Friday, September 22, 2017

Do you know of William Adams (1813-1886)?

I didn't until I was given a box of glass slides which were found in a Church that was being turned into a community center in Cardiff so from then on I knew what he looked like, but not a lot more

Here's a copy of that picture : -


I was aware of his name from the records and of course his name is recorded in the first edition of the Society transactions

When we started researching the history of the Society the fact he was a geologist interested me and I decided to look for some more information

Like many of our former members and presidents he seems to have been driven to do good works wherever he was.

This has now gone into the 150th Anniversary web site to support our exhibition at the Cardiff Story museum you can see the page here - http://cardiffnaturalists.org.uk/htmfiles/150th-11.htm






Monday, September 18, 2017

An Evening with Iolo Williams - Tickets On Sale Now

As part of the celebrations and in light of their close association with Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales, 

Cardiff Naturalists' Society are hosting 
“An Evening with Iolo Williams” 

in the Reardon Smith Lecture Theatre at the Museum in Cathays Park, Cardiff, at 7:00 pm on October 5th 2017.







Famous Welsh naturalist Iolo will be talking about a whole range of topics, including insights into the making of his many natural history programmes for television, as well as a taking a question and answer session.

A "must be there" event for anyone interested in wildlife and nature
There will be a special offer on membership for anyone who comes to the Lecture to be able to "trade in" their ticket for a year's free membership

Dyffryn Gardens Arboretum

On Thursday 14 Sept, Cardiff Naturalists took a tour of the arboretum at Dyffryn Gardens with the new arboriculturist Rory Ambrose. Rory started work at National Trust Dyffryn Gardens in November 2016, bringing with him many years’ experience of working at Kew Gardens.

He told us of the National Trust’s five-year plan to restore the arboretum to its former glory as a “woodland garden”, with the clearance of overgrowth to let important trees flourish, a greater emphasis on parkland tree species, and better integration with the rest of the Edwardian gardens.

Systematic tree planting started at Dyffryn back in the mid-eighteenth century. Among the oldest ornamentals are the Lucombe oak on the Archery lawn, thought to be over 400 years’ old. Reginald Cory and Thomas Mawson developed and extended the gardens at Dyffryn between 1906 and 1930, including the tree collection in the form it is seen today. Unfortunately, there was a period of relative neglect for several decades, up to 1997 when Vale of Glamorgan Council purchased Dyffryn Gardens. The National Trust acquired the house and gardens in January 2013.

We started our walk by the visitor centre, stopping first at Kennel Bank to the left of the path to Dyffryn House. The heather beds established in the 1970s have now gone. This area is being prepared as a wild flower meadow, with some new areas of heather being replanted. Around 80,000 bulbs are to be planted on the bank, including 6,000 crocus bulbs of several varieties. The long-term aim is for a pastoral woodland landscape, which will include native orchids.

The 22-acre arboretum at Dyffryn is divided into 37 areas for the purposes of management. Rory explained that the plan was to concentrate on restoring 5 to 6 areas, such as the Kennel Bank, each year, “to do small areas really well rather than spreading ourselves too thinly”.

Walking up the path into the arboretum from here, we pass the first of many Champion Trees: an elm. The focus is on UK Champions: those trees that by virtue of their girth, height or distinctive characteristics are considered to be the best examples of their kind. One aim, in the next few years, is to establish a new Champion Tree trail, to guide visitors to these outstanding specimens.

Noting some of the characterful and quirky tree shapes, Rory noted the role of Victorian nurseries, where seedlings could become pot-bound before planting. “Today’s nurseries are too good,” jokes Rory, as they result in more uniform trees!

Unfortunately, some of the Champion Trees have suffered through insufficient woodland management. At least three UK Champions in the Crataegus (hawthorn) collection, for instance, have died amidst the overgrowth; the clearing of which is a major management challenge for Rory and his team.

Among the other UK Champion Trees pointed out by Rory were a magnificent hornbeam (Carpinus betulus ‘Fastigiata’), and Dyffryn’s famous Acer griseum, grown from a seed bought back from Asia by the plant collector Ernest Henry ‘Chinese’ Wilson. This tree is now approaching the end of its life, and a barrier prevents people walking on its root plate. However, the main aim is to propagate a new tree from its seeds and plant it nearby, not an easy task as the germination rate is relatively low.

Rory showed us where he and his team are creating a natural play area from the timber of fallen mature trees. Nearby, and off limits to the public, a large concrete pad had recently been laid in the composting area. The plan is for Dyffryn Gardens to be 100% self-sufficient for green waste (compost and mulch) in the near future.

The tall yews that formed the boundary between the arboretum and the formal gardens have gone, opening up views and enabling the team to integrate the woodland area better with the gardens as a whole. Other plans for Dyffryn Gardens include the creation of a heritage orchard.

We looked at a particularly fine Metasequoia, near a delightful gourd tunnel in the walled gardens, before finishing at the Rock Garden – another area where there are plans for creating much more botanical interest within the next five years.

Back at the entrance, we thanked Rory for a highly informative and entertaining tour of the arboretum. I am sure we will all be returning to see how the National Trust’s ambitious plans transform this area back toward the vision of Dyffryn Garden’s original founders.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Happy Birthday from the RSPB

Many people have wished the society best wishes recently and we are very pleased to hear from them

Particularity nice  was this card from the RSPB Cymru Director, Katie-Jo Luxton with a wonderfully appropriate Red Kite on the cover

(I hope they don't mind me sharing- I would provide a link, but I cannot find it in their shop)


Such a nice dedication to the Society 


Here and Here  are some articles about the issues that were witnessed by the CNS in the 1880's and the efforts that the Society went to in order to get the protection of birds legislation actually enforced

It was said that Morrey Salmon knew the location of all the Rad Kite nests when they were at their minimum and I am sure that Iolo Williams who is speaking to us on 5th of October will have some tales to tell of looking at this wonderful bird so much associated with Wales


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Cardiff Free Library - Our First Home

When the Cardiff naturalists Society was formed in 1867 a meeting place was needed and this is recorded in the minute book, (a section of which has been put on-line by the Glamorgan Archives team) as being in the Cardiff Free Library
The first reference to a ‘Society’ was in August 1867 with the note of …the preliminary meeting of the members of the projected ‘Naturalists’ Society’ held in the upper room of the Free Library… on 29 August 1867. Chaired by William Taylor, Esq, MD and attended by 11 in total
When this and other information about the first 150 years was presented to the society last night there was a question from the audience as to whether this was the "Old Library" now home to the Cardiff Story Museum

The simple answer is that it could not have been as that was built between 1880 and 1882 and opened by the Mayor on the 31st May 1882. It did then house a free library, museum and schools for science and art. which will most certainly have been the home for our collections until they were moved to the National Museum of Wales in Cathays Park

So where were these first meetings?

The Cardiff Story Museum website gives us the answer
In 1862 A group of individuals set up a Free Library by voluntary subscription, above the St Mary Street entrance to Royal Arcade and then in 1864 The library moved to bigger premises in the YMCA building, St Mary Street (now demolished). A School of Science and Art was added and a small museum opened. 
This second location is logically the location for those first meetings


Additional evidence for this is to be found in this publication https://archive.org/details/cardifffreelibra00ballrich which confirms the St Mary's Street address for the library and Museum in 1867.

It also gives a moving dedication to Peter Price
The honour of first suggesting that Cardiff should adopt the Public Libraries Act belongs to the late Mr. Peter Price, whose many years of patient hard work will be remembered as long as the Library records endure.
This publication records the following details
Peter Price (Hon. Secretary, afterwards Chairman;  a member of the Corporation and a J.P. ; died 1892). 
It also gives a summary of his life, death and character
Peter Price was born in the little country town of Builth, in Brecknockshire, in 1824, and was the youngest of a family of ten ; left fatherless at the age of seven, to be brought up by a widowed mother on straitened means, his regular education was limited to a few years at the school kept by the parson of the parish. He displayed marvellous aptitude for the acquirement of knowledge, and set about educating himself, and he continued his education up to the very last year of his life.

The Mechanics' Institute at Worcester first gave Mr. Price systematic help in his self-education. He was engaged in that town in the drawing office of an engineering firm.

In 1851 he came to Cardiff, and set up in business as a contractor, in partnership with his brother-in-law, and in a few years he was busily engaged advocating the adoption of the Public Libraries Act for the town. After the adoption of the Act he acted as hon. secretary for thirteen years. When he relinquished this office he still continued a member of the Committee, and was ultimately made vice-chairman, and during the last three years of his life he was chairman. He died October 4th, 1892. For thirty years he had watched the growth of the Institution, and he saw it develop from a thing of nothing to almost what it is to-day. This was his life-work, and will ever remain his most enduring memorial.

On the occasion of the opening of the then new building in 1882 a portrait of Mr. Price was painted by Mr. B. S. Marks, R.C.A., and presented by him to the Libraries Committee. This portrait will in future hang on the wall of the main staircase leading to the Reference Library. He took a keen interest in all that related to the education and welfare of the people. He was a member of the School Board for the first five years of its existence, a member of the Corporation for some years prior to his death; as Borough Magistrate, Governor of the University College, member of the Technical Instruction Committee, Governor of Wells' Charity, and in numerous other offices he served his town ungrudgingly and well.

The greatest act of his life, however, was one which I fear brought that life prematurely to a close. *' In no public service did he set his fellow citizens a nobler example than in the splendid act of self-sacrifice in which the unspotted integrity of a life-time found final expression — the devotion, namely, of the whole of his savings to save the honour of the Building Society of which he was secretary." The loss of money was nothing to him in comparison with the respect and honour of his fellow men, which he retained, but the fact that his confidence had been betrayed by a servant whom he trusted and held in the greatest esteem was a blow from which he never recovered. It has been worthily said of him that he was — " Noble and generous in all he did, transparently sincere in all his actions, a serious and reverent student of nature, ever eager after knowledge, he kept, even to the end, the child-like in the larger mind."

Peter Price (1824-1892) was the 12th President of the Society. We have this picture from our archives





Sunday, September 10, 2017

Cardiff Naturalists First 150 Years Exhibition Opening

Cardiff Naturalists Society now has a YouTube Channel which you can access via this link Cardiff Naturalists YouTube Channel

It has some videos of local wildlife and especially relevant for the present has The Right Honourable The Lord Mayor (Councillor Bob Derbyshire) and Lady Mayoress Caroline Opening of the Cardiff Naturalists Society 150th Anniversary Exhibition at the Cardiff Story Museum on September the 4th 2017


Also available to view is Cardiff Naturalists Society President Chris Franks thanking The Right Honourable The Lord Mayor (Councillor Bob Derbyshire) and Lady Mayoress Caroline and members of the Society and all the groups who supported us in the creation of this exhibition



Pictures from the opening event







The 150th year celebrations continue with a public talk by Iolo Williams the celebrated Natural History presenter - more details and tickets available at http://cardiffnaturalists.org.uk/htmfiles/iolo2017


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Celebrating our 150th on BBC Radio Wales

Well... for those who have not met me and wonder what I sound like...

BBC Radio Wales called yesterday asking for an interview about the exhibition and the Society it had to be as early as I could get out of work as I had to go and meet the Lord Mayor at the exhibition opening.

The segment is just 4 minutes long you can hear the segment in this link


I really enjoyed their reaction to the last snippet of information I was able to give them - it won't mean much to people who don't live in Wales, but Coryton roundabout is Junction 32 on the M4 and it's a massive traffic roundabout

If you prefer to stream then a video version is now available on YouTube with Pictures from Andy Kendall, Rob & Linda Nottage, Phil Blanning & Linda Morris




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