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This report is taken from PN Review 258, Volume 47 Number 4, March - April 2021.

Letter from Wales Sam Adams
NOTE: The dire situation of the National Library of Wales outlined in Sam Adams's 'Letter' in this issue has been mitigated by a Welsh Government announcement that fresh funding of £2.25 million will be made available for 2021 and 2022 'to safeguard jobs and deliver new strategic priorities'.


When I was there in the early 1950s, Aberystwyth was bookended, west to east, by two grand buildings in contrasting styles. On the seafront was an odd jumble of Victorian Gothic, conceived as a railway hotel, the University College of Wales, and some 500 feet up on Penglais Hill overlooking the town, the ‘great white stone building ... with an understated ... classical design’ that is the National Library of Wales, or Nat Lib, as I shall always think of it. It is, and I quote again from the Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion volume of The Buildings of Wales, ‘the most important cultural building in Wales’. Even today, Aberystwyth, more or less at the midpoint of the impressive bight of Cardigan Bay, is still fairly remote from the rest of Wales. Having travelled between Gilfach Goch and Aber as a student, by bus, I am allowed to testify to its remoteness, but I recall bridling at Christopher de Hamel’s description of NLW in Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts as ‘one of the most magnificently inaccessible outposts of learning in the British Isles’ (PNR 234), especially since the British Library and the Bodleian are at least as remote from my point of view. In those Aber years I spent little time at ...


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