Check out this post by We Are Cardiff


“Cardiff owes a debt to its industrial history” by We Are Cardiff


#ONTHISDAYINWALES in 1791 William Williams Pantycelyn passed away

William Williams Pantycelyn

Arglwydd, arwain trwy’r anialwch, 
Fi, bererin gwael ei wedd,
Nad oes ynof nerth na bywyd
Fel yn gorwedd yn y bedd:
Hollalluog, Hollalluog,
Ydyw’r Un a’m cwyd i’r lan.
Ydyw’r Un a’m cwyd i’r lan.

William Williams Pantycelyn. Methodist cleric. Author. Hymn-writer. And one of Wales’s greatest religious figures. He played an integral part in the Welsh Methodist Revival of the 18th century, and is best known today for writing the favourite hymn of Welsh rugby supporters, Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah. Or Bread of Heaven as it’s commonly known. The above words are the original words of the hymn he wrote, entitled Arglwyddarwain trwy’r anialwch.

Phil Carradice’s BBC history blog chronicles Pantycelyn’s life and the rise of the Calvinistic Methodists, from its beginnings as a Church of England movement to its break from that institution in 1811. This BBC Wales’s page on religion in Wales provides an insight into the first wave of great hymn-writers and preachers in the eighteenth century.

In his closing paragraph, Carradice offers a subtle, yet moving tribute to the man from Carmarthenshire who influenced so greatly Welsh Christianity.

“William Williams, Pantycelyn, died on 11 January 1791 and was buried in the churchyard at Llanfair-ar-y-bryn, just outside Llandovery. He remains one of the great figures of Welsh religion – indeed, one of the great figures of Welsh social history. Every year, when the Welsh rugby fans bawl out Bread Of Heaven, they are paying tribute to a remarkable and fascinating man.”

#ONTHISDAYINWALES in 1983 Llanelli and Lions great Carwyn James passed away

Guto Owen runs a blog looking forward to the Lions tour to Australia in 2013. And today he’s written a post on one of the true enigmas of world rugby. Carwyn James. Enjoy.

Mae Guto Owen yn rhedeg blog yn edrych ymlaen at daith y Llewod i Awstralia yn 2013. Heddiw mae wedi ysgrifennu darn ar un o gewri y byd rygbi. Carwyn James. Mwynhewch.

Lion Coach

Lions Coach in 1971

Carwyn Rees James. 2/11/1929 – 10/1/1983

The Wales Archive from the Western Mail

  1. The Western Mail is publishing a series of pullouts every day featuring some of the most fascinating pictures from its archives on life in Wales.
    First of all it was the turn of shopping in Wales and how that’s changed during the last century.
  2. The Wales Archive: Part 1 – A look back at shopping in Wales – Need to Read – News from @walesonline…
  3. Then it was the turn of transport
  4. The Wales Archive: Part 2 – Transport in Wales through the ages – Need to Read – News from @walesonline…
  5. Politicians.
  6. The Wales Archive: Part 3 – Politicians who made their mark on Wales – Need to Read – News from @walesonline…
  7. Emergency services.
  8. The Wales Archive: Part 4 – 999 – The emergency services – Need to Read – News from @walesonline…
  9. Musicians.
  10. The Wales Archive: Part 5 – The superstar musicians who played Wales – Need to Read – News from @walesonline…
  11. Football managers.
  12. The Wales Archive: Part 6 – Football managers through the years – Need to Read – News from @walesonline…
  13. You can buy any of the photos by clicking here.
    Louvain Rees is a history blogger from Bridgend who focuses on the Glamorgan area of South Wales who is constantly uploading photos of her locality to the Facebook page Remembering Bridgend. Her blog HelloHistoria also contains many photographs of Welsh life.
    Do you have any images of Welsh life? Share them with us by commenting below or visiting our Facebook page here.

#ONTHISDAYINWALES in 1873 Chris Williams was born

On this day in Wales in 1873 Christopher Williams, one of the leading figures in Welsh art during his career was born in Maesteg. A prominent portrait artist he completed a number of high profile commissions. He is best known for his imposing classical subjects, including Deffroad Cymru (The Awakening of Wales) and his large scale classical interpretations of the Mabinogion.

Schooled in Neath at the Llynfi Ironworks School his talent was first recognised by artist F J Kerr. In 1893 he won a scholarship to the prestigious Royal College of Art and from there he attended the oldest art school in Britain, the Royal Academy Schools.

Williams was offered commission after commission. In 1911 he painted The Investiture of Edward, Prince of Wales at Caernarfon Castle and later three portraits of former Welsh Prime Minister David Lloyd George. He was also commissioned by Lloyd George to paint The Charge of the Welsh Division at Mametz Wood.

He was a portraitist as well as a landscapist. Richard Lloyd, Sir John Rhys, John Parry Jones and Richard Lloyd all sat for him. Examples of his landscapes include Storm over Cader Idris and Sunset in the Welsh Hills. The Red Dress is held at the National Museum Wales and Holidays – Village Girls at Llangrannog at the National Library of Wales. His landscape painting took him all over the world including Switzerland, Holland and Morocco.

Some of his most striking work came in the form of three paintings inspired by three scenes from the Mabinogion. They include Ceridwen (1910) and Branwen which are in the collection of the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery in Swansea (1915) and Blodeuwedd (1930) which you can see at the Newport Museum and Art Gallery.

On 7 July last year the Christopher Williams exhibition at the National Library of Wales opened. In his NLW Blog, Siôn Jobbins writes that one of Williams’ paintings is perhaps more familiar than any other. Deffroad Cymru is a painting of a beautiful woman rising, phoenix-like from darkness into light, a metaphor for the rise in Welsh national consciousness. You can read about the process of putting the exhibition together here.

Former MP Kim Howells officially opened the exhibition on 14 July last year and also presented the 2011 BBC Wales series Framing Wales, which featured Williams and his works. Watch this clip from the series, in which he talks to Robert Meyrick, head of Aberystwyth School of Art, about the artist.

Follow the link to watch the video

Follow the link to watch the video

Click on the links to view the paintings or visit the BBC Arts site Your Paintings (the subject of another Discover the Past post) to view over 100 of his paintings.

Cardiff and the Blitz

January 2nd 1941. Cardiff. 6.37pm. The dull sound of an air-aid siren echoes across the city.

When the all clear came 10 hours later, 150 people lay dead, with a further 427 injured and nearly 350 homes demolished. The Luftwaffe had done their worst. 71 years on it is still remembered.

Click on this image to view the BBC video

Click on this image to view the BBC video

Last year BBC Wales ran a series of stories commemorating the events not only of that one fateful night, but of all the air attacks on Cardiff during the Second World War. In nearly four years 355 people were killed as more than 2,100 bombs caused havoc.

No part of the city escaped unscathed with Grangetown, Riverside, Llandaf, Cathays and Roath all badly affected. You can see the devastation in these pictures.

BBC News correspondent Steve Duffy spoke to three men who survived the ordeal. John Williams aged 14, Ken Lloyd aged 12 and Trevor Tucker who was 6 tell their account of the night of the 2nd. Read their stories here.

Keith Matheson was 13 years old on that night. He remembers being taken by his father to the air raid raid shelter at 73 Wyndham Street, Riverside.

“Bombs continued to fall and later my father had just popped down into the shelter to check on us when we heard a flapping sound and then a dull thud. “Sounds like a dud,” said my father. Immediately after, there was a massive explosion – it was a land mine which had landed yards from our shelter.”

Click here to read his full account.

Click on the image to hear the accounts of three men who lived the Cardiff Blitz

Click on the image to hear the accounts of three men who lived the Cardiff Blitz

World War II TodayThe story of Leonard Attwell, a schoolboy in the city at the time is told  by BBC People’s War and is re-told by World War II Today.

“I remember vividly the night in January 1941 when Cardiff was bombed. I lived in Jubilee Street, Grangetown, which was adjacent to the Canton Loco Sheds the target sought by the bombers. It was the early hours of January 3rd (my brother’s birthday) that bombs and Landmines rained down on us. I was eight years old.”

World War II Today lets you follow the war as it happened seventy years ago. It has a post for virtually everyday of the War and focuses on individual incidents and experiences of those who lived it.

“We were in the Anderson Shelter which my father had built half submerged in the back garden, with several feet of soil over the top. He had also built bunks in the shelter and fitted a sand-bag shielded door to the front of the shelter. It was a bitterly cold January night that my mother, father, brother and I huddled together in the shelter. Just thinking of that night brings back the whistle of the bombs falling and the terrible explosions that followed.”

But Cardiff wasn’t the only place in Wales to be bombed from above.

Air Raid Casualties in Wales

Air Raid Casualties in Wales

Over a 1,000 people lost their lives across Wales. Newport, Pembrokeshire and Flintshire among others were all targeted, with Swansea bearing the brunt of the attacks. In the last episode of the series, the BBC’s Story of Wales traced the history of the Swansea Blitz.

Click on the image to view the clip

Click on the image to view the clip

“This is where I lived during the blitz, 41 Gwynfair Road. It was completely lit up like fairyland with incendiaries and bombs. I’ll never forget it. It’s a thing that somebody would never forget if you experienced it. It was terrible” – Brian Legg.


If you want to discover more about Wales during the Second World War visit the Swansea Bay 1940s Museum.