December 2008 Archives
In preparing this piece I noticed that I made a mistake in the last Blog (No 20) in that I used an incorrect census image. The second image shown should have been from the 1881 Census but I put up an image from the 1871 Census by mistake. This error will be corrected and the accompanying comments will then hopefully make some sense. People have told me that it's very difficult to read the census forms that I've shown. This is true but I should have pointed out that by double left clicking on an image it expands to fill the screen which will then make the census from readable. You can also click again if you want to expand the image further.
On Saturday 13 December 2008 I attended an exhibition to celebrate the centenary of the establishment of the Penmachno County Primary School. This was my first school which I attended during the early 1940s when I lived with my grandparents in Penmachno during the war years whilst my father was in the army. It was difficult to judge how many people were there but the small school was absolutely full. The current school children sang and there were speeches by two former headmasters, Ellis Hughes and Dafydd Hughes, and the local Assembly Member, Gareth Jones.
I went there with my friend Geraint Jones, now living near me in Caernarfon but who also lived near me in Penmachno back in the 1940s. Geraint lived in Carreg yr Ast about a mile and a half from the school, whilst my home Gwiga was about just under a mile and it was Geraint, about two years older, who called for me to take me to school on my first day. It was therefore a very appropriate that he drove me to the school on Saturday!
I met many people I hadn't seen for over 50 years and it was lucky that I was with Geraint as he recognised far more people than I did having spent his whole childhood in the village whereas I went back to Liverpool in 1945. This was an exciting experience.
There was a good exhibition covering the 100 year period giving the background to the establishment of the council school following pressure from the Non-conformists who objected to their children having to attend the Church run National School in the village. This was a general pattern throughout Wales during this period and the National School in Penmachno closed in 1921 following the success of the Council school.
The photos covered nearly all periods except the period when I attended! This was probably because it was war time and taking school photos was not a priority. I have no records of my period at the school but I do have two of my mother's certificates and 11 School Reports between 1915 and 1922. I'd given the school copies of these and I was pleased to see that they had used the certificates and two of the reports to form a display.
The first Certificate shown is dated 31 July 1916 and has a splendid colourful frame based on the royal family and the royal castles. It was produced by E J Arnold, the well known educational publishers, and would have been available to all Education Committees in the country. The interior of the Certificate was prepared in Welsh by the Caernarvonshire Education Committee and is presented to my mother, Kate Williams, for her "punctuality, consistency and good work during the year". It has the names of the Committee's officers and the Chairman was William George, brother of David Lloyd George, the war time Prime Minsiter.
The second Certificate shown is all Welsh and the original is nearly A3 size. It says that it is a Certificate (of the First Class) presented by the Caernarvonshire Education Committee to Kate Williams of the Penmachno Council School "in acknowledgement of excellent work and regular attendance, which is an encouragement for growth in the future and a remembrance for the efforts and sacrifice of our Country in this the third year of the War." There are signatures of the same officers on this Certificate. At the same time during 1916 and 1917 my mother was getting postcards addressed to herself, initially from France and then from a German POW camp, from her Uncle Tom who had enlisted in November 1915. Perhaps this had inspired her.
If you want to see the images clearer, then double right click and the image will fill the screen
The next Gwynedd Family History Society meetings are:
Bangor, 6 January (first Tuesday of each month) 7.00pm at the Quakers Meeting Hall, Dean Street: Gwilym T Evans, "Tales of Morris Evans"
Caernarfon, 29 January (last Thursday of each month) 7.00pm at the The Library, Lôn Pafiliwn: Dewi Tomos, "Beirdd Gwlad yn y Teulu"
Dolgellau, 8 January (second Thursday of each month) 7.00pm at the Royal Ship Hotel: BUT this night. "Noson yn yr archifdy / An evening in the Archives"
Llandudno, 12 January (second Monday of each month) 7.00pm at Capel Ebenezer, Abergele Road, Old Colwyn (please note new meeting place):
Peter Brindley, "Bangor Pier"
Llangefni, 15 January (third Thursday of each month) 7.15pm at Capel Smyrna, Ffordd Glanhwfa: But this evening "A workshop in the Llangefni Archives"
Pwllheli, 16 January (third Friday of each month) 7.00pm at Capel Seion, Lon Dywod:
Dewi Tomos, "Bardd Gwlad yn y Teulu"