by franklittle on 4 May, 2009
It was good to see people from all parties at yesterday’s celebration of the life of Sir Samuel Evans on his 150th anniversary. Liberal Democrats, as successors in Sir Samuel’s Liberal lineage, were naturally well to the fore. There was a chance to see Kirsty again, for the first time for me after her election as leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats. However, there were present also other parties’ parliamentarians, both from Cardiff and Westminster.
The first part of the celebration was in the parish church which Sir Samuel, as a non-conformist, probably didn’t attend until he was buried in its yard, and the second afterwards for tea and cakes in the school which he certainly did attend. It is now Neath Abbey school, but was then known as the Quaker School. Coincidentally, it was also the first school of David Melding, with whom I had crossed swords in the Vale of Glamorgan in the first Welsh Assembly elections. (Of the four main candidates in the Vale that year, three got into the Assembly and are still there: Jane Hutt, Chris Franks and David Melding.)
It was good to see Mr Melding again and have the first conversation since the Vale declaration. We were joined by Robert King, local historian and genealogist. Talk soon turned from Sir Samuel in particular to heritage in general. There was cross-party agreement that not enough was being done in South Wales in general to preserve and promote our Victorian and industrial heritage.
In Neath Port Talbot, there has been no replacement for Clive Reed as museums officer. Nobody officially tours the schools, as he once did, explaining the part which this area of the country played in the Industrial Revolution. Not only industrial sites, but also remains going back to Roman times, are neglected.1 Comment