CRAFTED IN TOUGH TIMES; after Five Years in the Making, the Cardiff Story Museum Will Finally Open Its Doors to the Public on April 1. in the First of a Five-Part Series, CLARE HUTCHINSON Meets Some of the Echo Readers Who Helped Bring to Life the First Museum Dedicated to Cardiff's History
Byline: CLARE HUTCHINSON
WHEN Magi Roberts read in the Echo that a new Cardiff museum was looking for objects and stories from local people, her thoughts turned to one particular item wrapped in tissue paper in a drawer in her house.
The item was a quilted cushion cover, made by a woman working in a village co-operative more than 70 years ago.
Despite its everyday appearance, this object tells a remarkable story about entrepreneurship and resilience during one of the UK's worst depressions. This is why the cushion cover - and dozens more treasures like it - will take pride of place in the new Cardiff Story museum in the Old Library building on The Hayes when it opens next month.
Now on display in the museum's Object Theatre, the cushion cover is accompanied by a video of Magi, 68, who works as a guide on the city's open-top bus and her husband Emrys, 79, a retired health manager, of Canton, who tell its incredible story. Museum officer Victoria Rogers said: "Every object, no matter what it looks like and no matter how everyday it is, can tell a great story and the cushion cover is no exception.
"If you scratch the surface you find a fantastic story about one woman's determination to help her community during a really tough time in Cardiff's history."
Magi and Emrys found the cushion cover among the possessions of Emrys' aunt, Elisabeth Williams, after she died.
Elisabeth, who was known as "Modryb Bet" (Auntie Bet), was born in Blaenau Ffestiniog but moved to Gwaelod-y-Garth when she married her husband Griffith John Williams, a university lecturer, in the early 1930s.
It was a time of economic downturn that became known as the Great Slump, and was the largest and most profound economic depression of the 20th Century.
Magi said: "Modryb Bet lived in a fairly large house, called Bryn Taf, and during the depression she saw the poverty around her and wanted to do something to help the village.
"I can remember her telling me that in those days you couldn't really interfere in men's matters and so she was trying to think of a way in which she could help these families. …