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Death of Trevor Rowson reported

Sunday, June 10 2001

The death of Trevor Rowson, historian of the town of Nantyglo, Wales, UK, and the architect of fraternal relations between his town and Nanty Glo, Pennsylvania, was reported on this date by his son, Keri.

Rowson is survived by his wife, Sheila, and three sons and five grandchildren. Besides Keri, who lives in Bryn Mawr, Wales, with his wife and son Morgan, other sons are Shawn, Nantyglo, and Liam, Blaina, father of four.

According to Barbara Hakanen of Nanty Glo, Pa., who was the main Pennsylvania-side coordinator of exchanges between their two towns, Rowson started working in the mines in the Nantyglo area at age 14 and worked as a miner, rigger, and welder. He subsequently worked at the Dunlop Semtex factory until its closing in 1978. He then started lecturing about local history and archeology, which he studied independently. For most of his life he was the local history advisor to the area's schools.

He was interviewed several times by Roy Noble of BBC Radio Wales and on one program talked about Nanty Glo, Pennsylvania, the newly formed Nant-Y-Glo Tri Area Museum and Historical Society, and his continued correspondence with its chairperson, Mrs. Hakanen. He spearheaded the Blaina Heritage Society's staging of an exhibition on Nanty Glo, Pennsylvania, in the Town Council Chambers of Blaina. The Nant-Y-Glo Tri-Area Museum and Historical Society in Pennsylvania reciprocated, using mementoes sent by Rowson for a comparable display showing off the Welsh Nantyglo. "He loved bringing our two sister towns closer," Mrs. Hakanen observed.

He was awarded a Prince of Wales certificate in 1978 and met the Prince or Wales, Prince Charles, on several occasions. In 1995, he was invited by the Queen to her garden party at Buckingham palace, and not long ago was awarded the mayor's community certificate and an inscribed clock.

He lived in Nantyglo all his life, never traveling to America, but had a great affection for America, its people and history.

"He had just this past week sent our Historical Society three videos and at the meeting on June 7 we had a group photo taken with the videos, and Bill Martin was going to do a story for the Journal," Mrs. Hakanen said.

His home address is 23 Vincent Ave. Nantyglo, Ebbw Vale, Gwent NP23 4PE Wales, UK

Rowson was the author of numerous books and other literature describing and recording the history of his former iron- and coal-producing valley, which played a major role in the 19th Century English industrial revolution. He was also known by several families of the Pennsylvania Nanty Glo who visited him in Wales. In October, 1999, he and his friend Jeff Jones of Nantyglo escorted Nanty Glo Home Page webmaster Jon Kennedy and his late brother, Tom Kennedy, around Nantyglo and nearby sights and sites. That tour is reported in detail on this website.

The photos of Rowson above, explaining historical points around Nantyglo, are taken from that tour website.

The burial service will be at St. Anne's Church, Nantyglo, at 2 p.m. Thursday, June 14.

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© Jon Kennedy 2001