Hanes cynhwysfawr sefydlu Cymdeithas Amaethyddol Frenhinol Cymru yn 1904, twf a datblygiad y gymdeithas yn wyneb gwrthwynebiad cynnar, ynghyd â llwyddiant y Sioe Amaethyddol flynyddol. Mae fersiwn Saesneg, Cyfri'r Da, ar gael. 93 ffotograff du-a-gwyn.
A comprehensive history of the founding of the Welsh National Agricultural Society in 1904, its growth and development in the face of early opposition, together with the success of the annual Agricultural Show. A Welsh version, Cyfri'rDa, is available. 93 black-and-white photographs.
This book, by the noted academic Professor David W. Howell, Professor of History at the University of Wales, Swansea, was published to commemorate the centenary of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society and is sponsored by the HSBC Bank.
Each of the four parts covers a stage in the development of the Society, from the time when it was struggling, against some opposition, to get itself established as the national as opposed to the county-based focus for farming in Wales, to the present day, when it has become a famous Welsh institution. A major source of information has been the minute books of the Society, supplemented by the Society's Journal and press reports, as well as by interviews with those closely connected with the development of the Society. The book is illustrated by numerous black-and-white photographs, mostly of patrons and officials of the Society, but also of prize-winning stock, competitors and the show-ground. Eleven appendixes give statistical information on various matters, while there is also a bibliography and a full index.
The public face of the Society for most people is the annual show, held since the 1960s at the permanent show-ground at Lianelwedd, just outside Builth Wells. This is important for farmers too, as a social occasion and a break from routine, to do business and to learn about the latest developments in farming. From the outset, an important aim of the Society has been education, in its widest sense: to raise the standards of Welsh livestock so that they can command high prices; to organise conferences and demonstrations so that farmers can learn about the latest scientific improvements in agriculture; and to press for funding for higher education courses in agriculture. The Society has reported to the national government, and now to the Welsh Assembly as well, the views of farmers on major problems such as the devastation caused by wild rabbits and, in latter times, by BSE. The Society has also promoted in its shows horticulture, forestry, dairying, rural crafts and many other ancillary aspects to rural life, run competitions in sheep-shearing, etc., and booked entertainments as crowd-pullers. It provided major support and encouragement after the foot-and-mouth disease epidemic, which affected livestock farmers so badly.
The Society has been served well from the very beginning by dedicated and knowledgeable officials and honorary council members and directors, who have responded with remarkable flexibility to financial difficulties within the Society and to the changing needs of farmers and the farming industry. They have had to overcome low membership, soaring inflation, and a bank balance in surplus or overdrawn according to the weather at any one particular show, to the point now where there is a good deal of financial stability and the move to Llanelwedd has been seen to be a triumphant success, not the white elephant that some had forecast. The showground is now used for a number of Society events and by other organisations throughout the year, generating useful income. The statistics given on pp 254 and 255 as to the economic value of the Society to mid Wales in job promotion are especially impressive.
The author has skirted lightly over differences over policy, such as the establishment of a permanent show-ground versus a show held alternately in North or South Wales. There was much to be said on each side of the argument but all involved wanted the best for the Society. There have also been on-going problems with rowdy behaviour and minor dishonesty, which again there is no need to dwell on in a book celebrating a remarkable achievement from small beginnings.
This book is an excellent read, with many more aspects to it than there has been space to mention above.
It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgement should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.
Gellir defnyddior adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiatad Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.