerameg yma gan yr artist George Thompson, crochenydd yn byw yn Amlwch, Ynys Môn. Mwynfeydd copr mynydd Paris yw’r ysbrydoliaeth.


Plac cerameg gyda slip ocr coch a gwydriad copr.


Pot cerameg a stand mewn clai crank pinc gyda gwydriad graffit a copr.



Powlen gerameg gyda slip graffit, ocr coch ac ocr oren.

Yn y ffotograff isod gwelwn weddillion tŷ injan troslath a simdde ym mwynglawdd copr Parys, Ynys Môn, 1964. 


Gwnaed y model hwn o fwynglawdd copr mynydd Parys oddeutu 1967, ac mae bellach yn rhan o gasgliadau Amgueddfa Cymru.



Mae’r fedal hon yn coffau torri’r dywarchen gyntaf yn Noc y Brenin, Abertawe. Ar 20 Gorffennaf 1904 cyrhaeddodd y cwch pleser Brenhinol, Victoria & Albert, Fae Abertawe. Wedi cyrraedd Doc Tywysog Cymru, esgynnodd y Brenin Edward VII a’r Frenhines Alexandre a dewiswyd yr enw Doc y Brenin er anrhydedd iddo. Wedi’r seremoni, teithiodd y Brenin na’r Frenhines drwy strydoedd Abertawe mewn cerbyd agored. Agorwyd y Doc yn swyddogol ar 20 Tachwedd 1909, ac mae’n dal i gael ei ddefnyddio heddiw. Yn 72 erw i gyd, dyma brif ddoc Harbwr Abertawe.


Ffotograff yn dangos tagfa longau (hwyliau a stêm) yn Noc y Brenin, oddeutu 1910. Trafferthion traffig yn y dyddiau cynnar.


Golygfa arall o Ddoc y Brenin. Tynnwyd y llun gan y ffotograffydd  John Eurof Martin ac mae’n dyddi o ganol yr 20fed Ganrif.



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