Former home of Iorwerth Peate, 29 Lon y dail, Rhiwbina, Cardiff

This was once the home of Iorwerth Cyfeiliog Peate (1901-82), the first head of the Welsh Folk Museum in St Fagans. Please respect the occupants’ privacy and don’t enter the garden.

Iorwerth C Peate was born in Llanbrynmair, near Machynlleth. His father and grandfather were carpenters, and he retained a keen interest in Welsh craft skills throughout his life. He was also influenced by the local Congregational chapel.

Portrait of Iorwerth C Peate
Iorwerth C Peate
© Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales

Peate graduated in colonial history, anthropology and geography at Aberystwyth in 1921, and received a Masters degree for his anthropological research on the archaeology and people of his native area.

The National Museum of Wales appointed him to catalogue its folk collections. He began to publish books on aspects of traditional life in Wales, including houses and skills such as clockmaking. He was inspired by Swedish writers, among others, and hatched the idea of copying in Wales the concept of Scandinavian open-air museums, where historic buildings had been reassembled.

The National Museum of Wales was already exhibiting displays of typical rooms in Welsh homes before the Second World War. Together with museum director Sir Cyril Fox, he developed the site at St Fagans. The Earl of Plymouth had donated St Fagans Castle and its grounds for the UK’s first national open-air museum, opened in 1948.

The museum’s first building was a 16th-century barn from Penley, Flintshire. Many more followed in Peate’s lifetime and later. As director of the Welsh Folk Museum 1948-71, he also arranged programmes to record aspects of Welsh culture, including dialect, folk songs and legends. Craftworkers at the museum demonstrated skills such as wood turning.

He was also a well-known poet. His poems were published in five volumes. He was a pacifist and a conscientious objector in the Second World War.

He retired to the village of St Nicholas. His ashes, and those of his wife Nansi, were interred in the grounds of Penrhiw chapel, which had been moved to the folk museum from Drefach-Felindre, Carmarthenshire, in the 1950s.

With thanks to Eurwyn Wiliam

Postcode: CF14 6DZ    View Location Map

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