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Weekly marks 50 years since historic flooding of village on patch

A special supplement marking 50 years since one of the most “significant” events in modern Welsh history has been published by a weekly newspaper.

The Denbighshire Free Press has published a supplement, pictured below, on the 50th anniversary of the drowning of Capel Celyn.

In 1956 a Private Member’s Bill sponsored by Liverpool City Council was brought before parliament to build a reservoir in the Tryweryn Valley that included the flooding of the village, near Bala.

Nine years later the flooding went ahead, with 150 people losing their homes.

Denbighshire supplement

The event meant a Welsh-speaking community was lost forever to provide water to an English city, and has been described as one of the “landmarks” in the development of Welsh identity.

Free Press reporter Shane Brennan has compiled a historical feature using reports and photographs from the Free Press archives.

He also interviewed many people who remember being displaced, including those who take the opportunity to visit family members graves on their rare occasions when the water level falls.

He said: “When I first came to Wales from Ireland, I often heard stories about Tryweryn and the graffiti saying ‘Cofiwch Drywern’ (Remember Tryweryn) made a huge impression on me.

“My wife Grisial, who is from the area, has strong memories of a drought in the 90s when the water level in the reservoir was so low that it allowed the people from Capel Celyn a chance to visit the graveyard there. It was one of the few times they could pay respect to their dead after the flooding.

“It is something that I always found to be a striking image that shows the devastation the flooding had on people’s lives.”

The supplement will include photographs from time of the flooding as well as coverage of a special rally due be held to commemorate the anniversary.

Free Press editor Matt Warner said: “Tryweryn is a significant event in the history of modern Wales, one that is still felt by many today. A Welsh-speaking community was lost forever to provide water for an English city.

“The flooding plan, opposed by 35 out of 36 Welsh MPs at the time,and the actions by Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru (Movement for the Defence of Wales) were landmarks in the development of Welsh identity.

“With the Free Press continuing to provide an important outlet for those campaigning to protect Welsh-medium education and local health services in North Wales, it felt right now more than ever to reflect and remember Tryweryn.”

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  • October 21, 2015 at 11:06 pm

    Yes, an important story, and influential, and glad they did this, but not sure it’s really a strong Sir Ddinbych story these days.

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