HISTORICAL ECLIPSES IN WALES
LOCAL NEWSPAPER ACCOUNTS OF THE
1927 TOTAL SOLAR ECLISPE:
CAERNARVON AND DENBIGH HERALD
Reports from the Caernarvon and Denbigh Herald
newspaper are reproduced
here which give accounts of the total solar eclipse of 29th June, 1927.
The path of totality passed from Penrhyn Llŷn across to Colwyn
Bay shortly after sunrise. The weather was generally very poor along
the track in Wales, with complete cloud cover and rain. Conditions were
only slightly better further along the track in northern England.
Few direct observations were made of the eclipse from Wales due to
The Caernarvon and Denbigh Herald provided reports from
Caernarfonshire. [Note the archaic spelling of Caernarfon in the
name of the paper at that time.]
These extracts were taken from local newspapers held in the
Gwynedd Archives Service in Caernarfon.
The notes were made by Bryn Jones, Mrs. G. Jones and Mr. J. T. Jones.
Caernarvon and Denbigh Herald, Friday, 1st July, 1927.
THE SOLAR ECLIPSE
Fiasco in North Wales.
THOUSANDS OF VISITORS
The eclipse in North Wales, and especially Caernarvonshire, was a
fiasco, rain and clouds in the majority of places blotting the spectacle from
the view of many thousands of visitors.
The much vaunted vantage points on mountain and hilltops were a
complete failure, particularly so on the summit of Snowdon and on
Cader Idris, where the cold was intensified by blinding rain, clammy mist,
and biting wind. Many visitors, including a number of children suffered
from exposure at these points.
Disappointment was deepest among the school children, thousands of
whom had travelled many miles by night. Tired, cold, and not a little
fretful, the only compensation for their weary vigil was the sudden
deepening of the gloom which heralded the period of totality, and this
was gone almost as quickly as it came. In few places was the sun visible,
and where observations were possible visibility only lasted a few
The eclipse was perfectly seen at Giggleswick. The crowds were struck
dumb by the sight of the corona glowing like a volcano, and cheered when the
SNOWDON AND LLANBERIS
"Up to Snowdon to see the eclipse!" was the remark made by the
hundreds of visitors who went to Llanberis on Tuesday evening and Wednesday
morning in the hope of seeing the eclipse.
Hundreds of people from all parts of England and Wales made their
way to Llanberis on Tuesday, and throughout the day, especially in the
evening, traffic was very heavy. All the hotels and boarding houses
were full of visitors eager to go up Snowdon by foot and by train.
Extensive preparations had been made for the ascent of Snowdon, and the
Railway Company had arranged to run trains to the summit between half past
three and half past four on Wednesday morning. Many slept in huts at the
Snowdon Station, and many under canvas in fields close to the village.
However, the weather conditions were bad and consequently there
were fewer people on the mountain than there would have been had it been
fine. The railway ran some two hundred people comprising villagers and
visitors. They included a party of fifty-two boys from Lewes Grammar School,
Sussex. A large party braved the elements on foot, and when they reached
the summit they were drenched to the skin. The two wooden huts which
constitute the Summit Hotel were overcrowded, and some had to stay outside
the whole time. Many did not go beyond the half way. Others went to Clogwyn
and Crib Ddisgyl.
In the party that went up by the first train were Mr. Evan R. Davies, a
director of the Snowdon Tramroad Company, who had come specially from
London; and Mr J. R. Owen, the general manager of the company.
A well-known astronomer had suggested installing a wireless set on
the summit, and in last week's "Herald" we expressed the hope
that a member
of the Caernarvon or Bangor Radio Societies would assist. Mr Thomas of
Radio House, Pool Street, Caernarvon, took a wireless set to Llanberis, and
Mr Owen, the general manager, gave him every assistance. A five valve
portable wireless set was fixed by Mr Thomas in the Summit Hotel, and
he was able to receive the signals which were transmitted from Daventry.
Mr. Owen, general manager, told our correspondent that it worked
splendidly and that Mr Thomas's services were much appreciated by the crowd
present. He is to be congratulated on carrying out the plan successfully.
The summit, however, was enveloped in fog, and nothing was seen except
the dark shadow: "Although everywhere was covered by fog,"
said Mr. Owens,
"it was a great sight to see the darkness coming gradually until the
whole place was absolutely black."
Another villager, who was on the summit, said, "The summit
with mist, and some time before totality the mist was seen gradually to
darken and its colour became heliotrope. It was an awe-inspiring sensation to
see the mist becoming this colour, and I did not regret taking the long and
tiresome journey to the summit." He added that the place was completely
dark for some seconds and immediately after totality the mist suddenly
changed colour to very pale yellow.
Hundreds of people assembled at Dinas, a hill to the south-west of
Llanberis, but, although drenched to the skin, they saw nothing except the
It is to be regretted that the morning was not clear, as there were
experts on the summit of Snowdon and their observations would have been of
very great value.
A correspondent writes: The receiver used by the officials of the
Radio Society of Great Britain, on Snowdon summit on Wednesday morning to
receive the London time signals was a Halcyon five-valve portable supplied
by Mr Thomas, Radio House, Pool Street, Caernarvon. For the purposes of the
particular tests to be carried out, accurate time signals were necessary.
The Daventry time signals were brought in on the loud speaker (no aerial
or earth being required with this type of receiver) and the tuning note
was also received on the journey up by train.
The weeping heavens mocked the inhabitants on Wednesday morning.
Still in spite of the continuous and heavy downpour some hundreds of people
ventured out of doors hoping they would see something. Many went to the
top of Twthill and braved the elements on that elevation under the cover of
umbrellas. Others went to Penybryn Mawr, and not a few occupied a point
of vantage in Bethel road. But they saw neither the sun nor the moon,
which were completely hidden by dark clouds. So disappointed were the
sky-gazers that they had not got the heart to sing a little to
while away the time till the total eclipse took place. But though
the rain clouds had blotted out the heavens, every man, woman and child who
were not asleep saw the great darkness that fell upon the earth when
the total eclipse was in progress. The bad weather conditions intensified the
darkness, which was weird and awesome. Not a sound was heard; all life seemed
still. The passing of the dark shadow brought a sense of relief and the
phenomenon just witnessed served as a topic of conversation in the
street and in the home for the rest of the day.
On Tuesday evening about 50 boys from the Lewes Grammar School,
accompanied by the Rev. E. Griffith (headmaster) arrived in Caernarvon
en route for Snowdon. They were met at the railway station by Mr A. H.
Richards (Deputy Mayor) and Mr. R. O. Roberts (Town Clerk), who went
with them to the Castle. The boys left for Llanberis in the evening and
went up Snowdon by train, shortly after three o'clock on Wednesday
morning. But, unfortunately, they saw nothing.
A large crowd assembled on the hills above Bryn Bras Castle, and
near Glasgoed, and in other places to see the eclipse, but all they
saw was a dark shadow which soon disappeared.
Many villagers congregated on the hills near the village, on Moel
Rhiwen, and on Bigil, but they were disappointed as the sun was not
visible. There was a very large flock of birds near Ebenezer (C) Chapel,
when totality occurred. It is reported that many chickens died in
the district during the period of the eclipse.
Local residents flocked to the hillsides early on Wednesday morning
to see the eclipse. The Nantlle Valley was within the shadow belt, and
had the weather been favourable, those who had climbed the hills, would
have had a clear view of the eclipse. But although rain was falling at the
time, the observers saw the awesome spectacle of the great elliptical
shadow sweeping along the valley at a terrific pace.
Thousands of visitors went into the Lleyn district throughout
Tuesday in motor cars to take advantage of the Lleyn mountains,
which were in the line of totality, to view the eclipse.
In spite of an incessant downpour of rain the inhabitants of the
town, old and young, turned out between three and five o'clock in the
morning and were wet through. Almost everyone was provided with dark
glasses, which of course were of no use in such weather. Some
hundreds of people braved the elements and climbed to Pen-y-garn,
Pen Cilan, the Rivals, Garn, Bodvean [sic.], Mynytho, and Garn
Fadryn. The majority, however, had congregated in shelters on the
promenade, and along the Cardiff Road, and the West End Parade. The
sun was hidden behind dark clouds, but, the total eclipse, which
lasted exactly 23 seconds, was a weird spectacle. The great shadow
travelled gradually over St. Tudwal's Islands in Cardigan Bay towards
Beddgelert and Snowdon. The crowds spent the hours of waiting singing
and chatting, but when the critical moment arrived there was a deep
Four special trains and hundreds of motor cars brought visitors
to the town on Wednesday morning. Among them were pupils from the
Newtown County School.
Hundreds of students from North and South Wales came by special
trains, cars, and charabancs. Visitors altogether totalled over six
The official Astronomical observation station overlooked Cardigan
Bay. Clouds spoilt the view of the corona, but the sudden darkness was
noticed even through the clouds.
Mr. Lloyd George was at his home with Mrs. Lloyd George, Lady Carey
Evans, and Miss Megan Lloyd George.
The sun was blotted out by dense clouds, and realisation of the eclipse
only came to the watchers on the Great and Little Ormes with the
sudden failure of light during totality. The darkness intensified by
the heavy cloud pall, was weird, and as it passed there floated across the sky
to the south-east a curious light which threw up the Snowdonian range in
Despite heavy rain crowds congregated on Borthygest Hill and
Maelygest, overlooking Cardigan Bay, and commanding glorious views of
Conway was denied a close-up of the eclipse, but the sight of the
Conway valley light [sic.] up under the released rays of sunshine was
A very ordinary wet morning with only a momentary deepening of the
gloom was the experience of visitors here.
Heavy rain continued almost to the time of totality. The dark and
menacing background of Snowdonia made the eclipse particularly
How marvellous, how great, O, how devine !
O, Great Creator, is this world of thine
When, sun and moon in splendour meet
Each compliment each pass face to face,
Eclipsed from earth their salutations greet,
For one brief moment in this world of space;
When glorious day is turn'd to night,
Twinkling stars peep forth like diamonds bright,
What mystery! - beyond the ken of man -
Is this ethereal world, Thy noble plan!
The birds they cease their song to trill
And Nature is subdued and still,
For all creation feels the strain -
Till gladsome light shines forth again,
Astronomers both great and small,
And all mankind wilt thou enthrall,
O Great Eclipse! What mysteries they cry,
I see hid in thy corona, as they fly
Like tongues of fire across the sky ?
Displaying Thy Creator's works on high.
Thy crowning glory, Lord, is man! -
Created for this world to share
Recipient of Thy love and care;
The moon and stars that shine by night
The morning sun that gives him light,
And ripens all the golden grain -
The fruits of earth - oh what a gain -
To speed him on to life again;
With body, soul and intellect complete -
There's naught in Thy creation can compete.
Other information about historical eclipses
Other information on this website about the 1927 eclipse:
Information on this website about other historic observations of eclipses