Tin Shed Experience is a quaint and quirky 1940s museum in Laugharne, west Wales. It opened on June 4th 2011 after 18 months hard work by a very small team of enthusiasts. The project has been a labour of love for local men Andrew Isaacs and Seimon Pugh-Jones, both of whom have collected such memorabilia since meeting whilst working at the Ministry of Defence in Pendine. Andrew was an armourer and Seimon a photographer. Seimon’s camera work has taken him into the realms of staff photographer for an American war magazine (Armchair General) and has seen him work on many historical features such as Steven Spielberg’s HBO’s award winning mini series ‘Band of Brothers’ and ‘Saving Private Ryan.’
The idea came to them after a small temporary exhibition of wartime memorabilia was staged in Andrew’s old zinc sheeted garage in October 2009. Andrew explains, ‘the exhibition went so well we thought there may be space in the township for something more permanent. I thought, it would be great to restore the garage to look like it originally did when built by my father in 1933.’ He goes on, ‘from there the idea grew and it became the perfect location to transform into a museum.’
Seimon informs, ‘after numerous meetings with various bodies a small match funded grant from the Welsh Assembly Governmentwas secured. This combined with the skills of Stephen Hughes, friend and builder, we were enabled to carry out the refurbishment work. We have however, recycled and reclaimed a great number of materials wherever we could.’
"A wonderful experience - a real feeling of the period , it brought back memories"
"A very special museum run by very special people - Wonderful"
Steve Lydon Swindon
The Tin Shed team are also very keen to help educate the younger generation and hope to highlight the effects of war on everyday life in wartime Britain. Andrew explains, “We want part of the project to be educational, picking up on the national curriculum and tailoring some of the exhibit specifically for schools.”
Matthew Hughes, Marketing Manager of the Tin Shed stresses, “We do not wish to glamorise war, our goal is to help give an insight of what war meant to the life of ordinary civilians and those serving during the war years” He goes on, “It is important for today’s youth to know that war and conflict has the ability to shape and effect entire generations.”
Tin Shed Experience does not claim to be the biggest museum of it's kind, however with Seimon's background it will certainly be of high quality.
He said "we hope to create imaginative story-telling sets to the highest of standards, concentrating on the smallest of details. We hope to make a significant contribution to the Township of Laugharne’s economy.
The video (Left) will show the various stages of the work carried out to create the Tin Shed concept. Whenever it has been possible we have endeavoured to use recycled and reclaimed materials and not changed the exterior appearance of the original Tin Shed.
Also a Venue and Film location.....
It seems that the Tin Shed could have many other uses. Andrew said "We have installed an original WWII shelter in the garden of our Tin Cottage and have planted a Victory Garden, which will be tailored into the National Curriculum. We also hope to encourage film and TV companies to consider us...Who knows; maybe an episode of Dr Who could be filmed at The Tin Shed Experience?” "The tin shed is obviously an ideal location for a rural 1940s based production but also as we are based in the town made famous by Dylan Thomas it would be very fitting as a location for a production about the poet. With the centenary of his birth in 2014 as well as the centenary of the start of the Great War it will be a very busy time for film making."
'Come Back To Me'
In November 2012 we were delighted to provide the Tin Shed as a location to students of ATRiuM Cardiff for their university project.Entitled 'Come Back To Me' the short film follows the path of love affected by The Second World War, highlighting the complexity of love between three people, and how a relationship can bloom and maintain throughout the war.
Seimon elaborated ‘because the concept of the museum has changed somewhat since its origin we are hoping to diversify into staging collectors and retro and vintage weekends which would see us using the memorial hall adjacent to us and see us bringing a more varied crowd into the town. This will then hopefully see our visitors utilising other local business and in turn help the local economy which is a major part of the Tin Shed concept.’
Matthew explained’ We believe that there is a shortage of events catering for enthusiasts in the West Wales area, whether you are interested in collecting, re-enacting, model making and anything associated with retro vintage and history. We are also huge fans of the Arts and are always interested in hearing ideas of stage music and exhibitions at the museum.
'We are hoping to combine the elements of entertainment with history in a view to making it more accessible and interesting to the younger generation to hopefully bring history to life.’