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Glamorgan Estate Surveys amongst collections being protected in Wales

Arolygon o Ystad ym Morgannwg ymhlith y casgliadau sy'n cael eu gwarchod yng Nghymru

Archive treasures being preserved by the Welsh Government and the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust (NMCT) this year include records from the internationally recognised Foyle Opera Rara Collection, held by the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and 18th century estate surveys of the Plymouth Estate that provide insights into land ownership and use in pre-industrial south Wales, held at Glamorgan Archives.

In total four Welsh institutions will benefit from conservation funding.  Successful projects also include estate records held by Powys Archives, and locomotive drawings preserved at Rhyl Miniature Railway. 

These projects are funded through a partnership between the Welsh Government and the NMCT.  This funding allows the conservation of important manuscripts to which access is currently restricted because of their fragile condition. Thanks to this funding, important documents that tell our national story are being made accessible to students, researchers and local users. 

Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas said:

“This partnership, established in 2008 with Welsh Government support, continues to widen access to items and collections of national and international significance across Wales.  I am grateful to the NMCT Trustees for their continued support in preserving our rich archival heritage.

I am particularly pleased to see the range of material that this year’s grants will support, from estate surveys and maps, which illustrate and evidence our changing landscape, to a treasure trove of opera history, and the records of our earliest miniature railway.”

Professor David McKitterick, Chairman of NMCT, added:

“We are absolutely delighted that our long term partnership with the Welsh Government is ensuring that more, important Welsh manuscripts are being conserved than ever before.  Since our partnership was established just over ten years ago we have, together, invested over £340,000 in the conservation of Wales's written heritage - so much more of which is now publicly accessible thanks to our support.”



Notes to editors

Notes for Editors

The National Manuscripts Conservation Trust (NMCT) ( offers grants for the conservation and preservation of manuscripts and archives across the UK.  Since the NMCT was founded in 1990 it has awarded grants of over £3m, which have enabled the conservation of hundreds of historical, literary, musical, architectural and other nationally significant documents. NMCT’s grants ensure that these important collections can once more be made accessible to the public and researchers.

Summary of Funded Projects:

Glamorgan Archives: Conserving the Plymouth Estate Surveys - The Plymouth Estate Surveys of 1766 cover a large part of the historic county of Glamorgan, including what would become the south Wales coalfield, along with outlying areas of Cardiff.  Taken together, the maps are a significant aid to topographical studies of the area.  They provide a rare and valuable overview of land ownership and use in pre-industrial south Wales, an area which grew to worldwide importance through the production and global export of products including iron and coal. The landscape was changed significantly and irreparably by these industries and it is unusual to find such a complete collection of maps showing the area prior to its development and exploitation.  There is evidence of place names, field names, dialect words and lost buildings.  The inclusion of bilingual English/Welsh field names is of particular note and of academic interest.
For further information please contact:   029 2087 2299       

Powys Archives: Conserving the Wythen Jones Survey of Estates – This project is to conserve a volume entitled 'A Survey of Several Estates in the County of Montgomery Belonging to Wythen Jones Esq. Taken in the Year 1776'. The volume contains folded plans of lands in Montgomeryshire, along with accompanying information showing tenant and size of holding. The plans predominantly show the parishes of Llanidloes and Llandinam, and in particular, there is a plan of the town of Llanidloes showing the Old Market Hall at the crossroads. This view of the town is the earliest inclusion in any map held by Powys Archives.  

For further information please contact:  01597 826088

Rhyl Steam Preservation Trust: Conservation of locomotive drawings for Rhyl Miniature Railway - During the 1920s six 15in gauge steam locomotives were built by Albert Barnes & Co in Rhyl to designs of the renowned engineer Henry Greenly. Four of these locomotives are at the heart of the collection of Rhyl Miniature Railway, now the oldest miniature railway in the UK.   At the time the locomotives were built detailed construction drawings were provided by Henry Greenly. As time went on additional drawings were made by the engineering staff of Rhyl Amusements Ltd in order to assist maintenance. These drawings directly complement our core collection and this project will see them professionally conserved to ensure their future survival, and support the continued maintenance of the locomotives, most of which are still operating.

For further information please contact:   01352 759109

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama: Conserving the Foyle Opera Rara Collection – the Foyle Opera Rara Collection is at the centre of RWCMD’s special collections. Internationally recognised as a treasure trove of opera history, the Collection comprises the library, archives and art collection of Opera Rara, a British opera company specialising in recording rare and forgotten operas. It includes an extensive archive of operatic manuscripts, many handwritten by the composers themselves, first and early editions of nineteenth-century opera scores, letters written by composers and singers, and a large array of other opera-related archival resources.  This project will conserve most fragile and the most unique items within the collection, irreplaceable and invaluable resources, written by some of the genre’s most significant and influential composers. This includes letters written between composers and librettists, and between composers and publishers – offering unique insights into the operatic community in the 19th century, into the lives of the influential musicians who wrote them, and into the creative process for the production of operas.

For further information please contact:   029 2039 1331