Ernest Willows – Airship Pioneer

Roath Local History Society

Ernest Willows – the aviator

Ernest Willows constructed a number of airships, the naming of which probably didn’t take up too much of his time.  Willows 1, powered by a motorbike engine, was constructed in his workshop in East Moors Cardiff in 1905 when he was just 19 years old.

Willows I in 1905 Willows I in 1905

In 1910, in Willows 2, he succeeded in flying it to the city centre and landing near the City Hall netting him a £50 prize for the first aerial voyage in Wales.   Buoyed by his success and now with a bit of publicity behind him, he did the same three days later, this time in front of a crowd of 40,000. 

Willows II landing outside the City Hall Cardiff 1910 Willows II landing outside the City Hall Cardiff 1910

A new local hero was born.  Ernest advanced airship design in that he made his steerable, something that is no doubt a great advantage if you…

View original post 1,053 more words

Victorian Pillar Boxes of Roath, Splott and Adamsdown.

Roath Local History Society

I find Victorian pillar boxes strangely fascinating.  I think it’s their rugged steadfast look, their apparent determined attitude that the world around them can change as much as it likes but they’re not going anywhere.

Cardiff Victorian Post Boxes 1 Beresford Road / Spring Gardens Place – CF24 1RA (left) and Connaught Road CF24 3PT (right)

I’ve discovered fourteen Victorian pillar boxes in the Roath/Splott/Adamsdown areas and one Victorian post box.  May be there are a few more hidden away?

Roath Victorian Pillar Boxes map Positions of Victorian Pillar boxes in Roath, Splott and Adamsdown Cardiff marked in red.

I think we should have a minutes silence for the one I think we lost last year when the Splott Road railway bridge was raised for the electrification scheme.

Cardiff Victorian Post Boxes 12 I think this one on Splott Road / Pearl Street has gone (Photo: Google Streetview 2016)

A pillar box can be dated by the royal motif on the front.  The Victorian pillar…

View original post 657 more words

Wayland’s Smithy and neo-Nazis


I’ve just read an invaluable reflection by archaeologist Dr Jonathan Last on the recent Telegraph story reporting that neo-Nazi groups have been holding religious ceremonies at Avebury and Wayland’s Smithy. 

The evidence came from a now-deleted video posted on YouTube of night time fire rituals and a swastika has reportedly been carved into one of the beech trees surrounding Wayland’s Smithy. The text is here.

DSC09122 Wayland’s Smithy, Aug 2018

Here’s the BBC News take on this story.

And here, The Mirror.

Dr Last points to the way British prehistory has been portrayed in the media as part of the problem. But he identifies a wider problem that, for all the sophisticated interpretations by academics, the public are fed a ‘conservative, nostalgic narrative of a lost rural England.’ This, Dr Last argues, chimes with the ‘blood and soil’ ideology of extremists. The 20th-century recreations of prehistoric monuments at Avebury and Wayland’s…

View original post 2,041 more words

Infection – Update- 19th July 2019 #gardening

Bramble Garden

I’ve just had a few weeks I would rather forget. I’ve spent a lot of time sitting here, recovering from an infection.

We spent a year renovating our 1930s summerhouse; it’s on a turntable, so it can follow the sun. I’ve watched the sunrise and sunset from my armchair, pondering on how a simple gardening injury can cause a potentially serious illness.

A few weeks ago I got a splinter in the palm of my hand. I was gardening and sweeping out my potting shed. A tiny drop of blood, it didn’t look serious. So I finished sweeping up before heading to the kitchen. I washed my hands in hot soapy water and extracted the splinter, put on a plaster and never gave it a second thought. I’ve had many thorns and splinters over the years, and always got away with it. This time I wasn’t so lucky and my…

View original post 365 more words