Heritage centre reveals hidden history of coastal villages

4:56pm Tuesday 8th April 2014

A LOCAL history centre is making the final touches on its latest display, as it prepares to re-open for the summer.

Coastlands Local History Group is a group of dedicated volunteers, who have spent the last decade researching and collating stories, photographs and memories of life in Dale, Marloes, St Brides and St Ishamels.

Its latest exhibition, which opens on April 11 (Friday), charts schooldays in the area from 1830 to the present day.

Pupils from nearby Coastlands School have already visited the exhibition, which includes photographs, stories, and even an authentic 1870s Welsh school desk.

And the 60-strong group is keen for locals and visitors alike to pop down to its base at The Old Stables Heritage Centre, in South Street, Dale, to learn more about the area’s colourful history.

“When you live in a small community you’re tucked away and you feel like sometimes you don’t count, but when you look at the history you see you’ve played a large part,” said groups secretary Harriet Bishop.

Unbeknown to most people, the region has played host to several great historic figures over the years.

From Henry VII landing in Dale in 1485 before the Battle of Bosworth, to the village’s links to the Second World War via its Royal Naval base, and Marloes’ iconic clock tower – built to remember the Liberal MP the Fourth Baron of Kensington, who was a great local benefactor – there is lots to learn about this seemingly quiet coastal region.

Opened last year, with funding from local organisations PLANED and PAVS, The Stables Heritage Centre provides a permanent base for the group, which also meets once a month in one of the four villages.

Around 1,600 visitors passed through its doors between July and September, and the group is hoping for another great turn-out for its exhibitions this year.

The micro-museum was also celebrated at the British Museum early this year, when it won the Best Use of Heritage in Placemaking Award.

PLANED sustainable communities officer Bethany Lloyd, who nominated the centre, said: “I felt inspired by the group’s hard work, enthusiasm and commitment of the volunteers and thought they deserved to be acknowledged.”

The centre is open Thursday to Sunday from 11am until 5pm. For more information, visit www.dale-coastlands-history.org.uk.

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