Small but Perfectly Formed

In 1981, the 75th accession received by Glamorgan Record Office was a single postcard of Cardiff City Hall, c.1950s.

Postcard of Cardiff City Hall

Postcard of Cardiff City Hall

It seems far removed in quantity from some of the other annual 75th accessions received but, as there is no size restriction on deposits, the postcard was readily accepted.

The postcard formed part of a series of items which were transferred to Glamorgan Record Office from Gwynedd Archives in Caernarfon. Archive services throughout the country often re-distribute records which they receive that do not relate to the area they serve, sending them instead to the appropriate local archive.

The building of the then ‘town hall’ in Cardiff was commenced in 1901 from the designs of Messrs. Lanchester Stewart & Rickards. The work was undertaken by the Cardiff building firm of E. Turner & Sons Ltd. The laying of the ‘town hall’ foundation stone took place at a ceremony on 23 October 1901, and an official programme for the event is held at Glamorgan Archives (BC/X/9). By the time the building was completed Cardiff had been given city status, and the town hall became a ‘City Hall’.

Programme for laying of foundation stone

Programme for laying of foundation stone

A search of our on-line catalogue Canfod for records relating to ‘Cardiff City / Town Hall’ returns some 30 items. Our collection of Cardiff City building regulation plans (BC/S/1) does not include the original plans for this magnificent building. But this year we received a deposit of photographs relating to buildings constructed by E.Turner & Sons Ltd.; one has been acknowledged as showing the construction of City Hall (D1079).

Construction of Cardiff City Hall

Construction of Cardiff City Hall

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The Glamorgan Archives Searchroom Library

Of the seventy-five 75th accessions received since 1939, five are items to be found in our searchroom library. In the past, all published items received into the library were accessioned in the same way as documents, with details recorded in the official Glamorgan Record Office accessions registers.

Over time, this process changed, with a separate Library accessions register established to record the receipt of printed items – be they purchased reference books or gifts from authors and members of the public.

Today, items received into the Library are not accessioned at all. Instead, they are assigned a reference number and details are added to our catalogue, Canfod. We have retrospectively added details of all books in our Library to Canfod. This was quite a task as it encompassed not only the books available to browse in the searchroom but also our pamphlet collection held behind the scenes. We were fortunate to be able to draw on the expertise of a number of trained librarians amongst our volunteers to undertake this work.

The Library

The Library

Here at Glamorgan Archives we collect, preserve and make accessible documents relating to the history of Glamorgan and its people. We do not actively collect published works. Over the years our Library has been reduced with many publications transferred to more appropriate homes at local libraries. Nevertheless, the small Library available here remains important to staff and researchers alike as it supplements the archival collections; it provides members of the public with guides on the use of archives and on the undertaking of specific research work relating to our holdings, and it provides our staff with up-to-date professional information and guidance on the management, care and conservation of archives.

The Cardiff District Super Aeration Ltd. Records

Aeration is the process by which oxygen is mixed with a liquid, and it is commonly used to create aerated water for drinking – either as fizzy mineral water or as fizzy pop!

The Cardiff District Super Aeration Company undertook such work and, in 2010, we received as our 75th accession a letter book from the company, covering the period 1901-1914 (D687).

Letter book

Letter book

The volume comprises outgoing letters signed by the company secretary, Thomas Evans. The correspondence shows that in December 1902 there was an extraordinary general meeting of the company, when it was agreed that the company be voluntarily wound up with a view to being amalgamated with London Super-Aeration Ltd. 

Thomas Evans later became clerk to the Cardiff Pilotage Board and used the latter part of the letter book in this capacity. Further records of the Cardiff Pilotage Board and Cardiff Pilotage Authority can be found at Glamorgan Archives under the references DPIL and DX914.

Letter to David Morse

Letter to David Morse

The final letter in the book, written by Evans as Clerk to the Cardiff Pilotage Board, is addressed to D. Morse of Penarth, a descendent of pilot David Morse, also of Penarth, who gave evidence to Parliament in support of the 1866 Bute Dock Bill. Morse’s involvement in the Parliamentary process, and the research undertaken into his story by the Grangetown Local History Society, forms the basis for Sea of Words, an animated film produced by artist Trevor Woolery for the Parliamentary Archives. The film explores the connections between Cardiff communities and Parliament through the development of Cardiff Docks in the 19th century. It draws on unique archival material held by the Parliamentary Archives and Glamorgan Archives and features contributions from Grangetown Local History Society.

To view the film visit www.parliament.uk/communities

The Hughesovka Research Archive

John Hughes was a Welsh Industrialist whose life’s work continues to influence modern day affairs. Born 200 years ago in Merthyr Tydfil, John had worked for and owned a number of industrial concerns in both South Wales and London when in 1869 he acquired a concession from the Imperial Russian Government to develop a metal works in the largely unpopulated Donbas region on land to the north of the Azov Sea on the banks of the Kalmius river. The area was known as Novorossiya (literally New Russia) and had been conquered by Russia from the Zaporizhians, Crimean Tartars and the Ottomans within the previous century. By the mid 19th century Russians were colonizing the area in great numbers building towns and industries.

 John Hughes founded the ‘New Russia Company Ltd’ and in 1870 sailed in a fleet of 8 ships to Russia. On board was all the equipment needed to establish an ironworks, along with skilled Welsh ironworkers and miners. Construction of the new ironworks began immediately, and developed into a state of the art facility with eight blast furnaces capable of a full production cycle. It produced its first pig iron in 1872. During the 1870s collieries, iron ore mines and brickworks were constructed and the area was became a self supporting industrial centre. The town that grew to support the concern was known as Hughesovka (Юзовка) after its founder. 

Blast furnaces at Hughesovka

Blast furnaces at Hughesovka

The town prospered and by the early 20th century was producing nearly three quarters of Russia’s iron. After John Hughes’ death in 1889 the works were managed by four of his sons, but with the Bolshevik revolution the family’s connection with the works came to an end. However, in the years preceding this many Welsh and British workers had emigrated. Most left after the revolution although descendants of British workers can still be found locally.

The city was renamed Stalino in 1924, and changed again in 1961 to its current name, Donetsk. The local football team, Shakhtar (Miners) Donetsk, is a Europa cup regular. Nicknamed the moles because of the area’s mining connections, their strip supposedly matches Newport County’s because John Hughes’ first business was based in Newport. Donetsk now finds itself in the news again because of tensions between Ukraine and Russia over this Eastern Ukrainian province.

Two of the seventy-five 75th accessions relate to Hughesovka. These form part of a large collection of material. To find out more about Hughesovka and the related documents held here at Glamorgan Archives take a look at our Hughesovka Research Archive web pages http://www.glamarchives.gov.uk/hughesovka/hka-index.html

 

John Lethbridge,  works manager, with his daughters

John Lethbridge, works manager, with his daughters