the SCI Archives the SCI Archives

News Archives










News 2011

Brynmawr: Eighty years IVS Great Britain

by Philipp Rodriguez (Feb 2, 2011)

This year we celebrate the 80 year anniversary of International Voluntary Service (IVS) Great Britain. On Thursday February 3rd there is a BBC episode which presents the first workcamp in Great Britain.

The BBC Wales television series “Hidden Histories”, narrated by Huw Edwards, follows the work of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. In the next episode which is shown next Thursday 19:30 on BBC Two (Wales) they will present the first SCI workcamp in Great Britain.

During the Great Depression in the 1920s the Quakers initiated an unemployment initiative in which the Brynmawr Lido was also built. This was in 1931 and 1932, when unemployed men, students, and international volunteers together built the swimming pool in the colliery town which had suffered from an economic crisis. The money for the concrete was donated by the town of Lagarde (Southern France), where the SCI volunteers had cleaned up the aftermath of a flood in the year 1930. In the following years other SCI workcamps were organised in Wales (Rhos) and England (Oakengates).

This was the beginning of IVS eighty years ago. The Brynmawr workcamp attracted huge international attention about which we have an extensive collection of newspaper cuttings in SCI Archives. For the BBC episode the SCI Archives were able to provide some of their photos. Unfortunately it's a little bit difficult to watch it outside the UK as the BBC prevents that.

All in all, Brynmawr was an important step for SCI towards becoming an international movement.

Links about the BBC episode and the Brynmawr Experiment

Service Civil International - International Archives (2004-2022) - Conditions of Use - Contact