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Images of Wales



Where's that?? - locate the Museum of Welsh Life on a map of South Wales.


Museum of Welsh Life, St Fagans, Glamorgan


Page 1                   Page 2 (below)                   Page 3


Pen-rhiw Chapel (continued)

Pen-rhiw Chapel
Above: Pen-rhiw Unitarian Chapel. Opened in 1777; re-erected at the museum in 1956.

This simple Unitarian chapel, typical of early Welsh nonconformist chapels, originally stood at Dre-fach, Felindre, Carmarthenshire. It may be a converted barn. Later chapels were much grander structures.

Pen-rhiw Chapel

The pews on the ground floor (above) are all slightly different, showing they were originally built for families who then customised them to suit their own tastes and requirements. The original chapel had a loft which was removed in the 19th century and the present gallery added (below). This greatly increased the seating capacity of the chapel.

Pen-rhiw Chapel

The chapel deacons sat in a pew to the side of the high pulpit (below). If a particularly large congregation was present, the preacher would open the window behind the pulpit so the congregation could gather outside the window and still listen to the sermon and take part in the service.

Pen-rhiw Chapel


Bee Shelter, Devauden

Worms Head
Above: Bee shelter. Built in 19th century; re-erected at the museum in 1986.

This bee shelter was originally located at Devauden in Monmouthshire. Bee-keeping is an ancient craft, and there is evidence of bee-keeping in Wales in the 10th century AD. Early hives were probably made of woven wicker but later ones were made from coiled straw in the familiar beehive shape shown in the photograph above. Specially-built roofed shelters were sometimes erected so that a number of hives could be housed on more than one shelf.


Ironworkers' Houses, Rhyd-y-car

Ironworkers' Houses
Above: Ironworkers' Houses. Built circa 1800; re-erected at the museum in 1987.

This small terrace was built at Rhyd-y-car, Merthyr Tydfil, by ironmaster Richard Crawshay to provide housing for the workers at his iron-ore mine. Crawshay helped to make Merthyr the most important iron-manufacturing town in the world in the early 19th century. The ironstone miners were relatively well off in the working classes which is why their houses have survived while those of the poorer workers have disappeared.

Mangle
Above: Iron mangle in the back yard of one of the ironworkers' houses

Mangles were used for squeezing water out of wet laundry prior to hanging it to dry on the washing line. Mangles were still in use in the 1950s.

  Ironworkers' Houses
Above: Cobbled pathway separating the front doors of the houses from their back yards.

The back yards were used to grow vegetables, keep chickens, house the privy, and in World War 2, to house the 'Anderson' corrugated iron air-raid shelter.


Below: Interior of ironworker's house, furnished in the manner of the early 19th century.
Ironworkers' Houses


Circular Pigsty, Pontypridd

Pigsty
Above and below right: Circular pigsty. Built circa 1800; re-erected at the museum in 1977.


This circular pigsty originally stood at Hendre Ifan Prosser, Pontypridd, Glamorgan. Such pigsties were once common in south Wales, most dating from the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Circular pigsties were built of dry stone using a corbelling technique, where the diameter of each circle of stones was reduced until a dome-shaped structure was formed.

Nearly all of the eighty or so known examples of circular pigsties in Wales were found in the south of the principality.

Below: A current example was spotted recently (August 2003) at Abercynafon near the Tal-y-bont Reservoir in the Brecon Beacons National Park. Note the carved pig's head over the entrance.

  Pigsty
Pigsty, Abercynafon
Photography by John Ball, August 2003.

Continue your exploration of the outdoor museum exhibits on Page 3


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Details of each website feature (for newcomers) Direct links to each website feature (for regulars) Advance news of new developments on my website Summary of all the latest updates Gateway to Welsh Family History Archive Help for those having problems accessing my website A link to the main 'gateway' page to my entire website