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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 September 2005, 05:55 GMT 06:55 UK
Rare archive footage found at BBC
The Queen visits the National Eisteddfod (1960)

A rare selection of archive tapes from the earliest days of BBC Wales news has been found in the BBC library in Cardiff.

The material has not been seen since it was broadcast nearly 50 years ago.

The footage includes the Queen's visit to the 1960 National Eisteddfod and the football international between Wales and Scotland in 1957.

The 50 reels of film were found by a BBC journalist who was researching in the library.

Much of the 35 hours of footage comes from the early Welsh language news programmes, Cefndir (Background) and O Sul i Sul (From Sunday to Sunday), and covers a range of events and daily life throughout Wales.

It's certainly a fascinating find. It brings some sort of nostalgia.
Historian Dr John Davies

BBC Wales journalist Rhys Evans explained that he came across the tapes by accident.

"I immediately realised that the material was very, very rare, and that the stuff did show Wales in what is really a forgotten decade," he said.

"I was absolutely elated. In a cultural sense this is a very, very important find indeed."

One of the most poignant parts of the archive is footage of lessons at Capel Celyn school, near Bala in 1963.

By 1965, the village of Capel Celyn had been wiped off the map with the building of the Tryweryn reservoir.

Capel Celyn school (1963)
Footage from the now underwater Capel Celyn school is included

The archive also features reports on problems of poverty in the village of Pantywaun near Merthyr Tydfil.

The village was demolished in the early 1960s to make way for the extension of opencast mining in the area.

Welsh historian Dr John Davies described it as a "fascinating find".

"When you look at the archive and see pictures of ordinary people 40 or 50 years ago, it brings some sort of nostalgia," he added.

"Even having a bit of it is a rare delight."

Other images in the archive include footage of former World Featherweight Champion boxer Howard Winstone greeting fans in his home town of Merthyr Tydfil, and an interview with actress Siān Phillips around the time of her marriage to Peter O'Toole in 1959.

Highlights from the archive will be shown on Wales Today (BBC One, 1830BST) and Newyddion (S4C, 1930BST) on Wednesday 6 September and Thursday 7 September.

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