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Merthyr Rising

Project: The Merthyr Rising

We are delighted to share a recent project that the museum had the pleasure to be a part of. The museum was approached by The Age of Revolution resource to be part of some of the stories they tell. The Age of Revolution aims to bring together the objects and artworks from museums and galleries across the UK covering four revolutionary themes. Together with fascinating facts, information and curriculum-linked ideas they are able to deliver an extraordinary period in Europe between the year 1775 to 1848.

Our education officer, Janet Holecroft, worked with Year 9 students from Christ College in the creation of this stop animation film. Due to the museum being the oldest building on the barracks, its history has a link to the Merthyr Rising. The museum building was used as a barracks for the soldiers of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders who were brought in to quell the rioters. Christ College school also has a historical link as it has a long history within Brecon due to being founded in 1541. Therefore, the pupils studying at Christ College in 1831 would have witnessed the soldiers around town and been aware of the troubles.

The school made the decision to study the Merthyr Rising for this project due to its close links to both the school and the museum with the final piece being a stop-motion animation. This topic would form part of the Local History aspect of the Curriculum. Some of the Year 9 students involved in the making of the film are actually from Merthyr Tydfil itself. The Year 9 class were particularly interested in the story of the execution of Richard Lewis, known as Dic Penderyn, who was wrongly accused of stabbing a soldier – Donald Black – during the uprising. When the students were allowed to return to school, they visited our museum to discover more about the lives and soldiers in the Age of Revolution.

Christ College Year 9 students visit The Royal Welsh Museum

The set designed to tell the story of the Merthyr rising comprised of two levels. The background was in the medium of watercolour which was inspired by the Cyfartha Castle art collection as well as from local history reference material. These formed the backdrop to the drama. The foreground comprised of paper puppets and silhouettes. You can learn more about the project and the steps it took to create the film on The Age of Revolution blog.

What do you think of the film the students made? We would love to read your comments below!

Animating the Merthyr Rising from Age of Revolution on Vimeo.

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