Chairman:  John Ashley 1

John is a graduate of the Open University, and has spent most of his working life in the IT industry. When he returned to Swansea after several years in the Caribbean he successfully studied for an Advanced Diploma in Local History at the University of Oxford. At Swansea University’s Department of Adult Continuing Education, John teaches Business Communication Skills, First Steps in Family History, Further Steps in Family History, Web Presence for the Non-technical, and An Introduction to On-line Marketing including Social Media. As well as being a member of the committee of the Institute of Welsh Affairs, he is a walk leader with the Gower Society, and he writes a walking column for The Bay magazine. On behalf of the Branch, John edited Travels in the Valleys by Robert McCloy (published 2012). His own book, Ashley’s Walks Around Swansea & Gower, is currently available at local bookshops. John is chair of both the Friends of White Rock and the Friends of Swansea Slip Bridge, and is also director and events organiser of the Roads & Road Transport History Association.

Executive Secretary:  Colin Wheldon James 1 2 3 5  

Colin is an Honorary Fellow of the Historical Association. Nationally, he is chairman of the HA’s Branches & Members Committee and also sits on the Executive Committee and the Council of Trustees. Within the Branch, as well as being executive secretary, he is manager of both the Community Outreach Group and the Outclass Learning Group, and is group leader of the Swansea Castle Group. Colin is a History graduate of the University of Wales Swansea, where he also gained a Diploma in Local History, and he lectures Medieval European History at Swansea University’s Department of Adult Continuing Education. He holds membership of the Royal Historical Society, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, and is chairman of Llansamlet Historical Society. His published works include A Study Based on the Clerk’s Report Book of the Swansea Local Board of Health, 1855–1866, ‘Swansea’s First Charter’ (in Minerva, vol xii), ‘The Miraculous Crusade’ (in The Historian, vol 105), ‘Out and About in Swansea Castle’ (in The Historian, vol 118) and ‘The Decline of Capital Punishment in the 19th Century’ (in Llanelli Miscellany, no 29). In addition, he is a director of Pastoral Audiobooks (a company producing talking books with historical topics). In his spare moments he plays guitar and reads, but not at the same time.

Treasurer:  Raymond Savage 1 3 5

Ray was born in Birmingham but has spent most of his life in the Swansea area. He studied Chemistry in Swansea and Liverpool. After short spells working for Kraft Foods in Manchester and Duport Steel in Neath he joined International Nickel [INCO (Europe) and which is now called Vale INCO]. Ray worked as a Research Chemist helping in the development of new processes and in some cases taking the new process through all stages from initial bench work to full scale production. There were many changes of role over the years and he completed his working life in the role of Environmental Officer. He retired in 2000. He is interested in music and history, sings in a Male Voice choir and also helps children with their reading in a local primary school. As well as being Treasurer of the Swansea branch of the Historical Association, he is an active member of the branch’s Community Outreach Group.

Vice-chair:  Carol David

Carol is a former member of staff of Swansea University where she was a Department administrator in the Staff Development Unit. While at Swansea, she undertook a part-time degree course in English & History and gained a BA(Hons) degree and a Diploma in History. Her main area of interest is Renaissance Italy and its art. During her time at Swansea University, she helped Drs John Law and Claire Vivian revive the Swansea branch of the HA which had lain dormant for the previous eight years. Having retired from her duties at Swansea University, Carol is now also involved in voluntary work with the Royal Institution of South Wales and is currently working with other volunteers on giving the Institution’s fossil collection new accession numbers, photographing the material and entering the information onto a new database which will be available to the general public. Carol has also worked on a unique photographic collection donated to the RISW by a great-grandson of one of the first women photographers in Wales.

Branch Executive Officers