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Port Talbot Historical Society set to celebrate 60 years

By RachelSWEP  |  Posted: March 07, 2014

An old picture of the Town Hall in Port Talbot

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A HISTORICAL society celebrating its 60th year is hoping its latest exhibit will draw in younger members.

Port Talbot Historical Society was founded on May 4, 1954 and is still going strong — but needs more members of the younger generation.

Damian Owen, a member of the group who also runs Port Talbot Old and New on Facebook, said the exhibition will be held at Aberafan Shopping Centre from March 31 to April 5.

He said: "Until a few months ago, I was the youngest member, and I’m 40.

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"So my real passion and what I really hope we get out of this year, is that people younger than me start coming and getting an interest in the history of our town.

"I run Port Talbot Old and New, so I know there are younger people out there who are interested in our town’s past."

The society will present five boards with the history of the town and the surrounding areas — including a very special board remembering founding member, Leslie Evans, who died in 1996.

"We’ve never officially paid tribute to Les, so this is our way of doing that," said Mr Owen.

"He’s really fundamental in the history of Port Talbot, he wrote 30-odd books on it, and was the chairman of the society for a number of years.

"His family will be coming over from Spain to help us celebrate the 60th anniversary.

"I’m quite proud to be organising it all really, I haven’t been a member for very long."

Another board will include a series of high-resolution images from around the town, dating back to the 1960s, with older pictures on the other boards.

The first meeting of Port Talbot Historical Society was held on May 4, 1954, at Glanafan School.

It was set up after a previous history society, which had run for around 10 years from the 1920s, was disbanded on the outbreak of the Second World War.

These days, around 60 people regularly turn out to the monthly lectures hosted by the society.

The society has taken part in a series of high-profile initiatives over its history, including petitioning Neath Port Talbot Council for a small museum in the town on a number of occasions and taking part in campaigns to save old buildings.

The exhibit will be officially opened by Neath Port Talbot Mayor, Councillor Marian Lewis, from 11am on March 31.

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  • BreadJules  |  March 07 2014, 3:09PM

    Offer free booze and you'll get plenty of new, young and higly interested members... A shame but true.