OTD in 1843, around 4,500 “Rebecca” rioters gathered and attacked the Carmarthen workhouse in Wales, and set about destroying it. Many of the protests tended to follow a ritual, whereby a ringleader (‘Rebecca’) would stumble towards a gate like a blind, elderly woman. The ‘daughters’ would then clear the path with an almighty racket.

Country men disguised as women, the Rebecca Rioters rose up against the oppressive imposition of steep taxes at the toll … More

Not so long ago, our roads, buildings, gravestones & monuments were built from local rock, our cities were powered by coal from Welsh mines, & our lamps were lit with paraffin from Scottish shale. At the height of the empire, British stone travelled across the world to India and China, Sri Lanka, Argentina, Singapore & South Africa. There were thousands of mines, quarries, slag heaps & brick pits across the British Isles. We live among the remnants of those times – our older cities are built from Bath limestone, or Aberdeen granite – but for the most part our mines are gone, our buildings are no longer local, & the flow of stone travels east to west.

Spurred on by the erasure of history and industry, Ted Nield journeyed across this buried landscape: from the small Welsh … More

When newly qualified doctor Andrew Manson takes up his first post in a Welsh mining community, the young Scot brings with him a bagful of idealism and enthusiasm. Both are soon strained to the limit as Andrew discovers the reality of performing operations on a kitchen table & washing in a scullery, of unspeakable sanitation, of common infantile cholera & enteritis.

There are no X-rays, no ambulances – nothing to combat the disease and poverty. It isn’t long before Andrew’s outspokenness … More