Open Learning Opportunities
After consultation we have created open learning opportunities to support the History and Heritage Reading and Research Groups which are being set up this autumn. This will enable anyone interested to explore the story of Welsh Plains and the wider Welsh Wollen Cottage Industry between 1650 and 1850. This will include local, national and international research.
In the first two phases of the project (which started in March 2019) the project team engaged over 50 Community Research Volunteers, with a range of experience, expertise and interest, based across Wales and some even further afield. During the next phase we plan to structure how we pass on what we have found, as we still want to encourage local research and themed research.
If you follow the steps listed below you can create your own "Open Learning Course" which you can do at your own pace, from home or from your local library, and also we hope this will get you out and about and meeting others who are also interested in this fascinating and overlooked, but obvious, history.
1 Check out our original bilingual website www.welshplains.cymru where the article by our main advisor, Prof Chris Evans, gives a good background, and there is also other information we felt would be useful to help Community Research Volunteers get started.
2 Create your own timeline from 1650 to 1850 to include key dates and events that you know about, and then add in key events and developments that you learn about eg 1807: the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act.
3 Get out and about locally and see what evidence you can find about the woollen industry in your area: look for Pandys (or more correctly Pandau) or Fulling Mills. These provide clear evidence of the early Welsh Woollen Cottage Industry as it seems fulling was an essential element in the process: Check: All about Pandys / Fulling Mills
Also look out for “factories”, larger and often 3 or 4 storey buildings, built in the late 1700s where weavers were brought / came together to produce the particularly long lengths of cloth the market required.
The majority of communities across Mid Wales were wool production centres, producing various sorts of cloth and sometimes knitted items, for local families, for local markets and for the export market. Often this is forgotten when mining or quarrying became the main focus.
4 Check out the suggested reading in Sources of Information:
5 Take time to visit to your local library, local archives or museums, to find out what information is available to you. Local church records can also provide information about local occupationsFind your local history group or individuals with a passion for history: Check "Here to Help"
6 Plan ahead to visit the National Wool Museum, the Newtown Textile Museum, St Fagan’s, the International Slavery Museum and the Maritime Museum in Liverpool, or plan to visit the many museums and places in Bristol that have direct connections and information about the Slave Trade and the sugar and tobacco industries.
7 Arrange to go along to a meeting of the local “Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers” to see the wonderful crafts people who are the custodians of the skills of the early woollen industry or check out any local history groups.
8 From time to time check the progress of the topics that others have been researching that are being posted on this site.
9 Finally you may decide to explore an aspect of the Welsh Woollen industry in more detail eg the use of packhorses, the tentering process, the role of the landed gentry in all of this, or the development of the sugar industry and the uses of sugar
10 Please let us know what you have found or phone Liz on 07711569489 to find out more, or to discuss your plans.
Also emails to firstname.lastname@example.org are always welcome and we will repond quickly.
So far Community Research Volunteers have investigated places across Mid Wales and parts of North Wales exploring to find evidence of the likelihood of dramatic increases in woollen cloth production in the 1700s. There are still opportunities to get involved in this mapping exercise and to research the Welsh Woollen Cottage Industry in your local area so that you can share it with other CRVs and the local community.