Dennis, Beryl, Mel and Gwyn enjoyed a day representing Penmaenmawr Museum at the National Eisteddfod in Llanrwst yesterday. They went round the Maes telling who they could about the Museum and Dennis gave a talk about our Heritage Fund refurbishment in the CCBC tent.
On Saturday we had a fascinating walk taking in two old Penmaenmawr farms that have diversified into caravan and camping sites; Tyddyn Du & Trwyn yr Wylfa.
Ron Watson-Jones gave us a guided tour of his ancestral home, Tyddyn Du farm, illuminating its farming history and its caravan touring park present.
Ron then had to transform from History Ron into Rockin’ Ron to perform at Noddfa’s summer fete. Dennis Roberts took over and lead us around the nearby Trwyn Yr Wylfa farm and told us about its history and we heard about the old gorse mill in its grounds and the mysteriously named ruin, Bryn Pinc.
Thanks very much to Pam Watson-Jones for allowing us into the grounds of Tyddyn Du, to the brilliant Dennis and Ron, to Sionyn for the photos and to everyone who came along despite the drizzle!
Last Wednesday night was one of those landmark evenings in the museum's history; an occasion tinged with sadness but overwhelmingly with admiration, appreciation and respect.
Both Dennis Roberts (Chairperson) and David Bathers (Vice Chairperson) made the difficult decision to retire from their roles with Penmaenmawr Historical Society and Museum after more than 60 years of service collectively.
Dennis has been involved with the Historical Society and Museum since 1973, mainly at its helm. In fact, the organisation wouldn't exist to this day if it wasn't for Dennis. His enthusiasm for collecting stories, articles, photographs and artefacts from the town's past has resulted in a treasured collection that the museum is proud of. Saying thank you doesn't seem enough for safeguarding Penmaenmawr's history as he has done so well. We don't need to tell you that what Dennis doesn't know about Penmaenmawr's history isn't worth knowing!
And David - the mountain man of Pen! David's love of the landscape around Penmaenmawr is infectious, and his passion for disseminating its stories and history has touched all of us. You can be having the worst day and just five minutes with David completely changes your perspective! He's a driving force for embracing change and experimenting with different ideas. That drive was the foundation for the museum's expansion - we have him to thank for the encouragement and perseverance which gave everyone the confidence to move forward with the museum's plans.
All of us who are involved in the museum have learned so much from Dennis and David. You only need to pick up a newspaper article about the history of Pen to find that it was written by Dennis, or scan a QR code somewhere and find that the information was contributed by David. So despite their retirement, the learning from these two amazing historians won't stop, it will always be there in what we read and the legacies that have been created through the publications, the museum displays and the collection. It's impossible to quantify how many people their knowledge has informed and will continue to inform, well beyond our lifetimes.
But it's not all sad news! Two new roles have been created for the Historical Society and Museum's governance which Dennis and David have filled. Dennis is stepping into the new role of President and David is taking up the role of Vice President. They will both remain on the board of Trustees and they will both continue to be involved in the museum and collating Penmaenmawr's history. However, they both want to spend a bit more time enjoying their retirement with their families, and particularly their wives Beryl and Michelle, who have been so patient with all of us phoning and knocking on their doors to ask questions or to ask them to sign things, sometimes when they are in the middle or dinner or wanting to go out! To David's wife Michele and Dennis' wife Beryl, thank you so much.
And of course, this change in governance leads us to two new people who were elected at the AGM to steer the museum into the future with the Trustee team. Shirley Cox has taken the role of Chairperson, and Roger Hammer as Vice Chairperson. Both of them have worked tirelessly for the museum over the last few years and we congratulate them in taking up their new roles.
Thank you to all of our supporters and to those of you who came along to the AGM and talk. There are some exciting changes ahead and we can't wait to open this year and show you what has been happening with the refurbishment and the new displays. We aim to open in July but we haven't set a definitive date yet because we want to make sure everything is in place before opening the doors. Watch this space!
Thank you all very much, and to David and Dennis - happy retirement (but I'll be phoning you tomorrow to pick your brains ;) )
Penmaenmawr Museum is seeking a suitably experienced company to develop, design and fit-out our new exhibition gallery.
If you would like to tender for this exciting opportunity, please download the tender documents below. Deadline: 22nd February.
700 volunteer hours, 22 new policies, 2 plans and over 1000 pieces of paper later…
Penmaenmawr Museum is an ‘Accredited Museum’!
Penmaenmawr Museum is delighted to announce that today we were awarded formal Accreditation Status for meeting nationally agreed standards.
The Accreditation Scheme requires that the Museum reaches certain benchmarks in collections care and in visitor experience and access. The scheme, which is regarded as one of the most innovative and effective developments in the museum sector, is administered by Arts Council England in partnership with MALD: Museum, Archives, Libraries Wales.
Achieving Accreditation Status means that Penmaenmawr Museum can apply for a wider range of funding and it allows us to apply to borrow artefacts and items from other Accredited Museums around the country when we are doing special exhibitions.
This latest bit of good news aligns with the museum’s Heritage Lottery Fund success, with a planned refurbishment and new displays, a new tea-room and a 3-year programme of activity. The refurbishment starts in January 2019.
Achieving Accredited Status wouldn’t have been possible without the huge amount of work by our volunteers. This achievement was a volunteer group effort, steered by Shirley Cox who is one of the Trustees and oversees the collection on behalf of the museum. Thank you too to Lynn Podmore, Museums Officer for Conwy CBC.
Thank you so much to you all – exciting times ahead!
A few months ago Heather Bonnebaigt, leader of 1st Penmaenmawr Guides, asked if someone from the Museum could come to speak to the group on ‘Women in Penmaenmawr a Hundred Years ago.’
The Museum’s Team for Young People arranged a programme to fit in with the regular weekly meeting at St. Paul’s Methodist Church. Serendipitously, a hundred years ago, November 21st, was the day that women were allowed to be Members of Parliament.
Confining the agenda to local women, Dennis Roberts began the session by drawing a cameo of life for women which was drudgery from the age of 14, or even earlier. A life when hardly any home devices had been invented so all housework was sheer physical labour. In contrast privileged young women were free to pursue a kinder life of reading, walking for pleasure , afternoon teas, pretty dresses and the opportunity to do ‘good works’ as they had so much free time. The girls were engrossed in following Dennis’ talk.
Having had a time of listening we all moved upstairs to watch the Time Travel Video of the promenade which Sionyn Jones had set up and Dennis added the commentary.
Downstairs again and now the girls had time to talk as John Good posed thought provoking questions for discussion, debate and fielded the answers. This was a time to consider the future and the part women could be playing.
Following a quick break Anna Tucker took over and engaged the girls in what women might have worn a hundred years ago and what they might have had on their banners. Anna demonstrated how to make a Suffragette [green & purple ribbon] peg doll. They then wrote banners with their own ideas on what they would consider necessary for a more equal society.
This was a kaleidoscope of the life of women a hundred years ago in Penmaenmawr and the wider national efforts for women’s suffrage which the Guides appear to enjoy.
Many thanks to Heather, Dennis, Anna, John, Sionyn and particular thanks to Pippa for organising the whole evening!
Amazing turnout for our first seasonal talk last Wednesday: Pennants of Penrhyn in Jamaica. If you were there, thanks for coming and thanks to Dr Marian Gwyn for providing the talk. The next one is Weds 21st November: 'The Royal Charter Disaster - Moelfre 1859', by Peter Day - full details will be up on Facebook and our website soon.
Members of Penmaenmawr Historical Society & Museum get free access to our autumn/winter talks. Membership is £10 for a year and if you want to join you can now do it online at this link:
or alternatively come along to one of our talks and you can join up on the night.
Last Saturday Penmaenmawr Museum hosted Snowdonia National Park as they held a consultation drop-in for their exciting new Carneddau Project. If you missed it and are interested, there is another consultation days in Bethesda on Oct 18th. See the attached flyer for details. Also attached are a few photos from the day.
Penmaenmawr Museum is pleased to announce that we have been awarded £248,600 from the National Lottery.
The money will be used to re-design and re-fit the Museum’s main gallery with new permanent displays for our collection and space for our annual themed exhibitions. We will also be developing a Post-Office themed tea-room and a retail area to sell books, publications and products by local artisans. The project will include bilingual and sign-language interpretation, interactive displays, themed exhibitions, walking tours, annual lecture programmes and a new offer for visitors to the town who want to find out more about places to visit, placenames and Welsh-language pronunciation.
“This project has been three years in development and we are very excited about the National Lottery grant. The Museum re-located to the Old Post Office last year, with assistance from Conwy County Borough Council. It was a big step for us and we wanted to seize the opportunity to do what we had always wanted to do – tell Penmaenmawr’s stories and highlight the town’s rich and varied history in the best way possible, for everyone. This grant will enable us to do that. We are so grateful to the community of Penmaenmawr, Conwy Council, Penmaenmawr Town Council and all the people and organisations who supported us to secure this funding.”
(Dennis Roberts, Chairperson)
Penmaenmawr Museum’s success coincides with National Lottery funding secured for Conwy Culture Centre and Llandudno Museum. The three projects will work closely together over the next few years, towards what is being hailed as a ‘heritage renaissance’ for the county.
Penmaenmawr Museum’s project will start in August 2018. There will be a period of closure whilst the refurbishment of the Museum is taking place, with plans to re-open with a public launch in Spring 2019. In the meantime, the Museum will continue its work through pop-up displays in Penmaenmawr, walks, lectures and special events.
A full breakdown of Penmaenmawr Museum’s National Lottery funding and how it will be spent to fulfill the obligations in our funding bid can be viewed here or by clicking the 'PENMAENMAWR MUSEUM new project overview' image above (opens in a new window). You can also visit the website for updates about the project during the refurbishment period and we will be posting regular social media updates.
Thank you for your support.
There are an extraordinary number of non-conformist chapel and church buildings in Penmaenmawr - made all the more extraordinary by the fact that they were built mostly with money raised from working families. In the mile and a half or so between the Old Mountain View Hotel in Pantyrafon and Crimea Terrace in Penmaenan there is Eglwys y Berth (formerly Jerusalem), English Congs, Tabernacl, St Paul's, Moriah (aka Capel Split), Seion, Ebeneser, Maenan, Salem and the pre-cursor to Ebeneser on Chapel Street. And also a splash of Anglican conformity with St David's church.
Here are some photos from last Saturday's fascinating Road to Non-Conformity guided walk. Thanks to Dennis for leading the way, to Calum for allowing access to Eglwys y Berth and Tabernacl, to Sionyn for the photos and to all our volunteers for helping run the day.
Details of our next walk will be up on Facebook and our website soon.
Penmaenmawr and Conwy are the real places fictionalized in this unconventional novel as the places between which its background lies. In the course of a walk which is at once a walk in a landscape, in the past, and in the maze of thought about some traditional perplexities, the protagonist’s reflections and the conversational self-portraits of his friends are interspersed with passages about the region’s history, natural history, and natural features.
One Sprinkling Day by Peter Jordan can be bought here on Amazon (external link):
Below is an excerpt from chapter 8 of the book:
Without Paul’s ceasing to listen to him as, on his front doorstep, at the end of the first stone terrace under the mountain, that other August afternoon, Mr Roberts had explained how the granite was brought down from the rock-face to the sea (in wagon-loads from quarry-floor to crushing-mill, by chute and conveyor to the great storage-hoppers, by wagon again and steep inclines to the loading-quay, from which the small service-hopper supplied road, railway and pier), it was the stone-age quarry that Paul had seemed to see above them then, with its chipping-floors where Mr Roberts’s forebears (men from the high hut-circles whose cooking-mounds—crescents of fire-cracked stones—were still visible a stone’s throw from the modern workings) had fashioned picks and axes, querns and spindles, from rough blocks among the scree.
In January 1943, three-year-old twins, Jacqueline & Neil Coleby, went missing whilst playing in the garden of their cottage in Capelulo.
Sadly, despite one of the largest searches in British history, the children were found dead from exposure five days later on a mountain track beneath Tal y Fan. They had wandered off from their garden and ended up 3 miles from home.
Last Friday evening at Penmaenmawr Community Centre Anne Forrest and David Jones, a local search and rescue dog trainer, gave a talk about this extraordinarily sad story including how it was reported locally and nationally and how mountain search and rescue techniques have dramatically improved since then.
Amongst the large audience for the very moving talk were relatives of the Coleby twins including their younger brother Peter. Many thanks to the Coleby family for allowing the story to be told and to Anne Forrest, David Jones and Dennis Roberts for putting the evening together.
You can read more about the story here on the BBC website (external link);
The Home Front Museum, Llandudno alongside Penmaenmawr Museum have been raising to money to either refurbish or replace the memorial at the site of the 1944 Bachelor's Baby air crash on Moelfre hill above Penmaenmawr.
Five American airmen and their mascot, a terrier called Booster, were killed when their B-24 Liberator bomber crashed on 7th January 1944. A slate memorial was erected in 1980 but has become worn and difficult to read over years and so it has been removed from the mountain for inspection by a local stone mason. An online appeal has raised over £600 and it is hoped to have the memorial re-instated in time for the 75th anniversary of the crash in January 2019.
We were visited at the museum a couple of weeks ago by two men from Manchester, Cliff and David, who came to Pen in 1965. Whilst here David took many photos of the Braich Llwyd part of the quarry and has kindly let us copy them and show them so here are a selection. Many thanks to David!!
All photos by David Holt.
Penmaenmawr Museum's 'Churches, Chapels and Champions' walk took place in glorious sunshine yesterday. We visited St Seiriol's Church, the former Pen y Cae Methodist Chapel (now empty Catholic Church), Noddfa (formerly called Tan y Foel), Trwyn y Wylfa (looks like a chapel but isn't), Horeb Chapel and St Gwynin's Church. We also learned about Murray Gladstone (and his possibly mysterious death on Pen beach), Owen Owen, William Jones of Trwyn y Wylfa, Andrew George Kurtz (who donated the land on which the Dingle stands to the people of Pen) and many more besides.
Many thanks to Dennis and Dave for organising and guiding the walk, to Ruth for opening St Gwynin's for us, to Sionyn for the photos, to our volunteers for chaperoning and making tea afterwards and to everyone who came along!!
Penmaenmawr Museum is hosting an exhibition entitled The Heat of the Battle about the Royal Welsh Fusiliers in Egypt and Palestine during the First World War. The exhibition was created by Wrexham Museum and has been on a national tour.
The fighting in Egypt and Palestine was seen as a sideshow by many during the First World War. The front barely features in the popular memory except as a backdrop to David Lean’s famous film, Lawrence of Arabia. However, it was the second most important theatre of operations for Britain after the Western Front.
Five battalions of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers fought across the deserts of the Sinai Peninsula and the Negev, and battled through the rugged hills and valleys of Palestine:
1/5th (Flintshire), 1/6th (Carnarvonshire & Anglesey), 1/7th (Merionethshire & Montgomeryshire), 24th (Denbighshire Yeomanry) & 25th (Montgomeryshire Yeomanry & Welsh Horse Yeomanry). Two of the campaign’s nine battle honours appear on the regiment’s colours.
The touring exhibition and its associated leaflet were created by Wrexham Museum and have been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Welsh Government and Wrexham County Borough Council. Wrexham Museum would like to acknowldege the support of the Trustees of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers Museum Trust.
The children of Years 3 & 4 from Pencae Primary School really enjoyed a hands on Victorian experience at their very own local museum last week.
Once they had been suitably attired in caps and waistcoats, white bonnets and aprons Dennis Roberts set the scene by drawing them into school and home life in Victorian times, the contrasts and the hardships. Dennis demonstrated the 'dolly' for pummeling washing and a flat iron for smoothing the laundry. A short fast moving DVD of the Penmaenmawr promenade from the 1800s to present day heard them gasping at the changes.
Next Anna Tucker engaged the children in questions about playtime when the chores had been finished. Anna skillfully showed them how to make peg dolls, (much loved judging by the writing on slate), ball in a basket and a thaumatrope – yes, one to look up! The offer to make their own toys was taken up eagerly and if the children were quick they had time to practice writing on slate or playing with several other small toys such as wooden spinning tops, jumping monkey, diabalo and cardboard theatre pushing characters on an off the stage.
At the end John Good asked general questions to close the session and there was no shortage of hands going up to answer.
The children were a delight and thoroughly engaged with Life in Victorian Times building on what they had learnt at school and their visits dovetailed nicely with the school curriculum.
There is much more the museum has to offer especially in the collection but not enough time to show and tell all. We now hope the children's experience of the museum will be familiar enough for them to visit again and again bringing their family with them. Our local museum is accessible and vibrant connecting us to the past here in Penmaenmawr. A local treasure in more ways than one.
Many thanks to Pippa, Anna, Pam, John and Dennis for all their hard work setting up the visits and to the staff and children at Pencae.
Yesterday's 'Ten Roads Across Penmaenmawr' walk was a fascinating guide to our very own barrier to East-West travel, Penmaenmawr Mountain, and the many attempts to cross it. Thanks to Dennis for leading the walk, to all our volunteers for running it, and to everyone who came on the walk despite the Arctic conditions!!
Here are a few pictures from the day and a few old ones showing some of the roads across Penmaenmawr. Thanks to Sionyn and Merv for the photos.
The launch of Hiraeth with the Museum was a tremendous success this morning. Thanks to everyone who came and to everyone who helped organise it, helped run it and to Rockin' Ron for the entertainment. Here are a few photos from the day - great to see the museum so busy!!
2017 has been a year of exciting change at Penmaenmawr Museum, and we not only moved to the former post-office in the centre of town, but we also secured a small amount of stage-one Heritage Lottery funding to develop our plans for the Museum’s future. We’ve been very busy putting together the information for our stage two Lottery bid. If we’re successful, it will mean we can:
• Refurbish the museum with professional displays to showcase our collection about the history of Penmaenmawr
• Open more often and for longer hours
• Offer visitors to Penmaenmawr Welsh language taster sessions and information about places to go and things to see around Penmaenmawr
• Publish a programme of history lectures and book launch events
• Extend our successful history walks programme for residents and visitors
Thank you to all those who have supported us through volunteering, completing questionnaires and being involved in the consultations, sharing your stories, and visiting us at the Museum.
Fingers crossed for our Heritage Lottery bid in 2018 and we’ll keep you posted about the outcome.