Bill’s Exploits

billLast week I was at the Hay Festival [which was nice . .] and I went on a really interesting guided tour around some of the industrial monuments of South Wales.  I had never realised that the industrial landscape of the entire area was completely altered following 21st October 1966 – the awful disaster at Aberfan.  Nearly every coalmine was landscaped and made safe: this was before the concept of ‘industrial heritage’ was established and large numbers of what were regarded as derelict industrial buildings were removed as part of a huge grant funded programme.  It was interesting to learn how a few people had to fight quite hard to save significant sites from the bulldozers. The ‘Big Pit’ coalmine and the Blaenavon Ironworks are now the centrepieces of an industrial heritage area that have now become parts of a World Heritage Site – just as in Cornwall, the same jokes about the Taj Mahal were made at the time.  What impressed me most was that the sites were National Museums, with free entry and direct guaranteed funding from the Welsh National Assembly.  I had wonderful fantasies about enough people in Cornwall voting the right way and independence being gained. . . or maybe we could just move Geevor to Wales. . .


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