Casgliad arbennig o dros 200 o ddarluniau du-a-gwyn, ynghyd â nodiadau perthnasol yn portreadu amryfal agweddau ar fywyd, gwaith a hamdden trigolion Gwenfo a Thwyn-yr-Odyn ym Mro Morgannwg.
A fascinating collection of over 200 black-and-white photographs, together with relevant notes portraying various aspects of the life, work and leisure of the inhabitants of Wenvoe and Twyn-yr-Odyn in the Vale of Glamorgan.
This volume in the Tempus Images of Wales series has been compiled by members of Gwenfô Gynt, the Wenvoe History Group. The aim of the volume is to record the changes that have taken place in village life during the twentieth century through a photographic record of its inhabitants, their homes and workplaces and the institutions and activities which have shaped their lives.
The name Wenvoe is now commonly associated with the radio and television masts that were erected on St Lythans Down, to the west of Cardiff, in 1952. Visitors to Cardiff will be familiar with the retail development at Culverhouse Cross that has overwhelmed the eastern parts of the parish. There is a poignant photograph (p.66) of locals enjoying Sunday afternoon picnics at Culverhouse Cross roundabout in the 1950s, the attraction being the passing traffic. They are watching the progress that will transform their lives.
The book is divided into nine sections, with two black-and-white photographs per page, making a total of some two hundred in all. The photographs each have a brief explanatory caption. The first section deals with churches and chapels, the latter now all converted to residential use. The church of St Mary at Wenvoe (p.9) was drastically restored in 1876. Fortunately, three fine hanging wall-monuments from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries remain and alone justify a detour to visit the church; there is also pleasing stained glass from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The saddleback church of St Bleiddian at St Lythans was restored by Seddon and Prichard in the 1860s. It has a large Norman font and a curiously arcaded entrance to the mausoleum of the Button family, owners of Dyffryn House before John Cory, the shipping magnate purchased it. Sir Thomas Button was knighted by James I following his expedition in search of the north-west passage in 1612-1613 in the course of which he explored Hudson's Bay. Another great house, Wenvoe Castle (p.21), is documented in the second section; its remains survive as a Golf Club.
A third section on farming reminds us that when the 20th century opened horses were in use working the farms (p.28) and taking their produce to market as they had done for centuries. Now, photographs of such commonplaces as horse troughs and milk churns (p.37) require explanation. A fourth section on employment has an interesting selection of photographs showing work at the local quarry and a fifth section on education captures a century of state elementary school education, itself a major force for social change. The sixth chapter on communications may be said to lie at the heart of the volume: the railway, motor car, and television in turn transforming village life beyond recognition. A seventh section on events and pastimes provides light relief with such uniquely British activities as the knobbly knees competition (p.79) and the silver jubilee street party (p.93), not a drop of alcohol in sight. The eighth section demonstrates how Wenvoe's proximity to Cardiff and the M4 corridor have led to its rapid Anglicisation, suburbanisation and gentrification. A short concluding section, Wenvoe Miscellany, contains photographs that didn't find a home elsewhere, ranging from the war memorial to a picture of a Morel Bros. steam ship named after the village.
It is a finely produced record of one Welsh community that largely speaks for itself.
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.