Charles Stewart Rolls and Rolls Royce at Gwent Archives

Gwent Archives hold the Rolls family collection of papers which consists of varied documents including household accounts, photographs, prints and paintings and even daily menus for their house the Hendre at Llangattock-Vibon-Avel. Included within this collection are documents related to Charles Stewart Rolls one of the founders of Rolls Royce Ltd.
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Correspondence between Charles and his father John Allen Rolls (Baron Llangattock) reveals Charles’s fascination with engines and the ‘autocar’. In 1893 at the age of sixteen Charles asked his father for an ‘Otto’ gas engine for Christmas, and wrote in 1896 of his ‘delightful’ ride in a friend’s autocar when they managed to reach twenty miles per hour. By October the same year Charles had saved enough money to buy his own car, a Peugot Phaeton, in Paris.

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By 1903 Charles had his own company C.S. Rolls & Co. selling cars in London, but met Frederick Henry Royce a car manufacturer in 1904 and started selling cars with the name Rolls Royce

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Between November 1905 and September 1906 thirty Rolls Royces were registered in Monmouthshire, either by Charles himself or various owners from around the country. Rolls Royce Ltd. was formed in early 1906 but ran concurrently with Charles’s car dealership until at least October 1906 when Charles wrote that the companies may be merged. Charles Rolls died in a flying accident in 1910. 

For more information about your local archive service please visit


Cwmfelin Take Over at Glamorgan Archives!

On Wednesday 13th November 2013 Glamorgan Archives was taken over… by children!

25 pupils from Cwmfelin Primary near Maesteg took over the running of the Archives for the day.

They worked in the Conservation Studio, where they donned white lab coats to clean documents, make boxes, and check the pest traps for bugs!school group cropped 3

One group catalogued a small collection of school records. The resulting catalogue – all their own work! – can be viewed on Canfod, the Glamorgan Archives online catalogue:

Another group donned high-visibility jackets and set off on a defects tour of the building, recording potential health and safety hazards to keep everyone safe.

Visitors to the searchroom were greeted by enthusiastic Year 6 staff members, eager to register them, help them with their enquiries and fetch documents for them from the strongrooms.

In the afternoon, our public tour of the building was led by Cwmfelin Primary representatives. And even our Twitter account was taken over!

At the end of the day every pupil was presented with a certificate to thank them for their hard work in taking over and running Glamorgan Archives.

Taking Over Museums is a day on which museums and archives up and down Wales are being taken over by children and teenagers. Independent charity Kids in Museums teamed up with the Welsh Government and the Children’s Commissioner for Wales to help place children and teenagers at the heart of museums and archives.

At Glamorgan Archives, we’re passionate to include children and teenagers. We regularly welcome school groups for local history workshops and offer work placements to school pupils and students interested in pursuing a career in archives. And we can’t wait to be taken over again next year!

For more information on Glamorgan Archives see:
For more information on Kids in Museums see:

Rhian Phillips, Senior Archivist, Glamorgan Archives
Email: Tel.: 029 2087 2299

Our online Index is back!

Denbighshire Archives

We are very pleased to announce that our online index is back! Our office does not have complete catalogues online at the moment, so our index is the only way of searching our collections before your visit.

Our index has been offline since the new Denbighshire County Council website was launched in August. Since then, our web team have been working to improve the search facility behind the scenes . We know that the indexes have been missed by our researchers and staff alike so please follow the link below and leave a comment below.

Denbighshire Archives Index

Please note that our indexes provide brief descriptions of our collections only and do not provide detailed information about all items we hold.

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Explore Your Archive

Thinking about researching your family tree? How about looking into the history of your home or community? Perhaps you have just started a course and need help with a project. Whatever it might be why not start exploring your archive today,

The Explore Your Archive campaign is encouraging you to discover the stories, the facts, the places and the people that are at the heart of your communities. Archives across the UK and Ireland are taking part to emphasise the value of archives to society and highlight the rich variety of content that is held, preserved and made available to users.

To celebrate the campaign; special events and story boxes to showcase the collections have been organised in archives across North Wales.

Flintshire Record Office held an event where you could learn the ancient craft of book binding and make your own beautiful hand-bound notebook.
Denbighshire Archives held a free ‘Family History for beginners’ event at St Asaph Library on Monday 2nd December.

Story boxes based on the 17th century book of heraldry have been produced and placed in libraries around the county.

Denbighshire Archivist Sarah Winning said, “The boxes are filled with interesting facts about heraldry, templates to create your own coat of arms and extracts taken from the painted book itself. The boxes are available to view in Corwen, Llangollen, Denbigh, Rhuddlan, Rhyl, Ruthin, St Asaph libraries and in Prestatyn when they open in their new location on the 25th November.”

He’s behind you! Take a visit to Wrexham archives where you will find a story box all about Wrexham’s historic pantomimes. Joy Thomas, Local Studies Librarian who has helped to create the story box says ‘’For me this little collection of photographs, posters and programmes tells a fascinating story of theatrical entertainment in Wrexham in the 20th Century.’’

The Wrexham and District Pantomime Company visited the archives to view the story box.
This February the Company will be staging ‘Babes in the Wood with Robin Hood’ at the William Aston Hall, between Feb 22 – 28th. Alternatively, roll up for an interactive performance for all the family on Saturday 4th January at Wrexham Archives. Search for riddles and jokes to discover why Wrexham should never forget Walter Roberts.

John Chambers, Chief Executive, The Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland) commented:

“Explore Your Archive is going to be a real game-changer for the sector. As archives in all parts of the UK and Ireland come together as never before to communicate with the public, we have a real opportunity to inspire people who haven’t yet walked into or clicked onto our world.”

Librarian of the National Library of Wales, Aled Gruffydd Jones is supporting the campaign to inspire people to explore archives, added:

“Visiting an archive can take you on an adventure – you may end up discovering much more than you imagined. Archives are full of fascinating content to read, touch and explore. Take time to explore archives – whether you’re interested in fashion, sport, food or UFOs, there will be something to inspire you in archives.”

To start your own adventure please visit your local archive service, go to or find Archives Wales on Facebook and Twitter. For more information on the events that are happening in Archives across Wales please visit

CLOCH: Conserving Local Communities Heritage

 CLOCH trainees

The Conserving Local Communities Heritage (CLOCH) project is part of the Heritage Lottery Fund‘s ‘Skills for the Future’ programme and has provided work-based training opportunities for 16 bursary holders over three years. CLOCH is a partnership project, lead by Glamorgan Archives, bringing together libraries, archives and museums across South Wales to offer placements and work experience in the heritage sector.

Four cohorts of trainees have been recruited throughout the duration of the project. Each cohort starts with a three month induction at Glamorgan Archives, followed by a range of placements in partner libraries, archives or museums. Throughout the year, trainees will work towards relevant qualifications and build up their knowledge and skills in four main areas:

• Digitisation
• Research and Local History
• Conservation and Collection Management
• Community Engagement

The CLOCH project is targeting men aged under 30. This Positive Action Training enables young men to gain experience in occupational sectors where they are under-represented.

The CLOCH trainees have contributed to every area of work at Glamorgan Archives. They’ve assisted with enquiries and the production of documents in the searchroom, helped with visiting school groups, cleaned and repackaged records, assisted with the cataloguing of new material, and their newly acquired digitisation skills have been particularly helpful in making our photographic holdings available online via our catalogue, Canfod.

Meet the trainees

Tom May, Trainee at the University of South Wales and the Cardiff Story MuseumTom May

I left sixth form in 2011, unsure of what career path I wanted to take. Like most people my age I couldn’t afford to be picky as with even basic jobs there was a lot of competition and as a recent school leaver I didn’t have much experience to help me.

I’ve always been interested in my heritage and history in general since I was very young, so when I found out about the CLOCH project it seemed perfect for me as I would be able to get a year’s worth of experience in the sector and a qualification with it. So far it has exceeded my expectations and given me a valuable insight into the heritage sector through work in Glamorgan Archives, the University of South Wales and the Cardiff Story Museum. I have met a variety of new people and had the opportunity to attend all different types of training and gain skills in areas I wasn’t expecting such as digitisation.

With only a few months left I am confident this experience will stand me in good stead as I try to establish a career in this sector. The CLOCH project has given me a chance that I otherwise wouldn’t have had and I’m grateful to everyone involved in organising and funding it!

James Hamill, Trainee at Gwent Archives

After finishing my GCSEs in 2003, I worked full time whilst completing my A levels in English Language, English Literature and History. After this, I continued to work full time in a variety of jobs, ranging from a karting centre to working for two high street banks, via a car insurance firm and the family business. At this point, I was getting frustrated at the lack of a defined career path, so finding out about the CLOCH programme came at the perfect time.James Hamill

I’ve always enjoyed visiting museums and libraries, with the heritage sector in general being really fascinating to me. The chance to combine working in a sector I’ve always enjoyed on a personal level, with learning new skills and still operating in a customer service role as I have always previously done was an opportunity I couldn’t miss.

I’ve since learnt a wide variety of new skills, such as digitisation, conservation and records management. I’ve been able to put these into practice during my time here at Gwent Archives, with particular focus being put on digitisation, records management and working in the research room, helping members of the public with enquiries and research into their own past. I’ve really enjoyed the past few months here, and I hope that this experience will lead to a long and successful career in a truly fascinating sector.

You can find out more about the CLOCH project at:,45&parent_directory_id=1

And you can follow the trainees on Twitter (@cloch_skills) and Facebook (


On Saturday 14th December, from 2.00pm onwards Flintshire Record Office will be hosting a magical afternoon of Victorian Christmas entertainment, presented by ‘Rigby’s New Century Electric Time Machine’. You will marvel at moving images, artificial fireworks, and dissolving views! The authentic lantern slides will tell stories of Santa’s Christmas Journey, Marley’s Ghost, and the ‘Terrible Rat’.  You will be able to take part in a Famous Victorian Melodrama, and play ‘What Happens Next…?’ An unusual and exciting afternoon of traditional fun is guaranteed for children and adults of all ages. Bookings are essential and tickets are priced at £4.00 per adult and £2.50 for children. Tickets can be obtained from Flintshire Record Office, by telephone: 01244 532364 or e-mail: Xmas

Flintshire Record Office Supports National Campaign

Two free events have been hosted by Flintshire Record Office staff in the same week at The Old Rectory to support the National Explore Your Archive campaign.  Stephanie Hines, an Archivist from Flintshire Record Office tells us all about them…

”Having been asked to identify one item from our collections to highlight for the campaign we selected Thomas Pennant’s own copy of his ‘History of the Parishes of Whiteford and Holywell’ (1796) held here at the Record Office (ref D/DM/955). To explain the importance of the volume itself we invited Paul Brighton from the Pennant Society to talk about Thomas Pennant and Mark Allen, our Conservator to talk about the volume’s binding and the history of bookbinding in general. Having braved the elements, people gathered in the searchroom on Wednesday evening and experienced two very informative and enjoyable talks”


”This talk was linked to our second event which took place on Saturday 23rd November. A Bookbinding Workshop, led by Mark Allen, gave a small number of people the opportunity to learn about the ancient craft of bookbinding and to make their own beautiful hand-bound notebook. We are grateful to CyMAL for providing a grant which allowed the buying of enough materials to give people this opportunity.

 Mark demonstrated each stage of the process and provided individual tuition as the day progressed. The day began with the participants choosing which marble paper and leather spine they would like to use for their notebook. They then received instruction on how to fold paper according to the direction of the grain, cut it to shape, measure and cut their boards, sew the book, glue the spine then cover the boards with cloth before adding the marble paper to give it a great look.”


Thank you to Stephanie Hines from Flintshire Record Office for being our guest blogger this week.  Find out more about events hapening in archives across Wales by visiting



Everything you need to know about archives in Wales!