Report on Resolfen History Society’s April Meeting

 

The meeting began on a very sad note as the recent death of committee member Mrs Jean Thomas was announced. Jean had been ill for some time and had served on the committee for many years. A minute’s silence was then marked in her memory. Our sincerest condolences go to our Chairman Gwyn on his loss.

The speaker this month needed no introduction since it was none other than Resolven History Society member Mr Ken Thomas. Mr Thomas apart from being the dependable projectionist at Brynaman Public Hall for many years,had also made his living as a training officer in the manufacturing industry. He explained that as much of his work involved visiting various manufacturing works which guarded their secrets carefully, he had signed the Official Secrets Act which prevented him from going into any detail. To this effect he had produced a film on the glove industry of the UK,originally in VHS format the film had recently been digitalised. Despite the fact that he had written the script himself he had ensured that any claim on intellectual property had been settled before showing the film publically.

The talk began with a brief introduction to the clothing industry in the UK which was once enormous and had clothed the world, but was now largely a shadow of its former self. The Manchester area alone at the start of the last century employed over a million workers in textiles. Worcester was the centre of the glove industry and at its zenith employed over 50,000 workers.

The glove trade itself is ancient and its roots can be traced as far as the Romans. Gloves are essential in the protection of the hands against heat, cold, blades, filth and disease. It was stressed that the Queen always wears gloves when meeting the public to protect her from being poisoned (a fact which was made so real recently by events in Salisbury). The revolutionary change in the quantity of their production came with the invention of the sewing machine in the USA in the 1860s. It is normally assumed that this innovation was solely the work of Irwin Singer, however the originator of the sewing machine was actually a man named Elias Howe and indeed there was such bitter rivalry between the two, that they were given co-patency of its licence. The sewing machine, whether driven by handle, treadle or water wheel speeded up production though it was still largely a manual skill until the 1960s. The trade for gloves dropped off in the second half of the twentieth century owing to changes in fashion and its footloose nature allowed it to relocate to the cheaper west country of England around Yeovil, where Dent’s remained the sole manufacturer (now sole importer) of gloves in the UK. Owing to foreign competition from Asia no gloves are now produced in the UK, indeed the Glove Guild of the UK ceased in the early years of the present century.

The film itself was a gem and appeared far older than its fifty years. Some of the early handmade preparation could have been placed in the same workshop as the Anglo-Norman names given to the components of a glove. It was obvious that the workers were on a piece rate since they worked with both speed and efficiency. Even then, it was obvious that many of these practices were old fashioned even by the standards of the 1970s and the late introduction of mass production was unable to save it. Nevertheless, the loss of hundreds of thousands of well-paid and skilled jobs done by both sexes was a crying shame. Mr Thomas was of the opinion that the glove industry alongside other manufacturing trades had been sacrificed by Mrs Thatcher in the 1980s in order to gain aerospace contracts with those very same far eastern countries.

Mr Trefor Jones, deputising for Mr Gwyn Thomas gave a vote of thanks to fellow “Brynamanite”, Mr Ken Thomas for a most enjoyable evening.

Report by  Chairman Mr Trefor Jones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daniel Jervis Wins Commonwealth Games Silver

What a brilliant race!   Daniel took 3 seconds off his personal best to finish second and win the silver medal in the 1500 metres Freestyle in the pool at the Commonwealth Games in Australia.   He won a great bronze at the 2014 Games in Glasgow, so to complete the set, will it be gold in Birmingham in 2022?  We could all go and watch there!

We are all  really proud of you in the village

Many Congratulations

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annual Duck Race Soon

 

The exact venue for the race is still to be decided (watch this space)  But it will take place on Sat 28th April at 2pm– weather permitting. Tickets are £1. and are available from Church members or Marcia – Post Office. The event is in aid of St David’s Church.

RUTH JONES

Children’s Art Competition– Results and Pictures

 

 

Ynysfach school children recently took part in a St. David’s Day Art Competition sponsored by Resolven Community Council.  The winning pictures were chosen by local artist Garfield Evans –what a task for him!   As you can see from the above drawing, the  standard was excellent  and a good crowd turned up at Resolven Community Centre on Saturday the 7th of April to see the prizes handed over by Council Chairman Trefor Jones, aided by Clerk to the Council Cheryl Payne.

Trefor and Cheryl ready to open the doors

 

Nathan Williams- Reception ( 3rd prize winner)

There were 3 classes involved this time—Reception Class, Year 3 and Year 6.

First prize was a voucher for £20. Second prize was £10 and 3rd prize was £5.

When the first young winner was handed his envelope with money inside he raised a laugh in the hall by handing it straight back to Trefor!  Tempted though he might have been, Trefor didn’t keep it and assured the young man that the money was all his. Another young artist thought she was in the hall to receive a raffle prize and was a little bemused as she didn’t recall buying a ticket!  But she and all the others who took part deserve great praise for their art work.

 

 

List of winners:

Reception 1st Skyla Evans-Howells 2nd Amber Rose Sims 3rd Nathan Williams

Year 3      1st Leon Davies 2nd Neurin Griffiths 3rd Cyran Church

Year 6      1st Lilia Gladwin 2nd Kadie Newth 3rd Iestyn Ace

Lilia Gladwin Year 6—1st prize

 

Neurin Griffithe Year 3 (2nd prize)

 

 

Iestyn Ace Year 6 (3rd prize)

 

Skyla Evans Howells– Reception (1st Prize)

 

Amber Rose Sims –Reception ( 2nd prize)

 

Year 3 artists-Cyran Church (3rd prize) Leon Davies (1st prize)