City Mission - The Story of London's Welsh Chapels
|ISBN: 9781784611743 (1784611743)Publication Date September 2015|
Publisher: Y Lolfa, Tal-y-bontFormat: Paperback, 244x168 mm, 368 pages
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Broadcaster Huw Edwards traces the history of London's Welsh churches, the origins of the London Welsh, the pattern of Welsh migration to London past and present, the influence of Howel Harris and the early Methodists, the tradition of Welsh preaching, and describes in detail the Welsh religious causes in London.
Olrheinir hanes capeli Cymraeg Llundain gan y darlledwr Huw Edwards. Mae'n archwilio dechreuadau'r Cymry yn y ddinas, patrwm mudo'r Cymry i Lundain o'r gorffennol i'r presennol, dylanwad Howel Harris ar Fethodistiaid cynnar a'r traddodiad pregethu Cymreig. Disgrifir yn fanwl achosion Cymraeg a Chymreig y brifddinas.
In Shakespeare’s time the Welsh of London were often figures of fun, their accent mocked and their country ways the subject of derision. Yet over the centuries the Welsh presence in London has been a significant one and, like most national communities in cosmopolitan cities, Welsh people have sought ways to retain their identity and preserve something of home. Nowhere has this been more evident than in their determination to maintain their own places of worship as oases of Welsh-language life in a sea of Englishness. This beautifully produced book charts the rise, decline and continued existence of the London Welsh chapels.
It is a very visual work, in the range and quality of its illustrations and in the vivid picture of chapel and church life which the author conjures up. Moving with the polished ease of a television documentary, the book takes us on a journey through different parts of London where the Welsh established chapels of all denominations, and some Anglican churches, and introduces us not only to the buildings (many of which have now disappeared or been converted to other uses) but also to the people who raised them and led the congregations over the years, men like the patriarchal Dr Owen Thomas and the colourful Hwfa Môn. Equally valuable, however, is the testimony of the people who have grown up and worshipped in London chapels, and whose recollections speak to us in a direct and intimate way, recalling preachers and social activities, and underlining the significance of the chapels as hubs of London Welsh life. More than once the author wryly comments on the function of the chapels and their clubs and societies as marriage bureaux.
The story is a remarkable one of sheer determination. Many of the chapels were built at great cost to their members and carried heavy debts for many years. Yet they were fortunate in having influential supporters in the business and political communities in London, people like the MP Timothy Davies and Lloyd George himself, who as Prime Minister in 1917 took his daughter to be married not in a grand London church but in Castle Street Welsh Baptist chapel. They were fortunate also in attracting able and charismatic ministers from Wales, men like Peter Hughes Griffiths at Charing Cross and Elfed at King’s Cross, who built up a huge personal following among their people.
The author does not pull his punches. He is ready to censure the vanity of those who constructed grand buildings beyond their means, and is critical of the failure of congregations to come together for the sake of maintaining the Welsh Christian testimony in London. In a sense that failure, born as it is from the commitment of people to their own place of worship, is a symptom of the nature of the communities developed over the generations. So strong has been the sense of community in one place that it has proved difficult for people to uproot themselves, a difficulty which many congregations in Wales have also experienced. One of the most poignant illustrations in the book shows the Revd. D. S. Owen conducting a wedding ceremony in the ruins of a bombed-out Jewin in 1943 – even in ruin it was for its people a place like no other.
Nevertheless the author sees hope in the continued commitment of those congregations which survive, people who may never have lived in Wales but who value the ability to worship in Welsh. For them, as for all who read it, this superb book will be a treasure.
It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgment should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.
Gellir defnyddio'r adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiatâd Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.
Table of Contents:
Chapter 1: FLOW
An overview of Welsh migration to London since Tudor times
Chapter 2: BEGINNINGS
Howel Harris and early Welsh preaching in London
Chapter 3: OUT OF THE WILDERNESS
The move from Wilderness Row to Jewin Crescent
Chapter 4: JOURNEY TO JEWIN
The story of Jewin, London’s oldest Welsh chapel
Chapter 5: FROM LAMBETH TO BOROUGH
The roots of London’s Independent Welsh chapels
Chapter 6: DOCKERS
The dockyard origins of Woolwich, Deptford and Lewisham chapels
Chapter 7: SAILORS’ SERMONS
The sailors’ services which led to the Cambrian, Crosby Row and Falmouth Road chapels
Chapter 8: EAST ENDERS
London’s East End and the chapels of Poplar, Mile End, East Ham, Stratford, Walthamstow and Leytonstone
Chapter 9: ELFED’S KINGDOM
The Independents in Fetter Lane and ‘Capel Elfed’ at King’s Cross
Chapter 10: DAIRY DISPUTES
How modest Nassau Street chapel became mighty Charing Cross Road
Chapter 11: BAPTIST BASTION
The story of the Welsh Baptist powerhouse in Eastcastle Street
Chapter 12: POINTS WEST
The bustling world of Radnor Walk, Walham Green, Hammersmith and Ealing chapels
Chapter 13: BEYOND THE JUNCTION
An expanding Welsh community sustains Clapham Junction, Battersea Rise, and Sutton chapels
Chapter 14: NORTHERN PANORAMA
A panorama of north London includes chapels at Wilton Square, Barrett’s Grove, Islington, Holloway, Wood Green, Willesden, Wembley, Harrow and Cockfosters
Chapter 15: WESLEY’S WAYS
The Wesleyan Methodists built one of London’s grandest Welsh chapels in City Road
Chapter 16: ANGLICAN ENCLAVES
The little-known story of London’s Welsh-speaking Anglican churches
BAFTA award-winning Welsh journalist Huw Edwards is known to most of the British public as a BBC News anchor and television presenter of notable events, such as the royal wedding of 2011 and the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games. His interest in Welsh history and religion is reflected in another type of television programming, such as documentaries about Owain Glyndŵr, Lloyd George, Gladstone and Disraeli, and the history series The Story of Wales (2012). He won a Royal Television Society award for best live programme of 2014, with D-Day 70. He is President of the London Welsh Trust.
The book will also appraise their contribution since the 1770s and review the current position and projections for the future. Includes c.180 photographs.
‘Capel Elfed’ at King’s Cross
Charing Cross Road
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