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
Whitsun Fetes & Galas at Cyfarthfa Castle, Merthyr
Stanley Lindbergh’s Dive of Death was the most remarkable performance at a Whitsun fete in Merthyr but local boxer Eddie Thomas and the Fete Queen also attracted attention.
From the collection of:
Footage of 5 Whitsun Fetes & Galas, held in the grounds of Cyfarthfa Castle. Those held in 1951 and 1955 can be dated accurately, the remaining 3 are very probably 1950s too. All show the Fete Queen and her entourage, her crowning by the mayoress and the large numbers of spectators massed behind a wire fence in front of the castle, no stage access allowed. Special entertainments include Stanley Lindbergh and his Dive of Death, and “Singing Boxer” Eddie Thomas is present in 1951.
The first Fete and Gala took place in Merthyr in 1923 and for 25 years provided welcome funds for the local hospital before the advent of the National Health Service in 1948. Eddie Thomas, seen in a few shots, was a local boy who in May 1951 would have been British Welterweight Champion, Empire Champion and still European Champion. He was accustomed to singing ‘Bless This House’ to/for the crowd after every fight, hence his nickname. This reel also includes some good footage of a motorbike scrambling race.