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Page last updated at 12:26 GMT, Friday, 4 June 2010 13:26 UK
Nant Gwrtheyrn searches for stories from its past

Nant Gwrtheyrn
Nant Gwrtheyrn was opened as a Welsh language centre in 1982

Nant Gwrtheyrn was once a busy little quarry village on the Llŷn Peninsula's northern coast. But when the mine went, so did its residents.

Now it's a Welsh language centre and holiday hideaway with a heritage centre where staff are putting together materials on the community's history.

"We've been speaking to local people, to get more stories about life in the Nant," said heritage officer, Catherine Tudor Jones.

"We'd love to know who lived in which house and at what time, and collect stories about how people lived. We want to make the visitor's experience more authentic."

Such details will help them restore one of the cottages to reflect life at the turn of the 20th century.

"We'd also love letters which are connected with life here, or pictures, perhaps from people who attended the early Welsh language courses in the 1980s," she added.

"After the quarry closed, the workers scattered all over Wales and England and it's hard to reach everyone."

She often speaks of a time during the war when her brothers were distracted one night by a light being flashed from the mountain behind their house out into the bay
David Tomlinson

The last permanent residents were brother and sister William and Alys Owen who left in 1959.

The cottages fell into disrepair until a grant was awarded to establish the language centre. Today people visit for holidays, courses and weddings.

"When I started the research, people said there weren't many people alive who would have lived here," said Catherine. "But I've discovered that there are a lot more people than we thought.

"We'd love to give them the chance to get back in touch: get together and share memories because they won't have seen each other in years."

Among those born in the Nant was Michael Wood, now of Birmingham.

"I was told that when I was born in the Nant, it was the first time the midwife had come down in a Jeep," said Michael.

David Piper from Ontario lived there in the late 1940s.

"I worked at Croft Quarry, Caernant, as helper to carpenter Richard Roberts," said David. "We built and repaired many of the wagons that traversed the quarry banks and down the incline to the seashore."

Nantgwrtheyrn school children
The school children were taught by the minister in the village chapel

David Tomlinson learnt an interesting tale from his mother Mary Earp, who lived in the Nant with her large family.

"She often speaks of a time during the war when her brothers were distracted one night by a light being flashed from the mountain behind their house out into the bay," David recalls.

"When they looked out into the bay they also saw lights signalling from what was clearly a submarine - exciting stuff for a very small Welsh village.

"The brothers were dispatched to the lighthouse keeper along the coast to alert him. Within days statements were taken and the family and other villagers were told to say nothing of what had happened."

Catherine Tudor Jones can be contacted on 01758 750 334 or emailed at catherine@nantgwrtheyrn.org.




SEE ALSO
In pictures: Old Nant Gwrtheyrn
04 Jun 10 |  History
Historic quarry site gets funding
17 Sep 09 |  Wales

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