Abandoned Communities ..... Reservoirs of Wales
We now move on fifty years. By 1955 the Liverpool Corporation were again searching for an additional source of water. Without any attempt to consult local people they decided that the valley of the River Tryweryn would be a suitable location for a reservoir, and they proceeded to have the necessary Act passed by Parliament. According to the memoirs of Gwynfor Evans, at that time President of Plaid Cymru, the first that the inhabitants of the valley knew about the proposals was when they read about them in the Liverpool Daily Post.

Gwynfor Evans, For the Sake of Wales, translated by Meic Stephens, Welsh Academic Press, 1999. The relevant chapter has the title "Cwm Tryweryn", but read the rest of the book too if you want to get a feel for what Welsh nationalism is all about.

The area to be flooded contained a farming community with the small village of Capel Celyn at its centre. It was a Welsh speaking community, where traditional Welsh culture was strongly maintained, especially in the field of music. There were twelve farms, a school, a post office, and a chapel with its cemetery. On this occasion, members of the community were at the forefront of protests and demonstrations against the proposed reservoir.

Early in 1956 the Tryweryn Defence Committee was created. It had branches in many parts of Wales, including Capel Celyn itself, and also a branch in Liverpool, where a concerted attempt was made to recruit the support of those who claimed allegiance with Wales. The Defence Committee had two main objectives, to ensure that protests were delivered to Liverpool City Council, and to provide as much opposition as possible to the passage of the bill through parliament.

An early protest in Liverpool was conducted by Gwynfor Evans himself. With a small contingent of supporters he attended a meeting of the Council. When the report of the Water Committee was about to be discussed Gwynfor Evans stood up and attempted to address the Council. He persisted in spite of being instructed to sit down, and eventually had to be drowned out by the sound of councillors banging the lids of their desks. He and his colleagues were then escorted from the Council chamber by police officers. They were, however, allowed to return to a later meeting of the Council and answer questions.

In September 1956 a major rally was held in Bala, and then in November a march through Liverpool itself was organised. Apart from a child aged one month every resident from Capel Celyn and the surrounding area took part in the march.
The rally at Bala
The demonstration in Liverpool


The day after the Liverpool demonstration

Remembering the demonstration

Two paintings  by Claudia Williams  from a series  of pictures about Tryweryn. These images have been supplied by the Martin Tinney Gallery.


Other paintings by Claudia Williams can be seen on page 7 of this section and in the section on Paintings.