#Temple81: Incredible Hidden Histories from 1938 opening of Wales’ Temple of Peace offer ‘Key to the Past’

Crowds gathered in the rain for the Opening of Wales’ Temple of Peace on 23rd Nov 1938

This Saturday, 23rd November 2019, will be 81 years to the blustery day in 1938 when Wales’ Temple of Peace and Health was opened by war-bereaved mother Minnie James from Merthyr Tydfil – accompanied by ‘mothers of Wales and the world’, the Temple’s founder Lord David Davies, and among 500 specially invited guests, a young 14 year old schoolboy from Carmarthen, Gordon James.

#Temple81 may not hold quite the same ‘diamond anniversary status’ as the hugely ambitious programme staged by WCIA / Wales for Peace for #Temple80 in November 2018 – with 43 events in one month, culminating in a Gala Night Rededication (on 23rd Nov 2018) featuring a community performance of ‘A New Mecca’ and launch of the documentary film, ‘Voices of Temple80’.

However, in a remarkable turn of recent events, WCIA is rewriting the ‘hidden histories’ from that day following 3 incredible dicoveries linking the past to the present – through generations with ‘peace building in the blood’, quite literally. We are delighted to share these 3 incredibly inspiring stories for #Temple81.

Gordon James’ shares his firsthand ‘Oral History’ account of the Temple’s Opening in 1938, through the eyes of a 14 year old school child.


The author of this article, Craig Owen, would like to express profound thanks to Gordon and Joy James; Daniel, Bea and David Davies; and to Robin Paul and his family for their contributions to this ‘Temple81’ feature. Also to WCIA volunteers Peter Garwood and Frank Holloway for their original research into Minnie James and the Temple Opening. I would also like to dedicate this article with a ‘special thankyou’ to ex-Wales for Peace staff Ffion Fielding, Mari Lowe and Fi Fenton, whose personal commitment in supporting volunteers to uncover the Temple’s histories over 2015-18 ultimately enable these ‘hidden histories’ to emerge in a way that is profoundly moving for both the WCIA team today, and for the individuals / descendants involved – Diolch.