Dr Liz Jones Commercial Engagement and Research Development Officer 14 November 2021
Since March 2021, Dr Liz Jones, Commercial Engagement and Research Development Officer at the Awen Institute, and Professor Alan Dix, Director of the Computational Foundry at Swansea University, have been working with a community in the village of Troedrhiwfuwch in the Upper Rhymney Valley in South Wales. They have been helping the community organise their historical archive, collate and research information and develop digital technologies for preserving the historic legacy of the village for future generations.
Troedrhiwfuwch, a few miles north of Bargoed, was once a thriving mining village. It was steadily abandoned during the late 20th century as landslides threatened the village. Two houses and the war memorial are all that are left of Troedrhiwfuwch. Despite having little physicality left to the village, the spirit of the community remains and has been bolstered by the care and attention that its history has been given by those who want to give its past a voice.
Liz and Alan have been helping to support the village in their endeavours to restore and renovate the village war memorial and memorial garden, which has been left in a neglected state since 1986. The village is of great historic significance as it sent such a large number of men to World War One for a village of its size. 110 of the 600 inhabitants, from 94 houses, volunteered to serve, with the memorial honouring the 16 men of the village who died.
Thanks to the support of Liz and Alan, the village garden has recently had new benches installed and some essential repairs have been carried out to the memorial garden wall and gates. Liz and Alan are hoping to help the community to apply for funding to restore and develop the memorial garden, integrating digital technology to showcase the history of the fallen. They are also hoping to help apply for funding for research projects to help to further develop the archive and digital capture methods, which all links with the policy context of the Well-being of Future Generations Act, 2015.
Liz and Alan have held consultation and archive collection events with the community, with the community running their own event during August 2021. They will be attending the Remembrance Service at Troedrhiwfuwch War Memorial on 14th November 2021, and the village will be holding a ‘get together’ and open day to share the collaborative work so far, and to collect and showcase further archive material.
This community project highlights the determination to engage with communities that are passionate about their heritage, and coproduce and collaborate in the most challenging of circumstances due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Dr Liz Jones, Commercial Engagement and Research Development Officer at the Awen Institute, said:
“It has been really inspiring working with the community, and helping them to begin to achieve their long-term aspirations for the archive, war memorial and garden. We hope to work alongside them on several future endeavours which will provide a lasting legacy about the historic importance of the Troedrhiwfuwch for future generations.”