This film is part of Free

The Royal National Eisteddfod of Wales 1958

RTB, the Ebbw Vale steel company, records a town highlight, preparations for which have been in train a year, involving organisers, competitors, quarrymen and steel workers.

Promotional 1958 17 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales


Attractive and informative film about the National Eisteddfod at Ebbw Vale in 1958, opening with the fetching of stones from the RTB Limestone Quarry at Ystrad – stones which will form the Gorsedd circle on the Drill Ground – and showing the 1957 Proclamation (i.e. official announcement of the holding of the National Eisteddfod in the town the following year), the planning of the event, the musical rehearsals for the competitions, and the week-long festival itself.

This National Eisteddfod included a very special guest – Paul Robeson, a black-American socialist singer, lawyer, sportsman and civil-rights campaigner. His passport had only very recently been returned to him by the McCarthy-ite American authorities, it having been confiscated after Robeson was accused of “un-American activities”. Despite his inability to travel, he had sung via a telephone link for Welsh miners at their eisteddfod in Porthcawl in 1957. In 1958, newly able to travel, he appeared on the eisteddfod stage with Aneurin Bevan, MP for the area and founder of the National Health Service. Was RTB perhaps too conscious of the American market to include footage of Robeson in this film?