The village of Capel Celyn and the Tryweryn valley near Bala were drowned in 1965 in order to supply water for the City of Liverpool. Eight hundred acres of land was drowned, as well as the school, the post office, the chapel and the cemetery, in order to create the Llyn Celyn (Celyn lake) reservoir.

Twelve farms and land belonging to four other farms were drowned.

Capel Celyn before it was drowned (38K)
Capel Celyn before it was drowned (53K) Construction work begins, 1960 (44K)

The following is a list of farms which were effected by the scheme, including the names of the occupiers and the number of acres:

1 Tyucha and Thyddyn Bychan 03 D. Jones
2 Hafod Fadog 07 D. Jones
3 Garnedd Lwyd, part of Goed-y-Mynach 45 J. W. Evans
4 Caefadog and Choedymynach 52.5 D. Roberts
5 Gelli Uchaf 51.5 Gth Evans
6 Gwerndelwau 46 J. Rowlands
7 Hafodwen 08.5 J.A. Jones
8 Ty Nant 02 R.E. Jones
9 Craigyronw, Weirglodd Ddu, Moelfryn and Chaerwernog 80.5 M. Roberts
10 Maesydail 85 I. Jones
11 Bochyrhaeadr 44.5 W. H. Pugh
12 Brynifan 10.5 J. M. Jones
13 Gwerngenau 68 C. O. Jones
14 Penbryn Mawr and Thynybont 79 J. J. Edwards
15 Penbryn Bach and Dolfawr 65 I Parry
16 Tyncerrig 42 I Roberts
  Total number of acres = 770  

(Moses Griffiths' report, Undeb Cymru Fydd papers, 110)
The Tryweryn Bill was passed by Parliament on 1 August 1957. This was a private measure, sponsored by Liverpool City Council and passed by Harold Macmillan's Conservative government, with the support of Henry Brooke, the Minister for Welsh Affairs. The measure allowed for the compulsory purchase of land to build the reservoir. A letter from Gwynfor Evans to the Prime Minister Harold Macmillan in 1957 (47K)
Page from the 'Welsh Nation', August 1957 (66K) The scheme was opposed by most of the Welsh Members of Parliament, but they were powerless to stop the development because the government was determined to push the Bill through Parliament. The local authorities did not have a voice in the decision either and this caused great resentment.The political parties in Wales were united in their opposition to the scheme because it was considered an affront to Wales that valuable resources were being taken away from the country.
The agricultural value of the land was high compared to some land that could have been considered, and it was felt that other possibilities had not been given proper consideration. Three generations outside the Post office in Capel Celyn (52K)
Leaving homes in Capel Celyn (67K) Also, there was a feeling of sadness because a community was being shattered and families who had lived in the area for generations were forced to leave their homes.
The local inhabitants were determined to oppose the scheme to the bitter end, and demonstrations and petitions were organised. In 1956 the Tryweryn Defence Committee was formed and it included some of Wales' most prominent and revered personalities, including Ifan ab Owen Edwards, Megan Lloyd George, T. I. Ellis, and Lord Ogmore. Many other branches of the committee were formed, including the Capel Celyn Defence Committee and the Liverpool branch of the Tryweryn Defence Committee. 14 Points of Alderman Gwynfor Evans (54K)
Although opposition to the scheme did not come only from Welsh nationalists, the Tryweryn cause inspired Plaid Cymru, and provided an impetus to its campaigns. In September 1956 Plaid Cymru held a Save Tryweryn Rally in Bala, leading a procession of protesters through the centre of Bala.
The Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Alderman J. H. Morgan, called a Save Tryweryn meeting in October 1956, when over 300 representatives from local government and trade unions, and 10 MPs were present. Alderman Huw T Edwards was appointed the chairman and it was decided to send a delegation from the conference to Liverpool to appeal for a change of heart. Mr D R Grenfell MP, the Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Huw T Edwards , Councillor Emrys Owen and Dr R Robinson were chosen to represent the meeting. Leaflet to show objection towards the drowning of Capel Celyn (24K)
Protest in Liverpool, 1956 (33K)


In November 1956 a procession, led by Gwynfor Evans and including 70 of the villagers, was held in Liverpool to oppose the reservoir, but the Liverpool councillors voted to go ahead with the proposed scheme. In August 1957 Gwynfor Evans proposed that Meirionnydd County Council could build a reservoir in Cwm Croes, where only one farm would be affected, and sell the water from the reservoir to Liverpool Corporation.

On three occasions between 1962 and 1963 there were attempts to sabotage the building of the reservoir. On 10 February 1963 a transmitter exploded on the site and an Aberystwyth student, Emyr Llywelyn Jones, was sentenced to prison for twelve months for his part in the act. When he was sentenced, two members of 'MAC' (Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru), Owain Williams and John Albert Jones, blew up a pylon at Gellilydan. Emyr Llewelyn Jones (16K)
The scheme went ahead despite public opposition, and Celyn lake was officially opened on 28 October 1965. New roads had to be built since the road from Bala to Ffestiniog was drowned, and the total cost of the project was £20 million. Celyn lake held a capacity of 71,200 mega litres of water, the biggest dam in Wales. There is a memorial on the side of the lake and a memorial garden, and the grave stones from Capel Celyn cemetery have been moved there.
At the opening ceremony, where the Lord Mayor of Liverpool was present, a protest was held which included the appearance in military uniforms of the Free Wales Army. A recruiting campaign by the Free Wales Army (FWA) had started in 1963, but the Tryweryn protest was the first occasion where members had appeared in a public protest. Pictures of the FWA during an arms drill were later released, but there was no evidence to suggest that they were actively involved in violent activities. In 1969 the ringleaders were arrested and six of them, including the leader Julian Cayo Evans, were sentenced to fifteen months imprisonment. October 1965 protest as the Celyn Reservoir was officially opened by the Mayor of Liverpool  (31K)

The Water Industry

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