Launch of The Great War and the Valleys online exhibition

28/11/2013 0:00am - 11/11/2018 0:00am


Merthyr Tydfil

The Great War and the ValleysDuring an event at The College Merthyr Tydfil on Thursday, 28 November John Griffiths AM, Minister for Culture and Sport launched The Great War and the Valleys digital exhibition, created by historian Dr. Paul O’Leary of Aberystwyth University.The exhibition looks at a series of specific events in Merthyr Tydfil and the Cynon Valley but also addresses how we can commemorate the diverse and controversial set of events that occurred during 1914-18.

It details the harrowing experience of war in the trenches but also documents the opposition to war and the impact of the conflict on civilian life. The ‘home front’ is an important part of the exhibition. It draws attention to how women’s lives were changed by the war and how controversial events like the miners’ strike of July 1915 were reported. It also sheds light on the ‘spy scare’ of 1914 and the arrival of groups of Belgian refugees.

Dr. O’Leary’s online presentation will remain at The College Merthyr Tydfil for the benefit of its staff and students. The digital exhibition drew heavily on material digitised as part of the The Welsh Experience of the First World War online digital archive, which was also launched at the event (please see

The Minister said: “This new digital exhibition is the culmination of widespread collaboration between local and national institutions that will help our communities better understand the impact of the First World War and the resultant enduring changes to Welsh society.”

“It is a further contribution to the wide-ranging programme to commemorate the First World War, which is being developed by the Welsh Government.”

The Welsh Experience of the First World War was developed as a collaborative initiative led by the National Library of Wales, in partnership with the Archives and Special Collections of Wales (partners are Aberystwyth University; Bangor University, Cardiff University; Swansea University; the University of Wales Trinity St David; BBC Cymru Wales, The People’s Collection, Wales, and archives and local records offices that are part of ARCW: the Archives and Records Council of Wales). The project was funded by a £500,000 grant from the Jisc e-Content programme as part of their work in support of education and research, and through support from the partner organisations.