While the records of the Cardiff Naturalists’ Society held at Glamorgan Archives major on the running of the Society and the many lectures and events sponsored since its creation in 1867, there is also a section that draws together a number of photographs associated with the main collection. It is a very mixed and fascinating set of images. Within the collection there is a photograph of approximately 150 people standing on the steps of the National Museum in Cardiff posing for a group photograph. They are all very well turned out and there are clues to their purpose from the number of umbrellas and raincoats worn or carried by many of those present.
The photograph is one of over 60 set out in an album, dated September 1967, compiled to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Cardiff Naturalists’ Society. The album also contains a programme of the events staged over three days to mark the centenary. From the details in the programme the photograph was almost certainly taken on Saturday 23rd September 1967 at around 9.30am, as the members of the Society gathered to meet the coaches that would take them on a full day of activities. This included a visit to Old Beaupre Castle in the morning followed by lunch, hosted by the Chairman of the Glamorgan County Council, at Duffryn House and a tour of the garden.
As they stand on the Museum steps the group appear to be in very good spirits. Many would have had a late night after attending the Civic Reception and Centenary Dinner held at the City Hall the previous evening. The programme for the Reception, held in the Assembly Room, promised a menu of 5 courses including sole bonne femme, saddle of lamb and peach melba, with music provided by the Eddie Graves Trio. The toast to the Queen was proposed by the Society’s President, Col. Sir Cennydd Traherne, Lord Lieutenant of Glamorgan.
Although on the Saturday many had taken precautions against the weather, the photographs of Old Beaupre and Duffryn suggest that they had a fine day. Furthermore, the celebrations were far from over. The coaches were expected back in Cardiff at 5.15pm to allow time for those due to attend a Reception at 8.00pm in the National Museum, hosted by the President and Council of the Museum. The album contains a number of photographs of both the Civic reception on the Friday night and the reception held in the National Museum on the Saturday.
On the following day, Sunday 24 September, there was another full day with three separate field meetings concluding with a picnic lunch. Unfortunately the album does not contain photographs of the Sunday field meetings. From the programme, however, we know that the Biological and Geological Section visited Merthyr Mawr and the Ornithological Section visited Kenfig Pool. In addition, the Archaeological, Photographic and Junior Sections came together for a visit to Caerphilly Castle. In each case the meetings ended after lunch so that members could return to Cardiff for Evensong at Llandaff Cathedral.
It was a full and varied itinerary to mark a very special event in the Society’s history. If you, or friends and family, were amongst either the 150 people standing on the steps of the Museum on Saturday 23 September 1967 or those that attended the receptions held at the City Hall and the National Museum, you might well be interested in viewing the photograph album (ref.: DCNS/PH/8/16). In addition, there are a number of photographs of the exhibition staged by the Society in September 1967 to mark the Centenary (ref.: DCNS/PH/8/1-15). The photographs can be seen at Glamorgan Archives along with a wide range of records of the proceedings of the Cardiff Naturalists’ Society dating back to 1867.
Tony Peters, Glamorgan Archives Volunteer