From the AGWSD Rep for Wales

Hi, I thought this email I was sent should go out to all Welsh Guilds as you maybe able to help wherever you are in Wales.It isn’t clear as yet as to what we can offer, but when we know more I will pass it on.Maybe we could use this at the National Exhibition in North Wales ? I know it is some time away but forward planning is always useful.

“To the Guilds of Welsh Spinners, Weavers and Dyers in Mid and North Wales, and Guild of SWD Wales Representative, Heather Beckett
It has taken a long time in consultation and deliberation, but at last I am delighted to say that the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s has given Learning Links International the go ahead to make a start on the “Welsh Plains / Brethyn Cymreig” project which aims to bring together community research volunteers from Mid and North Wales who are interested in the history of spinning and weaving, with families from farming communities interested in local history and heritage, to explore and tell the history of the production of a woollen fabric called ‘Welsh Plains’ between 1650 and 1850 and its markets, using archival records and exploring Welsh place names. 
The main focus is pre-industrialisation. This is a poorly understood history of the little known cottage industry that supplied local needs, before developing dramatically to meet the demands generated by the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. The project will also explore and help to understand the lives of the impoverished peasant households who sought a way of boosting their incomes by weaving woollen fabric for the “Plantation Trade”.
The project has funding to produce on-line training materials for Community Research Volunteers and local families to enable them to research and share their findings. Working groups will be set up in consultation with existing local history groups; local guilds and other groups based across the areas of focus around Merionethshire and Montgomeryshire. 
The project will also include establishing “Hidden History Reading and Research Groups” to increase understanding of the history of Wales and the wider world at this time. 
Thanks to all of you that I managed to catch up with as we explored ideas, but now we are preparing a proper invitation and information for your members who may like to consider getting involved in exploring this hidden history. There will be lots or opportunities, both for research and help in other ways.
We have widened the scope to include Guilds surrounding the area which historians consider to be the main focus, as we know other Guilds may have members interested and willing to get involved.
Prof Chris Evans is our main advisor, and we also have support from the textile specialist Pasold Trust and a range of key other organisations including the Newtown Textile Museum. This will enable us to put on a range of activities and be represented at events, as we realise your main focus is what you do in Guild meetings and that most Guilds seem to plan programmes and activities well in advance. Unfortunately for planning, we have only just heard of the success of our application, but the good news is that we will be active with the project for the next year or so. 
As soon as we have more information for you to pass on to members I will be in touch. We are currently preparing a website and resources bilingually to support volunteers and we will be at Wonderwool in April to launch the project. 
We would love your members to be involved in someway! I love your energy and enthusiasm for all things wooly!
Best regards and Diolch yn Fawr.
Liz MillmanProject Co-ordinatorLearning Links”