Exhibition 2020: Call for Memorabilia

Call for Memorabilia for a Special Daniel James / Calon Lan Exhibition in 2020

March, 2020 (Date TBA) at Swansea Museum

In the spring of 2020, Swansea Museum in collaboration with the Calon Lân Centre in Swansea, will be hosting a museum exhibition to commemorate the centenary of the death of local and Welsh poet, Daniel James (Gwyrosydd), author of the famous Welsh anthem, “Calon Lân”.

For this purpose, together with Swansea Museum, we are asking you, our friends and the people of Swansea to submit any memorabilia that you may have that’s connected to the life, work and legacy of one of Swansea’s favourite bards, Daniel James! 

Swansea Museum would like to extend an invitation to everyone in the local area to come and bring any memorabilia or artefacts related to Daniel James for displaying in our exhibition. We would be delighted to hear your stories and see your collections, as there are so many wonderfully rich accounts of the expression of his talents.

For anyone who’d like to submit their memorabilia to the museum for this exhibition, please know that Swansea Museum are experts in receiving, looking after, displaying and returning your precious items. They have the best protocols and appropriate loan agreement forms for this purpose and you can be assured of expert love and care for your memorabilia. 

Amongst other artefacts and memorabilia we’d love to see:


For example, on one occasion, Daniel’s wife, Ann, gave him some money to buy a pound of butter. Daniel, however, spent the money at the pub. Afraid to return home without the butter, Daniel went to his friend’s house and thankfully was able to borrow the money for the butter his wife had asked for. Naturally, for Daniel James, he returned the next day to his friend with a beautiful poem of thanks.


Alongside daily chores and his hard work, Daniel James simply enjoyed expressing his poetic gift in lots of different ways. For example, Daniel used to drink at his local “Kings Head” pub in Treboeth, sitting on his favourite high chair where it is said that he “composed verse for pints”.


Important to the Daniel James story in so many different ways. As a young child, Daniel lived nearby in a thatched cottage in Llangyfelach Road in Treboeth and he joined his family in regular worship there. In later years Daniel was encouraged in his writing by members of the chapel. Finally, on his death in 1920, he was laid to rest in its cemetery. Mynyddbach Chapel lays claim to being the first non-conformist chapel in Wales (est. 1640) and 57 more chapels in Swansea can trace their roots back to the chapel.


Whilst residing in Blaengarw, Daniel worked as a miner at the nearby Ocean Garw Colliery, one of a number of collieries in the valley. Ocean Garw was sunk in 1883 and at its height, the colliery employed up to 1,000 men. Whilst there, Daniel was tasked with trying to right a derailed tram underground at the Colliery. He penned a verse in chalk on the tram to sum up how difficult it was!


After losing his job in the mining industry at Blaengarw, Daniel was befriended by his admirer Thomas Glyndwr Richards, who found him employment at Mountain Ash Colliery, where he worked for twenty years – fifteen years in Nixon’s colliery. Richards was a conductor of the famous Mountain Ash Royal Male Voice Choir, which toured America at the close of the 19th century.

All the above and more. Daniel James was a prolific writer and character. Our desire is to represent the man, his talents and his legacy in as much colour and detail as possible.

We truly want to represent Daniel James to the generations in a way that inspires and ignites passion for Welsh Literature and a love of the culture and history surrounding this great local Swansea character.

If you have any questions or would like to speak to us about memorabilia you may have related to Daniel James, please feel free to contact us

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