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.
Wireless in Wales provides a safe and secure environment for volunteers and visitors, including wheelchair access throughout the building, a hearing loop and exhibits for safe handling. Our staff are trained and experienced in looking after visitors with disabilities.
Monthly Update, February 2018
Wireless in Wales Museum has a single television receiver, the Bush TV12B which has a nine inch screen, 18 valves and a cathode ray tube. This is the television you usually see on television programmes depicting life in the early 1950's. It had a large number of controls to control focus, brightness, contrast etc., and these had to be adjusted as the night wore on and as the components became hotter.
This television receiver was released in September 1949, at the same time as the start of BBC Television from Sutton Coldfield in the Midlands, the first time television was extended outside London. It was designed to receive television signals from Sutton Coldfield on channel 4 VHF only, and it worked only in that region. By 1950, the BBC was beginning to establish a network of television stations across the country, and Bush produced the TV22 which was able to receive BBC TV from anywhere - on channel 5 VHF in Cardiff for example.
In 1955, independent broadcasting began on new channels, 6 to 13, which meant that the old BBC only television sets could not receive the new broadcasts. So a range of converters, set top boxes, were produced to plug into the televisions, so that they could receive ITV. Here is a picture of a 'set top box' for the Murphy television set.
A warm welcome to everyone to the next lectures in our series:
February 16th, "Broadcasting in the 1980's at Radio Havana Cuba", by Lila Haines.
March 16th, "Development of the 78RPM Gramophone Record, by David Crawford, Curator of the Museum. This will be the David Edward Hughes annual lecture.
April 20th, "The Sea Tragedies of the 'Ocean Monarch'and the 'Lelia'", by Tony Griffiths and Keith Mountain.
April 27th, a Welsh lecture on "Sir T. H. Parry-Williams and the Subconcious" by Ioan Talfryn.
May 18th, "Mining in North East Wales", by Alan Jones.
The lectures start at 7.00 p.m. and there are light refreshments to follow.
Monthly Update, January 2018
The period before Christmas was a very busy one in the Museum.
On November 17th, Cliff Kearns and Clwyd Wynne came to speak to us about Cliff's new book, 'A Town at War - Denbigh and the Western Front'. The book is based on the experiences of his father, Joe, in the First World War but it is a book which highlights the relationship which existed between Denbigh and the Western Front, even though they were a great distance from each other. Joseph Kearns was a trainee reporter with the Free Press and he joined the Welch Fusiliers when he was 16 years old. Because of his reporting skills and his ability to use short-hand and Morse code he was sent to the front lines with Senior Officers. Within the year, he had been killed. His name is recorded in a quotation from the Free Press, December 4th, 1915, along with 187 other young men from the area who were killed in the Great War.
The Campaign for S4C' was Angharad Tomos's subject when she visited the Museum on Friday evening, November 24th. She described her experience arriving at Aberystwyth University during the Welsh Language Society's campaign for a Welsh television channel for Wales. She had no interest in the broadcasting world, but since Saunders Lewis had said that "Television is the greatest killer of the Welsh language", she decided that she had to join the campaigning. Her first task, after being at University for only five days, was to climb Crystal Palace television mast in London and being sent to prison for five days. In 1977 she broke into the Winter Hill televison transmitter, near Manchester, and she was arrested by the Police. Their question was, "What is your link with the IRA?" After the 1979 referendum Gwynfor Evans decided to starve himself to death if Wales was not given a Welsh channel, and the people of Wales refused to pay their television licences. Because of this, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher decided to allow the setting up of a fourth channel which would include Welsh programmes. S4C commenced on Friday evening, November 1st, 1982, with great celebrations. By today, however, because of the lack of growth which has followed the financial cuts, the campaigning has restarted, and some people are refusing to pay their television licences once again. They maintain that it is 'high time to devolve broadcasting to Wales'.
Thank you to everyone who supported our Coffee Morning on December 2nd. Over £600 was raised for MaryDei, Vale of Clwyd Mind and the Museum.
Here are the next lectures in our series for the new year.
January 19th, "Making Jewels", by John Clark.
February 16th, "Broadcasting in the 1980s at Radio Havana Cuba", by Lila Haines.
March 16th, "Broadcasting in Wales", by Ifor ap Glyn. This will be the David Edward Hughes Annual Lecture.
April 20th, "The Sea Tragedies of the Ocean Monarch and the Lelia", by Tony Griffiths and Keith Mountain.
April 27th, a Welsh lecture on Sir T. H. Parry-Williams by Ioan Talfryn.
The lectures start at 7.00 p.m. and are followed by light refreshments. A warm welcome to everyone.
Monthly Update, December 2017
The Victorian Age:
The title of the latest public lecture in our series on science, history and broadcasting was'Victorian Pharmacy'. Sue Clark presented a clear picture of society in that period, with huge developments in industry leading to success and wealth for some, but to unemployment, poverty and starvation for others. She talked about the major diseases of the period, whooping cough, tuberculosis, typhoid, diphtheria, cholera, measles and influenza, and the appalling injuries which occurred in the factories and workplaces. People at that time didn't realise that diseases could spread from one person to another, through lack of hygiene, and health and safety rules hadn't been formulated. Wealthy people called a Physician to treat them when they were ill, but poor people had to go to the Apothecary who would dispense medicines for them. In 1841, the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain was created and the training of pharmacists began.
This is a picture of a typical Victorian pharmacy. It was a large place with a number of workers fulfilling different roles. The Pharmacist would treat all kinds of diseases and illnesses and he would create medicines by extracting ingredients from plants, bark etc, and mixing them. He would supply the local doctors, the dentist and the hospital, and he would also treat horses as they were so important for transport. It is doubtful whether these remedies were beneficial, and often poisonous ingredients were used unknowingly.
During this period also, the power of advertising became apparent and some of the products are still available today, as is seen in the picture.
The National Health Service was set up in 1948, and we are very grateful for it. It is dreadful to think that people across the world today are still suffering from Victorian major diseases because of poverty, famine, war and dirty water.
The Museum has created a 1940s living room where it is possible to sit to have a chat and a cuppa. It contains furniture from the period, radios, a gramophone and a television from 1948 which received BBC television from Sutton Coldfield only. There is also a RGD Radiogram from 1936, the best Radiogram produced in the UK before the war. It cost £126 - the wage of a teacher at that time being £2 a week.
There was great excitement in the Museum recently when Ceri, Brian and Hugh succeeded in contacting another Radio Amateur, Daniel, in Bogota, Columbia.
Here are the next lectures in the series:
January 19th, “Making jewels”, by John Clark.
February 16th, “Broadcasting in the 1980s at Radio Havana Cuba”, by Lila Haines.
March 16th, “Broadcasting in Wales”, by Ifor ap Glyn.
This will be the annual David Edward Hughes lecture.
April 20th, “The sea tragedies of the ‘Ocean Monarch’ and the ‘Lelia’”, by
Tony Griffiths and Keith Mountain.
April 27th, a Welsh lecture by Ioan Talfryn on Sir T. H. Parry-Williams.
The lectures commence at 7.00 p.m. and light refreshments follow.
A warm welcome to everyone.
Monthly Update, November 2017
This is a Minifon P55 miniature wire recorder, from 1955, which was presented to the Museum recently. The wire recorder was invented by Valdemar Poulsen from Denmark, who also carried out significant work with early radio broadcasting. The recorder worked rather like a tape recorder, as a very thin steel wire was pulled accross the recording / playback head at high speed. This gave a very long recording time, often up to one hour, which compared very favourably with the gramophone record. The wire recorders were very poplular 1945-1954 as dictation machines and for home recordings, but they were gradually replaced by tape recorders.
We had a very successful weekend at the Museum during Denbigh 'Open Doors'. More than sixty people visited the Museum, many of them from outside the town. Guided tours were arranged, along with demonstrations by the Radio Amateurs and art and craft sessions for children and adults. The highlight of the weekend was Lowri Jones's re-enactment of the life and successes of "David Edward Hughes the Inventor" through the eyes of Blodwen, the maid.
Our series of monthly talks continues apace. The next talks are:
In English - 'Denbigh and the Western Front', by Clwyd Wynne and Cliff Kearns on November 17th.
And in Welsh - 'The Campaign for S4C', by Angharad Tomos, on November 24th.
The lectures commence at 7.00 p.m. and light refreshments follow. A warm welcome to everyone.
Our joint Coffee Morning this year is on December 2nd at Eirianfa, at 10.00 a.m., with MaryDei and Vale of Clwyd Mind.