LOOKING BACK ON 2011
FAMILY HISTORY DAY WITH THE DYFED FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETY
We began the New Year with a Family History Day with Dyfed Family History Society, Pembrokeshire Records Office and Owen Vaughan attending. Rosalie Lilwall of Dyfed Family History Society gave a short introductory talk. We ran a coffee morning alongside and the event was well attended.
Our Quiz Night on Friday was amazing - well over 50 people took part and we had a great evening. The buffet was excellent as always and we are so fortunate in having so many good cooks among us. Thanks to everyone involved and especially to Pauline, our Quizmaster,who is in a word marvellous!
PEMBROKESHIRE PROSPECTOR'S SOCIETY
Jack Tree of Pembrokeshire Prospector's Society proved to be a popular speaker with a large audience turning up to listen to his talk and see the artefacts and coins which he brought along. His talk was all the more fascinating as he allowed us to handle the artefacts which were passed freely among us. There's something about actually handling an object - you feel that connection with the past, the thought that sometime, long ago people were holding that same object. Great stuff!
OUR AGM AND TALK BY ROB SCOURFIELD
Rob Scourfield proved to be a popular speaker at our first AGM yesterday. As Chairman I opened the meeting giving an annual report of our achievements throughout the year - and we have achieved a great deal, establishing ourselves well into the community. Stuart presented the accounts which show a healthy bank balance which reflects some grant aid (we have received funding from the WCVA Communities First Trust Fund) but also our own fundraising efforts which enable us to offer all events free. The officers stood down and all were re elected.Afterwards Rob took over and gave us his hugely enjoyable talk about the South Pembrokeshire dialect . It was a good laugh with many contributions from the audience. Afterwards we were able to have a chat over coffee and biscuits before leaving to brave the tempest which raged outside!
ST DAVIDS DAY CELEBRATION: EXHIBITION OF WELSH COSTUME AND TALK BY DAVID & PAT RYE
Welsh Day proved very popular with David and Pat Rye giving a fascinating talk on the Welsh Costume. Pat went through several changes of costume (looking immaculate thoughout) while David explained all in great detail. It was all hugely enjoyable.52 people visited over the course of the morning and were able to enjoy also an exhibition of Welsh costume and prints. Thankyou to David and Pat Rye, who brought along their own collection, Judy and John StJohn Stimpson and Mark Thomas of PCC Museum's Service (Scolton Manor) for the prints and costume exhibits.Our hospitality this time extended to lunch - leek and potato soup made by Pauline went down well as did the Welsh cakes and bara brith.
LAUNCH OF OUR MONKTON HERITAGE LEAFLET
A really good crowd assembled for the launch of our Monkton Heritage Leaflet. We were pleased to welcome guests Kate Lindley of Planed, who arranged for the production of the leaflet, and George Lewis, who illustrated it. Chairman gave a short, illustrated talk about what we as a Society are hoping to accomplish and work in progress. The leaflet is a good beginning to our publishing ambitions.
TALK BY KEITH JOHNSON "PEMBROKESHIRE PUBS"
Keith gave us a fascinating talk on Pembrokeshire Pubs. His talk explored the history and social background of the public house and how it has evolved and changed through centuries. Keith, who was born in a Pembrokeshire Pub - the Carew Inn - has written a series of books on the subject but unfortunately the volume covering Pembroke, Pembroke Dock, Tenby and South Pembrokeshire is currently out of print.
With the Royal Wedding very much in the air our exhibition on Saturday May 7th featured Royal visits to Pembroke. Here in Pembroke we have the distinction of being the birthplace of Henry VII, born in Pembroke Castle in 1457, but in more recent times we have been visited by King Edward VII, the Queen and Queen mum. Pembroke Castle put on a good show for the occasion - a big TV screen was erected and Pembroke residents and visitors assembled to watch the Big Day in a holiday atmosphere. The sun shone, we picniced and there were various events arranged for the kids. A good day to chill out!
EXHIBITION "PEMBROKE MAIN STREET THEN AND NOW"
This exhibition,organised by Vicki Haggar, attracted huge interest. Vicki was was born and grew up in Pembroke Main Street and her exhibition was a memoir of the Street as it was while she was growing up. Said Vicki, " Many people have helped me in my search for historical facts about Main Street premises and I am truly grateful to them all for their kindness and help. Although I am not an historian I have done my best to collect historical data and present it but alongside this I have tried to convey a picture of Pembroke as I saw it in my time. What the people meant to me, the local characters, the shops, the shopkeepers etc. There is so much to say but one can only write a few words on a display and this is why I ask that anyone with memories, photo’s or anything of interest on Pembroke Main Street contact us so that we can build a bigger picture and leave our memories recorded in time never to be lost as so many things are. "
TALK: "LONG AGO DOWN BELOW" BY JOHN RUSSELL
Our talk by John Russell on Friday June 17th was another huge success with just under 100 people attending! John talked about the families who lived on the farms on the Castlemartin peninsular and who were, prior to World War II, dispossessed of their land to make way for the tank training range. He told their story "Long Ago, Down Below" and some people affected actually attended the talk.
SUMMER EXHIBITION AT MONKTON PRIORY CHURCH
This summer has had more than its fair share of bad weather but the sun shone on our summer exhibition which was held on Saturday, July 2nd. The exhibition told the story of Pembroke’s maritime past, tracing Pembroke’s growth as a prosperous mediaeval port. Its subsequent decline was followed by recovery in the 18th Century when Pembroke became once again a leading, thriving port in South west Wales. Boats are a rare sight in Pembroke now but until the mid 20th Century schooners and ketches sailed up the Pembroke River to unload and load their cargos at the Quays. The exhibition provided much information about the Coastal trade and the boats which traded at Pembroke, among them the Kathleen and May and the Garlandstone. Keeping alive our maritime past is the aim of the West Wales Maritime Heritage Society which also took part and provided exhibits. The exhibition took place in the Priory Church instead of the usual venue in the Church Hall and coffee was served in the porch of the Church. This proved fortunate because the morning was so lovely that visitors were able to enjoy a chat over coffee sitting outside in the sun on the best day of the summer so far!
PEMBROKE NORTH COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION'S COMMUNITY FUN DAY
July 23rd saw us supporting the Pembroke North Community Association’s Fun Day on The Green, Pembroke. The PNCA is a voluntary group who freely give up their time and who are striving to provide facilities in North Pembroke, including a children’s playground and community hall. They certainly have great support in this community which turned out in force on a beautiful sunny day - a lovely community event
THE PEMBROKE TOWN AND COUNTRY SHOW
On August 3rd the Society held a stall at the Pembroke Town and Country Show, which they shared with the Pembroke Civic Trust. Again the sun shone on us although we were in the Marquee. There was a lot of interest in our work and we actually ran out of pamphlets!
CIVIC TRUST OPEN DOORS 2011
Friday 3rd September saw us in Pembroke Town Hall participating in the Civic Trust Wales Open Doors 2011, an event shared with Pembroke Civic Trust and Dyfed Family History Society. We provided the refreshments and collected donations for the Mayor's Charity, Macmillan Cancer Support who also did their own fundraise at the event. We put on a large exhibition: by popular demand we displayed Vick Haggar's Main Street project and well as extracts from other displays we have been working on - memories of Monkton, Orange Gardens, The Green and The Commons.
REG WILLIAMS TALK "50 YEARS A PEMBROKE POSTMAN"
We began our Autumn Programme on September 16th, and what a good beginning! Popular local character Reg Williams spoke to a packed Church Hall about his long career as a local postman in a talk entitled “50 Years a Pembroke Postman”. Reg was in good form as he recounted his memories of leaving school at 14 and getting a temporary job as a telegram boy, a job for a fortnight in 1945 but which he actually left in 1995, 50 years later! As you can see from the photographs, we had a pretty full house!!
Saturday October 1st was according to the 'News' the hottest October day on record! It was also the day we recommenced our Local History Coffee mornings and we were pleased that so many dropped in to see us - regulars, newcomers and even holiday makers. The theme of our exhibition this time was 'Entertainment in Times Past' and we found lots of material from Pembroke Fair, cinema, amateur dramatics, festivals, carnivals, church events to horse and greyhound racing.
OCTOBER 14TH: HAGGARS'S NIGHT - A GREAT SUCCESS!
Celebrating also the second anniversary of our inaugural meeting!
It was Full House at Pembroke Town Hall last Friday when the Pembroke and Monkton Local History Society brought Haggar’s back once more to the Main Street. In front of this large gathering I felt honoured to welcome Sarah Haggar who gave us an excellent presentation on the life and work of her great, great grandfather William Haggar whose vision and dogged determination made him a leading figure in the world of the cinema and pioneer of early film making. Sarah told us that she had researched into the letters of William’s daughter Lily and she presented those early years of the Haggar family through Lily’s eyes: the hardship, hunger and poverty which drove this remarkable man to succeed against the odds, and who persevered with his moving pictures seeing the future and strong in the faith that “there is money it”.
We were then treated to the showing of some of Haggar’s silent movies and here we were fortunate also to welcome musician and colleague of Sarah’s at Milford Comprehensive School, Mark Jones. Mark has composed a piano accompaniment to the films and we were able once more to enjoy the films as they should be viewed, to music. So many people commented afterwards that the music had really made the films come alive and had contributed so much to the experience and enjoyment of the evening.
The first film we saw was the first fictional film to be made: “The Maid of Cefn Ydfa”. This melodrama was an old favourite of Welsh audiences was first shown in the Bioscope at Swansea Fair. It was a sensational hit and people flocked to see it. “The Maid” made William Haggar’s fortune. This was followed by further successes and we also saw other Haggar ‘hits’ in the “Life of Charles Peace” and “the Desperate Poaching Affray”. William Haggar died in 1924 before the advent of the talking film but he had made his mark and died a very successful man. We all owe him a great deal: there should be a museum dedicated to his life and work.
November was a busy month for us with lots going on. On Saturday, November 5th we held our Local History Coffee morning with an exhibition on a military theme (with Remembrance Day in view) .The morning had its surprises. First, in came Philip and Briggette Thomas with a collection of military weapons and memorabilia, which naturally attracted much interest. Philip told me that they have been collecting military weapons and memorabilia over many years and organise large displays for charities like Cancer Research and the British Legion. This was only a fraction of their collection. Then another surprise: we had a visit from an eminent artist, Anthony Millard from Llandrindod Wells. He brought along some of his paintings to display: paintings he had been inspired to paint whilst visiting Pembrokeshire.
So there was plenty to see, and, in addition, visitors were treated to the showing of an old home movie belonging to Vicki Haggar, which was fascinating. It spanned many years from the 40s to 60s as it was a compilation of many old family films rescued and digitalised. It contained amongst others, scenes of parades, the Main Street, the Queen’s visit and even footage of the demonstration in Pembroke against the coming of German troops to Castlemartin in the 60s. I didn’t realise how big the demo was! But if there are any Germans reading this, I am pleased to say we all ended up the greatest of friends and were really sad when the Germans made their final goodbye. We have been fortunate to acquire copies of home movies like this which capture past times in a way that stills can never can.
This was followed by a visit to the Reference Library at Haverfordwest on November 9th; Quiz Night at Monkton Priory Church Hall on November 11th and participation at Pembrokeshire Coast National Park's Archaeology Day at Pembrokeshire College on November 19th.
We are a voluntary group dedicated to raising the awareness of our history and preserving it for future generations.
We have received funding to set up our resource centre, purchase equipment and display materials. So thanks to WCVA and PAVS and also to PLANED for funding our Monkton Heritage Leaflet.