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, May 05, 2010

Sir Cliff Darby Memorial Plaque

From left to right: Mr Gwyn Thomas, Professor Christopher Page and Mr Gwyn Bishop.

This week may well be an historic one in more ways than one, however Monday May 3rd proved the culmination of a long awaited wish of the History Society to mark the contribution of Resolven’s Sir Cliff Darby to his subject, historical geography.

Once again a large contingent of members, councillors and supporters came together to unveil the plaque on Y Ganolfan. The plaque was unveiled by Mr Gwyn Thomas ( Chairman), Professor Christopher Page and Mr Gwyn Thomas ( Chairman of the Community Council).

Following the unveiling, a short address was given by Mr Phylip Jones who told the remarkable story of Clifford Darby, who had entered Cambridge University at the tender age of sixteen and had an academic career of utter brilliance in his field. The second speaker was Professor Chiristopher Page of Birmingham University, a distant relative of Cliff Darby who through sheer chance had been in conversation with Betty Whyman and had decided to attend the unveiling with his wife. It is known that Cliff Darby had two daughters however both the History Society and the Page family have drawn a blank at tracing them.
The formal part of the proceedings was drawn to a close by Mr Gwyn Bishop who responded on behalf of the Community Council. In conclusion, Mr Gwyn Thomas thanked Resolven Community Council for their financial support and to Mr Nick Thomas of Vale Memorials for his craftsmanship.

The achievements of Cliff Darby have been recounted elsewhere on this website and it is fitting at this juncture to recount extracts from the “Journal of Historical Geography”, who produced a special edition in his honour to note the occasion of Darby’s 80th birthday ( supplied by Professor Page).

Editorial - “Journal of Historical Geography Vol 15.1 (1989)

On 7th February, 1989 Sir Clifford Darby, C.B.E., F.B.A., will enjoy his 80th birthday and this number of the Journal of Historical Geography celebrates that occasion. It also marks, albeit inadequately, the debt which the international community of historical geographers owes to the spirit of improvement – to the impulse to experiment with new problems, new sources and new methodologies – with which Clifford Darby has imbued his writing on historical geography since 1928 when he published his first paper ( at the age of 19 (Ed)). Darby’s sixty years of research and publication in historical geography wight appropriately be called “the age of the improver”, an appellation which he chose for an essay on a remarkable period of innovation and progress in English agriculture.

(More photos to follow)