Felix Mendelssohn, the famous German composer, on his visit to Wales in the 1820’s once flippantly remarked the day had been ‘good, as I only got wet three times.’ Aside from savouring the delights of the local climate, Europeans have travelled to Wales for numerous reasons over the last two and a half centuries. The ‘European Travellers to Wales 1750-2010‘ project is a collaboration between researchers at Bangor and Swansea Universities and the University of Wales’ Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies that is investigating Europeans’ reactions to Wales. It is a three-year venture funded by the AHRC which is researching European travel writing on Wales. Looking into an array of sources ranging from travelogues to guidebooks, diaries to blogs the project will highlight the role of travel writing in forming perceptions of Wales both at home and abroad.
The project has a range of output including a co-authored book, international conference and travelling museum exhibition. Aside from these one of the key outcomes of the project will be the website and a data base. The data base will include details of the numerous sources collected during the course of the project, these include the travellers themselves, the towns and landmarks they visited as well as the site where the documents are currently stored. Through the museum exhibition the project hopes to reach various members of the community.
This ethos is also reflected in the design of the website which will allow visitors to access information from the data base using a GIS mapping tool. The project decided on using the mapping technology as is allow users to easily identify travellers who have visited their locality or areas and landmarks which they may be are interested in. It is also a great way of understanding and identifying the similarities and differences between the routes taken and destinations visited by travellers from a variety of cultures across the large period under study.
For further information on the project or if you know of any undocumented written sources on European Travellers to Wales get in touch!
Twitter: Europe to Wales / Ewrop i Gymru