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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Remembering Richard Burton

I am told that a new biography of Richard Burton is to be launched tomorrow and that the author is keen to see a permanent memorial to the actor in his home borough of Port Talbot.

The picture shows Burton's birthplace in Pontrhydyfen in the Afan valley. You can see from the second picture how beautiful this part of the world is. It is certainly different to the industrial legacy situated at the mouth of the river Afan.

In Swansea Dylan Thomas' house has been turned into a destination that commemorates his legacy. There is a permanent exhibition in the Dylan Thomas Centre and of course there is also a museum in the boathouse in Laugharne. Richard Burton's birthplace does not even have a proper blue plaque.

I have been told that the Burton family have a great deal of material that could be housed in a permanent museum or other memorial dedicated to him. People already come to Pontrhydyfen to look for his birthplace. There is no reason to doubt that a more permanent exhibition either in the village or in Port Talbot itself would not prove to be an equal attraction, especially if it were linked to a wider trail of similar memorials for other famous South Walians.

How we achieve this is another matter. I certainly believe that Neath Port Talbot Council have a role to play in facilitating a Richard Burton memorial. I am sure that the family would co-operate with that and that it would be possible to attract private finance to deliver it. Maybe the Welsh Government would have a role too.

This is something I intend to take up with the Council and also with the new Minister for Heritage over the next few weeks.
I have a picture of my aunt on one of Richard Burton's visits to Taibach he has his arm on her shoulder
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