23rd November marks the anniversary of the opening of Wales’ Temple of Peace & Health, on 23rd November 1938 – with this year being a grand old 83rd birthday.
WCIA are celebrating the day with the launch of recently-developed online Temple Tours, as well as a programme of monthly guided tours and Open Doors Days for 2022 – including a couple of days this December for people who would like to explore the Temple prior to the New Year.
The iconic, art deco building designed by Sir Percy Thomas was built as Wales’ memorial to the fallen of WW1, as a ‘peace building, for peacebuilding’ – designed both as a place of pilgrimage, with the WW1 Book of Remembrance at its heart, and to galvanise action for future generations as a headquarters for national bodies tackling the scourges of war and disease. Gifted to the nation by Lord David Davies of Llandinam, a WW1 soldier who committed his life to peacebuilding, the Temple was opened by Minnie James of Dowlais – a mother who had lost 3 sons to WW1, and represented the war-bereaved mothers of Wales and the World. WCIA have recently updated our ‘Peacemakers Feature’ on ‘Minnie James and the Mothers of Peace’.
Monthly guided tours will be offered usually around the 2nd Thursday of each month – see bottom for dates, or download postcard flyer here / below.
Temple Tour Dates 2022
All start at 12.30 lunchtime, unless otherwise stated.
- Winter 2021: Friday 26th November 2021; Thursday 16th December 2021
- Spring 2022: Thursdays 13th January, 10th February, 10th March, 7th April,
- Summer 2022: Thursdays 12th May, 9th June, 14th July, 4th August, 8th September,
- Autumn 2022: Thursday 13th October, Friday 11th November (Remembrance Day tour), Wednesday 23rd November (Temple’s 84th Anniversary), Thursday 8th December.
Online Temple Tours
The online ‘Temple Tours’ support visitors to explore the spaces and ‘hidden histories’ of Wales Peace movements, by using their phones / tablets to guide them around the building – or users can ‘visit in spirit’ by following the tour route from the comfort of their own home. Tours take in the Crypt holding Wales’ WW1 Book of Remembrance; the Hall of Nations; the Council Chamber Library and Temple Archives; Meeting Rooms, and Wales’ National Garden of Peace, as well as many inspiring displays throughout the building, such as Wales’ ‘Timeline of Peacemakers’.
The Temple Tour does not require any special apps; just visit www.TempleTour.Wales to start the route. There is also an online tour (in development) of Wales’ National Garden of Peace, adjacent to the Temple, which guides visitors around the garden’s 50 memorials to Welsh peacemakers and movements. The apps include links to digitised original archival materials from the Temple’s Collections.
‘Friends of the Temple’
In the New Year 2022, it is also planned to launch a new ‘Friends of the Temple of Peace’ group. Over recent decades, WCIA (as the present day successors to the WLNU / Welsh League of Nations Union, for whom the building was constructed) have acted as ‘guardians’ of the building’s heritage and public purpose (under a 999-year lease), whilst the building’s formal ownership has changed hands several times – most recently in 2017 to Cardiff University. However, there are many hundreds more organisations and individuals across Wales with a stake in the Temple and Garden of Peace, and the purpose of the ‘Friends of the Temple’ body will be to bring together and give a voice to those interests, become a recognised channel of consultation for Cardiff University and any other prospective future occupiers, and to coordinate volunteering opportunities and projects relating to the building’s heritage and public accessibility – such as Temple Tours, events, and maintenance of the Peace Garden. Any readers who would like to put their names forward for the launch of ‘Friends of the Temple’ please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Such a development is timely, as the next couple of years will feature a series of Peace movement Anniversaries that WCIA will be supporting as a ‘Peace100’ programme (although not all centenaries!):
Peace100 – Anniversaries over 2022-24
- Spring 2022 – #WLNU100 Centenary of formation of the Welsh League of Nations Union (WLNU), WCIA’s predecessor
- May 2022 – #Neges100 Centenary of Youth Message of Peace & Goodwill (Neges Heddwch ac Ewyllys Da), coordinated today by Urdd Gobaith Cymru but formerly by WLNU until 1954
- May 2022 – #TeachPeace100 Centenary of the Welsh (world) Education Advisory Committee, who developed the world’s first global citizenship curriculum – and provided the foundation model for UNESCO.
- June 2022 – #UNA75 and #Llangollen75: 75th Anniversary of the post-WW2 establishment of both UNA Wales (the United Nations Association), and the 1st Llangollen International Eisteddfod, in June 1947.
- Spring 2023 – #WomenPeace100 Centenary of Welsh Women’s Peace Petition campaign of 1923
- October 2023 – #WCIA50 50th Anniversary of opening of the Welsh Centre for International Affairs in Oct 1973
- February 2024 – #WomenPeace100 Centenary of Welsh Women’s Peace Tour of America, 1924
- Others will be marked where possible, resources permitting.
- A printable PDF / flyer can be downloaded here, or click on RH image