Huw Llywelyn Rees


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23rd October

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By: Huw Llywelyn Rees
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On 23rd October 1739 the War of Jenkins' Ear Began

The War of Jenkins' Ear was a conflict between Great Britain and Spain that lasted from 1739 to 1748.

Robert Jenkins, from Llanelli, was captain of a British merchant ship, returning home from the West Indies when his ship was boarded by the Spanish on suspicion of smuggling.  The Spanish commander bound Jenkins to the mast and cut off one of his ears.  He then told him to tell his King, that he would get the same.

On his return, Jenkins exhibited his severed year in Parliament and this was the spark that ignited a simmering resentment towards the Spanish, who had reneged on an agreement for Britain to sell slaves in Spanish America

 After 1742, this war became part of the much larger, War of the Austrian Succession, in which most of the states in Europe became involved. In particular, France and Britain, who were fighting each other for control of the American and Asian Colonies.

Glyn Houston in Emergency (1962)

Born on this day 1926 in Tonypandy. 

Glyn Houston - film and television actor, who served in the army during World War II.  He is the brother of the late film actor Donald Houston. 

Houston is perhaps best remembered for his role as "Duncan Thomas", in the 1980s British sitcom Keep It in the Family.  His other credits include My Good Woman, It Ain't Half Hot Mum, Softly, Softly, Minder, Inspector Morse,  and Doctor Who.  

450px-Swansea_guildhall     Sweyn

The Guildhall in Swansea was formally opened on 23rd October 1934.

The Guildhall is one of the main office buildings of the City and County of Swansea Council.   The complex comprises the City Hall, Brangwyn Hall (concert hall) and the County Law Courts for Swansea.  The building is finished in white Portland stone and includes the landmark, tall art deco clock-tower.

The Claerwen reservoir and dam in the Elan Valley in Powys was formally opened on 23rd October 1952.

It was the last addition to the Elan Valley Reservoirs  system built to provide for the increasing water demand of Birmingham.  During its construction, it was necessary to employ the services of Italian Stonemasons as British ones were still at work in London during the post-war rebuilding process of the late 1940s.  The dam took six years to complete and is almost the size of all the other reservoirs in the Elan Valley system combined.   


On 23rd October 1863, Festiniog Railway, was the first public narrow gauge railway in the world, to introduce steam locomotives into general service.

The line was constructed between 1833 and 1836 to transport slate from the quarries around the inland town of Blaenau Ffestiniog to the coastal town of Porthmadog where it was loaded onto ships. The railway line was was sloped, so that loaded wagons could be run by gravity downhill all the way from Blaenau Ffestiniog to the port. The empty wagons were then hauled back up by horses.

During the late 1850s, it became clear that the line was reaching its operational capacity while the output of the Blaenau Ffestiniog slate quarries continued to rise. In 1860, the board of the company began to investigate the possibility of introducing steam locomotives to increase the carrying capacity of the railway. In 1862 the company advertised for manufacturers to tender to build the line's first locomotives. In February 1863, the bid of George England and Co. was accepted and production of the first locomotives was begun.

These steam locomotives allowed much longer slate trains to be run and this also enabled the official introduction of passenger trains in 1865: the Ffestiniog was the first narrow gauge railway in Britain to carry passengers.

Today, the Ffestiniog Railway is a major tourist attraction located mainly within the Snowdonia National Park, travelling through both forested and mountainous scenery.