Celebrating our heritage!    Dathlu ein treftadaeth!









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Bicentenary Exhibitions

To date 3,000 people have visited the Aberaeron 1807-2007 Exhibition in Peniel Chapel Vestry with many more photos and artefacts being added throughout the month as people realise the importance of what they have in their attic!  The Exhibition will close at 1.00 pm on Bank Holiday Monday -  the 27 August.  Due to the fact that there is not a permanent home for the Exhibition, this week will be your last chance to see it.  Opening times are 10.00 am – 4.00 pm and it is open on Saturday and Sunday.  Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund and Ceredigion Museum and especially to the many enthusiastic volunteers  who have manned the Exhibition.  Thanks also to the people who have allowed their photographs to be used and artefacts loaned without charge. Without the generosity of these volunteers and contributors it would have been impossible to have staged The Bicentenary Exhibition free of charge. The Exhibition of Quilts, Embroidery and Canvas-work at the Masonic Hall has proved to be equally popular and will also close on 27 August. 


Official opening of Aberaeron Exhibitions

Two exhibitions organised for Aberaeron’s Bicentenary celebrations were officially opened on Friday 20 July by Dan Clayton Jones, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales. The exhibitions were made possible with a Heritage Lottery Fund grant for Aberaeron 2007’s project ‘Celebrating our Heritage – Dathlu ein Treftadaeth’. Dan was delighted to see so many guests and members of the pubic present, and praised the project for its focus on community involvement.

The vestry of Peniel Chapel, Water Street Aberaeron is the location for the Aberaeron 1807 – 2007 Exhibition. The exhibition has been put together by volunteers under the guidance of Michael Freeman, Curator of Ceredigion Museum. Over the summer, the Vestry, itself a historic building in the centre of Aberaeron, is home to a fascinating collection showing the town’s development over the last 200 years from small fishing village to today’s thriving business centre and tourist destination. The exhibition explores Aberaeron’s maritime and social history and includes a rich variety of items including a working model of the ‘morthwyl mawr’ or ‘big hammer’ in the forge which produced the famous Aberaeron shovel. It is evident from the maps, pictures and documents on display that Aberaeron became increasingly important as an industrial and shipbuilding centre following the Aberaeron Harbour Act of 1807, the passing of which is the reason for the Bicentenary celebrations. A slide show of Aberaeron’s more recent history through its people and places is proving popular.  Many of the photos were provided by the community during Scanning Day in May and photos are still being scanned and added to the presentation.

The Exhibition of Quilting, Embroidery and Canvas-work by Aberaeron Women is being held in the Aeron Masonic Lodge, North Road, Aberaeron. It is curated by renowned needlewoman Deanne Hartwell-Jones and profiles her own work and that of other local women, including the late Nancy Evans who was for many years an inspirational teacher. The exhibition presents a stunning display of colourful quilts, wall hangings and other pieces of needlework of exceptional quality. The centrepiece of the exhibition is Deanne’s ‘triptych’ depicting in three panels Aberaeron in 1807, 1907 and 2007.

The Aberaeron 1807 – 2007 Exhibition is open 6 days a week Tuesdays to Sundays from 10 am to 4 pm.  The Quilting Exhibition is open every day from 10am to 5pm. Both exhibitions run until Monday 27 August and are open to the public free of charge.

Free wheelchair hire

Wheelchairs can be hired at the Cantre Mobility, Compton, Alban Square. 0808 100 1133   (Freephone)


Thanks to Nest Evans at Cantre Mobility   for offering  the use of wheelchairs, free of charge, during Festival Week.

28th July – 4 August 2007.


A returnable deposit is required.


Thank you to the community for turning out with their local artefacts and, yet again, supporting a Bicentenary event.  Atticmania, an event where people brought items of local interest for experts to examine was funded by our HLF grant. Michael Freeman, Curator of Ceredigion Museum oversaw the day and was thrilled with some of the treasures unearthed. It is hoped that many will be exhibited in the first ever Aberaeron Exhibition to be held in Peniel Chapel Vestry from 20 July to 27 August.  Nigel Hodson, Jen Jones, Felix Aubel, Mary Davies and Geraint Jenkins were the experts on the day and they were kept busy for most of the afternoon.  Deanne Hartwell Jones, Heather Henderson, Margaret Morgan, Gloria Davies and Megan Richards conducted workshops which were very well received by the people who participated.  The whole event depended on the help of over 20 volunteers who ensured the smooth running of all the various activities – without the incredible support of our volunteers and the community the Bicentenary could not be staged – diolch.  If you were unable to bring along any item that could be of interest for the Exhibition it is not too late.  Contact Mair Lloyd, Project Coordinator on 01545 571022 or email heritage@aberaeron.info.

Winners of the Antiques of the Future Raffle were:  Alun Davies, Gareth Bevan, Mary Davies and Hywel Thomas, all of Aberaeron and Cheryl Jones of Felinfach.


To celebrate Aberaeron’s Bicentenary Gwyn Griffiths and Dyson Jones will be setting up a Special Events Radio Station to tell the world about Aberaeron’s 200 years and this year’s celebrations.  They hope to reach ham radio enthusiasts in all corners of the globe and have established a dedicated call sign, GB2OOA, which will be running for 28 days from Saturday 28 July. 

Scanning Day

A hugely successful Scanning Day was held on Saturday 12 May where six scanners were kept busy all day attempting to keep up with the hundreds of photographs and postcards, as well as tickets, posters, articles etc relating to Aberaeron over the past 200 years brought in by the community.  Michael Freeman, Curator of Ceredigion Museum was in charge of the event and together with Ffion and Rhodri Jones scanned with only short breaks from 10.00 am until 5.00 pm with other volunteers, too numerous to mention doing shorter stints.  A huge thank you to the people of Aberaeron and area who so generously donated their photographs, etc, and who are allowing us to use them in the Bicentenary Exhibition.   There are still many photographs left to be scanned and so this is an ongoing project and one which will take months to catalogue correctly.  Although it will be impossible to show every photograph during this year’s exhibition all of them will be catalogued and hopefully be used in future exhibitions and kept for posterity.  Despite that, if anyone still has photographs of interest we will be delighted to accept them. Merched y Wawr members worked hard all day in the kitchen and kept spirits and energy up by ensuring that everyone was fed and watered, diolch yn fawr.  Finally thank you to the British Legion who supported the Bicentenary Celebrations by allowing the use of their premises without any charge.

Felinfach concert marks Aberaeron bicentenary

The close and long established links between Aberaeron and the communities of Dyffryn Aeron were marked in Aberaeron’s bicentenary year by a concert held at Theatr Felinfach on the evening of Friday, 11th May

One of the most important and valuable parts of our heritage in Aberaeron, as in many other places in Wales, is the encouragement and promotion of local talent.  This was to be seen at an early date in Aberaeron.  For a time, Christmas Day afternoon saw a meeting in the Town Hall where young people were encouraged to address the company on a chosen topic.  Choirs, musical and debating societies were also established at an early date.  After a hard day’s work, men and women would come together to develop their talents and to entertain and instruct their friends and neighbours in Aberaeron.  In the spirit of this tradition, a concert was arranged at Felinfach.

The compères for the evening were Arwel Jones, Gareth Lloyd and Rhidian Rees, all members of the Young Farmers Club.  They all performed the tasks with a warmth and naturalness that helped make the evening a great success.

Côr Cardi-gan began the evening with a rousing performance of Rossini’s ‘Y Carnifal’ followed by ‘Gweddi Africanaidd’ a version of Nkosi Sikele Africa.  Robyn Tomos,  entertained the audience with a number of nineteenth century ballads, including Ffair Glan-y-Môr and a ballad written especially for the occasion on present day Aberaeron.  He was followed by Ysgol Ciliau Parc who performed three songs, including a song written by the teachers celebrating Aberaeron’s birthday in which the entire school took part.

Doreen Lewis’s pieces included a song on the sinking og the ‘Madras’, a great tragedy for many Aberaeron families written by the late Gareth Owen founder President of the Bicentenary Committee, as well as her own special composition on Aberaeron. Ensemble Lleisiol who followed are members of Caerwedros Young Farmers Club and prize winners at a YFC Eisteddfod.  The well known Mr Ifor Lloyd once of Aberaeron and now of Pennant, pleased the audience with a very fine rendition of two old Welsh hymns: Mi glywaf dyner lais and Pwy fydd yma mhen can mlynedd.  Cor plant Ysgol Aberaeron, from the primary school near the sea gave a striking performance of three songs, to the accompaniment of a sound tape –‘Lawr ar Lan y Mor was sung against the background of the calls of sea gulls.  The children also sang an especially compose song to celebrate the bicentenary.  Heather Jones included among her songs a special compostition to celebrate her links with Aberaeron.  Heather is the granddaughter of William Morris Jones, the owner of the Home and Colonial Stores, now Lloyd’s Pharmacy.  Dewi Siôn a member of Y Tri Tenor enthralled the audience with his rendition of Cymru Fach and an anthem out of the musical Chess.

The last performance of the evening was given by Côr Cardi-gan who sang with great effect Pedair Oed and Y Tangnefeddwyr (gan Waldo Williams) and they led the audience into Hen Wlad fy Nhadau

The President of the evening was Hywel Teifi Edwards who gave a spirited address before the interval.  Professor Edwards noted that Dyffryn Aeron has an ancient tradition in Song and Verse and he was sure, after the performances he had heard, that this tradition was safe and secure for the future.

There was a full house at Theatr Felinfach, and the audience deserves praise for the warmth of their applause for all the performers, but especially for Ysgol Ciliau Parc and Cor Plant Ysgol Aberaeron.  Those of you who have read early issues of the Cambrian News will know that it was customary to put “(Prolonged Applause)” several times in an account of a concert held in Aberaeron at that period.  At Theatr Felinfach on 11th May, we followed our forefathers and saluted the performers on the night with prolonged applause.  All present agreed that this concert will remain a landmark in the celebration of Aberaeron’s bicentenary.

Tabernacle Lectures

The April lecture was given by Henry Phythian-Adams on the Gwynne family.  As a descendant of the family he has, for many years, researched the genealogy of the family as well as their connection with Aberaeron and the area.   It was The Reverend Alban Thomas Jones Gwynne, Lord of the Manor of Llyswen, also known as Aberayron, who initiated the building of the harbour at Aberaeron in 1807 whilst in the 1830s his son, Colonel Alban Gwynne, became involved with the planning and construction of many parts of the town, employing Edward Haycock as the architect.  What was perhaps surprising is the sense of adventure within a family who travelled as far as Australia in the days when travel was so difficult.  We are indebted to Mr Phythian-Adams for sharing his knowledge with us, especially as he informed us that he intends to leave all his research and papers on the family to the Ceredigion Archives.

Oral History - Tea - 23 April 2007

On Monday 23 April a thank you tea was held in the Comprehensive School for all the participants of the Bicentenary Oral History Project, part of the HLF funded Celebrating our Heritage programme. Over the past 3 months nine senior citizens have been interviewed and their memories recorded.  Mair Lloyd, Project Coordinator, welcomed those present and thanked the senior citizens who participated, as well as the seven year 10 pupils who, with Bob Fry and Tudor Thomas, undertook the interviews. Mair also made special mention of Caryl Evans’ contribution.  Caryl was unfortunately unable to attend, but has to date spent over 45 hours transcribing the recordings.    Elizabeth Nicholas, head of media studies and Marina James, headmistress, Aberaeron Comprehensive were also present and were thanked for their assistance in facilitating the participation of their students.

After tea Clare Thomas explained that the project had been very successful in bringing together different generations, and in preserving the fascinating stories of life in Aberaeron. She thanked those who recorded their histories - Mari Sarah Evans, Margaret Makin, Jane James, Rhiannon Davies, Henry Jones, Graham Howells, Lloyd Thomas, Ron Davies and Eddie Parry. Although they found the experience a little daunting at first, they were all delighted to contribute to the Bicentenary.  Unfortunately Ron Davies and Eddie Parry were unable to be present. 

As a thank you from the Bicentenary Committee the 7 volunteer pupils were presented with tickets for the Rock Concert, which is being held during Festival Week. 

Also present were Euros Lewis, a consultant who is organising performing and visual arts workshops, based on the stories, in Aberaeron Primary School, together with the teaching staff of the Primary School.  Isabel Hind, headmistress, and teacher Mair Davies explained to those present how they are planning to use the stories to form the basis of the Primary School’s concert, to be held in the Memorial Hall on the 4th and 5th July at 1807 hours. 

Clare then initiated a lively feedback session which generated even more ideas, anecdotes and memories, ensuring that this is just the beginning of an ongoing process to celebrate and capture the lives of Aberaeron people.


HLF Funded Oral History Project Training Day

As part of the Aberaeron’s Bicentenary Celebrating our Heritage oral history project eleven volunteers undertook a day’s training on Saturday 20 January.   Beth Thomas, a British Library Accredited Trainer from St Fagans,  travelled to Aberaeron for the day where an intensive but enjoyable day was spent learning the skills required to interview, record and transcribe people’s histories.  Seven of the volunteers are Year 10 Media Studies students from Ysgol Gyfun Aberaeron. 

Beth commented that she had never before trained a group representing such an age range and was impressed by how the different generations worked together.  She felt that the project could only be enriched by such cross-generational involvement.  Initially about ten senior Aberaeron residents will be interviewed and their oral histories will be recorded and then transcribed by the eleven participants.  Once the transcriptions are completed Euros Lewis - a well known local consultant specialising in education, culture and media - will take various elements of the histories into Aberaeron Primary School where workshops will be undertaken by the pupils to produce stories, poems, songs, artwork etc based on these histories.

It is envisaged that this is the beginning of a continuing programme which will carry on well past our Centenary year and ensure that the social history of Aberaeron and district will not be lost to future generations as so much of the previous centuries has been lost to us.

Launch success

On Friday 1 December Dan Clayton-Jones, Chair of Heritage Lottery in Wales and Hywel Teifi Edwards, Aberaeron 2007’s President, launched the Aberaeron 2007 Heritage project Celebrating our Heritage / Dathlu ein Treftadaeth to a packed audience in Aberaeron’s Memorial Hall.   Mark Williams MP and Elin Jones AM were also among the guests.  Clare Thomas, member of the Aberaeron 2007 Committee, opened the proceedings by explaining that the £65,000 Heritage Project has been made possible by a £50,000 grant from Heritage Lottery Fund, the remaining £15,000 being made up of donations and volunteer contributions.

Clare explained that there are two distinct and complementary strands to Aberaeron’s Bicentenary Celebrations: Heritage and Festival.  The week long Festival events are totally dependent on ticket sales and sponsorship, while the Heritage Lottery Fund award supports the project Celebrating our Heritage. This project includes setting up a Town Trail, placing Plaques around the town, an antiques road show event called Atticmania, Skills workshops, two 2007 Exhibitions, Schools projects and an Oral History project designed to capture people’s stories of their lives in Aberaeron.  Elinor Ingham, Chair, paid tribute to the numerous organisations and individuals who work so hard to stage Bicentenary events, and expressed her delight at the overwhelming support shown by the community in attending the launch.  Finally, Hywel Teifi-Edwards entertained the audience with tales of his childhood in the area, which kept the audience laughing, before he officially opened the Fair.

The large crowd packed the hall to hear the speeches before enjoying mulled wine and browsing for Christmas gifts at the beautifully decorated stalls. Father Christmas arrived by Fire Engine and was a great success with the children who had brought letters to give him, as well as decorations, they had made in school, to hang on the Christmas tree.   Ann Williams, South Road, Aberaeron, was the lucky winner of the raffle’s main prize, generously donated by Mark Williams MP - Tea for Two at the House of Commons.  Owain’s Bicentenary Sausage made its debut and proved a big hit, with long queues forming to taste this interestingly shaped sausage.  He was still cooking after many of the stallholders had packed up and gone.



Aberaeron 2007 Cyf are launching the Heritage Lottery Funded Project Celebrating our Heritage, in the Memorial Hall on Friday 1st December at 6.00pm.  The Bicentenary, President, Mr Hywel Teifi Edwards and the Chairman of the Heritage Lottery in Wales, Mr Dan Clayton-Jones will launch the project. All the community are invited to attend and it is planned that transport will be provided, by volunteers from the Rotary Club, for the elderly or disabled.


The HLF grant has enabled the committee to establish a project that will encompass a wide range of community activities.  The grant will also contribute to a Town Trail whose route will pass 22 buildings of historic interest, on which plaques will be placed.  There will also be a large plaque on which the names of the 99 ships, known to have been built in Aberaeron, will be placed.  People will be able to hire audio handsets explaining the historic background of the buildings, as well as other areas of interest that they will pass during their walk around the Town Trail.


The Launch has been arranged to explain to the community how the Lottery fund will be spent and what Celebrating Our Heritage project is about.  It will also invite everyone to participate by volunteering to help, signing up to workshops and searching their attics for memorabilia, films, photographs or anything that might help enhance our knowledge of the various strands of the history of Aberaeron.  Some of these will form the basis of an Exhibition to be held in Peniel Chapel Vestry throughout the summer holidays and will be held there every summer, until such time as it is hoped a permanent home can be found. At the Masonic Hall, throughout the summer holidays, Deanne Hartwell-Jones will arrange an Exhibition of Quilting, Embroidery and Canvas-work completed by Aberaeron Women over the past 100 years.


The Bicentennial Stall will be in the main hall, where people can sign up to be a volunteer.  They can also buy Bicentennial souvenirs as well as the tickets for the various Festival Events which will take place during Festival Week, starting on 28th July through until 4th August.


The Launch will be followed by a Christmas Fair, where people can come and buy their Christmas presents from the stalls inside and outside the hall.  There will be the launch of the Bicentennial Sausage which local butcher, Owain, will cook and sell for the first time.  Father Christmas will be there to take children’s letters and home made Christmas decorations to hang on a tree.  Entrance is free with a complimentary glass of mulled wine.  The wine has been generously donated by businesses in town, as well as a raffle also supported by town businesses.  A full list of sponsors of the fair will be displayed.

 If you wish for any further information please contact Mair Lloyd, Project Co-ordinator

[01545] 571022,  heritage@aberaeron.info

Heritage windfall for town

Plans to celebrate Aberaeron's Bicentenary in 2007 will now include a substantial heritage community project "Celebrating our Heritage", thanks to an award of £50,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Aberaeron's Bicentenary marks an event which took place on July 28th 1807 when a Private Act of Parliament was passed to construct the harbour at Aberaeron.

The layout of the town which grew around the new harbour was carefully planned in the Georgian style, giving Aberaeron its distinctive architectural character. The names of streets and houses such as Newfoundland Terrace, Milford House and Manchester House indicate Aberaeron's historic importance as a thriving commercial port and shipbuilding town.

The heritage community project complements the Aberaeron 2007 Festival programme of concerts, parties and events by exploring and recording the fascinating heritage of Aberaeron's maritime, social and architectural past. Working with a number of partners, including Ceredigion Museum and the National Trust Llanerchaeron, the project will seek out and capture people's stories of life in the town, and find out more about the daily lives of Aberaeron's sailors, merchants, shopkeepers and families.

Workshops will revive some of the long-forgotten skills such as rope knotting and navigating by the stars. Aberaeron's schoolchildren will take part in a creative arts project, bringing to life Aberaeron stories, and different generations will come together to use the latest web-based technology for researching family histories.

In addition to workshops and events, the project will leave a lasting record of Aberaeron's heritage. Historic sites and buildings in and around Aberaeron will be identified by bronze plaques in the shape of the unique Aberaeron shovel', forming the basis for a Town Trail. An Aberaeron 2007 Exhibition will display photographs, pictures and curios associated with Aberaeron's heritage. The Exhibition will be housed in Peniel Chapel vestry throughout the summer of 2007, and a Quilting Exhibition will be held in Aberaeron's Masonic Hall.

Encouraging people of all ages, residents and visitors, to take part in the historic celebrations is a major aim of the project, creating opportunities for learning new skills, taking part in workshops, and volunteering. 2007 is set to be a great year for Aberaeron, with something for everyone, and two hundred years of history to celebrate.

Elinor Ingham, Chair of the Aberaeron 2007 Committee says, "We are immensely grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for this generous grant. It will enable our committee to sponsor a lasting record of the heritage we have gained from our forefathers for Aberaeron people both in the town and far from home".


Supported by Aberaeron Bicentenary 2007