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Surprise set for history book event

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: October 22, 2012

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IT will be a case of eyes down again at Swansea Museum this weekend.

And there promises to be many pairs of them.

There will be plenty of scanning of the tables groaning with books with an eye on the past.

It is the Royal Institution of South Wales's local history book fair, the 10th one in the annual series.

And it has attracted more book sellers than ever before. Fifty of them will be there to show their work, illustrating the regard the event is held in in its particular field.

Regular exhibitors will be lining up alongside newcomers, some of whom are travelling from outside the area to take part.

"There are people who have been regulars from day one, like antiquarian dealer Jeff Towns, re-creator of old maps Rod Cooper, David Roberts of Bryngold Publishing, the Family History Society, Neath Antiquarians and Swansea Libraries," said organiser Gerald Gabb (pictured).

"But it's a sign of its vitality that there are several newcomers in 2012. The National Library of Wales, Clyne Valley Community Project, dealers Maggie Roberts and Chris Jones and Anne Marie Thomas, author of Alina, the White Lady of Oystermouth, the last of the Gower de Breoses, are all first timers."

Hilary Sutcliffe, author of Will John 1885-1958, a Hero of Mine, detailing the Killan Colliery Disatser in Dunvant in 1924, is travelling from Newton Abbott.

And Richard Bentley is coming from Worcester to promote St Helen's, An atmosphere of its own, the well-received book on the spiritual home of Glamorgan cricket.

There will also be a surprise appearance, although Gerald is not revealing much.

"We have secret intelligence that one local institution will be selling off surplus Welsh history books!" he said.

For some people it means ticking their calendar well in advance to make sure they can attend.

The day often sees them bumping into people they have not seen since the previous year's book fair.

"It's got quite a friendly feel to it, busy but friendly because lots of people are interested in this sort of thing and come to talk to each other," said Gerald.

"It's a wonderful mix, with a record 50 participants this year. It is well worth an hour or two of your Saturday, although some people have been spotted clocking up a five hour visit."

There is free entry to the Royal Institution of South Wales local history book fair, which runs at Swansea Museum on Saturday from 10am to 4pm.

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