The ‘definitive’ book on Tryweryn Challenges ‘legends’ and deeply held opinions on the Drowning of the Welsh Valley
Whatever the complexities surrounding the flooding of Cwm Tryweryn, the construction of Llyn Celyn is widely regarded as a decisive event in Welsh history. The story resonates with Welsh people like no other, and at last, after twenty years of research, author Wyn Thomas has written a detailed study of the story published by Y Lolfa, and questions many widely held views.
Two aspects of the Tryweryn story have attracted particular attention and comment in Wales: what is deemed to be Liverpool’s dubious justification for flooding Cwm Tryweryn and the traditional belief, often strenuously expressed, that the threatened Welsh-speaking community was united in opposing Liverpool’s reservoir construction project. Tryweryn: A New Dawn? powerfully challenges both of these deeply-held opinions. The use of extensive archival testimony convincingly demonstrates that Liverpool’s need to construct a reservoir to combat the city’s municipal water and employment problem is real and genuine. As to the true extent of the cohesion felt by the threatened Welsh-speaking community in protesting Liverpool’s actions, compelling evidence is presented to challenge the existing legend – with Thomas offering an unprecedented voice to those from the former valley community who feel the time has come to put the record straight.
Wyn Thomas said: “After twenty years of research I have come to some conclusions that won’t please everyone – but I’ve interviewed scores of people and thoroughly researched the subject. Consequently, I believe this book rectifies many of the existing and predetermined opinions which surround the flooding of Cwm Tryweryn, and gives a highly readable account of all that went on in the background and much that has happened since.”
Dafydd Wigley, in a foreword to the book has said that “this significant book deserves to be read by all who study the emergence of modern Wales”.
The book chronicles the controversial flooding of the Tryweryn Valley in North Wales by Liverpool in the 1960s to increase the city’s water supply. In the process of Liverpool constructing the reservoir a proud Welsh-speaking community was removed. There are complicated factors which govern such episodes and Tryweryn: A New Dawn? provides a balanced and nuanced appraisal of this contentious affair.
Dr Wyn Thomas works freelance in academia, the media and as a respected songwriter and musician – releasing the album Orion’s Belt in 2022. His books John Jenkins: The Reluctant Revolutionary? (Y Lolfa, 2019) and Hands Off Wales (Y Lolfa, 2022) are considered essential reading for anyone with an interest in Welsh history and UK politics. He is married, has two daughters, and lives in Mid Wales. For more information see: www.drwynthomas.com