"The Printed Word" was the theme of the February event, the annual day
school, of particular interest as Carmarthen was such an important centre for the early printing,
publishing and book-selling trades.
Under the able and erudite chairmanship of Eiluned Rees, formerly Assistant Keeper
at the National Library of Wales and a chair of the Society, a wide range of topics was covered.
David Hardy, the editor of the Carmarthen Journal, spoke on publishing the modern local newspaper
in the internet age, particularly apt in view of breaking news on the transfer of most of the Journal's
functions to Swansea. The importance of the paper to the area over the years and the wealth of material
it provides for historians were raised by many in the audience.
George Tremlett, owner of Corran Books in Laugharne, used a variety of works to
prove his point that the town is the cultural capital of Wales. Many authors with connections to
the town were discussed, from Jeremy Taylor in the 17th century through the war poet Edward Thomas
to Keidrych Rhys. The magazine "Wales", of international standard, was produced in Llanybri
in the 1940s.
Eiluned Rees, co-author of A Nation and its Books, rounded off the morning session
with a finely crafted lecture on books in Wales. The Reformation became a catalyst for Welsh printing
and by 1820 every town had a printer. John Ross, Carmarthen's most prolific printer, advertised
himself as the only properly apprenticed craftsman and John Daniels was one of his apprentices.
Sally Roberts Jones, well known as a poet and local historian working in the Afan
Valley, showed examples of her books and discussed ways of getting work published.
Thomas Lloyd, in his lecture on Carmarthenshire libraries, showed slides of some
of the fine rooms which housed the collections. He commented on the varied use made of the books;
in Derwydd there were books in every room and one of the Society's founder members, Alan Stepney
Gulston, made another collection after his predecessor had to sell his, while in some gentry houses
bindings and appearance were of prime importance.
An excellent exhibition on various aspects of printing had been prepared by Heather
James with help from several members. Many of the audience particularly enjoyed seeing blocks and
engraved plates shown with their printed image.