Mid Wales

Ballads of 18th and 19th Century Wales go online

Sheet music (generic)
Image caption The old songs were the 'daily newspapers' of the day, said Wyn James

A website featuring 4,000 ballads which chronicles issues which affected people in 18th and 19th Century Wales has been launched.

Cardiff University and the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth have put 15,000 pages of rare Welsh and English language songs online.

Editor Dr Wyn James said the songs reflected the important issues of the day such as workers' rights.

He said ballads were "daily newspapers" for the poor during the period.

The digitisation of the songs was carried out in Cardiff University and the National Library of Wales and was funded by a £66,000 grant from the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), which works with colleges and universities in the innovative use of digital technologies.

Dr James said: "Ballads were the daily newspapers for the poor throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, and were sold cheaply and widely at markets, fairs, and villages.

"They communicated news on local matters and overseas events of the day.

'Unique'

"We have selected around 15,000 pages of rare Welsh and English language ballads and have now made them available for audiences around the world to study and enjoy."

Ben Showers, from JISC, said the project made up a British archive of ballads.

"Adding to the ballad collections of England and Scotland this new archive will help make this a unique and indispensable resource for researchers, students and interested members of the public," he said.

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