History of the Society

The History of the Society

From all the information gathered it would seem that the Society was first formed in the 1950’s and ran for a few years until it disbanded, only to be reformed in the 1980’s and then disbanded once more. The catalyst leading to the Society once again being reformed was the very first Talgarth Festival in 1996. Archives that had been carefully preserved in the town library were dug out and a display was held in the Rugby Club at Trefecca Road. This was a huge success and a register of interest was signed by about twenty people. The first meeting of the newly resurgent Society was held the following month and soon a constitution was agreed and new committee members were elected.   Over the years the Society has tried to encourage and gather in new archive material from people who live or who have lived in the area and new additions and leads are always welcome.  An ongoing theme of the Society is to record events of today, because by tomorrow they really are History. In years to come, the many photos and stories we have recorded will be a fascinating insight into life in Talgarth and District for future generations, just as information recorded by people in the past has been to us. In 2007 a couple of members took old archive pictures and revisited the sites; they took new photos from the same places, perhaps a hundred years on. The results are fascinating and can be seen in the Photo Gallery.  Another area in which we have been active is the oral recording of memories of older members of the community – a project which started not long after the reformation of the Society. It was a sensible move as we have been endowed with many interesting stories of life, events and customs in Talgarth people who have since sadly passed. Topics covered have been the fifty-five shops in Talgarth in the 40’s/50’s where each shop was mentioned, with stories of the owners and what they were selling; two on Agriculture which refer to Hiring Fairs and the making of ‘Tangle Foot,’ otherwise known as cider!; the TB Hospital where patients slept outside in the corridors; the War Years; the Land Army; the closing of the Railway in 1964, described by the ninety-three year old last Station Master of Talgarth; and the Great Flood of Talgarth in 1998, an interview on which was done whilst memories were fresh.

A meeting was held at Talgarth Town Hall at 19.00 on 22 October 2019, to provide an opportunity for members and residents to determine the future of the society.  Both the current chairman- Richard Walker and the Treasurer Alan Lovell indicated that they were standing down at the end of 2019, and no one had been forthcoming to take on the organising roles necessary for the society to continue.

Fourteen members were present and everyone was invited to express a view, and an opportunity to state whether they wanted to take over the roles necessary for the society to function.  Alan Lovell informed those present that there was £1,500 in the Bank Account, which would be sufficient to provide any money necessary to finance the society in the short term.

The discussion included suggestions as to the structure of the programme – it could for example be run on an ad hoc basis.  The contribution of James Goff was cited, who is interested in the archaeology and geology of the surrounding area.  There is a lot still to learn about Talgarth and the surrounding area – if the society closes, it may be difficult to restart it.  The concentration on local history can be a problem – if it is not local, some people don’t attend.  Elaine Stephens has been involved with the setting up of Post Office Corner in the town, and this indicated a very strong interest in Talgarth.  The History Walk, led by Alan Lovell, is a popular  feature of the Walking Festival and the archive is a very important resource for the town, and has been cared for by Jill Fawke in her spare room.  There is also the question of the website which needs updating – this attracts a cost of £120 per year.

The following was decided:-

Jan Shivel would take over the role of treasurer

Paul Hanson would take over the role of Chairman

Elaine Stephens, Virginia Brown and Penny Eckley would assist on an ad hoc basis: they would meet to decide how best to take the society forward.

The Sundial. This is a very old feature of the Churchyard at St Gwendoline’s Church. It is in a very poor state of repair, and will require £670 to renovate.  Tim Martin will do the work , but the estimate for renovation covers the materials.  Alan had applied for a grant from the Oakdale Trust who had awarded £250.  A further application could be made to the National Park Authority, but it would be appropriate for the Historical Society to make a contribution.

Proposed by Jan and seconded by Penny that we donate £150.  This was agreed unanimously by those present.

The meeting was concluded at 20.30

Richard Walker