Archives for May 2010

Welsh Ryder cup players

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Phil Carradice Phil Carradice | 14:40 UK time, Friday, 28 May 2010

As many people know, this autumn the Ryder Cup - the bi-annual golf competition between Europe and the USA - comes to Wales for the first time when the matches, in what is now the third most watched sporting event in the world, are due to take place at The Celtic Manor in Newport.

The competition owes its origin to a professional golf match held between British and American golfers in 1921 but it took St Albans seed merchant Samuel Ryder to come up with the idea of a cup and a regular series of competitions.

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The witch and the warship

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Phil Carradice Phil Carradice | 08:31 UK time, Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Imagine the scene. The dockyard is full of workmen, women and children; bands are playing and eager spectators and townspeople mingle happily with dignitaries and naval officers. It is July 21 1853, and the 90 gun wooden hulled warship Caesar is about to be launched from the slipways of Pembroke Dockyard.

The appointed hour arrives, speeches are made and, to the accompaniment of loud cheers and encouraging shouts, the new ship begins to slide into the river - and then she sticks, fast. No matter what the dockyard officials and workmen try to do, the Caesar simply refuses to move.

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History highlights on BBC Local websites for Wales

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BBC Wales History BBC Wales History | 14:56 UK time, Friday, 21 May 2010

North West Wales has a article on Llanrwst Almshouses, a 400-year-old building that is now a museum, and at the very centre of celebrations to mark the town's history. On Friday 28 May, there will be performing arts and music events at the museum, and the following day, Saturday 29 May, Llanrwst town centre will be filled with old-fashioned fair rides, side shows and a market. Read about the celebrations.

North East Wales features an photograph of a bottle of Wrexham pilsener lager brewed by the Wrexham Lager Beer Company to mark the centenary of the brewery. It is one of the objects from north west Wales that forms part of A History of the World online collection. Explore the objects.

Mid Wales has a article on a special summer exhibition at the Newtown Textile Museum which has gathered its collection of postcards and photos of floods and flood defences in the town. Find out more about the exhibition.

South East Wales features an archive clip of Vincent Kane having a fun-packed day in July 1970. Vincent Kane recalls his fear at having to take a ride on the big dipper at Coney Beach in Porthcawl. Watch the archive clip.

South West Wales also features objects from the online collection created for A History of the World. An amputation kit for injured coalminers, and a Roman alter stone from a fort called Leucarum feature in the gallery. Explore the south west Wales objects.

Britannia Bridge Blaze, 23 May 1970

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James Roberts James Roberts | 11:27 UK time, Friday, 21 May 2010

This Sunday marks the 40th anniversary of an inferno that destroyed one of Wales' most historic landmarks, and at the same time left Anglesey all but cut off from the rest of Wales.

Until the fateful night of the 23 May 1970, Robert Stephenson's Britannia Bridge had stood solid, spanning the perilous Menai Straits with its innovative tubular steel construction for some 120 years. Sitting alongside Thomas Telford's pioneering Menai Suspension Bridge, Stephenson's tubular steel construction carried the rail link to Anglesey. It was a vital economic and social lifeline.

Britannia Bridge, Menai Straits Photograph of Britannia Bridge, Menai Straits, taken from Church Island by Ian Yule.

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Amelia Earhart flies the Atlantic

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Phil Carradice Phil Carradice | 15:39 UK time, Thursday, 20 May 2010

Just after noon on 18 June 1928, inhabitants of the coastal town of Burry Port in Carmarthenshire caught the heavy drone of aircraft engines. Looking skywards they were soon able to pick out the graceful lines of a small orange aeroplane, making its way along the coast from the direction of Tenby and the far west.

The aircraft, soon identified as the seaplane Friendship, was flying low across the water. She circled the Loughor estuary and just after 12.40pm touched down on the choppy waters at Burry Port. Inside the aeroplane was Miss Amelia Earhart and by landing at this small south Wales port she had became the first woman ever to fly across the Atlantic ocean.

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The Welsh nightingale

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Phil Carradice Phil Carradice | 14:07 UK time, Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Everybody has heard about Florence Nightingale, the Lady with the Lamp. A woman of undoubted power and drive, she certainly deserves to be remembered as the founder of modern nursing.

Many will have heard about Mary Seacole, the black nurse who was turned down for inclusion in Nightingale's party because of issues like race, class and education - it didn't stop her, she went to the Crimea where she worked as tirelessly as Florence Nightingale to help Britain's wounded soldiers.

But only very few will have heard of Betsi Cadwaladr, the remarkable Welsh woman who also worked with Nightingale in the Crimea. Born at Bala on May 24 1789, she was one of 16 children, taking charge of the family and effectively bringing up the other children after her mother died.

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Cambrian Colliery disaster, Clydach Vale, 1965

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James Roberts James Roberts | 16:10 UK time, Friday, 14 May 2010

Monday 17 May marked the 45th anniversary to the day of one of Wales' most tragic coal mining disasters in recent memory. As miners at Cambrian Colliery, Clydach Vale near Tonypandy, neared the end of the morning shift, an explosion ripped through the P26 district.

Located near Tonypandy and Blaenclydach, with 800 men employed at the colliery, Cambrian Colliery was in many ways the epitome of the south Wales valley's industrial scenery. Scattered villages, collieries dotted among the hillside and close-knit communities were bound by family, coal and militancy.

In just a few seconds, 31 local men lay dead and 15 injured.

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Where did that come from?

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Phil Carradice Phil Carradice | 12:16 UK time, Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Have you ever wondered where some of the words, phrases or sayings that we now use actually originated?

For example, many of us often light bonfires in our gardens. But where did the word come from? In the Middle Ages it was quite normal to dig up people's bones after 30 or 40 years in order to make room in the churchyard. Initially, the bones were put in a charnel house and when this became full they were burned on a "bonefire." The word has, over the years, been shortened to bonfire.

Ordinary Welsh people were never able to taste delicacies such as rabbit

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Welsh one-hit-wonders

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BBC Wales History BBC Wales History | 12:16 UK time, Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Phil Carradice has written a fascinating article on Welsh one-hit-wonders for the BBC Wales Music site. From Ricky Valence's death ballad Tell Laura I Love Her,  to Tammy Jones' cracking version of Let Me Try Again, find out about these temporary chart toppers on BBC Wales Music. Read the article.

History highlights on BBC Local websites for Wales

North West Wales has a feature on Gil Kennedy who had always kept quiet about his wartime experiences, but a chance find has inspired a children's book based on his story. Read the story.

North East Wales reports on the town Shotton which has a history of military bravery with three servicemen receiving Victoria crosses. Read the story.

Mid Wales has the final instalment of the final instalment of Grafton Maggs' memories of Major Humphrey Lloyd-Jones of the Parachute Regiment. Read the story.

South East Wales has a feature on the Antiques Roadshow which is coming to St Fagans National History Museum in Cardiff on June 10. Read the story.

South West Wales' gallery of photographs of historic buildings continues to grow. Take a look at the gallery.

The Battle of St Fagans

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Phil Carradice Phil Carradice | 12:37 UK time, Thursday, 6 May 2010

On Monday 8 May 1648, at the village of St Fagans to the west of Cardiff, over 10,000 men clashed in a life or death contest that was, quite probably, the largest battle ever to take place on Welsh soil.

It was one of the final acts in the long running English Civil War, a conflict that eventually saw King Charles 1st executed and a republican Commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell established in Britain.

The Battle of St Fagans was, from the beginning, an uneven contest. By 1647 it seemed as if the Civil War had come to an end but rows and disputes over unpaid wages, as well as Parliament's demand that the various generals should now stand down their armies, meant that a new conflict was inevitable.

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Welsh islands

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Phil Carradice Phil Carradice | 09:10 UK time, Tuesday, 4 May 2010

It is hard to believe but there are somewhere in the region of 100 islands or islets around the coast of Wales. These range from substantial landmasses such as Ynys Mon to tiny and little known places like the St Tudwal's Islands off Abersoch on the Llyn Peninsula. And most of them have fascinating histories.

Sully Island is a low hump in the Bristol Channel between Penarth and Barry. There is a prehistoric fort on the island and in the 18th century this was home to several bands of smugglers.

These days you can walk out to the island at low water but you need to be careful. When the tide turns the sea comes racing in over the causeway. Visitors are often cut off by the tide and people have been drowned trying to get back.

Bardsey Island
Bardsey Island

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