The National Library of Wales and the First World War

The Library’s commemoration programme forms a key part of the Welsh Government’s Cymru’n Cofio – Wales Remembers 1914-1918 Programme.

Cymru'n Cofio Wales Remembers 1914-1918 is the official site for information on how Wales will mark the centenary of the First World War in Wales. It provides a focal point for information on the latest news, projects, events and signposting services for the programme of commemoration which will take place in Wales from 2014 to 2018. 

The National Library of Wales has launched a major programme of resources and events to commemorate the First World War and contribute to the understanding of its legacy. This will be launched at the National Eisteddofd in Llanelli on August 6th in the presence of the First Minister, Carwyn Jones.

The main focus of our programme at the Library in Aberystwyth and at its community partnership sites will be the events of 1914-19 that had a particular Welsh impact. Our aim is to support the exploration of the documentary heritage of Wales to highlight the often hidden histories of the First World War and develop a better understanding of this period of history. This is an important opportunity for community engagement activities aimed at all ages, exploring the multifaceted legacy of the impact of the War: on language, religion, culture, politics, art and music. We invite the widest participation in this programme.

The context for our programme is the Welsh Government Programme for the Commemoration of the First World War, Cymru’n Cofio - Wales Remembers 1914–1918. To share information, or find out more, please see the Library or Wales Remembers Twitter accounts: @WalesRemembers and @NLWales.

Our Cymru’n Cofio - Wales Remembers 1914–1918 programme and related activities are generously supported by the Welsh Government (CyMAL), Jisc, the Welsh Government Department of Education and Skills, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Armed Forces Community Covenant Fund and other donors.

Digital Resources

The Library has built an extensive collection of freely accessible online resources for research, teaching, and public engagement. This underscores the Welsh Government commitment to making digital the focus of First World War Commemoration, and also the Library’s strategy of “Knowledge for all”: making primary sources accessible to the millions of National Library of Wales users around the world will increase the understanding of the First World War in an inclusive way, and enable people to examine the history by testing myths against reality using the original sources.

Our flagship resource for researching the First World War is The Welsh Experience of the First World War/ Rhyfel Byd 1914-1918 a’r profiad Cymreig

Website: cymru1914.org, Twitter: @cymruww1

This is a collection of over 200,000 pages of newspapers, archives, photographs, and manuscripts from the archives and special collections of Wales. It was launched in November 2013, and was developed through a partnership with WHELF, the Welsh Higher Education Library Forum. The Library will add resources to this archive throughout the commemoration period, including additional newspapers; the Cardiganshire Great War Tribunal (Appeals) Records; Saunders Lewis Letters; the Welsh Horse Lancers Research Papers Archive; as well as books (including novels), periodicals, diaries and letters. We hope to also add partner materials based on the availability of additional funding.

Welsh Newspapers and Journals Online


Original newspapers are an important way to follow the war day-by day, and to see different perspectives on events.  Thanks to funding from the EU and the Welsh Government, the Library has made available over 1 million pages of Welsh Newspapers in Welsh and English from 1804-1919 in Welsh Newspapers Online. The text of the newspapers has been through optical character recognition, making the full text searchable

Welsh Journals Online offers access to scholarship from Wales through back issues of 50 titles, from academic and scientific publications to literary and popular magazines.

We also encourage you to browse our digital art and photographic collections, as they also contain key materials from 1914-18, and the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales is also an important source of materials for study. 

People’s Collections Wales Content and Community

The People’s Collection, Wales ran a successful series of community content generation events for cymru1914.org, and hope to run similar events through 2014-19.

 

Exhibitions

Lloyd George: Y Dewin, Yr Afr, a'r Dyn Enillodd y Rhyfel/Lloyd George: The Wizard, the Goat and the Man Who Won the War, closed 10 May 2014. Objects from the exhibition will be digitised and become part of an online exhibition that will be hosted on the NLW website for the remainder of the centenary.

Early preparation is underway for 2016 on the theme of Mametz Wood, based on work by the photographer Aled Rhys Hughes, and David Jones's 'In Parenthesis’.

An exhibition of manuscripts, archival materials and early books looking at how war has been represented in Welsh literature will take place at NLW in 2016. This will be an opportunity to bring together Llyfr Aneirin (Battle of Catraeth) and items from the David Jones Archives (Mametz Wood).

Pop-up Exhibitions

Throughout 2014-18, we will develop small, targeted exhibitions, with related online exhibitions, publications, and talks and events, around the key areas of Welsh Commemorative focus. We propose to hold these events at venues within the NLW, at our community partner organisations, and online.

The first of these is the online Exhibition: The Great War and the Valleys Merthyr Tydfil and the Cynon Valley (http://merthyrww1.llgc.org.uk), developed by Paul O’Leary of Aberystwyth University History Department.

Wales at War: Education and Outreach Around the War Memorials of Wales

Wales at War is an inclusive activity for schoolchildren in Wales that enables them to develop biographies of the names listed on their local war memorials and to learn more about the impact of the First World War on Wales. The project’s aim is to discover more about the lives of the men and women from Wales who went to war, with a particular focus on those who are commemorated on war memorials in Wales.  The Wales at War website and app also includes a timeline of the main events of the war and theatres of war reference resources, all with a distinct Welsh flavour. 
We are working in partnership with the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Wales, the Commonwealth War Grave Commission, the Royal Navy and schools across Wales. The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Welsh Government Department for Education and Skills and the Armed Forces Community Covenant fund. Visit the Wales at War website or download the app for free from the App Store or Google Play.  Twitter: @walesatwar

Cymru'n Cofio - Wales Remembers 1914-1918

The National Library of Wales Commemoration of the is a key part of the Welsh Government’s Wales-wide programme marking the centenary, called Cymru’n Cofio – Wales Remembers 1914-1918

Cymru'n Cofio Wales Remembers 1914-1918 is the official site for information on how Wales will mark the centenary of the First World War in Wales. It provides a focal point for information on the latest news, projects, events and signposting services for the programme of commemoration which will take place in Wales from 2014 to 2018.

Wales for Peace

The Library is a partner in the Wales for Peace project, which explores how Wales has contributed to the search for peace in the 100 years since the First World War. As part of the project, the Library will be digitising the Welsh Book of Remembrance for the First World War and developing a transcription tool so that the information contained within the Book can be collected. The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Twitter: @walesforpeace

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