The Welsh radio museum
The Gwefr Heb Wifrau - Wireless in Wales, a charitable trust, is a small radio museum with a difference. With its emphasis on the history of Broadcasting in Wales, the influence of broadcasting on our national identity and the contribution of the Welsh to the development of wireless technology it is unique. We have an interesting collection of old radio equipment and books as well as educational and informative displays. The Museum is based around the collection of the late David Evan Jones and was opened just a few weeks after his death in 2008. In 2013 we were officially Accredited by CyMAL a Welsh Government Agency.
The museum is open on most Mondays, 11.00 - 15.00 and closed on bank holidays. Group and private visits at any other time by appointment are welcome throughout the year.
Museum monthly update, December 2016
On Friday evening, October 21st, we had a different kind of lecture from usual, when John Clark spoke about 'My Gems Collection'. He explained the different processes resulting in the creation of gems in the earth's crust, and the methods people have used to extract them since the fifth century B.C.. He showed slides of jewellery created over the centuries, including one of the earliest necklaces created by the Ancient Egyptians. He talked about the methods of proving the purity and value of gems and his wife, Sue, explained how to grade diamonds. In the photograph, John is showing his collection of gems, and the jewellery he himself has created, to Tim, Sandra and Vesi.
Recently, we have acquired two 'new' items for our collection of Vintage Records, namely two cylinder phonograph records:
One is a recording of 'Silver Threads among the Gold', on the Sterling label, and it would last about two minutes. It was produced between 1904 and 1908 when the company came to an end.
The other is an Edison Amberol Cylinder, from 1922, produced from blue celluloid on plaster of paris. The recording is 'Southern Bells' and it would last about four minutes. It would be possible to listen to this record hundreds of times, without it wearing out.
Around 1908, flat gramophone records started replacing the cylinders, and production came to an end in 1925. The cylinders were technologically of higher quality than the flat records, but they were difficult to produce and mass production for the market was almost impossible.
Our next lecture is the "Curator Evening", on January 20th at 19.00, when David Crawford will talk about “Radio Luxembourg 1933-1945”. A warm welcome to all.
We wish all friends of the Museum a Happy New Year. Thank you for your support in 2016!
Monthly Update November 2016
On Friday, September 16th, an evening of Memories of Dr. Henry Goronwy Alun Hughes, 1921-2013, was held by his friends from Cerrig y Drudion. Dr. Alun Hughes was a talented, multilingual librarian, translator, journalist, lawyer, lecturer and a prolific author. He was born in Pontlotyn, Glamorgan, but spent much of his life in North Wales. He studied Modern Languages at Jesus College, Oxford, and, during the war, he served in the Merchant Navy, as well as working for MI6. He was a lecturer in the University of London on Polynesian Languages, specialising in Gilbertese, Ellice and Sikaian, and he researched into them on behalf of the governments of USA and New Zealand. He was also a Senior-Lecturer in two of the universities of Prague. He was a Radio Amateur and he had a lifelong interest in the world of broadcasting. We at 'Wireless in Wales' owe him a great debt of gratitude, because of his support for us during the founding of the Museum, and more recently. Much of his research and papers, including his work on the Welsh Language, has been presented to the University of Adeilade. So, if any of the readers of this article intend going to Australia in the near future, could you call into the Museum before you go, please?
On Thursday evening, October 6th, the latest in our series of Welsh talks was held. Simultaneous translation was available thanks to our Welsh Assembly Government, as the speaker was Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas AM. His subject was the devolution of broadcasting and we had an interesting talk on the subject, and indeed, a number of other matters which arose from the discussion. The main thrust of the lecture was the change in the way the assembly government will influence broadcasting, because of it's new relationship with Ofcom. He said that, although broadcasting has not been devolved, the changes would be far-reaching since Ofcom regulates every aspect of communication including television, radio, video services, phones, mobile phones and radio waves. Following the talk, members of the audience asked a number of questions. This led to discussion on further subjects, such as the vote to leave the European Union, the use of the Welsh language in the Assembly Government etc. As is customary, the evening was rounded off with refreshments, and an opportunity to view the artefacts in the Museum or to chat informally.
November and December events:
18/11/16 – a talk on‘Isaac Roberts, The Astronomer from Groes from the 19th century’, by David Smith, at 7.00 p.m..
03/12/16 – Coffee Morning with Stalls at Eirianfa, 10.00-12.00, in aid of 'Wireless in Wales' and 'MaryDei'.
09/12/16 – a bilingual talk, "From Madge Breeze and Cwaliton/Qualiton to Candelas and I¬Ka¬Ching and beyond", by Tony Schiavone at 7.00 p.m..
A warm welcome to all.
Museum Monthly Update-October 2016
The summer was a busy period for the Museum. Since we are closed during the month of August, we were able to concentrate on
Museum maintenance and administration. All the exhibits have to be cleaned regularly and safety tasks have to be completed.
The most recent exhibits of the Museum are shown in the photographs - a pre-1914 gramophone with a large horn, and a record from a sizeable collection of 78 and 80 rpm records, some of which date from 1907.
There will be two lectures in the Museum during October:
On Thursday, October 6th, Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas will talk about "Devolving Broadcasting".
On Friday, October 21st, John Clark will talk on "My Gems Collection".
Both lectures will start at 7 o'clock and light refreshments will follow. A warm welcome to all!
We are very pleased that we have succeeded in achieving the Accredited Attraction Status from the Welsh Government once again. Thank you to the team for their hard work!
Museum Monthly Update - July 2016
We hold the David Edward Hughes Memorial Lecture in the Museum annually, but who was this man?
David Edward Hughes was a Professor of Music, an experimenter and an inventor. His family originally came from the Bala/ Corwen area, but they moved to London in 1831, around the time of his birth. In 1837 the family emigrated to the United States of America, and he was brought up in that country. He became Professor of Music in St. Joseph’s College in Bardstown, Kentucky, but he was also occupied in inventing electrical apparatus. In 1857 he decided to return to London to concentrate on his experimental work.
In 1879, he was working on a Bell telephone when he noticed that a poor connection on his apparatus was sparking, and these sparks were coinciding withwork he was carrying out on nearby equipment. With more experimentation with receivers, he found he could send these “Aerial Waves” a distance of 500 yards. He had discovered, quite by chance, the practical existence of radio waves which had been predicted by James Clerk Maxwell in 1865.
David Edward Hughes gave a demonstration to members of the Royal Society, who convinced him that his findings were due to a phenomenon which had already been discovered. In 1887, German scientist Heinrich Hertz made similar experiments, and he claimed to be the inventor of radio transmission.
David Edward Hughes received a number of awards for his inventions during his lifetime, from overseas establishments mainly. In 1880, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society, and he was awarded their Royal Medal in 1885.
He passed away in 1900. His lengthy obituary in the “Electrician” stated,
“We mourn his loss not only as a well-esteemed personal friend, but also as a compatriot to whose versatility and genius his native country has been astoundingly blind, while all the countries of the civilised world have showered honours upon his head.”
After his death, the Royal Society created the ‘Hughes Medal’ to be awarded to future scientists, in his honour.
You can read more about him in the book, “Before We Went Wireless”, which is available in the Museum.
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