Where have all our old red phone boxes gone I hear you ask? Come and see – we’ve got a real gem here in the smallest museum in Wales!
Back in 2009, BT ran a competition to look for the most innovative use of the old red phone boxes. Cilgerran Community Council snapped up the kiosk from BT for just £1 and handed it over to the village’s Language and Heritage Committee whereupon they duly won £1,000 for their novel idea!
The phone box was transformed into the most touching memorial and gallery dedicated to local photographer Tom Mathias.
Tom Mathias was a talented photographer who lived in the village and the proximity of this kiosk, just 50 metres from the old family home, Aberdyfan, made it perfect to set up a memorial and museum in his memory.
Born in 1866, Mathias became a professional photographer in his twenties but was also a farmer. He had many other interests including natural history, bee-keeping, astronomy, horticulture, scripture teaching and painting.
Self taught, he made a living recording family events and captured a unique collection of subjects depicting rural life at the turn of the century in Cilgerran and the Teifi Valley.
After Tom Mathias’ death in 1940, his glass-plate negatives were neglected and left deteriorating in his greenhouse.
They were found in 1970 by James Maxwell Davis, a professional photographer living in the area, who took on the painstaking task of trying to take prints from the surviving negatives.
Standing in this unique little gallery is a moving experience and an opportunity to step back in time, to look into the faces of children and families from long ago and a moment to remember a very talented photographer who left us a legacy from the past.