The Welsh radio museum
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.
We were officially re-accredited by the Museums, Archives and Libraries Division of the Welsh Government in May 2018.
The museum is open on Mondays, 11.00 - 15.00, with the exception of bank holidays. Group and private visits are welcome at any other time, by appointment, 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, July 2018
Wireless in Wales is a member of the North East Wales Heritage Forum and it was the Forum who recently organised a '100 Object' exhibition at Wrexham Museum, where our Foulkes radio is being displayed. The Forum aims to inspire interest in the diverse heritage of the area, work together on regional projects and publicise the projects.
As a result of this collaboration, people from Wrexham came to our lecture on 'Mining in North East Wales' by Alan Jones, chairman of the North Wales Miners Association Trust. Alan stated that the trust's intention is to "preserve the mining artefacts which still exist and record our mining heritage for future generations". Alan listed the artefacts that they have managed to rescue and preserve since the establishment of the trust, including the Miners Rescue Station, Maesgwyn Road, Wrexham; the big wheel at Llay; the winding engine house in Bersham, which hopefully will be turned in to a Museum; and the brick tub at Rhosllanerchrhugog. They have bought an old library van and adapted it so that it can be used as a small museum on school visits. Alan mentioned the minerals in the area, copper, silver, gold, slate, and coal, and he named the coalfields, including a small coalfield to the north of Denbigh. When he talked about the difficult conditions working underground, one of the audience, Denys, responded by saying that he had been a Bevin Boy during the war. They chatted for a long time, much to the interest of the audience!
Alan, Vesi, Denys and Heather from the Forum
On June 15th, the National Poet of Wales came to give us a talk, in English, on 'The Poet as Translator and Ambassador'. Not everyone had realised previously that Ifor ap Glyn had been a member of the steering committee seeking to establish the Language Centre, while living in Denbigh, and it was nice to see him return to the town and the building. He talked about the place and importance of poetry in Welsh culture up to the present day and he spent the evening reading poems from his new bilingual book 'Cuddle Call' (bilingual title!) and explained the background of the poems and essays. He noted that one poem 'Terraces' had been projected onto the side of Big Ben in London on Remembrance Day 2016, in the city where he was born. In Poland, he came across a woman who had learned Welsh and had translated some of his poems to Polish. Recently, he has been to China on a trade and cultural mission from Wales where he had to listen to his poems being read in the native language!
Thanks to the Mayor and to everyone else who supported our Coffee Morning in conjunction with Vale of Clwyd Mind and the Denbigh Museum. Over £300 was raised.
The Museum will be open on Saturdays during August. If you would like to arrange visits at other times, please contact us at:
Monthly update, June 2018.
It has been a busy period at the Wireless in Wales Museum recently. Vesi and Barbara attended the Denbighshire Tourism Forum at the Oriel House Hotel.
Philip Wensley from the Welsh Government's Museums, Archives and Libraries Departmentcame to accredit the Museum for the second time. The Museums Service of Wales Accreditation Scheme is a national scheme which sets standards for museum management, care of collections and service to the public, and it's good to say that we have achieved the standard once again.
One of our radios, the Foulkes Regenerative Receiver, is part of the North East Wales Heritage Forum "100 Objects" Exhibition at Wrexham Museum until 30/06/18. The exhibition also has arrow heads from Denbigh Castle, on loan from Denbighshire Heritage Service, a straight jacket and a Gwasg Gee block from the Denbigh Museum and a 1910 phonograph from Caerwys Historical Society. This particular phonograph recorded the folk songs of Denbighshire and Flintshire in the period, including 'Cadi Ha'.
We held our Annual General Meeting on 20/04/18 and everyone was thanked for their hard work throughout the year. The meeting was followed by two films about the 'Ocean Monarch' and 'Lelia' shipwrecks, presented by Tony Griffiths and Keith Mountain.
The 'Ocean Monarch' was a ship carrying emigrants to America and 178 were killed in a fire soon after leaving the port of Liverpool on 24/08/1848. Over 200 people were rescued and brought back to Liverpool. The bodies were washed up along the North Wales coast, especially at Pensarn and Prestatyn. Dr. Evan Pierce from Denbigh was the coroner in the case, and there is a monument to the disaster at St. Michael's Church in Abergele.
The paddle steamer 'Lelia' was built in Toxteth in 1864, as a ship that would take part in the American civil war. The intention was to sail her, full of coal, under the captaincy of Captain Skinner, as far as the Azores, and then change her flag and captain to Arthur Sinclair, who was a confederate. On 05/01/1865 the 'Lelia' left the Mersey on her first voyage but the weather soon worsened. The anchors were raised by the sea and thrown through the deck causing a hole. Only 12 people were saved. The remains of both ships remain at the bottom of the sea along the North Wales coast and artefacts can be seen in the new maritime museum "Ships Timbers" in Llandudno.
On 27/04/18, Ioan Talfryn lectured on "In ignorance. Aspects on the work of T.H. Parry-Williams". T.H. Parry-Williams was a polymath, a leading scientist, a linguist, an author, Professor of the Welsh Department of Aberystwyth University and he was the first poet to win the Crown and the Chair at the National Eisteddfod in the same year. "In ignorance" is a quotation from the poem "For My Elders" and Ioan discussed the "ignorance", and uncertainty seen in the poems. He referred to the unusual experiences which the poet had in particular places and the mystical experiences described. Ioan's favourite poetry, it's clear!
Our volunteers attend events in the community fairly regularly. Recently, David visited the Radio Amateurs who meet in Irby, on the Wirral, to lecture on 'Gramophone Technology and the Development of the 78RPM Record '.
We had a very successful Quiz Evening recently in Martyn's capable hands. 40 people climbed the stairs into the sunny room and it wasn't only the competing that was hot! Thanks to everyone who supported the evening, raising over £150 for the Museum.
There are two lectures remaining in our series before the summer break:
June 15th, 7.00 p.m., "Broadcasting in Wales", by Ifor ap Glyn.
June 22nd, 7.00 p.m., in Welsh, "The Effectiveness and Safety of Medication", by Professor Dyfrig Hughes.
A warm welcome to everyone.
And .......... Martyn has succeeded in getting the Osram Music Magnet Three Radio from 1929 to work!
Monthly Update, May 2018.
The David Edward Hughes Memorial Lecture was delivered this year by our Curator, David Crawford.
His subject was 'The Technology of the Gramophone and the Development of the 78RPM Record' and he gave an insight into the development of sound recording in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He outlined the Acoustic Period, 1880-1925, when Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell invented cylinder records, and later, Emile Berliner invented flat records. The cylinder records were technically better than the flat ones, but it was possibl
e to produce hundreds of copies of the flat ones at a time, which is why they succeeded at the expense of the cylinders. We listened to classical music on a 78RPM record on a HMV gramophone, David had wound up earlier.
In 1925, electrical recording began, and this was the beginning of the Electrical Period, 1925-1960. They began to record music to coincide with films in the cinema through the Vitaphone Project and later, vinyl records were developed. Alan Blumlein invented stereo records and this technology is still being used today. Did you know that the name of the dog used to advertise His Master's Voice records was 'Nipper'?
David thanked the audience for their support which enabled the Museum to buy a new projector.
As you can see in the next photograph, Martyn, our new volunteer, is working to restore an old Osram Music Magnet Three radio. This radio was produced around 1929 as a package of components with instructions, for the amateur. This particular radio was presented to the Museum by Geraint from North West England, who visited the Wireless in Wales stand at the National Eisteddfod in Denbigh 2013. We hope that Martyn will succeed in getting it to work again!
We warmly welcome everyone to the next lectures in our series, which will take place at the Museum at 7.00 p.m.:
May 18th, "Mining in North East Wales", by Alan Jones.
June 15th, "Broadcasting in Wales", by Ifor ap Glyn.
June 22nd, in Welsh, "The Effectiveness and Safety of Medication", by Professor Dyfrig Hughes.