It’s been five decades since the Welsh village of Capel Celyn in the Tryweryn Valley was sacrificed to bring water to Liverpool. This act brought the spirit of resistance to life for the Welsh—drastically increasing the number of Welsh nationalists, and it paving the way for today's National Assembly for Wales.
Capel Celyn Residents Were Expected To Give Up Everything For Liverpool's Water SupplyAlex Dellow/Picture Post/Getty Images
The Welsh village Capel Celyn was covered with 70 billion liters of water despite its people’s protest. The places they lived, worked, built their lives, and buried their dead, was intentionally demolished and flooded to create a reservoir to supply water to Liverpool.
Act Of Parliament Gave Authority To Flood Tryweryn ValleyMirrorpix/Mirrorpix/Getty Images
Even 35 out of 36 Welsh Members of Parliament opposed the bill, and the 36th member didn’t weigh in on the subject at all. Yet, authority was given through an Act of Parliament and the bill was passed in 1957—the Welsh vote was no longer needed to move ahead with the controversial project.
Protesting Became A Common Part Of Life For Eight YearsThis is of Interest
The members of the community protested for eight years, some peacefully with signs, hoping to draw compassion with slogans reading, ‘Your homes are safe, save ours’ and ‘Do not drown our homes.’
The Welsh Voice Continued To Be IgnoredMirrorpix/Mirrorpix/Getty Images
Others weren’t as calm and lashed out violently, throwing tomatoes and spitting of officials involved, and vandalizing personal and government property. It didn’t matter if they plead softly, protested in a dignified manner, or lashed out in anger, their words fell on deaf ears.
Young Nationalists Were BornDaily Post UK
Welsh nationalists of all ages held their heads up high and demanded to be heard. They tried reasoning violence, vandalism, and some even went to far as to sabotage equipment at the construction site, but it did nothing to save their homes in the long run.
Demonstrations Escalated To Vandalism And ViolenceMirrorpix/Mirrorpix/Getty Images
In September of 1962, David Pritchard and David Walters decided if signs wouldn’t get through to those in positions of power, they’d simply vandalize the equipment that was left at the construction site. This did nothing to help their cause and they were fined £50 each.
Nationalists Began Bombing The Construction SiteLiverpool Echo.co.uk
Emyr Llewelyn Jones, Owain Williams, and John Albert Jones figured they’d sabotage the project by destroying the electrical transformer at the construction site. They strapped down explosive devices at the site and caused extensive damage. Once again, this did nothing to stop the flood plans and both men were jailed for a year and placed on probation for three years after their release.
The Little Hamlet Of Capel Celyn Was SubmergedMirrorpix/Mirrorpix/Getty Images
Nothing could be done to stop it. The valley was flooded and the reservoir officially opened on October 21, 1965. Capel Celyn and all its homes, farms, and institutions of worship and education were gone.
Seventy People Were Left HomelessDaily Post UK
Liverpool had their water, but 70 people were left homeless and their children traumatized, staring at the watery graveyard that was once their whole world.
Five decades later and Wales still lacks complete control over their destiny and their resources. Many nationalists have awoken in Wales since this great injustice took place. This act proved that even when all of Wales opposes something, they have no real power to stop it.
A Once Thriving Village Became The Floor Of A LakeAlex Dellow/Picture Post/Getty Images
The village of Capel Celyn was simply wiped off the map and remains symbolic of why Welsh nationalists feel a divide from the United Kingdom is necessary.