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Special Events - Present

Special Events - Archive Section

( details of previous events)

Museum makes Regional finals

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Following the news that the Museum of Childhood has been nominated for a Countryside Alliance National Award, there is further excitement on hearing that the curators have been invited to attend an evening at the Senedd in Cardiff where the regional winners will be announced.

Should the museum be successful there will be a ceremony at the Houses of Parliament later in 2009 to proclaim the overall winner.

"There's a long way to go yet." says joint curator Vic Davey, "We are so thrilled to be going to Cardiff."

The award recognises community values and a commitment to regeneration of the countryside and the rural economy

6th December 2008

VAQAS Award - Four in a row for Museum

Welsh costume display in the Museum

For the fourth consecutive year, the Museum of Childhood at Llangeler has gained the Visit Wales "Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Service" Award.

"It is a proud achievement for us" said Vic Davey, museum co-director, "It's really all down to hard work by the team here and the continued support of the local community, who not only visit the museum, but also take advantage of our gift shop and tea room."

Vic went on to say "We consider it a great honour and we look forward to further developing the project and breathing new life into our rural community."

Museum details can be found on our website's home page.

2nd December 2008

Museum goes back to school

schoolroom display

After months of preparation, the Museum of Childhood at Llangeler has launched its web-based Educational Resource.

Now, teachers in Wales and all around the world will be able to access and download Key Stage work sheets and line drawing pictures for use in classroom projects or in preparation for a student field visit to the museum.

Museum curator Paul Kennelly said "We are very excited by this outreach facility that features toys that are on display in the Museum. The resource is free, and is available in English or Welsh language to anyone who visits our website."

The resource has been devised and constructed by the museum's own staff and demonstrates that the Collection is more than just a tourist attraction - it is a valuable resource for students interested in social history and key subjects.

28th November 2008

Television star at West Wales Museum of Childhood

John Sparkes wth Vic, Hilary and Paul Hilary in the Museum's courtyard

Visitors to the Museum here at Llangeler had an extra treat when a film crew from ITV Wales arrived at the Museum, together with TV personality John Sparkes known by many for his comedy character 'Barry Welsh' and more recently shows on travel and history 'Great Pubs of Wales' and 'The Story of Cardiff''.

John was at the museum to record a new light-hearted travel show to be called "Doug Strong's Special Places". The show will centre around an Australian back-packer - played by John - who is travelling around Britain for the first time discovering his roots.

The series plans to feature unusual and interesting places and museums. John and the film crew spent several hours filming at the museum and interviewing the curators, Paul, Hilary and Vic, about their collection and the contribution that Welsh toy-manufacturers made to children everywhere.

The programme is expected to be screened later in the year in both ITV Wales and ITV Central regions.


Living History with the 69th New York Regiment, ACW Society

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The museum was pleased with the success of the return visit to Pen-ffynnon of the 69th New York State Volunteers 1st Regiment Irish Brigade.

Taking the field at Easter (Good Friday 21st March 2008 through to Easter Monday 24th March 2008), the Regiment welcomed museum visitors as they came to see 'living history' when the 69th set up camp at the Museum's camping and caravanning area.

The 69th New York are members of the American Civil War Society, the largest American Civil War re-enactment society in the UK

LEGO - 'a new toy every day' - celebrates 50 year Anniversary

'A new toy every day'

Hilary, curator at the museum, was invited by BBC Radio Wales to speak about Lego. The broadcast went out live on Monday 28th January 2008 - the actual anniversary of the Lego brick.

Hilary discussed how Lego has developed over the years. Although Lego has evolved into intricate advanced model sets, the basic building brick remains the foundation of this enduring toy which celebrates its fiftieth anniversary this year.

Even with advances in technology, the latest sets are still fully compatible with the earliest bricks. The simplicity of the engineering concept is still Lego's true strength.

The Lego brick was patented in 1958 having been developed from earlier systems but it would be the 1960s before a suitable plastic - namely ABS - was found, enabling the bricks to be pushed together and pulled apart thus providing children (of all ages ! ) to re-use this wonderful toy.

After fifty years of success, Lego now has generations of Lego fans who have grown up with what has now become a household name and the premier brick building system - one can only wonder how many 'Lego children' have grown up to join a profession within the building industry be it as an engineer, architect or even a hardy brick-layer.

West Wales Museum of Childhood salutes you, Lego, on your 50th birthday - many happy returns, and may you continue to build on your success !

The Museum features on National television

S4C film crew discuss the next scene with Vernon EvansFilming with Brynsaron School in the Transport Gallery

It was fun when a film crew from S4C, the Welsh language channel, called in to record a feature about the Museum of Childhood.

The museum was also pleased to welcome Vernon Evans who spoke to camera about his childhood memories and about his fruit and vegetable van that has been retired from service and which now is resident at the Museum.

We are delighted that the TV company chose to broadcast the feature on Wednesday 23rd January in the program, known as 'Wedi 3', an afternoon magazine that carries topical stories and reports from all over Wales.

Vic, Paul and Hilary thank everyone who helped in making the production, including pupils from Brynsaron School.

J40 comes back home to Wales

A happy child enjoys a ride in J40J40 comes back home in time for Christmas in WalesA happy Welsh teddy bear enjoys a ride in J40

The museum has recently acquired an excellent example of the Welsh-made pedal car, the Austin J40. Returning to Wales after languishing in England for some 10 years or so, this icon of British motoring is a welcome addition to the 10,000 or so items on display.

These luxurious pedal cars were made in Bargoed (South Wales) by the Austin Motor Company Limited at a factory called the Austin Junior Car Factory - this is where the 'J' comes from.

The cars, 5 ft 3 in long (1.60 metre), were of high specification with opening bonnet and boot, battery-powered lights and horn, detachable wheels with Dunlop pneumatic tyres, realistic dashboard panel and leather cloth seat covering.

There was a total production of 32,098 Austin J40 pedal cars, and production stopped in September 1971, the factory then moving on to other work until it closed in 1999.

The J40 sold in 1950 for £27 plus £6 added purchase tax, quite a lot of money for those days when the average working man earned a weekly wage of about £12.

Film and TV Gallery opens at Museum of Childhood

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Paul, Hilary & Vic are delighted to announce that the Film & TV Gallery is now open, displaying memorable character toys from the last 60 years.

All our old friends are here, including the topical Dr Who, Star Wars, Star Trek, James Bond, Thunderbirds and Dan Dare.

Also, we have Childrens' TV favourites from Muffin the Mule to the Magic Roundabout.

So, why not call in at the Museum and see our latest gallery !

100 years of Scouting

Brownie was the name given to young girl guidesCub troops were for budding young scoutsA camping blanket decorated with many scouting badgesA boy scout in full uniform of the 1950s era

The museum applauds the Scout movement on its 100th anniversary and we are happy to have welcomed visitors to our special exhibition held in previous months.

There are more than 28 million Scouts, young people and adults, male and female, in 216 countries and territories. Some 300 million people have been Scouts, including prominent people in every field.

Scouting began with 20 boys and an experimental camp in 1907. It was held during the first nine days of August in 1907 at Brownsea Island, near Poole in Dorset, England.

The camp was a great success and proved to its organiser, Robert Baden-Powell, that his training and methods appealed to young people and really worked.

Long live the Scouts !

Vernon's Van

Vernon at the wheelVernon serving at his counter in the van

For 34 years, Vernon Evans has travelled the lanes of Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion in his delightful 1972 Bedford mobile shop, carrying groceries and gossip to villages and remote farms. For many elderly people, he is one of the few faces that they will see in the week, and his calls provide a valuable social service.

In June 2007, Vernon was told that the chassis was past welding and would not pass another MoT. He knew that we were interested in the van, so he offered it to the museum.

We were thrilled to accept a much-loved icon, recognised instantly throughout the neighbourhood. It has also been a television star, having had a whole programme of 'Cefn Gwlad' (Heart of the Country) devoted to it on S4C (the Welsh language channel) in March 2007.

Vernon's shop continues - in a converted 1999 Iveco minibus - but his faithful old friend is now resting in the museum's courtyard, awaiting a display of nostalgic shopping to be created for our visitors to enjoy.

Living History by the American Civil War Society

On parade at Pen-ffynnonGrub's up !A row of 'white canvas' at Pen-ffynnon

The museum was pleased to host the return visit to Pen-ffynnon of the 69th New York State Volunteers 1st Regiment Irish Brigade. Taking the field at the end of September (Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th September 2007), they welcomed museum visitors to 'living history' when they set up camp at the Museum's camping and caravanning area. The 69th New York are members of the American Civil War Society, the largest American Civil War re-enactment society in the UK.

Jack Odell co-founder of Matchbox Toys dies

It is with sorrow that we learn of the death of Jack Odell on 7th July 2007 at the age of 87. He will be sadly missed by many toy collectors.

In 1953, he together with Rodney Smith and Leslie Smith (no relation to each other) had issued the first Matchbox toy following a successful run of toy production under the name of Lesney, marketed by the Moko distribution company.

His daughter inspired the creation of his most famous invention in 1950 after her school only allowed her to take in an item that would fit into a matchbox. The miniature green and red road roller he developed for her to show off to friends became the forerunner of the Matchbox Toy empire.

Among the firm's most famous designs was the miniature Coronation coach, made to commemorate Queen Elizabeth's succession to the throne, which sold about a million copies. At its peak, the business was reported to be selling more than one million cars a day in more than 100 countries as low prices made them affordable to children.

He became a legend for the second time in his lifetime when he founded the Lledo company (Odell spelt backwards) having withdrawn from Matchbox in 1982, making Days Gone heritage models for companies such as Cadbury and Ovaltine.

'In my obituary,' he declared in 1969, 'I want it said I was a damn good engineer.'

May he long rest in peace.

Museum of Childhood amongst Business Award Finalists

Earlier in 2007, the Museum of Childhood was nominated as one of three finalists for a County Business honour, the 'Sense of Place' award. This prize - which is sponsored by Carmarthenshire Tourist Association and Morgans Hotels Group - seeks to recognise tourism businesses of any size that can demonstrate a distinctive Welsh or Carmarthenshire experience to visitors. The award was finally won by Caws Cenarth, famous for its Welsh cheese factory. The other finalist of the three chosen was Gwili Mill, known for its self-catering accommodation.

The museum is proud of its achievement which comes after only two years of trading.


Curators Paul, Hilary and Vic are pleased to announce that the gathering of members of the 69th New York Regiment was once again a successful event bringing an authentic living history encampment to Pen-ffynnon, Llangeler, home of the West Wales museum of Childhood.

The "Old 69th" are members of The American Civil War Society, a group of enthusiasts who make this period in history their hobby. About forty members of the regiment attended, this included wives, children, friends and sweethearts, all dressed in period costume and camping in white canvas tents.

A grand day out for all the family - which we hope to repeat in the autumn.

Happy Birthday, Dear Scalextric

Some images of Scalextric toys

The West Wales Museum of Childhood was privileged to be asked to make an early morning broadcast for BBC Radio Wales on 24th January as Scalextric on that day were celebrating their 50th anniversary. Our own Hilary Kennelly made the broadcast and confirmed the enduring appeal of this iconic toy and added some historic detail.

The company Minimodels was founded by Fred Francis to make small metal cars with ingenious clockwork motors under the name 'Scalex', until later he fitted the cars with electric motors instead and combined the words 'Scalex' and 'electric' to give a new trade name. The track system that he devised for these cars, almost 50 years ago is still compatible with the modern sets.

Motorcycle combinations and race horses have been made in the past, and the illustrious Simpson family race on skateboards now, but it is the cars that have held the attention of little boys - and big boys - over the years.

All sorts of cars have been produced - from rally, racing and street cars to character machines such as the rare and desirable James Bond Aston Martin DB5 from 1967 which can command a figure of £1,000 in the collectors' market place.

A fine 50 years of toys ! And here's to the next 50 years !


Bob Brown's long-established Museum of Childhood Memories in North Wales closed its doors for the last time in November 2006.

Mr Bob Brown - who reaches the notable age of 90 later this year - founded the museum in 1973 at Menai Bridge and in 1985 moved to a prime position opposite Beaumaris Castle.

In the last 30 years he and his wife have made a great contribution to toy collecting and to Welsh tourism and they have established a tradition of excellence in serving the public which we at West Wales Museum of Childhood will strive to follow with our well laid out premises, 10,000 exhibits and a total time in excess of 100 years collecting toys between the three of us here at Pen-ffynnon.

We wish Bob and his wife all the very best in their well-earned retirement.

Pen-ffynnon Tea-room wins Welsh Food Hygiene Award

Hilary being presented with the Award

After its first official inspection, our own Pen-ffynnon tea-room was awarded a Bronze Award for its high standard of food hygiene.

The Welsh Local Authorities' Environmental Health Officers undertake an annual inspection to ensure that safe standards are achieved and awards are made to businesses that exhibit an especially high standard in their food operation.

The Welsh Food Hygiene Awards are presented annually following the recommendation of the officers. We were congratulated on gaining the award during our first year of operation.

The award was presented to Hilary Kennelly at a ceremony held at the National Botanic Garden of Wales, Llanarthne, Carmarthenshire in December 2006.

Airfix may come unstuck

The Museum was invited recently by BBC Radio Wales to give an insight into the history of Airfix, the great plastic kit manufacturer of the twentieth century, who suffers the possibility of being wound up as the current owner - Humbrol Ltd - is put into receivership.

The Museum's Hilary Kennelly spoke on the programme 'Good Evening Wales' and reflected on the many kits that had kept youngsters enthralled for ages. The company was formed in 1939 by Hungarian-born Nicholas Kove to make air-filled rubber toys from which arose the name Airfix. Later they diversified into plastic combs and later still produced the famous plastic kits marketed in clear plastic bags with header cards.

Probably the rarest toy by Airfix - and one of the earliest - was the large tractor kit made for the Ferguson Company in 1949, and the most prolific the WW2 Spitfire fighter aircraft, first issued in 1953. At its peak, the Airfix group was the owner of Meccano and Triang amongst many other toy-makers.

Best wishes to Airfix, who has kept its finger on the pulse by introducing kits such as Wallace and Gromit's aeroplane and motorbike, and who are no stranger to recovering from an adverse market place.

18th November 2006: We have heard today that, in a rescue attempt to save Airfix, the Hornby group has paid £2.6 million to buy the company.

So let us hope that this is a happy ending !

'Living History'

The museum is pleased to confirm the successful return visit to Pen-ffynnon of the 69th New York State Volunteers 1st Regiment Irish Brigade.

Taking place at the end of September (Friday 29th September, Saturday 30th September and Sunday 1st October), they treated museum visitors to a lesson in 'living history' when they set up camp at the Museum's camping and caravanning field.

The 69th New York are members of the American Civil War Society, the largest American Civil War re-enactment society in the UK

The museum helps Swansea-born toymakers Corgi to celebrate 50 years anniversary

The Museum of Childhood was proud to be invited by BBC Radio Wales to take part in a broadcast to celebrate the achievement of 50 years of toy-making by Corgi Classics.

Hilary Kennelly, one of the three directors and curators, spoke on Good Morning Wales of Corgi Toys inception on the Fforestfach estate, Swansea, in 1956 and of their successes in the mid -1960s onwards. She reminisced about some of the most popular toys including the Batmobile and the Beatles' Yellow Submarine, and the happiness everywhere of children, both big and little, created by the many toys produced.

May Corgi continue to be successful for the next 50 years !

American Civil War re-enactment camp at Pen-ffynnon,
Easter 2006
Officer of the American Civil War A well-needed camp fire dinner Troops in a skirmish

Paul Kennelly joins in the fun.

A welcome sight ! Take aim !
The 69th New York State Volunteers 1st Regiment Irish Brigade treated museum visitors to a lesson in 'living history' when they set up camp at the Museum's camping and caravanning site at Pen-ffynnon. The event was organised by the 69th New York who are members of the
American Civil War Society, the largest American Civil War re-enactment society in the UK

Pembrokeshire's Car Clubs

join forces at Pen-ffynnon, April 2006

Austin Healey with MG TD, Singer Roadster and 1950s Rover MG TD and friends Ford Model A with 1928 Rolls Royce
Austin Healey with MG friends
MG TD with pre-war Rover 14 and others
Ford Model A
with 1928 Rolls Royce

The members of Pembrokeshire Classic Car Club and Pembrokeshire Vintage Car Club combined to stage a rally through the leafy lanes of Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire, pausing half-way round the course in the car park of the Museum of Childhood at Pen-ffynnon followed by a visit to the museum and refreshments before wending their way back home.

procession of toys

photograph of Pen-ffynnon farmhouse and tea rooms

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