Tuesday, 4 December 2007

St Fagans - Wales National History Museum

I was lucky enough to attend a training course at St Fagans recently.

If you want to know more about St Fagans, have a look at their website:


St Fagans is a fascinating place - buildings of all kinds have been brought from all over Wales - carefully dismantled and re-assembled on this site. The buildings range from a school, to a chapel, a pottery, a bakery, a blackmiths, a terrace of miner's cottages, a 1950s pre-fabricated home, a working men's institute, various farmhouses, a cockpit, a post office, a church, a water-powered mill, a pig sty, a grand house, and more... and rare and old Welsh breeds of animals graze in the fields around and between the buildings.

I took these photographs early in the morning, on my way to the training course, before the museum was open. Most of the buildings were still closed, so there are almost no interiors here. When the museum is open, people can go inside the buildings, and ask the guides questions.

I have perhaps photographed the exterior of a quarter of the buildings on site.

This farm house is known as the 'Red House'.
It doesn't always appear to be quite as bright as this,
but the early sun was very bright, and lit it up!

The Victorian school house - and when modern children visit
St Fagans on class trips,
they are often taught a 'Victorian lesson' here,
using slates and chalk...
I wonder if they like their modern teachers more
after experiencing the strict Victorian regime?

A row of 6 terraced workers cottages, dating from around 1840.
These cottages have been 'dressed' to show how they
would have been in different eras, ranging from 1840 to 1970.
Their gardens have also been designed to show
how the usage changed over time.
The 1940s (or 1950s) one has a pigeon loft,
as pigeon racing was a very popular pastime
amongst men in the south Wales valleys at that time.

The 1970 and the 1940s/50s one bring back
all kinds of childhood memories for me!

The cottages are absolutely tiny.
2 small rooms downstairs,
and 2 more small rooms upstairs,
and the staircase is very small, too.
I can't imagine bringing up a family here.

A toll house, which would originally have been
located at a fork in the road - hence
the 'payment' windows at either side of the building.

The working men's institute - a place to meet your friends,
read a book, improve yourself, and escape from your womenfolk!

The blacksmith's Forge.
Sometimes there is a blacksmith demonstrating his skills.
Many other buildings on this site have craftspeople
demonstrating their craft - there is a pottery, a saddlery,
a tannery, and mill. The bakery bakes bread & cake daily,
and sells them to visitors.

The interior of a Chapel.
The exterior of the building is whitewashed stone,
and the windows were plain glass.
It is very small and cosy, and has no fancy decoration.

The Gwalia Stores. The shop has all the original counters,
and replicas of the kinds of things which would have been
sold in a hardware & food store. You can still buy things here today.

The small yellow building to the right is the photographer's studio.

A very old farmhouse form north Wales.

A metal mile post,
relocated about 10 miles or so from it's original site.

The museum isn't all old buildings.
Wales has sustainability built into
all government plans & policies.
The museum decided to build
a 'House of the Future' using sustainable materials,
and built to use very little energy.
The sun's energy is captured through
the south facing glass wall at the back of the house,
and the house conserves energy by being
incredibly well insulated.
It has a turf or sedum roof, and solar panels.

The back of the House of the Future

An experiment in the garden....

1 comment:

sl lewis said...

... lovely to see a photo of the toll house!.. my great-grandmother grew up in that house, and my family remember it being taken apart and transported to st. fagan's!