Sunday, January 29, 2023

A 'Norway'

Chewing the fat with my new Norwegian chums after the funeral, I mentioned Cardiff's coastal Norwegian church as a possibly shared point of reference. To my astonishment, they were all quite familiar with the Wales-Norway connection.

During the late 19th century, you see, tens of thousands of Norwegian sailors visited Cardiff aboard merchant ships bringing strong, straight timber from Scandinavia to be used as pit props in coal mines. Then, the empty ships would export Welsh coal across the world.

Jone even told me that he had heard that pit props were called "Norways" in the vernacular of the Welsh miners. Isn't that wonderful? 

During World War II, in which Norway was occupied by Nazi forces from 1940, many more Norwegians also passed through Cardiff as refugees and seamen. The seamen serving with particular distinction in the Atlantic convoys that saved our bacon. Many of them were killed when staying at the Norwegian Seamen's mission in Bute Street when Cardiff was bombed by the Germans.

My new Scandinavian chums had much of this at their fingertips. I was genuinely impressed.

Here's a Wales Online article I found.

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