Cymdeithas Hanes Resolfen History Society

A web log for the Resolven History Society which publishes articles and stories related to Resolven and the immediate surroundings.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April Meeting

Archive Cine Show

Mal Brake is an old friend of the History Society and we were very grateful to him for coming to entertain us once again following the untimely death of the original speaker, Mr Phillip Whitehead. Mr Brake has a passion with old cine footage particularly that containing scenes of the steam age. The members were this time treated to five short vintage films.

The first was titled “Valleys of Steam” and concentrated on the industrial legacy of the south Wales valleys. It was noticeable, that even though the film, shot by train enthusiasts, was only completed in 1968 it revealed a world not much changed from the 1920s. The mispronounciation of Welsh place names provoked much hilarity.

The second film showed the “Romney,Hythe and Dymchurch Light Railway”. This railway with its diminutive locomotives is still running as a tourist attraction in Kent, but started its life as a working passenger service. During the war it was used to carry munitions and the trains were armoured as protection. Once again the film revealed a summer holiday scene which has somehow passed everyone by.

The third film focussed on a steam railway in New Zealand, where an American type loco provided a summer service for tourists. The members were then taken on a tour of the narrow gauge railways and tramlines of the Isle of Man, remarkably the island had also lost much of its narrow gauge railway network during the 1960s even though it was not subject to the “Beeching cuts”, which had scythed their way through the network on the mainland. Finally, Mr Brake brought the evening to a halt with a visit to the Vale of Rheidol Light Railway in Mid Wales. This remains the only steam driven service which was maintained by the then privatised British Rail. To emphasise this the carriages and locomotive in the film had been painted in the BR blu livery, an aspect which caused much amusement at the time.

Mr Gwyn Thomas thanked Mr Brake for a very informative and entertaining evening.

Members should note that next month’s meeting has been changed, and a visit to view the excavations at Rheola House will now take place on May 10th . Members should meet at 5:30 outside the Church Hall so that cars will be able to ferry members to Rheola by 6:00. Any volunteers to drive cars would be much appreciated.