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Exhibition explores WW1 origins of Ely

20 December 2016

CAER WW1 Exhibition Space

Intergenerational research on the history of one of Cardiff’s most vibrant yet economically challenged suburbs is on show in the city centre.

The Dusty’s First World War project was led by Cardiff University’s CAER Heritage team, based in the School of History, Archaeology and Religion and co-produced with archivists from Glamorgan Archives, young people from Michaelston Community College and older residents in Ely.

It brought together pupils and local residents from the Healthy Wealthy Wise community group to remember the impact the Great War had upon Ely and uncover more about the origins of the area.

Focusing on a garden village and Dusty Forge – an iconic landmark in the area – the University research team worked with the group and local artists to gather oral histories, old photographs, letters, diaries, newspaper clippings, personal memories, family stories and heirlooms, to tell the story of Ely and its housing estate after the First World War.

Dr Stephanie Ward, Cardiff University’s School of History, Archaeology and Religion, led the project: “Ely garden village was established as a model housing estate providing ‘Homes Fit For Heroes’ in the aftermath of the global conflict of the First World War,” said Dr Ward.

“The ethos of our project has been to ensure that research was co-produced in the community with people living in Ely today. Intergenerational research has been a particular feature of this project, with young and old working together to discover the fascinating origins of the estate – breaking down barriers within the community, enabling them to discover their shared history and build positive relationships for the future. We are very proud of everyone who has contributed to this exhibition.”

Dr Stephanie Ward Senior Lecturer in Modern Welsh History

"We are very proud of everyone who has contributed to this exhibition.”

Shannay, a year 9 history pupil at Michaelston Community College, said: “The people were amazing and it was a fun experience, especially at the Glamorgan Archives and interviewing people who have lived in Ely for many years at the Dusty Forge..."

"I loved hearing older people’s stories about what they experienced in the past and seeing how different it was to my own life in Ely now.”

Shannay Michaelston Community College

The exhibition includes films, artefacts, art, information panels and interactive elements about the early years of the Ely estate. Local people are also encouraged to bring along their own stories and memories, to contribute to the exhibition.

The Dusty’s First World War exhibition is displayed at the Cardiff Story Museum until 24 February 2017. It will then be on show at the Glamorgan Archives before returning to the Dusty Forge.

The Dusty's First World War project is part of the ongoing CAER Heritage project, which is reconnecting the communities of Ely and Caerau with their heritage and developing educational opportunities that align with the Welsh Government's Fusion: Tackling Poverty through Culture programme.

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