National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales preserves and celebrates the sound and moving image heritage of Wales, making it accessible to a wide range of users for enjoyment and learning. Its film collection reflects every aspect of the nation’s social, cultural and working life across the 20th century, giving a fascinating insight into Welsh filmmaking, both amateur and professional.
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.
From the collection of:
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?