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Meet the Mumbles Train, the very first fare-based passenger train

Mumbles Railway, the first public railway On 25 March 1807, the very same day that the British Parliament passed a Bill to outlaw the transatlantic trade in slaves, Swansea took its place in history with the inauguration of the world’s first passenger railway. [more inside]
posted by Michele in California on Oct 7, 2014 - 6 comments

Bounce Below

A Giant Network of Trampolines Suspended in an Abandoned Welsh Slate Mine Open to the public July 4th, 2014
posted by telstar on Jun 29, 2014 - 61 comments

UK: there's a big storm, a 'hurricane', coming (possibly)

The 'worst storm since 1987' is due to hit the UK over the next few days. It may also hit 'northern France and the Low Countries'. It may be 'overwhelming' and 'there is a risk of some parts getting two inches of rain in a six hour period'. The Met Office has warned that 'England and Wales will be hit by a significant storm on Sunday night with winds of up to 80mph in some areas'. They also said the predicted storm was 'not one you would see every year' and that 'exceptional winds will batter Surrey'. Drivers are advised to 'at a minimum, take a fully-charged mobile phone and warm, weatherproof clothing.' Some media outlets claim, however, the storm will only be the worst of the last five year, though in Bristol it'll be the worst in 'two decades'. Never the less, 'stay well away from trees'. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Oct 26, 2013 - 164 comments

Mabel Pakenham-Walsh, a woodcarver, has died aged 75.

"Her wood carvings were made from ironing boards, breadboards, old ships' timbers and in one case an old wooden toilet seat. Her jewellery was made from a cut-up caravan." (Obituary.) There's not much on the web about this woman, but what there is, is gold. [more inside]
posted by glasseyes on Sep 27, 2013 - 7 comments

"commons is ethically broken. You should be ashamed."

How Wikimedia Commons became a massive amateur porn hub
"Diving into Wikimedia Commons is like walking into a hoarder's photography warehouse. It is a vast, comprehensive mess."
Warning: The following story contains sexually explicit language.
posted by andoatnp on Jun 26, 2013 - 107 comments

1920s Britain in colour

In the mid-1920s, Claude Friese-Greene filmed The Open Road, a record of his journey through Britain, using the 'Biocolour' technique first developed by his father William. Eighty years later, the BFI produced a digital version of the preserved and restored film. We've seen London in 1926 previously on MeFi, but there's plenty more of The Open Road to see, including weavers in Kilbarchan (1:16), farmers harvesting with oxen in Cirencester (0:52), Glamorgan coal-miners (0:46), and more. [more inside]
posted by Catseye on Jun 17, 2013 - 7 comments

The Welsh Space Campaign

The Welsh Space Campaign. The suit is made of the fabric woven in the last remaining wool mills in Wales. The astronaut boots are traditional Welsh clogs crafted by a traditional clog maker. The whole pressure system that will enable the astronaut to sustain life in outer space was built by a Welsh plumber. The aim of the designer is to reveal that Wales has the capacity to explore space, and to show that off-world culturalisation can be achieved through a collective communitarian effort; as a way to allow the people involved to reconsider their role and skill in relation to these cosmic contexts. -- We Make Money Not Art
posted by Bunny Ultramod on Jun 10, 2013 - 15 comments

Cutting legal aid

"A fundamental shift in the relationship between the government and the governed is taking place: by restricting access to the law, the state is handing itself an alarming immunity from legal scrutiny. There are several aspects to this: the partial or total withdrawal of state financial support for people who lack the means to pay for legal advice and representation; and for those who can pay, a restriction on which kinds of decision by public bodies can be challenged. In the area in which I work, criminal law, defendants who receive legal aid will lose the right to choose who represents them in court. Specialist criminal barrister Francis FitzGibbon on the impact the UK government's legal aid reform plans are having on the English & Welsh justice system. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on May 31, 2013 - 40 comments

Not that many Dutch people care what you call the country

Thinking of Holland you think of windmills and tulips, but the former is originally a Persian invention (as far as we know) while the latter came from Turkey. Worse, Holland is not even the name of the country you're thinking of. Luckily, there's a handy youtube video to explain the difference between Holland and the Netherlands. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on Dec 28, 2012 - 98 comments

Love Lego? Love Rugby?

Ever wanted to see rugby highlights animated in lego? Of course you have! [more inside]
posted by Scottie_Bob on Dec 14, 2012 - 6 comments

That's me in the corner

The findings for England and Wales from the 2011 British Census have now been released. The BBC provides a handy guide to changes by area while The Guardian has a neat infographic and a set of Top 10 Charts. [more inside]
posted by MuffinMan on Dec 13, 2012 - 18 comments

Polls for pols for Peelers

England and Wales go to the polls today...or do they? [more inside]
posted by Jehan on Nov 15, 2012 - 48 comments

South Wales, and Beyond the Infinite

What I wrote was unquestionably fiction — was fantasy. Among Others has magic and fairies. But I was writing fantasy about a science fiction reader who had a lot of the same things happen to her that happened to me. It’s set at the end of 1979 and the beginning of 1980, and it’s about a fifteen year old just when I was fifteen, and from a family like mine and in the time and place and context where I was. I was using a lot of my own experience and memories. But this is Mori, not me, and she lives in a world where magic is real. Jo Walton, who as editor for tor.com revisisted the Hugos 1953-2000, now has one of her own, taking home the 2012 Best Novel Award for Among Others. Other winners include Kij Johnson for her Novella The Man who Bridged the Mist (excerpt) and io9 regular Charlie Jane Anders for her novellete Six Months, Three Days. The Best Graphic Story award went to the webcomic Digger by Ursula Vernon. E Lily Yu took home the Bets New Writer award (technically not a Hugo) and was also nominated for her short story The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees. A couple of TV shows you have heard of also got awards. Links to many of the nominated stories here.
posted by Artw on Sep 3, 2012 - 51 comments

British Council Film Collection

The British Council Film Collection "is an archive of over 120 short documentary films made by the British Council during the 1940s designed to show the world how Britain lived, worked and played. Preserved by the BFI National Film Archive and digitised by means of a generous donation by Google, the films are now yours to view, to download and to play with for the first time." A couple of essays and case studies also already up, with more to come.
posted by Abiezer on May 3, 2012 - 7 comments

Corridor running

Exploring Cardiff's Roath Lock studios, home of Doctor Who, Casualty, Upstairs Downstairs and the Welsh language Pobol y Cwm. Oh yeah, and there's a trailer for Doctor Who series 7, in which Farscape fans will catch a glimpse of Ben Browder.
posted by Artw on Mar 26, 2012 - 25 comments

C.G.P. Grey

Here is Coffee: The Greatest Addiction Ever and other neat videos by C.G.P. Grey who explains non-obvious aspects of science, history, geography, elections, and economics in entertaining and clear ways. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 1, 2011 - 20 comments

Happy Owain Glyndwr Day!

Not a lot of people know that today is Owain Glyndwr Day. "Welsh prince Owain Glyndwr led a successful people's rebellion against England's iron-fisted rule in the early 15th century and arguably became the most famous and highly regarded figure in Welsh history." [more inside]
posted by Yakuman on Sep 16, 2011 - 23 comments

Deindividuation and Polarization through Online Anonymity

The Guardian: Online commenting: How the internet created an age of rage
posted by zarq on Jul 25, 2011 - 93 comments

Ideas + Energy = Change

DO Lectures: a smaller, gentler TED, with annual conferences in Wales and the US. Every twenty-minute conference presentation is available as free online video. A sampling: Tim Berners-Lee on how the web just happened. Peter Segger on soil. David Allen on optimizing your brain.  A complete list of presenters. The Do Village blog.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Jul 20, 2011 - 11 comments

I'm really not happy, I'd like to make a complaint please...

Man phones Asda to complain about a pizza. (SLYT)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Oct 13, 2010 - 30 comments

As potent as any megalithic stone circle yet repellent to the New Age idiot

Northumbrian Storyteller, No-age Musician and Ante-Folk singer Sedayne performs his own Primal Myth Reinvention of The Holly and the Ivy to the tune of Searching for Lambs. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Oct 4, 2010 - 11 comments

Yeah I'm up at Ridgway

Move over Jay-Z and Alicia Keys: Newport State of Mind, Morgan Jane Delaney's witty take on a future classic, which might get released as a single.
posted by MuffinMan on Jul 28, 2010 - 37 comments

Chasing Light, a photography blog

Between the art nudes and fashion shots, Doug Kim's Chasing Light photography blog (front page mildly NSFW, archives more-so) is fast becoming a secret museum of photography with examples and insightful quotes from great photographers. One need go back only as far as December for posts on Dennis Hopper's photography, Cartier-Bresson, Mary Ellen Mark's on set photography, Annie Liebovitz on Hunter S. Thompson, Jousef Koudelka on The Soviet invasion of Prague, Robert Frank's visit to London and Wales, and Akira Kurosawa's group compositions in Seven Samurai.
posted by nthdegx on Jun 1, 2010 - 11 comments

Adoption Confidentiality Being Bypassed Through Social Media

UK adoption agencies are reporting "huge numbers of calls from 'deeply distressed' adoptive parents whose children have been contacted" through Facebook and other social networking sites, in violation of the traditional, confidential reunion process between birth parents and their offspring who have been placed with other families. Full report from Channel 4. [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 23, 2010 - 45 comments

Lovespoons

Lovespoons are a slightly odd Welsh tradition. [more inside]
posted by Dim Siawns on Mar 7, 2010 - 32 comments

In those years around the sea-town corner

Swansea Love Story [Flash video, six parts, occasional NSFW, shows drug use], a documentary in VBS’ Rule Britannia series, follows young heroin users in the South Wales city, looking at their family life, daily routines and some of the changes in the community around them. Interview with film-maker Andy Capper; something on director Leo Leigh; brief write-up here, slightly longer review here.
posted by Abiezer on Feb 18, 2010 - 7 comments

Their balmy slumbers waked with strife

The Soldier in later Medieval England is a historical research project that seeks to 'challenge assumptions about the emergence of professional soldiery between 1369 and 1453'. They've compiled impressive databases of tens of thousands of service records. These are perhaps of interest only to specialists; but the general reader may enjoy the profiles of individual military men: these run the gamut from regional non-entities like John Fort esquire of Llanstephan ("in many ways a humdrum figure" though once accused of harbouring a hostile Spaniard!) to more familiar figures such as rebel Welsh prince Owain Glyndŵr, who began his soldiering, as did many compatriots, in the service of the English king. Between such extremes of high and low we find, for example, Reginald Cobham, who made 6,500 florins ransoming a prisoner taken at Poitiers and rests eternal in a splendid tomb; and various men loyal and rebel who fought at the bloody Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403.
posted by Abiezer on Dec 5, 2009 - 15 comments

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (In Patagonia)

A few years ago, Gruff Rhys, lead singer of fabulous Welsh pop oddballs Super Furry Animals (Cymraeg/English) set out to make a film about the search for his uncle, a 1970s Argentinian pop star called René Griffiths. The result is Separado!: part travelogue, part music film, and part history of how a small band of idealists set out to establish a Welsh colony in the Argentinian part of Patagonia. [more inside]
posted by Len on Nov 12, 2009 - 14 comments

Utopian Communes in the British Isles

Utopia Britannica is a collection of stories and a gazetter about utopian communes in the British Isles from the 14th Century up until the end of World War II. There are some incredible tales in here, such as 'Free Love' in 19th Century Somerset, St. Kilda, Death of an Island Republic, Percy Bysshe Shelley's attempted communes, Augustus John, the King of Bohemia and many more.
posted by Kattullus on Sep 25, 2009 - 10 comments

Thousands of poems by women writers of the British Isles in the Romantic era

British Women Romantic Poets Project is a collection of poetry written by women from the British Isles between 1789 and 1832. Over a hundred female poets are represented. Women rarely feature in literary histories of the Romantic period but there is treasure if you search (some poems are, frankly, terrible). A few places to start are Charlotte Turner Smith's Elegiac Sonnets, and Other Poems, Christian Ross Milne's Simple Poems on Simple Subjects and Mary Robinson's sonnet cycle Sappho and Phaon. The oddest works to modern readers may be Elizabeth Hitchener's Enigmas, Historical and Geographical and Marianne Curties' Classical Pastime, which are collections of verse riddles (the answers are at the end of the text).
posted by Kattullus on Aug 26, 2009 - 5 comments

The Ginger Darlings...

'We Three Cats' -- "telling tales, of walking in wild places, of painting, of sleeping in warm places and of mice and other things," as chronicled by children's book illustrator and artist Jackie Morris.
posted by ericb on May 23, 2009 - 15 comments

Coasteering

Coasteering is a sport that involves throwing yourself into a wave as it hits a cliff. [more inside]
posted by twoleftfeet on May 5, 2009 - 35 comments

Dylan Thomas Poem Generator

Dylan Thomas, the wonderful Welsh poet, has been mentioned on the blue before. Now the BBC provide a Dylan Thomas Random Poem Generator. Bravo! [more inside]
posted by fcummins on Dec 31, 2008 - 4 comments

Retail therapy

Apropos on Black Friday, Charles, Prince of Wales addresses the Foreign Press Association with a comprehensive lecture on the dangers of unchecked consumerism and the need for an increasingly holistic worldview in light of the global social, economic and environmental challenges. The credit crisis is a side effect of a throwaway society and consumerism is no cure for depression, he says, and we need to question the concepts of "Modernity" and "Economic Growth" we take for granted.
posted by infini on Nov 28, 2008 - 102 comments

The other kind of free trade

Smuggler's Britain tells "the fascinating story of smuggling in 18th and 19th century Britain, when high taxes led to an dramatic increase in illegal imports. As the 'free trade'" grew, smugglers openly landed contraband in full view of the customs authorities: columns of heavily-armed thugs protected the cargoes." Includes a gazetteer with Google maps links so you can scope out some lonely cove to land contraband of your own in the footsteps of your forefathers and introduces you to famous smugglers like Isaac Gulliver, who never killed a man in a long career. Though of course, it was an enterprise where things often would turn ugly.
posted by Abiezer on Oct 9, 2008 - 7 comments

The Empire Strikes Back

So brothers Barney and Daniel Jones, aka Jonba Hehol and Morda Hehol, Jedi Masters, started their own church, and began planning their moon base, but they had underestimated the power of the Dark Side...
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Mar 30, 2008 - 25 comments

Keeper of the heart's relics

Lyfrau o'r Gorffennol or Books from the Past is a growing online collection of books of Welsh cultural interest which have long been out of print. Some are in Welsh, some in English, all are available to download in a variety of formats or to read online. Found as the collection includes a book on the Adventures and Vagaries of Twm Siôn Cati, the famed bard, genealogist and bandit trickster supreme from Tregaron. It's one of a host of well-presented digital archives built using the multilingual open source Greenstone software suite.
posted by Abiezer on Feb 8, 2008 - 13 comments

A reading of "A Child's Christmas in Wales" by Dylan Thomas

Audio of Dylan Thomas reading his poem "A Child's Christmas in Wales". (real media and mp3)
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Dec 25, 2007 - 7 comments

Serein v3

Serein v3
posted by hama7 on Nov 9, 2007 - 50 comments

A Welsh Black Box to make biofuel whilst capturing car fumes

A Welsh Black Box to make biofuel whilst capturing car fumes
posted by ItsaMario on Jul 24, 2007 - 25 comments

baa

adultsheepfinder.com
posted by thirteenkiller on Apr 12, 2007 - 49 comments

Hendrix wildly wails Wales

A week before Jimi Hendrix died in London he (probably) recorded the Welsh anthem "Land of our Fathers" (embedded audio). The eight-track recording languished in a corner of a recording studio until recently.
posted by Rumple on Dec 31, 2006 - 30 comments

A digital atlas of the new towns of Edward I

Mapping Medieval Townscapes: a digital atlas of the new towns of Edward I For each town you will find maps and images, as well as historical interpretation, bibliographical information, and access through to a geographical database. (The fancy interactive maps are especially good.) Warning: you'll have to click to agree to some terms and conditions before you can view the site.
posted by jack_mo on Sep 6, 2006 - 6 comments

I'm not kidding...

The tradition of the Regimental Goat extends as far back as 1775 and the Battle of Bunker Hill, if not earlier. Canada's own Batisse IX is said to be a direct descendant of Tibetan goats presented by the Shah of Persia to Queen Victoria in 1884. Ask any regimental goat and they will tell you they are well respected, but military discipline can be severe when the regimental goat steps out of line.
posted by furtive on Jun 24, 2006 - 13 comments

South Wales man in terror shock exclusive - pictures

Cardiff Terrifies Me. Daily news-stand headlines from that bastion of quality journalism, the South Wales Echo.
posted by nylon on Dec 11, 2005 - 28 comments

Parallel Wales

Parallel Wales. They came from Wales, and settled in places called Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware. They brought new contributions to the American fabric, but also old names that took on new meanings. Now, more than a hundred years later, what echoes remain? (via Projects)
posted by selfnoise on Nov 18, 2005 - 10 comments

Dylan Thomas

Llareggub! Dylan Thomas reading Dylan Thomas and host of others (Shakespeare, Milton, Yeats, Auden, Hardy, and more). 11 volumes of mp3s on Salon, reached after watching a Salon premium ad. [via boingboing]
posted by carter on Oct 7, 2005 - 12 comments

Whose heroes? Whose Wales?

Earlier this year the Labour run Welsh Assembly funded a web project to find 100 Welsh Heroes. The winner was Aneurin Bevan, a Labour politician. Now, the IT manager who ran the project says that he was instructed to fix the results. More inside...
posted by ceiriog on Sep 7, 2004 - 10 comments

Somewhere Smarty Jones Is Crying

Man Beats Horse, wins 25,000 pounds. For the first time, two legs triumphed over four in the annual Man Versus Horse Marathon in Wales.
posted by Frank Grimes on Jun 13, 2004 - 10 comments

The Digital Mirror: Treasures of the National Library of Wales

The Digital Mirror: Treasures of the National Library of Wales. Online collections related to Welsh history and culture - the Mary Dillwyn Album (a Victorian family photography album), autobiography of a smuggler, Lloyd George's 1886 diary, witchcraft in 17th century Flintshire, the 'Black Book of Carmarthen', a letter in the hand of Ann Griffiths, hymn writer, the Book of Taliesin (14th century), and more.
posted by plep on Nov 18, 2003 - 5 comments

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