Monthly Archives: October 2014

Ribbon of Fire: how US strip mill technology came to Wales, 30 October …

Scientists, Science and Society Seminar

Thursday 30th October 6.45 for 7.00pm
Robert Recorde Room, Faraday Building

Ribbon of Fire: how US strip mill technology came to Wales

Jonathan Aylen

Manchester Institute of Innovation Research, University of Manchester

The American continuous wide strip mill halved the cost of steel sheets after 1926. This large scale technology was rapidly adopted in the USA to supply a growing market for autobodies, canstock and consumer goods.

After much controversy, Welsh steelmakers built these new mills in the 1930’s under pressure from customers and American technical partners. Once Richard Thomas had bought their Ebbw Vale mill in 1936, Summers at Shotton were tipped into ordering their wide hot strip mill from a rival American supplier.

The lecture is based on US and European archive sources considers the personalities, the technical choices, the construction and the impact of these radical schemes on Wales. Marshall Aid funded a third strip mill at Port Talbot after the war, but a fourth private sector mill at Cardiff was abandoned once Llanwern got under way. The paper ends with a reminder of the fiftieth anniversary of direct computer control of the Llanwern wide hot strip mill in 1964.

Speaker: Jonathan Aylen is a joint editor and author of Ribbon of Fire: How Europe adopted and developed US strip mill technology (1920-2000) published by Pendragon in Bologna in 2012. He has done extensive research on the origins of the wide hot strip mill in the USA. Jonathan is Chair of the North-West Branch of the Newcomen Society based in Manchester.

For further information contact:

Explore your Archive, 12 November …

Explore your archive, discover something new at the Royal Commission’s Archive, 12 November 2014

Morning Programme
10:00 Collections of the National Monuments Record of Wales. A talk by Gareth Edwards, Head of Archives
10.30 & 11.00 Visit the archives – a look behind the scenes
11:30 What Can Aerial Photographs Do For You? A talk by Medwyn Parry


Afternoon Programme
14:00 Collections of the National Monuments Record of Wales. A talk by Gareth Edwards, Head of Archives
14:30 & 15:00 Visit the archives – a look behind the scenes
15:30 What Can Aerial Photographs Do For You? A talk by Medwyn Parry


Events and demonstrations throughout the day:
• Material from the archive: maps, drawings, photographs and more!
• Coflein: an introduction to our online database
• Introduction to the new Welsh Chapels website

Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales
Crown Building, Plas Crug, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion SY23 1NJ.
Tel: 01970 621200


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Gower Landscape Project …

The Gower Project leaflet contains details about two special drop sessions set by Glamorgan Gwent Archaeological Trust to give information about how to join in their new volunteer programme on Gower. It is a great opportunity to learn about the vast and diverse heritage of this wonderful peninsula. Everyone is welcome; there will be professional archaeologist to chat to also. The dates and locations are:

Reynoldston Village Hall – Monday 3rd November 12:30 am to 5:30 pm

Penclawdd Community Centre- Thursday 6th November 6:00pm – 9:00pm

Bec O’Dowd
Gower Landscape Project Officer
Saving Gower – For All Its Worth
01792 390275




The Gower Landscape Project has received funding through the Rural Development Plan for Wales 2007-2013, which is funded by the Welsh Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, and also from the Heritage Lottery Fund under its Landscape Partnership programme. Other funding partners include the City & County of Swansea , Natural Resources Wales and The National Trust.

Local History . . . Live! 18 October …

Saturday 18 October 2014 is Local History . . . Live! day at the Waterfront Museum, organised by the Swansea Branch of the Historical Association. There will be lots of stands and activities all day. Bring an object for the 60 Second Show and Tell at 2pm!

Some of the groups are appearing are Bryngold Books, Clydach Heritage Centre, Clydach Historical Society, Connected Communities, Glamorgan Family History, Historical Association, Inland Waterways Association South Wales, Llansamlet Historical Association, People’s Collection Wales, Richard Burton Archive, Skewen Historical Association, Swansea Canal Society, Swansea Railway Modellers Society (a fabulous model-in-progress of the South Dock), Treboeth History, West Glamorgan Archives, and the Friends of White Rock.

With the Waterwheel Singers, Crane Drivin’ Music, storytelling, and children’s window painting it will be a great day.


Stalin, Hitler & Mr Jones, Saturday 18 October …

A free public talk by Arnold Rosen, with a film show and exhibition of letters about Gareth Jones. Introduced by Trevor Fishlock. Gareth Jones film, talk and exhibition.

Gareth Jones, journalist and foreign affairs advisor to Lloyd-George in 1930, exposed in his writings a famished Russia.

National Waterfront Museum, Saturday 18 October.

11.00am-12.30pm:   film.
2.15pm-3.30pm:       talk and discussion.

Ordinary beauty – Edwin Smith’s striking photographs …

With Sir John Betjeman and Cecil Beaton among his fans – photographer Edwin Smith managed, in the 1950s and 60s, to capture subtle layers of light and texture in scenes of everyday life.

He died in 1971 at the age of 59.

Many of his atmospheric images are now on show at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London, which hosts Edwin Smith’s archive of 60,000 negatives. Take a look at their ordinary beauty with co-curator Justine Sambrook.



Coflein wants your views, 14 October …

Lecture and workshops at the Royal Commission, 14 October

On Tuesday, 14 October, 2014 the Royal Commission is inviting visitors to an afternoon of lectures, discussion and active engagement in evaluating Coflein, the Royal Commission’s online database.

Coflein provides online access to the National Monuments Record of Wales ─ the national historic environment database, catalogue and digital archive.

Beginning with a welcome and introduction to Coflein by David Thomas, Head of Data and Technology, the afternoon will progress with workshops where everyone will have the opportunity to discuss the Royal Commission’s database of sites and collections, raise  queries, discuss problems they have encountered, and suggest future developments. If you are interested in archaeology and the historic environment, local history, aerial photography, the history of houses and religious buildings, maritime history and shipwrecks, there will be sources relevant for you on Coflein.

There will be two workshop sessions. The first will run from 2pm ─3.30pm and the second from 4pm─5.30pm. Light refreshments will be provided. For further information and booking, please contact Nicola Roberts: Telephone: 01970 621248.

Everyone welcome, from novices to experts. Come along, discover more and gives us your views!

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DVLA Technology – Past, Present & Future, 16 October …

College of Science, Swansea University

Distinguished Lectures in Computer Science

DVLA Technology – Past, Present & Future

in the context of wider Government “Digital Transformation” 

Mark Evans

Chief Architect, Technology and Innovation, DVLA

4:00pm, Thursday 16th October 2014

Robert Recorde Room, Faraday Building (Level 2)

 Organised in collaboration with Software Alliance Wales

The DVLA, based in Swansea, is regarded as a trusted organisation with a strong brand and levels of customer satisfaction are very high.  It introduced electronic vehicle licensing and Driver Licensing Online 10 years ago. The EVL (Electronic Vehicle Licensing) service is held up as a model among government digital services for its simplicity.

Information Technology is absolutely critical to the day to day operation of the DVLA. The current ICT estate has grown organically over the last few decades and has become massively complex and is a blocker to innovation.

The expectation of the UK Government’s “Digital by default” agenda has lead to the DVLA taking a fundamentally different approach to the design of its ICT and the way in which it delivers its ICT services.

Central to this is the development of “Digital capability” within the DVLA and local supply base.

The talk will cover:

  • The history and evolution of the DVLA ICT estate
  • Where we are today?
  • What we mean by “Digital”
  • How we are having to adapt to become “Digital by Default”
  • Technology architecture
  • Capability and ways of working
  • The commercial landscape
  • Fostering “Digital Talent” in South Wales

Speaker’s Biography:

Mark Evans is the Chief Architect at the DVLA where has worked for the last few years on transforming the IT estate to meet the demands of the digital agenda.

Prior to this he has held a number of senior technology management roles across a number of different sectors and organisations.


This continues a series of Distinguished Lectures in Computer Science at Swansea University. The event is free and open to all (registration is not required). The lecture will be followed by a reception.

For further information, contact Professor Peter Mosses, coordinator of the Swansea University Distinguished Lectures in Computer Science ( Details of all the lectures in this series are available online at

First World War Study Day – 22 October …

First World War Study Day will be held at the National Waterfront Museum on Wednesday 22 October.

Payment (includes lunch and refreshments): Full fee = £45; Unwaged, students, over-65s = £30

Please send a cheque (made payable to ‘Premier History Services Ltd’) by Friday 17 October at the latest to First World War Study Day, c/o 2, Fernhill Close, Blackpill, Swansea, SA3 5BX.