CBHC / RCAHMW https://rcahmw.gov.uk On the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales Tue, 01 Dec 2020 12:24:32 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.3 Uncovering wallpaintings: the patterned wall from modern to medieval Wales https://rcahmw.gov.uk/uncovering-wallpaintings-the-patterned-wall-from-modern-to-medieval-wales/ https://rcahmw.gov.uk/uncovering-wallpaintings-the-patterned-wall-from-modern-to-medieval-wales/#respond Tue, 01 Dec 2020 12:13:49 +0000 https://rcahmw.gov.uk/?p=20624 This talk offers an illustrated journey from modern wallpaper to medieval wallpaintings, including the exciting discoveries at Llandeilo Talybont and Llancarfan churches.

The talk previews some of the themes of the Royal Commission’s forthcoming and long-awaited publication on Wallpaintings in Welsh Churches.

‘Uncovering wallpaintings:
the patterned wall from modern to medieval Wales’

by Richard Suggett,
3 December, 5pm.

Uncovering wallpaintings

Watch it on Facebook

If you haven’t got a ticket for the live Zoom event (which sold out within 24 hours!), watch it on Facebook instead where we will be sharing the event live. Questions can be submitted via Facebook during the event and after.

The event will also be recorded and made available on our YouTube channel.

Once again we will be joining the National Library’s Christmas Fair which will be a virtual event this year.

From 11am until 8pm the National Library Shop and local businesses will be showcasing their festive products online via the National Library’s Facebook page.

Why not take the chance to find the perfect gift for your loved ones or maybe to treat yourself?!

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Digitised drawings and fabulous photos: Highlights from our Online Collections https://rcahmw.gov.uk/digitised-drawings-and-fabulous-photos-highlights-from-our-online-collections/ https://rcahmw.gov.uk/digitised-drawings-and-fabulous-photos-highlights-from-our-online-collections/#respond Thu, 26 Nov 2020 12:05:13 +0000 https://rcahmw.gov.uk/?p=20575 The Royal Commission’s archive – the National Monuments Record of Wales (NMRW)  – like most archives is made up of several diverse collections. We have 916 distinct collections in total, which range from the small and specific to the large and wide ranging. 

Many of these are physical collections that are accessible only by visiting our search room in person or by contacting the enquiry team to request copies. Although this year’s restrictions have made access to physical collections difficult, it has given us a new-found appreciation of our wonderful digital collections. 

As with most archives, it is increasingly common for new collections received to have been created wholly digitally. Combined with our ongoing work to digitise our collections, this means that there are in excess of 100,000 items available to view freely online on our catalogue, Coflein. This blog lists a few of the highlights:

Aerofilms Collection

The Aerofilms collection is one of many aerial photography collections held in the NMRW.  The photos in this collection were taken by Aerofilms Ltd. a private aerial photography company established following the Great War, whose photos range from 1919 to 2006.  After the Aerofilms firm ceased operating, the Welsh portion of their photographs were acquired by the Royal Commission.  In 2010 several external grants made it possible to establish ‘Britain from Above’: a four-year project working with English and Scottish partners to digitise the most precious photographs – those dating from 1919 to 1953.  These photos can now be viewed on Coflein and on the Britain from Above website and give a fascinating insight into the changing faces of Welsh towns and cities.

Cardiff Docks, 1929
Cardiff Docks, 1929
Swansea Civic Centre and Guildhall, 1935
Swansea Civic Centre and Guildhall, 1935

Discover more about Aerofilms and the changing face of Britain in the first half of the twentieth century in the book, Aerofilms: A History of Britain From Above (2015) available on our website.

Arthur Chater Collection

Arthur Chater was highly regarded as a botanist, but (unknown to most) he also amassed a huge photographic collection.  Some 4,000 of his black & white photos, primarily of sites in Cardiganshire taken between 1955 and 1965, have been deposited in the NMRW, with thousands more on the way.  Over 2,800 of these photos are already available to view online.

Aberystwyth's Old College
Aberystwyth’s Old College
Tabernacle Welsh Calvinistic Methodist chapel, Powell Street, Aberystwyth
Tabernacle Welsh Calvinistic Methodist chapel, Powell Street, Aberystwyth

Falcon Hildred Archive

The artist Falcon Hildred is known for his pencil, ink and watercolour works of industrial landscapes, especially Blaenau Ffestiniog.  A notable example of a collection purchased by the Royal Commission, we have digitised almost 600 examples of his work.  As well as viewing the artworks online, the Royal Commission’s book on his work, contains over 200 colour illustrations by the artist drawn from many different collections.  A wonderful art book, it is also a useful work of reference to industrial buildings and landscapes. 

Winding House, Maenofferen Quarry
Winding House, Maenofferen Quarry
Gwylfa Chapel (coverted to garage)
Gwylfa Chapel (coverted to garage)

RCAHMW Colour Oblique Digital Aerial Photographs

The Royal Commission’s extensive aerial photography collections contain photos from the RAF, the Ordnance Survey and other organisations.  However, since 1986 the Commission has also had its own programme of aerial reconnaissance.  This focuses on Wales’s historical and archaeological sites and includes the monitoring of scheduled monuments for Cadw as well as discovering new archaeological sites.

Ysgol Bro Teifi
Ysgol Bro Teifi
Whitesands Bay
Whitesands Bay
Bryn Llyndwr
Bryn Llyndwr
Trawscoed Roman Fort
Trawscoed Roman Fort

Capturing changing landscapes, moments in time, stunning views and new discoveries.

Did you know?

Since 2016, the National Monuments Record of Wales has been the national archive for aerial photography in Wales and now holds over 2 million aerial photos spanning the last hundred years.

Learn more about our historic aerial photos in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUg0tMh2uGQ

Central Office of Information Photographic Collection

Established in 1946 as a successor to the wartime Ministry of Information, the Central Office of Information was the UK government’s marketing and communication department.  In the course of its work producing promotional and information material for British citizens, it built up a substantial library of photographs.  This library was eventually dispersed and in 1992 RCAHMW acquired a collection of photographs, transparencies and negatives of Welsh buildings and sites.  Over 700 of these photographs have now been digitised and can now be viewed on Coflein.

St David's Cathedral
St David’s Cathedral
Caernarfon Castle
Caernarfon Castle
Welsh National War Memorial, Cardiff
Welsh National War Memorial, Cardiff
Archwiliwch Eich Archifau - logo

By Rhodri Lewis, Enquiries & Library Assistant

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Digital Survey and Interpretation https://rcahmw.gov.uk/digital-survey-and-interpretation/ https://rcahmw.gov.uk/digital-survey-and-interpretation/#respond Wed, 25 Nov 2020 08:10:59 +0000 https://rcahmw.gov.uk/?p=20498 Since its inception in 1908, the Royal Commission has established a reputation for maintaining an expertise in, and developing standards for, the survey, interpretation and reconstruction of historic buildings and archaeological sites. Since the purchase of our first Electronic Measuring Device (EDM) in 1984, we have striven to encompass innovative digital technologies into our work in order to further and improve our understanding of the heritage of Wales.

‘The Bridge’ by Jonah Jones, formerly at Coleg Harlech. Still from an animation by See3D Ltd and the Royal Commission used in the TV series Hidden Histories
‘The Bridge’ by Jonah Jones, formerly at Coleg Harlech. Still from an animation by See3D Ltd and the Royal Commission used in the TV series Hidden Histories. NPRN 402783

The Survey and Investigation Team utilises a wide range of digital survey techniques in the survey of diverse heritage of Wales. Total Station Theodolites (TST) survey, Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) survey, airborne laser scanning (LiDAR), terrestrial laser scanning, photogrammetry and giga-pixel photography are employed to provide detailed, highly accurate 3-dimensional recording of sites, landscapes, structures and buildings. This data is both archived in the National Monuments Record of Wales, creating an enduring record of the site for future consideration, and is the essential basis for understanding and interpretation of a monument.

Digital interpretation is a fast-developing area of the Survey and Investigation Team’s work. The use of 3D computer modelling, gaming platforms, 360⁰ high-resolution photographic spheres and Virtual Reality provides an important research tool within our understanding of how a site was built and developed. These techniques also give us exciting new opportunities in disseminating our research to audiences in a way that allows for clearer understanding and fuller appreciation of their heritage.

As well as creating entirely digitally born records and resources, the Royal Commission’s in-house Digitisation Unit works to digitise our historic archive. This includes thematic programmes of collections to aid our research projects, digitisation to make our archive more accessible to the public, and programmes of conservation work to ensure the preservation of vulnerable items.

Free resource

Sharing Our Digital Past is a free resource explaining more about our work with digital technologies and showcasing our animations, laser scanning fly-throughs and 3D models.

Section through a laser scan point cloud of the bell tower at St Michael’s Church, Llanfihangel-y-Creuddyn carried out by the Royal Commission in 2019
Section through a laser scan point cloud of the bell tower at St Michael’s Church, Llanfihangel-y-Creuddyn carried out by the Royal Commission in 2019. NPRN 105145
A view of Bardsey Island created from aerial LiDAR data. Artificially illuminated from three directions, the topography of the island can be seen in sharp detail,
A view of Bardsey Island created from aerial LiDAR data. Artificially illuminated from three directions, the topography of the island can be seen in sharp detail, ensuring countless archaeological features are visible. LiDAR produced by Blue Sky International for the CHERISH project. NPRN 402783
Archwiliwch Eich Archifau - logo

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Explore Your Archives 2020 – Digital Technologies in Heritage https://rcahmw.gov.uk/explore-your-archives-2020-digital-technologies-in-heritage/ https://rcahmw.gov.uk/explore-your-archives-2020-digital-technologies-in-heritage/#comments Thu, 19 Nov 2020 12:06:13 +0000 https://rcahmw.gov.uk/?p=20429 Laser scan survey image of Parys Mountain Windmill: 2000
Laser scan survey image of Parys Mountain Windmill: 2000
NPRN 306041 C.444624 Ref. PMW08

Our Explore Your Archives campaign (EYA2020) has gone wholly digital this year, partly because of the current restricted access to our much-loved archives and libraries.

We are taking this opportunity to explore and celebrate our Digital Technologies following our successful Digital Past 2020 Conference (DP2020) on New Technologies in Heritage and Interpretation, and the accompanying exhibition showcased at Aberystwyth University during February 2020.

We thought that this year’s campaign would be the perfect opportunity to share further these stunning and invaluable resources.

The new digital technologies featured will include: 3D Computer Reconstructions & Animations; Laser Scan Surveys & Fly-Throughs; LiDAR Surveys (Light Detection and Ranging); Multi Beam Sonar Data Surveys; UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) Surveys; Photogrammetry; Geophysics; 360 Degree Gigapixel Photography and 360-degree Videos.

The resulting images provide unique and exciting ways of looking at monuments and structures and enabling a greater depth of understanding of our cultural heritage in Wales.

Look out for more news during the week!

This will include our regular Heritage of Wales blog on our website, Facebook, and our Twitter accounts: @RCAHMWales; @RC_Survey; @RC_Archive

Look out for our regular hashtags: #LlunDyddLlun; #MeddwlMawrth; #TechTuesday; #HwylHanes as well as this year’s campaign hashtags: #ExploreYourArchive and #ExploreYourArchiveAtHome.

For preview examples on these themes, see also:
DP2020

RCAHMW’s You Tube channel

• RCAHMW You Tube channel digital technology playlist

• The blog by Louise Barker and Sue Fielding from our Survey & Investigation Team

• European Travellers to Wales Animations, Reconstructions and Tours

• Welsh Chapels Animations & Fly-Throughs

• Welsh Chapels Animations

• RCAHMW Memory Archive

• PCW Memory Archive Nature Collection

• PCW Memory Archive Farming Collection

• PCW Memory Archive Living Rooms Collection

• PCW Memory Archive TV and Radio Collection

A still from a computer animation showing a reconstruction of Ystrad Einion Metal Mine, Ceredigion: 2011
A still from a computer animation showing a reconstruction of Ystrad Einion Metal Mine, Ceredigion: 2011
NPRN 33908 C.641005 Ref. RCANI_18_02
3D still image from a laser scanning survey of Tintern Abbey: 2017
3D still image from a laser scanning survey of Tintern Abbey: 2017
NPRN 359 C.671057 Ref. ETW_TIN
A still taken from an animation of Denbigh Town Hall, highlighting phasing: 2005
A still taken from an animation of Denbigh Town Hall, highlighting phasing: 2005
NPRN 23423 C.444760 Ref. DCH43
Airborne laser scanning (LiDAR) of The Skerries: 2017
Airborne laser scanning (LiDAR) of The Skerries: 2017
NPRN 506357 C.671492 Ref. CHR_04_04_01_04
Multi-beam sonar data image of the Diamond: 2012
Multi-beam sonar data image of the Diamond: 2012
NPRN 307941 C.563690 Ref. WACS04_01_009
Image from a GNSS and Photogrammetry survey of The Warren at Abersoch, with peat exposures showing prehistoric animal footprints, including deer and aurochs: 2018
Image from a GNSS and Photogrammetry survey of The Warren at Abersoch, with peat exposures showing prehistoric animal footprints, including deer and aurochs: 2018
NPRN 421684 C.644803 Ref. DS2018_471_012
Archwiliwch Eich Archifau - logo
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Vernon David Emmanuel’s photographic collection on People’s Collection Wales https://rcahmw.gov.uk/vernon-david-emmanuels-collection-on-peoples-collection-wales/ https://rcahmw.gov.uk/vernon-david-emmanuels-collection-on-peoples-collection-wales/#comments Tue, 17 Nov 2020 16:28:20 +0000 https://rcahmw.gov.uk/?p=20359

“Were it not for the foresight of people such as my father, these items would not have been saved”

My father, Vernon David Emmanuel, was an avid historian and strived to protect and preserve our historical heritage. I did not realise the extent of his collection until after his death when I saw the significance of what I had in front of me.

Over the last seven years, his photographic collection and his work has been entrusted to me to ensure it is saved. It now in the archives of RCAHMW where  approximately 4,000 of his photographs covering historic buildings to industrial ones are now housed.

 Were it not for the foresight of people such as my father, these items would not have been saved. He started to notice in his early 30s that a number of Welsh chapels were being demolished or converted into household dwellings and decided that they needed to be documented for prosperity.


Lifelong passion of over 60 years documenting and photographing

This led to a lifelong passion for over 60 years documenting and photographing historical buildings and copying and preserving old photographs he thought needed to be archived.

His other passion was collecting books dating back to the early 1800s, which we discovered after he passed away. We found out that a lot of them were rare and of significant historical importance with the majority being donated to the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales Library in Aberystwyth and also the National Library of Wales.


Stunning photos of early 1900s Usk

While going through some of his collection I found pictures that I hadn’t documented. Among them were a batch of stunning black and white high-quality photos which were taken in the early 1900s of Usk and the surrounding area. [see the collection here]

Newspaper-seller at Usk station, c.1902; Coconut shy at Usk fair and sheep dipping on the Usk river, c.1902, Tricycle on a street in Usk


“I decided to colourise one of them and was blown away”

There are photographs which I believe are of the celebration of the coronation of Edward VII and his wife, Princess Alexandra, as King and Queen at Westminster Abbey, London, on 9th August 1902. Because of their quality, I decided to colourise one of them and was blown away by what I saw as they suddenly came alive in front of me. This prompted me to colour them all and I was amazed by what I saw. They show in such clarity the clothing of that era which will be a treasure trove to clothes designers and students of historical dress.

[See here for a collection of photographs taken informally at the turn of the century of possible members of the Addams Williams family, owners of the Llangibby Castle estate, Usk at that time. They include original and colourised images]

“They show in such clarity the clothing of that era which will be a treasure trove to clothes designers and students of historical dress”

Llangibby House party, woman with dog, 1902; Llangibby House, group, 1902; Castle Cottage Llangybi Murder Scene on 18 July 1878

I also found one significant picture of a tragic episode in Llangybi near Usk.  In 1878, Spanish sailor Josef Garcia was convicted of the murder in the village of William and Elizabeth Watkins and their three youngest children (Charlotte, 8 years, Alice, 5 years, and Frederick, 4 years) – and the picture actually shows their cottage, with two constables by the door and two men and a woman standing outside the gate. I cannot find any other record of a picture of the cottage, only an artist’s impression.

Graham Tudor Emmanuel 2020


The Vernon D. Emmanuel Collection of photographs taken and collected by Graham’s father and deposited by him in the National Monuments Record can be explored here. The digital photographs from this collection will be uploaded to People’s Collection Wales soon. 

The Royal Commission Archive is a fully accredited, national archive based in Aberystwyth with an online database, Coflein. Our unique collection contains drawings, photos, maps and records relating to Wales’ historic sites. We also hold over a million aerial photographs of Wales spanning the last 100 years. Almost 20,000 of our items are published on People’s Collection Wales


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