Tory MS asks Drakeford to ‘safeguard’ historic Welsh language centre
A Tory MS has asked the First Minister to safeguard a historic Welsh language centre.
Joel James MS, a regional Senedd Member for South Wales Central, quizzed Mark Drakeford about what the Welsh Government is doing to as he raised concerns about the Tŷ’r Cymry building, in the Roath area of Cardiff.
Its trustees have decided to sell the premises which was bequeathed to Welsh speakers in 1936 by Lewis Williams, a farmer from the Vale of Glamorgan, in order to promote the Welsh language and constitutional status for Wales.
The move has been criticised by language campaigners Cymdeithas yr Iaith.
The trustees of Tŷ’r Cymry say they recognize the cultural importance of the building but that it has fallen into disrepair, and there is no longer enough financial support available to continue running it.
When asked about the issue in the Senedd the First Minister said he was not “familiar” with the detail, but added that he would “look at it”.
Joel James MS said: “In 1936, Vale of Glamorgan farmer Lewis Williams left Tŷ’r Cymry to the Welsh speakers of Cardiff and over the years it has not only become a beacon of support for the language, but also a cultural hub as well.
“Sadly, as recent news reports have shown, this building is on borrowed time and no longer features in the future plans of the trustees who have recently tried to sell the property.
“With this in mind, what steps can the Welsh Government take to ensure that Tŷ’r Cymry remains for the benefit of the Welsh-speaking community in Cardiff?”
The First Minister responded: “I thank the Member for that question, Llywydd. I’m not familiar enough with the detail of it to be able to give him the sort of answer that the question deserves this afternoon, but I’m very happy to say that we can look at it and then I’ll write to him with a follow-up reply.”
Speaking after the debate, Joel James said: “Welsh-language spaces in Cardiff are few and far between, and places like Tŷ’r Cymry are vital for encouraging the Welsh language to thrive.
“Losing Tŷ’r Cymry and its rich history would be a tragedy not just for the Welsh speakers of Cardiff, but for Cardiff as a city”.
“I passionately feel that we should do all that we can to save this culturally important building, and to ensure that its legacy as one of the founding Welsh language centres in Cardiff remains available to future generations.
“Tangible aspects of our Welsh history are important to creating a sense of our identity and I for one would be heartbroken to see Tŷ’r Cymry lost.”
The building has been home to a number of organizations over the years, including Undeb Cenedlaethol Athrawon Cymru (UCAC), the Urdd, Plaid Cymru, Cymdeithas yr Iaith and Cylch Meithrin Tŷ’r Cymry.
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There are what appear to be significant inaccuracies in this report. The initial donor was from the Caerffili area and not the Vale. The gift was also initially to Plaid Cymru, then called the Welsh National Party unfer a group of trustees who persuaded the donor to gift it jointly to a Welsh women’s movement, Mamau a Merched Cymru. My grandmother became a trustee of the house on account of this. I have very recently been going through my grandmother’s papers relating to its inception. One of the original trustees was T.J. Morgan, father of the former First Minister, Rhodri… Read more »
Urdd Gobaith Cymru was a co-recipient of the 1930s gift alongside Plaid Cymru and Mamau a Merched Cymru.