Monthly Archives: July 2014

Bees – Action for Verges

Gower Society, 31 July 2014, by ‘Steve’.

No-one can fail to be aware that bee populations have suffered over the last few years. They and other pollinators need our help – without them, ecosystems will not flourish. We can all do our bit by enriching our gardens with plants that provide food and breeding sites for insects.

There is a groundswell of support slowly growing to encourage this on a wider scale. The broadcaster and TV gardener, Alan Titchmarsh, is spearheading a campaign by Plantlife to enhance roadside verges. Its aim is to encourage local authorities to leave verges unmowed over summer, so that the flora can flower, set seed and then distribute its seeds. This would entail mowing only between the months of end August / early September to March.

Allowing the flora to flourish will be of benefit for our essential pollinators and halt the loss of flower populations – which have too often been mowed down in their prime. In some cases, it could be necessary to mow a narrow strip edging the road for road safety reasons (but leaving the majority of the verge untouched). As Alan Titchmarsh has said “We’ve lost 98% of our wild flower meadows, let’s look after the slivers that are left.”

The verge bordering the marsh road adjacent to the Oxwich National Nature Reserve has yellow rattle present, a plant that parasitizes grass and by weakening it, allowing other plants to multiply. There are orchids, clovers, yellow iris – all these would be absent if the owner, the Penrice Estate, had not persuaded the local authority to refrain from mowing. Just imagine what our verges would look like over the county if this practice were to be adopted as council policy. Let us hope that this will be so.

You can read more about Plantlife’s campaign on Buglife has a campaign that embodies 7 principles and 27 action points – all to encourage an increase in pollinators.

We should all be persuading our local authority to sign up to this campaign. City and County of Swansea is moving in the right direction with their wild flower seeding on council land last year and extended this year. Let us all try to do our part to improve our ecosystems for the future. []

John Alban talk 2 August – Belgian Refugees and Swansea’s Belgian Community

Swansea Central Library, Saturday 2 August, 2pm.

As the First World War began, Britain suddenly received the largest movement of refugees in its history as 250,000 French and Belgians arrived fleeing the advancing Germans. Many refugees came to Swansea where they united with a pre-existing community of Belgian metal workers and lived in exile. Dr John Alban, Honorary Senior Lecturer, School of History at the University of East Anglia and former Norfolk County Archivist, explores the role the Belgians played in Swansea, and how they symbolised the conflict which began 100 years ago.


Youth Forum, National Waterfront Museum

We are seeking Youth Forum members for the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea. Are you aged 14-25? Can you help us make our museums more attractive to young people? We are looking for creativity, fresh ideas and most importantly your voice – to speak up and influence decision making.

The role of the Youth Forum members will be to assist with, develop and organise a range of varied activities and events at National Waterfront Museum, Swansea. The focus will be on social history, including topics such as industry, transport and leisure; sustainability, digital media and marketing.


Britain From Above

Britain From Above, a free site, has added many more photos, including the Swansea area. There are shots of Landore and Hafod among other industrial areas, though nothing of White Rock that I have spotted. Some of the photos are not completely catalogued, or are inaccurately catalogued. Register on the site to post corrections.

HA Summer Party, Sketty Hall 13 August

The Historical Association Swansea Branch’s first Summer Party will be held at Sketty Hall on Wednesday 13 August, 5 – 7pm.

Members £10, non-members £15.

Complimentary drink, supper buffet, tea/coffee.

Pay bar, free parking.

Raffle, book and gift stall (bring your donations).

At 6pm Dr Fred Cowley will become the first Fellow of the branch. Dr Cowley is warmly appreciated in Copperopolis – “The work of Dr Fred Cowley … must serve as the foundation for any study of Swansea’s industrial remains.” His interests go beyond industry, to include A Centenary History of Clyne Chapel, Blackpill, Swansea 1907 – 2007 and Llanmadoc and Cheriton: Two North Gower Churches and their Parishes.

Purchase tickets in advance (by 10 August please) from the Chairman John Law, or any committee member.


Local History . . . Live! 2014

Local History . . . Live! 2014 will be held on Saturday 18 October in the National Waterfront Museum.

All organisations with an interest in local history are welcome to exhibit at the free event, the fourth in the increasingly successful LHL! series.

This year, in addition to the many exhibitors, we have a number of other attractions.

  • 60 Second Show and Tell – bring along your mystery objects to baffle the Museum curators!
  • Crane Drivin’ Music – folk music with a Swansea theme.
  • Waterwheel Singers – the Aberdulais Choir.

Participation and entry is free.


Swansea HA’s regular monthly event at 1100 on 18 October is Hitler, Stalin and Gareth Jones, a special screening of the award winning film documenting the tragic short life and mysterious death of Gareth Jones, an investigative journalist for the Western Mail.

‘A dense, powerful, moving film’ The Guardian.

The film will be followed by a talk by Arnold Rosen about the life of Gareth Jones, born in Barry in 1905. Jones was the Foreign Affairs Advisor to Lloyd-George in 1930 whose writings exposed a famished Russia.


Local History . . . Live! 2014 is organised by the Swansea Branch of the Historical Association,