Archaeological dig in Neath Abbey Ironworks

The Friends of Neath Abbey Iron Company

Community Archaeological Dig

All Welcome– Free of Charge

Monday 22nd April (Easter Bank Holiday Monday) to Friday 26th April 2019. For details and directions e-mail: wernddu@gmail.com

and Facebook: www.facebook.com/FriendsofNeathAbbeyIronCompany/

Did you enjoy Time Team on TV? Here’s a chance to join in a community dig in a place that changed our way of life– it made Wales the first industrial society in the world. If you are free for an hour or so please still come.

The Friends and Glamorgan Gwent Archaeological Trust are organising an archaeological dig in Neath Abbey Ironworks. The excavation will commence on Monday 22nd April (Easter Bank Holiday Monday) at 8.30am and finish at 4.30pm for 5 days. This is the first time that the Ironworks has undergone archaeological investigation. Made possible by European Leader Funding.

 

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Events at Maesmelin Woods

Members will remember the very interesting talk given to us by Clare Dinham from Buglife Cymru about the blue ground beetle project taking place in the local Maesmelin Woods.  Two events have been organised connected with the project.

The first is a Blue Ground Beetle Workshop taking place on Thursday, 4th April from 5.30pm to 10pm at the Carnegie Hall on Evelyn Road.  Spaces are limited – to book telephone  02922405601 or email wales@buglife.org.uk

The second is a Free Guided Walk at Coed Maesmelin on Saturday, 27th April from 10am to 12pm.  To join the walk telephone 02922 405601 or email wales@buglife.org.uk

 

 

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Society awarded grant by the Millennium Stadium Charitable Trust

 

The Society would like to thank the Wales Millennium Trust for its Recent award.

 

 

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Society Talk on April 1st: “Voices & Images of the South Wales Jewish Community”

 

The Society’s next talk – “Voices & Images of the South Wales Jewish Community”  – is being delivered by David Jacobs on Monday 1st April, and is part of the work of the JHASW in preserving and making public the history of the Jewish community in South Wales.  More details are given below about this work and our speaker:-

Jewish History Association of South Wales (JHASW):

 The Jewish History Association of South Wales is a charity, which is collecting, preserving, and making publicly available the historical records and oral histories of the south Wales Jewish community. It is exploring how the Jewish community contributed to the development and growth of south Wales and how the Jews adapted to life in Britain in the 20th century.

We are digitising items of interest and are making them available on the Welsh Government funded People’s Collection Wales website at https://www.peoplescollection.wales/users/31091.

 David Jacobs:

Summary of Jewish Heritage Work:

  • Co-founder of London’s Jewish East End Project 1976 -1980;
  • Founder of Museum of the Jewish East End 1983-2006;
  • Convenor of the Museum’s Family History Workshop 1983-2006;
  • Oral History: Interviewed the remaining Jews living in Merthyr Tydfil in May 1977 and deposited the material with St Fagans National Museum of History;
  • Since 1976, promoted Anglo Jewish heritage work and projects through lectures, workshops, visits and conferences;
  • Since 2017, consultant for the United Synagogue Willesden Cemetery Project;
  • Consultant and member of the Project Advisory Board of the Hineni project 2008 -2014;
  • Consultant to the Auckland Jewish Community on the development of their cemetery 2014/15;
  • Research Fellow at the American Jewish Archives researching historic Synagogue Constitutions, February/March 2015;
  • Chair of Jewish Historical Society of England 2010-2016;
  • Vice President of Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain 1992-2016; since 2016, President;
  • Since 1992, Member, then Chair of the Working Party on Jewish Monuments;
  • Since 2018, Consultant with Jewish History Association of South Wales.

Skills:

  • Oral Historian;
  • Family Historian;
  • Lecturer;
  • Formal and informal educator.

 

 

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Ann Harries receives Community Award from Dyffryn Clydach Community Council

On Monday, 25th February Ann Harries’s superb contribution to the local community was recognised by Dyffryn Clydach Community Council when they granted her their Community Award.  The award recognised Ann’s contribution over the last fifty years to a diverse range of local  societies/groups including the Scouts, Skewen Historical Society, St John’s Church etc. etc. plus her organisation of holidays and days trips.  The presentation was witnessed by members from all the organisations with which Ann is associated.  A well deserved award.

 

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A History of Neath Abbey and Skewen Co-operative Stores 1891 – 1982

A two-part special edition of ‘Hanes’ has been produced by the Society.  It  details the rise and fall of the Co-operative Society’s venture in Skewen and district from 1891 to 1982, illustrated with photographs and reminiscences from local staff and customers. A limited number of copies will be available initially for purchase at a cost of £5.00 for the two-part edition, if you are able to collect from Skewen. Otherwise, there will be a charge of £2.25 for postage and packing.

Should you wish to order your copies, please contact Anne Morgans via the Society’s website email: info@skewenhistoricalsociety.org.uk, leaving your contact details and indicating the number of copies you want.

 

 

 

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The Society needs your help

2020 will mark the 75th  anniversary of the ending of World War 2.  The Society is looking for any material relating to WW2 in Skewen and District for its archive.  Do you have any photographs, documents, letters wartime recipe books etc. that you can allow us to copy and add to our archive.  You may have memories of the war years and would like to recount them to our reminiscence team – we can visit your home to do this if you cannot come to us.

Please do not wait until we have a heritage day to ask for this material – bring it to us now.  You can contact any member of the committee -details on the site.  Do not leave us in the dark as the poster on the left from WW2 shows – we do not want to be sorry that this vital material was lost for ever and for everyone to say oh sorry! while the poster on the right shows the importance of salvage – and we want to salvage Skewen’s WW2 history.

 

 

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Society Social Evening, Christmas, 2018

Mrs. Margaret Owen led the Society members in community Christmas Carol singing this year.

 

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Society takes part in Friends of St. Thomas Christmas Tree Festival

The Society was invited to take part in the Friends of St. Thomas Church, Neath, Christmas Tree Festival.  We chose as our theme, in this the centenary of the ending of World War One,  the 86 men of Coedffranc and Jersey Marine who fell in World War One – a link to the unveiling of the new war memorial outside Carnegie Hall.

The design chosen was a poppy with each man’s name who fell written on it, attached to netting  which was spread over the tree.  St. Thomas then linked to the theme by providing a location for the tree beneath its Roll of Honour.  More poppies were scattered around the tree which was topped with a gold star.

The festival continues until 7th December.

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Update on the Buglife project at Maesmelin Wood

The Society has received an email update on the work of Buglife Cymru at Maesmelin Wood.  The links at the bottom of this post will provide more information.

We are very pleased to today announce the launch of the ‘Blue Ground Beetle Project’ in Wales. Funded by the National Lottery, the ‘Blue Ground Beetle Project’- led by Buglife Cymru and in partnership with The Woodland Trust (Coed Cadw) – will deliver habitat management work at Coed Maesmelin ancient woodland in Skewen, Neath Port Talbot, to improve habitat conditions for the extremely rare and globally threatened Blue ground beetle (Carabus intricatus). We are also pleased to announce its discovery at a second woodland site in Skewen. Please find links below to our press release and the project page for more information.

Rare beetle discovered at second site in Wales

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The Blue ground beetle (Carabus intricatus), a rare and globally threatened beetle, has been discovered at just its second known site in Wales, coinciding with the launch of a new project aimed to protect it and the ancient woodland habitat in which it is found.

Funded by the National Lottery, the ‘Blue Ground Beetle Project’, led by the invertebrate conservation charity Buglife Cymru, and in partnership with The Woodland Trust (Coed Cadw), will deliver habitat management work at Coed Maesmelin ancient woodland in Skewen, Neath Port Talbot, to improve habitat conditions for this extremely rare beetle. Surveys for Blue ground beetle will also been conducted in other suitable woodlands within the vicinity, and it is hoped that these will uncover further populations of this threatened beetle. Growing to over an inch long, the Blue ground beetle is a large and distinctive beetle with metallic blue markings, long legs and sculptured wing-cases. It has always been considered a rarity in Britain, and was once even thought to be extinct – until it was rediscovered in Dartmoor in 1994.

Until recently, the Blue ground beetle was seemingly confined to just handful of UK sites in Devon and Cornwall. In 2012, however, the beetle was discovered in a woodpile of a garage by a member of the public in Skewen. After contacting Buglife, the specimen was confirmed to be the Blue ground beetle and subsequent surveys found it to be present in nearby Coed Maesmelin – an ancient oak woodland owned and managed by The Woodland Trust (Coed Cadw). Until its discovery at Coed Maesmelin, it had never been recorded in Wales.

The discovery of a further site for Blue ground beetle has recently come to light through the keen observations of another Skewen resident who found a dead beetle in his garden. Commenting on this discovery and the new project, Clare Dinham from Buglife Cymru said “The discovery of the Blue ground beetle at just its second known site in Wales is very exciting and raises hopes of finding further populations of this rare beetle in the Neath Port Talbot and surrounding areas. The project also offers many opportunities for members of the public to get involved such as attending walks and talks, volunteer conservation task days and learning how to identify and survey for the Blue ground beetle”.

Chris Matts, The Woodland Trust said “It’s great to see this rare insect holding on in one of our woodlands in South Wales. When we purchased this site in 1998 we secured the site for local people to be able to enjoy one of the relatively ‘untouched’ ancient woodlands within Neath Port Talbot, with the Blue ground beetle now helping to tell the story of why our ancient woodlands are so important and irreplaceable and this project will help us to work with others to conserve other woodlands in the region”.

Richard Bellamy, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales says “Our natural heritage is a most precious resource and National Lottery money has helped to protect an amazing range of landscapes, habitats, and species of plants and animals. HLF is delighted to support the blue ground beetle project and hope that the improved habitat provided by dedicated volunteers will increase the numbers of this rare species within Neath Port Talbot.”

For further information about the project, please visit https://www.buglife.org.uk/blue-ground-beetle-project.

Press release: https://www.buglife.org.uk/news-and-events/news/rare-beetle-discovered-at-second-site-in-wales

BGB Project Page: https://www.buglife.org.uk/blue-ground-beetle-project

 

 

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