St Clears History in Photographs


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St Clears History in Photographs

  1. 1. The documenting of the work of Stanley Phillips started in September 2008. By October the firstedition of Lluniau Gan Stanley Phillips was released along with a DVD containing archive film of St.Clears circa 1920.A website for Stanley’s work was also established ThePremiere showing of the film was held at the Town Hall, St Clears almost 100 years after StanleyPhillips showed his films there. A large number of people from the community attended during the dayand in the evening. It was an emotional day with people identifying generations of their family in filmfrom the turn of the 19th Century.A public showing of the film was held at Ysgol Griffith Jones In November 2008 at which 200 peopleattended on a dark, wet Sunday evening. More photographs and memorabilia came to light in January2009. We established a headquarters for the project at the Stella’s home and proceeded to catalogueStanley’s work. The BBC Wales Today presenter Sian Lloyd came to film our progress on 25thFebruary 2009. Sian interviewed Alan, Stella, Gerwyn, Mary and Rose.The second edition of the book Lluniau Gan Stanley Phillips was published in November 2008. TheCarmarthen Journal came to film our progress on 17th March 2009. We continued to renovate theTown Hall in preparation for the exhibition of Stanley’s work. On April 1st we gave a presentation toLaughane W.I. at the Laugharne Memorial Hall. On April 5th we travelled to Cardiff to interview93ear-old Frank Willey the son of the stationmaster at St. Clears in the 1930’s.On Monday 13th April we began hanging the framed pictures with the help of Ian James of Laugharne.The first edition of the essay by Jim Phillips was published on April 15th, 2009 The private view of theexhibition opened in a packed Town Hall on April 17th. The gallery opened to the public on April 18th2009. Visitors have come from all over the world. Our website has been viewed by people from almostevery country in the world. We have linked the site to Americymru one of the largest Welsh ex patcommunity in America.Stella received a community award in recognition of preserving her father’s work for the community.The town mayor Tom Brown presented the award in April 2009. On the 29th of April BBC Walestoday presenter Sian Lloyd returned to do a live broadcast from the gallery and interviewed Stella,Alan and Frank. Demand led to a second edition of the essay being published. Whitland School andYsgol Griffith Jones visited the exhibition and were given a talk on the history of St. Clears by StellaGriffiths. Talks were also given to St Clears W.I. Llanwinio W.I. St. Clears Young Farmers, Llangyninover 60’s, St Clears Senior Citizen club, Newquay Sisterhood and St. Clears and Laugharne Probus.
  2. 2. Public demand has led to the publication of another book and the diaries of Stanley Phillips.The exhibition moved to the Blue Boar restaurant in St. Clears. Unfortunately the restaurant closed andwe are now without a home for the images, films and storage area for the collection of images.We have looked at other options including using existing facilities such as the craft centre. Weapproached the craft centre with a view to exhibiting the images and were told that they were notsaleable and therefore they would be unable to display them. I have also approached the craft centrefor exhibiting my own work and was told it was not possible. I approached the craft centre to ask for astudio space. I was told that the room I was interested in was being used for storage space. In themeantime we have to pay for space to organise further events for the community. I now organise allthe events and training days at Llety Cynin, which is quite some distance out of the town. Unless youhave transport you cannot access these events.We have been given the complete photographic works of another three Carmarthenshirephotographers. There are many thousands of images and some reels of film, which require recordingand preserving. We have attracted the interest of the National Archives of Wales who already hadsome of Stanley’s work. They are now archiving Stanley’s website. We hope to work in partnershipwith Aberystwyth as well as the Carmarthenshire County archives. Our main aim is to establish apermanent home for this work where we can continue to give talks to members of the public. Thespace would also act as a meeting place for a number of groups and organisations in St. Clears. Wewill be offering training on computers and dedicated software for scanning and preservingphotographs. We will also be recording interviews with a cross section of the community, which willbe archived and available for future generations. We have had a number of enquiries from peopleseeking their family history. We have paper records of the gravestones in St Mary’s church and intendto place these on electronic format and make them available to the public. All of the images will alsobe investigated for family names and published as a list on the Internet. We envisage a certain amountof revenue being generated from providing people with information about their family tree. We willalso continue to sell books, essays, DVD’s and photographs.The gallery, office space and retail area will generate badly needed local employment. We plan toinstall a disabled toilet on the ground floor with a disabled stair lift to the first floor. The retail areawill offer start up space for small business. We would like to attract business, which offer localproduce such as food, arts and crafts. High Street in St. Clears has always had a shop however the lastshop has recently closed. There is a large community, which lives in “Lower St. Clears” many ofwhom are elderly. Travelling to and from the town is problematic as there is only a skeleton busservice. Walking the road between the two parts of St. Clears is also problematic as the pavements arenarrow and in poor condition. Lower St. Clears has suffered from a lack of investment for a number ofyears whilst St. Clears has been provided with huge grants for development.In conclusion we argue, “Lower St. Clears will continue to suffer and deteriorate unless someinvestment is placed in this part of the community. A number of community activities take place on thesports field in Lower St Clears. There is no service available for anyone attending these events. Theriver path now links both sides of town and it has attracted local and visitors to Lower St. Clears.There are no facilities for them when they reach this side of the town. The office space, gallery andretail area will provide much needed services and facilities for the community in a neglected area ofthe town. What we are offering is a space where people of all ages can access a space for events andtraining, which feeds into the main exhibition and retail space. A community space equipped withdisabled facilities. A tourism information point and heritage facility for preserving and displaying thehistory of St. Clears. The project is sustainable through funds from the letting of the retail space, fundsfrom the gallery and office space and funds from letting the space to organisations wishing to holdevents there.
  3. 3. In 2012 we had visitors from Autralia, New Zealand, America, Iran, France, Denmark and Ireland toname a few. We also received numerous requests for information on family history. Many visitors hadcome to St. Clears specifically to view the archives and trace their family tree. Unfortunately theMezzanine was subject to an anonymous complaint to the planning department. Subsequentcomplaints have also alleged irregularities but they are nothing but malicious lies. We have notreceived any help or funding from local government or any other funding bodies and the workcontinues to be self funded and through voluntary work. We were bitterly disappointed to be thevictims of such malicious and vindictive reporting yet again.The work of W D Evans remains relatively untouched but there is a wonderful collection of imagesspanning from the 1950’ up until the 1980’s covering the whole of Carmarthenshire. We haveproduced a range of books, prints and DVD’s featuring the photographs and storis from local people.There is still so much work left to do on this extraordinary collection of film, photographs anddocuments. We hope to see you at the mezzanine soon.