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Welsh Bible from the Mimosa among treasures on
display at the National Library this Bank Holiday

A Bible carried by Welsh settlers on board the Mimosa as they voyaged across the Atlantic in search of a better life in South America is among the treasures on display at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth this Bank Holiday Monday, 25 May.

The Welsh-language Bible is on short-term loan to the Library for the duration of a new exhibition called ‘Gwladfa’, which marks the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Welsh colony in Patagonia.

‘Gwladfa’, which opens on Saturday, 23 May, describes the settlers’ early preparations and the hardships they faced on the sea crossing.  They eventually landed in Puerto Madryn on 26 July 1865, where, despite an arid, inhospitable landscape, they established a self-governing community with the Welsh language and culture at its heart.

The exhibition includes manuscripts and artwork from the Library’s own collections.  On 19 June, members of the public are invited to bring personal memorabilia connected to Patagonia to the Library, to add to and improve on information already available on Wikipedia and the People’s Collection Wales website.

Happy days at the Urdd camp in Llangrannog

Wales’ more recent past is celebrated in 'Llangrannog: Cyfnod Mewn Amser – Jôcs, Jeriws a Joio!' which is also open to the public on Bank Holiday Monday.

The focus of this exhibition is the Urdd youth movement’s popular residential centre in Llangrannog, Cardiganshire, which began life in 1932 as a tented camp, evolving over the decades into a modern activity centre, complete with en-suite accommodation.

Generations of Welsh schoolchildren have enjoyed a trip to Llangrannog and this exhibition showcases photography from the 1930s-1980s, sourced from the Urdd’s own archives and digitised with the support of the People’s Collection Wales.  

Remembering Welsh author T. Llew

A trip to Llangrannog often featured a talk by the late T. Llew Jones, one of Wales’ most cherished writers, perhaps best-known for his Welsh-language adventure novels for children.  There’s an opportunity to learn more about T. Llew in an exhibition marking the centenary of his birth, which celebrates both his life and work.

In ‘The Storyteller's Spell: T. Llew Jones' Centenary’ , visitors can read T. Llew’s diaries and learn more about his love of cricket and chess and his relationship with some of his most notable contemporaries.

Railway enthusiasts

For railway and train enthusiasts, there’s a free screening in the National Library’s multi-media Auditorium, Drwm, at 2.00pm on Bank Holiday Monday of the film ‘Of time and the railway’ by Robert Davies.
The film follows the train journey between Birmingham and Aberystwyth and was recorded from the driver’s cab between October 2013 and February 2015 over 86 different days.  The footage has been edited into one journey which shows the effects of the changing seasons on the landscape as well as the evolving human geography adjacent to the tracks.
Robert Davies will be present at the screening to introduce the film; tickets are available from the Library’s shop, telephone 01970 632548.

Sir John Prise

Among the other attractions at the Library is ‘Publisher and plunderer?' which sheds light on the life of Sir John Prise (1502?-1555) who amassed a superb personal library, including the earliest manuscript in the Welsh language, the Black Book of Carmarthen.
The exhibition offers a rare opportunity to view some of the volumes stolen from the monasteries, following the Dissolution, which came into Prise’s hands and which are on loan from Hereford Cathedral Library.

Last chance to enjoy Shani Rhys James exhibition

The largest and most comprehensive collection of work by the artist Shani Rhys James, well-known for her powerful figurative paintings, draws to a close at the end of this month, 30 May.

'Distillation': 30 Years of Painting’ includes Shani’s early prize-winning paintings as well as her latest work, with pieces chosen from museums and private collections.

The North Reading Room, South Reading Room, shop and Caffi Bach café will also be open to the public on Bank Holiday Monday.  The Library will be open between 9.30am and 5.00pm.

Dr Aled Gruffydd Jones, National Library of Wales Chief Executive and Librarian, said:

"The remarkable story of the great adventure to Patagonia has been an important part of the Welsh psyche over the past 150 years, and ‘Gwladfa’ brings that story alive via the diaries, letters and artefacts of those early settlers.

“Gwladfa is one of a number of fascinating exhibitions currently open at the Library, and with something on offer for everyone, we look forward to welcoming visitors over the Bank Holiday.”

For more information please contact Lydia Whitfield on