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Welsh Devolution: A Timeline

View a small sample of images used in the exhibition.

1907: THE NATIONAL LIBRARY AND THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF WALES ESTABLISHED

The National Library of Wales was established by Royal Charter in 1907, and in 1912, under the Copyright Act, became one of six British libraries entitled to claim a copy of all books, pamphlets, maps etc. published in the British Isles. The year 1907 also saw a Charter of Incorporation establishing the National Museum of Wales.

 

John Ballinger, National Library of Wales in relation to other libraries and institutions: an address delivered at a meeting of the Welsh Bibliographical Society...September 1910 (1911)

National Library of Wales, National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth : a description of the permanent building, the foundation stones of which were laid by their Majesties King George V. and Queen Mary, July 15, 1911 (1914)

Herbert Lewis, National Library of Wales: its aims and progress; an address to the Court of Governors, 15 July, 1926 (1926)

John Williams, The National Library of Wales and its claim to public support (1926)

National Library of Wales, Coming of age celebration 1909-1929 [1929]

National Library of Wales, Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru, 1907-1957: The National Library of Wales, 1907-1957 (1957)

R. T. Jenkins, National museum of Wales, 1907-1957: The jubilee lecture (1957)

David Jenkins, A refuge in peace and war: the National Library of Wales to 1952 (2002)

 

1907: WELSH EDUCATION DEPARTMENT FOUNDED

The Board of Education established a special Welsh department, which led to educational reform in Wales, in particular, encouraging Welsh language teaching,

Peter John Randall, Development of administrative decentralisation in Wales from the establishment of the Welsh Department of Education in 1907 to the creation of the post of Secretary of State for Wales in October 1964 (1969)

An Act to make provision for the better administration by the Central and Local Authorities in England and Wales of the enactments relating to Education, 1907

 

1910-14: CYMRU FYDD CAMPAIGNS

E. T John, a member of Cymru Fydd (Young Wales) began to campaign for home rule in the context of the likelihood that Ireland would become self-governing. In 1914 he introduced an unsuccessful Welsh Home Rule Bill at Parliament.

E. T. John, National self-government: how Wales stands to gain by it [1910?]

E. T. John, Wales and self-government [1910?]

E. T. John, Senedd Gymreig: ei neges a'i gwaith [1911]

Gwilym O. Griffith, The new Wales: some aspects of national idealism with a plea for Welsh home rule, introduction by E. T. John (1913)

E. T. John, Cymru a'r Gymraeg [1916]

E. T. John, Ymreolaeth gyfunol: safle a hawliau Cymru : manteision Senedd Gymreig (1919)

E. T. John, Wales: its politics and economics: with the text of the Government of Wales Bill 1914 (1919)

William George, Cymry Fydd: Hanes y mudiad cenedlaethol cyntaf (1945)

 

1920: THE CHURCH OF WALES DISESTABLISHED

The Parliamentary Bill that would deprive the Anglican Church of its status in Wales as the State Church was passed in 1914, but its implementation was delayed because of World War One. In 1920 a disestablished province of the Anglican Communion was created in Wales.

 

R. H. Morgan, Disestablishment of the Church in Wales (1888)

Leaflets on Welsh disestablishment [1911]  

Sir Henry Lewis, Is disestablishment just?: letters on the disestablishment and disendowment of the Church of England in Wales (1914)

Griffith Jones, New work on the Welsh Church Bill controversy: facts not generally known by English & Welsh people [1914?]

S. E. Downing, Church in Wales disestablishment and disendownment under the Welsh Church Act 1914 (1915)

Kenneth O. Morgan, Freedom or sacrilege?: a history of the campaign for Welsh disestablishment [1966]

 

1922: URDD GOBAITH CYMRU FOUNDED

Ifan ab Owen Edwards founded Urdd Gobaith Cymru (The Welsh League of Youth) in 1922. Its purpose was to promote and encourage Welsh-speaking among the young.

Young Wales/ Urdd Gobaith Cymru (1942-)

 

1925-26: PLAID GENEDLAETHOL CYMRU FOUNDED

After World War I, with its massive loss of life that affected whole Welsh-speaking communities, Plaid Genedlaethol Cymru (The National Party of Wales) came into being, campaigning to preserve Welsh culture and to further the aims of self-government for Wales.D. J. Davies, The economics of Welsh self-government (1931)

Saunders Lewis, The case for a Welsh National Development Council (1933)

Saunders Lewis, Frwydr dros ryddid: anerchiad ar bolisi Plaid Genedlaethol Cymru yng Nghaernarfon, Chwefror 23, 1935 [1935]

Ddraig Goch: Papur Plaid Genedlaethol Cymru (1932)

 

1935: FIRST RADIO BROADCAST IN WELSH

The BBC began to broadcast Welsh language programs from their studio at Bangor, Gwynedd. A dedicated Welsh station, Radio Cymru, was not founded until 1977.

Cymru’n galw: detholiad o sgyrsiau radio Cymraeg, 1936-37 (1938)

 

1940: UNDEB CENEDLAETHOL ATHRAWON CYMRU FORMED

UCAC, or the National Union of Teachers of Welsh, was formed in Wales after a split in the National Union of Teachers over the issue of the Welsh language in teaching. As well as representing its members it also campaigns for an independent education system for Wales.

Undeb Cenedlaethol Athrawon Cymru, Rheolaeth ysgolion (1989)

Mel Williams, Hanes UCAC [1991?]

 

1941: UNDEB CYMRU FYDD FOUNDED

Undeb Cymru Fydd (The Young Wales Union) was a pressure group concerned with the protection of Welsh culture and the Welsh language. It began a newsletter for Welsh servicemen, Cofion Cymru, 1941-1946. The Union campaigned for Welsh-medium schools, establishing an Education Committee, and for improvement in Welsh language media provision.

Cofion Cymru, (1942)

Undeb Cymru Fydd, Polisi addysg i Gymru (1945)

Ar y gororau (1947)

Undeb Cymru Fydd 1939-1960 (1960)

T. I. Ellis, Undeb Cymru Fydd (1943)

 

1942: THE WELSH COURTS ACT

The Welsh Courts Act 1942 was the first piece of legislation in four centuries to change the status of the Welsh language. This legislation permitted limited use of the language in the courts. 

The Welsh Courts Act, 1942

 

1947: WALES GAS BOARD ESTABLISHED

The nationalisation of industry began in 1947; the central boards taking over administration of all industry in Wales, but the Wales Gas Board was recognised as a separate entity and became the first public industry to serve Wales alone.

William John Gruffydd, Gas for Wales: a summary of the annual report of the Wales Gas Board written at the request of the Board [1951]

 

1948 WELSH JOINT EDUCATIONAL COMMITTEE FORMED

WJEC (Cyd-Bwyllgor Addysg Cymru) was an examination board responsible for Wales; it now also offers services in England and Northern Ireland.

Great Britain. Ministry of Education, Educational administration in Wales / report of the working party appointed by the Minister to investigate the need for a Welsh Joint Education Committee (1948)

 

1955: CARDIFF SELECTED AS NATION'S CAPITAL

Cardiff was chosen as a capital city for Wales in 1955, putting Wales on an equal footing with other small nations throughout Europe.

Communist Party of Great Britain. Cardiff Branch, Make Cardiff a capital city [1937?]

 

1955: FARMERS’ UNION OF WALES FOUNDED

The Farmers’ Union of Wales break away from the National Farmer’s Union. “Y Tir” (The Land) is the Union’s monthly newspaper.

Tir (1963)

Handel Jones, Teulu’r tir: hanes Undeb Amaethwyr Cymru 1955-1992 (1994)

 

1958: COMMONWEALTH GAMES HELD IN CARDIFF

C. E. Newham, ed., The official history of the VIth British Empire and Commonwealth Games: 1958, Cardiff, Wales (1958)

 

1958: FIRST BROADCAST FOR TELEVISION WALES AND WEST

TWW was the commercial television contractor for South Wales and the West of England from 1956-68. It started transmissions on January 14, 1958.

Television Wales and West, Wales: today and tomorrow (1960)

 

1962: CYMDEITHAS YR IAITH GYMRAEG FOUNDED

Cymdeithias Yr Iaith Gymraeg (Welsh Language Society) went on a long campaign of civil disobedience to force the Government to recognize the Welsh language. The result was the Hughes-Parry Report, “The Legal Status of the Welsh Language” (1965), which recommended that Welsh be given equal validity with English in law.This report led to the Welsh Language Act 1967, which granted the right to testify in Welsh in Court, and the right to have official, government forms translated from English. 

Great Britain. Committee on the Legal Status of the Welsh Language, Legal status of the Welsh language, report of the committee under the chairmanship of Sir David Hughes Parry, 1963-1965 (1965)

Steffan Allison et al., Symbols of justice: bilingual signs in Wales: complete history of the campaign for bilingual roadsigns = Symbolau cyfiawnder: arwyddion dwyieithog yng Nghymwu: hanes cyflawn ymgyrch arwyddion ffyrdd dwyieithog [1971]

Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, Maniffesto (1989)

Great Britain, Welsh Language Act 1967 (1967)

Joint Committee and the Welsh language (1975)

Saunders Lewis, Tynged yr iaith (1962)

Ned Thomas, The Welsh extremist (1971)

 

1964: SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WALES CREATED

The Labour Government created a Secretary of State for Wales, acknowledging that Wales needed Secretary of State for Wales. James Griffiths was appointed as the first Secretary of State for Wales.

Welsh Office, Wales: presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State for Wales... 1964 (1965)

Great Britain. Welsh Office, Wales: the way ahead, presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State for Wales (1967)

James Griffiths, Pages from memory (1969)

 

1964: BBC WALES LAUNCHED

Although the BBC had broadcast programmes from Wales since 1923, 1964 saw the launch of Wales’ first dedicated television production centre.BBC Wales, Dyma BBC Cymru: This is BBC Wales [1973?] 

Council for the Welsh Language (Great Britain), Teledu yng Nghymru = Television broadcasting in Wales / Cyngor yr Iaith Gymraeg/Council for the Welsh Language (1975)

Rowland Lucas, Voice of a nation?: a concise account of the BBC in Wales 1923-1973 (1981)

BBC Cymru Wales 1923-1993: celebrates 70 years of broadcasting (1993)

John Davies, Broadcasting and the BBC in Wales (1994)

 

1966: GWYNFOR EVANS (PLAID CYMRU) ELECTED TO PARLIAMENT

At the Carmarthen election Gwynfor Evans of Plaid Cymru was elected to a seat in Parliament. Westminster, and Wales, now had its first MP from a party based solely in Wales. Scotland followed shortly after with the Nationalist candidate, Winnie Ewing.

Plaid Cymru, Gohebiaeth etholiad = Election communication; Vote for Gwynfor Evans, and Wales [1954]

Plaid Cymru, “Free Wales”: Plaid policy; accent on decentralisation. Press release to accompany launch of “Free Wales”, the official summary of Plaid Cymru’s policy, by Gwynfor Evans in Wrexham, Thursday September 24th, 1959 [1959]

Gwynfor Evans, Self-government for Wales and a common market for the nations of Britain [n.d., 196-?]

Gwynfor Evans, Wales as an economic entity: a reply [1960?]

Gwyfor Evans, Black paper on Wales 1967 [1967]

 

1967: MERCHED Y WAWR FOUNDED

Merched y Wawr (Daughters of the Dawn) is a national organisation for women in Wales. It is similar to the Women's Institute but its activities are conducted through the medium of Welsh. It was established in 1967 in response to objections to the use of Welsh in the WI and has over two hundred and fifty branches across Wales.

Wawr / Merched y Wawr (1968)

Marged Jones, (ed.) Perlau'r Wawr: Merched y Wawr, 1967-1997 (1998)

 

1973: THE KILBRANDON COMMISSION ESTABLISHED

The Kilbrandon Commission  was set up by Harold Wilson’s Labour government to examine the structures of the UK’s constitution and the possibility of changes to these structures. It was set up in response to growing demand for Welsh and Scottish independence. The final report formed the basis of the White Paper “Democracy and Devolution: Proposals for Scotland and Wales”, which led in turn to the Welsh Act 1978.

Great Britain. Prime Minister, Democracy and devolution: proposals for Scotland and Wales (1974)

Lord President of the Council, Our changing democracy : devolution to Scotland and Wales / presented to Parliament by the Lord President of the Council, Secretary of State for Scotland and Secretary of State for Wales (1975)

Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons, Scotland and Wales Bill: a Bill to provide for changes in the government of Scotland and Wales (1976)

David Heald, Making devolution work (1976)

Great Britain, Wales Act 1978 (1978)

 

1974: WALES TRADES UNION COUNCIL FORMED

Formed in response to the devolution debates of the 1970s.

Wales TUC, Chairman’s report, Tenby 1979 (Reynold’s archive)

Wales TUC, Annual report 2001-02

Wales TUC, An assembly for Wales: making our voice heard (1997)

 

1975: WELSH DEVELOPMENT AGENCY ACT

A Welsh Development Agency was established under the Welsh Development Agency Act 1975, with responsibilities for furthering the economic development of Wales. Its activities included urban and rural development, land reclamation and environmental improvement, promotion of investment in Wales, and provision of aid to businesses.

Welsh Office, Welsh Development Agency Act 1975 (1975)

Welsh Office, Welsh Development Agency: consultation paper (1975)

Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons, Welsh Development Agency: a bill to establish an...Agency and a Welsh Industrial Development Advisory Board (1975)

Development Corporation for Wales, Industrial directory of Wales. Replaced from 1984 by the Welsh Development Agency industrial directory (1948)

Welsh Development Agency, Report and accounts (1978-79)

 

1977: RADIO CYMRU AND RADIO WALES ESTABLISHED

The first of these stations broadcasts in Welsh, the second in English; both represent the demand for representation in the modern media in both languages.

Gwyn Erfyl, Radio Cymru: detholiad o raglenni Cymraeg y BBC 1934-1989 (1989)

 

1979: FIRST DEVOLUTION REFERENDUM

In response to demand for devolution, the Welsh Act of 1978 was introduced by the government with the provision that the creation of a Welsh assembly would require 40% of the electorate to vote in favour. The voting took place on St. David's Day 1979 in the midst of political and economic unrest. Only one in four voted in favour of a Welsh assembly.

Devolution: the great debate 1964-74 as seen through the columns of the Western Mail =Datganoli: y ddadl fawr 1964-74 fel y'i gwelwyd yng ngholofnau'r Western Mail [n.d.]

Vote yes on March 1st  [1979]

No to the Assembly [1979]

‘A crushing No to Assembly’ Western Mail, March 3rd 1979

 

1982: SIANEL PEDWAR CYMRU (S4C) ESTABLISHED

BBC Wales was producing six hours a week of Welsh language programs in 1962. Demands for more Welsh programming through a dedicated Welsh language channel were ignored until Gwynfor Evans, the highly respected leader of Plaid Cymru, went on hunger strike. The government capitulated and the new Channel S4C (Sianel Pedwar Cymru) began broadcasting on 2 November, 1982.

S4C: pwy dalodd amdani? ; hanes ymgyrch ddarlledu Cymdeithas yr Iaith [1985]

S4C Annual report and accounts, 1982-83

 

1993: WELSH LANGUAGE ACT 1993

The Conservative government passed the Act and set up the Welsh Language Board to promote the use of Welsh. It also gave Welsh speakers the right to speak Welsh in court proceedings under all circumstances, and obliged all organisations in the public sector providing services to the Welsh public to treat Welsh and English on an equal basis.

Great Britain, Welsh language Act 1993: Chapter 38 (1993)

 

1997: THE SUCCESSFUL REFERENDUM

The referendum held in September 1997 saw a narrow vote in favour of devolution in both Wales and Scotland, following 18 years of Conservative government since 1979.

Campaign for a Welsh Assembly,Cytuno ar gynulliad ar gyfer y 1990au: Agreeing an assembly for the 1990s (1989)

Campaign for a Welsh Assembly, Newsletter (1993)

Parliament for Wales Campaign Newsletter (1993)

Parliament for Wales Campaign, Why we need a parliament for Wales: 10 questions & answers =Pam fod angen senedd i Gymru; 10 cwestiwn ac ateb (1994)

Cledwyn Hughes, Wales - yesterday and tomorrow: [Cymru fu - Cymru fydd] (1995)

Llew Smith, Welsh assembly: why it has no place in Wales (1995)

Parliament for Wales Campaign, Power to the people of Wales: government of Wales bill 1997 =Grym i bobl Cymru; mesur llywodraeth i Gymru 1997 [1996?]

John Cox, Fair votes for Wales (1996)

Liberal Democrats Wales, Senedd for Wales: beyond a talking shop =Senedd i Gymru; mwy na siop siarad (1996)

Tim Williams, The patriot game. Volume 1, Reflections on language, devolution and the break-up of Britain (1997)

Phillips, Emlyn, A vision for Wales: the Welsh assembly, electronic government and participatory democracy in the twenty first century (1997)

Great Britain, Devolution, Wales: the Government of Wales Act 1998 (Commencement No. 1) Order 1998 (1998)

Great Britain, Government of Wales Act 1998: chapter 38 (1998)

Michelle Mitchell, Standing orders: a new political culture for the National Assembly for Wales [1998]

 

1999: NATIONAL ASSEMBLY FOUNDED

A National Assembly for Wales, with the power to make secondary legislation, was officially opened by the Queen. The Assembly took over responsibility from the Secretary of State for Wales for many areas of public life, including education, the arts and the economy.

Great Britain, Constitutional law: devolution, Wales; representation of the people: National Assembly for Wales (Representation of the People) Order 1999 (1999)

Assembly handbook: the essential guide to the National Assembly for Wales = Llawlyfr y Cynulliad: yr arweiniad hanfodol i Gynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru (1999)

Samples of election leaflets from 1999 election.

‘The assembly assembles’, Western Mail, March 8th 1999

2004: RICHARD COMMISSION

The purpose of the Richard Commission was to examine the powers and electoral arrangements of the Welsh Assembly. They produced an independent report that contributed to deciding the future of the National Assembly and the way Wales would be governed in the future.

Summary report of the Richard Commission: Commission on the Powers and Electoral Arrangements of the National Assembly for Wales, Spring 2004 = Adroddiad cryno Comisiwn Richard : Y Comisiwn ar Bwerau a Threfniadau Etholiadol Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru (2004)

2007: NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS

Election leaflets