Report on the December meeting of Resolfen History Society.

A Report on the December meeting of Resolfen History Society.

Some years ago the committee of the History Society decided to make the December meeting a Members’ Night. The idea was not to deter other interested parties attending, but rather a reaction to the fact that competing events tended to diminish the size of the audience. Therefore, members were given the chance to show their local knowledge or give an item on anything they fancied.

The meeting began with a power-point presentation given by the Chairman Gwyn Thomas. Gwyn has amassed a large collection of photos regarding the activities of the Society in recent years. None of the slides was given a title, instead the members had to guess which activity was taking place. Without going in to detail some of the memories were a little rusty, but the exercise at least let people speak about their experiences once dredged from memory.

The second item was a reading from the autobiography of Joe Cookson who worked in a coal level above Melincwrt in 1919. The extract related to his first day in the mine and gave a vivid description of the poor working conditions devoid of any notion of Health and Safety legislation. The most interesting aspect of the work was its use of technical terms while describing the journey to work and the work practices of a boy assigned to a collier. Decades ago, terms such as “haulier”, “gob”, “journey”, “mandril” or “dram”, would not have needed an explanation to a Resolven audience,but times have changed. Luckily, enough of the audience had experience underground to enrich the narrative with details and subsequent anecdotes. Poor Joe, spent the end of his first day in a state of unconsciousness owing to succumbing to a bout of the Spanish flu, which incidentally claimed as many lives globally as the number of casualties in the Great War.

The evening finished with the annual quiz. Quiz being a very loose description, since it involved a competition to win Christmas crackers should three history questions be answered in succession by the same person. The accuracy of the answers was a little varied, since the members also helped themselves to refreshments and of course mulled wine to charge the brain cells. The Quizmaster had to resort to some very generous clues in order to get some reaction from the audience.

Merry Christmas, and a happy new year, from the History Society.

Nadolig Llawen a blwyddyn newydd dda o’r Gymdeithas Hanes.

Trefor Jones.