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1900-1911 AD

1900: TAFF VALE RAILWAY CASE
This case involved the Taff Vale Railway Company against the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants (ASRS). The courts held that a union could be sued for damages caused by the actions of its officials in industrial disputes. The verdict practically eliminated the strike as a weapon of organized labor. Opposition to the decision helped foster the growth of the British Labour Party (The Liberal Government of 1906 nullified the effects of the 1900 decision, and thus opened the door for trade unionism's long record of industrial action).



1900: THE GREAT UNREST
The great strike at the huge Penrhyn Slate Quarry in Gwynedd began on 22 November, 1900. It was to become the longest-lasting dispute in British history. The arrogant Lord Penrhyn, from his magnificent Baronial pile on the shores of the Menai, demanded absolute obedience and submissiveness from his quarry men. The strike, which was eventually broken by Penrhyn, totally divided the Welsh-speaking community; thousands left the area, never to return. In South Wales, because of the far greater numbers of men employed, intolerable working conditions and low wages led to radical action that was more successful through its adoption of socialism. The 191l meeting of the Unofficial Reform Committee at Tonypandy adopted the strike as a means to settling affairs: the whole South Wales coalfield was affected.



1900: THE WELSH LITERARY RENAISSANCE BEGINS
The publication of "The Welsh People" in 1900 by John Rhys and Brynmor Jones signalled the beginnings of a literary revival in Wales. In 1901 came "Wales", by Owen Edwards, followed by the monumental "A History of Wales from the Earliest Times to the Edwardian Conquest", by J. E. Lloyd in 1911. Two years later appeared John Morris-Jones' "A Welsh Grammar, Historical and Comparative."



1902: "YMADAWIAD ARTHUR" PUBLISHED
The Chair at the 1902 Eisteddfod was won by T. Gwynn Jones, the son of a North Wales crofter and a master at the art of cynganedd. His theme was "Ymadawiad Arthur" (The Departure of Arthur), the first in a series of major poems that deal with Celtic legends and considered a landmark in the history of 20th century Welsh poetry.



1904: THE GREAT RELIGIOUS REVIVAL
Starting in Cardiganshire, and quickly spreading throughout Wales, the Revival, led by Evan Roberts, like the Great Industrial Unrest, also had international repercussions: from it sprang the Apostolic Church and the Elim movement, and boosted by it was the Temperance Movement and the campaign for disestablishment of the Church in Wales. The emphasis on hymn singing at the expense of some of the old, traditional folk songs had effects that are still being felt today in Welsh music.



1905: CARDIFF ELEVATED TO CITY STATUS
The majestic pile of civic buildings that dominates the center of the city are an impressive testimonial to the wealth derived from the export of coal and the growth of Cardiff's importance at the turn of the 19th century. Experiencing a seven-fold population increase in less than 50 years, the people of Cardiff petitioned for City status, duly granted in 1905 (even though the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon was created in 1921, Swansea had to wait until the 1960's to gain the title of City).



1906: JOHN AMBROSE JONES DIES
John Ambrose Jones (Emrys ap Iwan), scathing in his attacks on those who catered to English immigrants in Wales by adopting their language, was one of the fathers of the modern nationalistic movement in Wales. Though he published only two books, through his essays and sermons, he convinced many that language is an essential part of a people's view of their nationhood.



1907: THE NATIONAL LIBRARY AND THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF WALES OPENS
The movement for a National Library of Wales had begun with the founding of Aberystwyth University in 1872, but it was not until the Royal Charter of 1907 that the LIbrary was established. The building of the present library began in 191l and a year later, under the Copyright Act, it became one of the six British libraries entitled to claim a cop 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, soon to become one of the finest and largest museums in the British Isles. The First World War interrupted progress, and it was not until 1922 that the main hall and galleries in Cardiff's magnificent Civic Center were opened to the public (formally opened by King George V in 1927). Subsequent branch museums include the Welsh Industrial and Maritime Museum, Cardiff; the Welsh Folk Museum at St. Fagan's, Cardiff (one of the finest in the world); Turner House at Penarth; the Roman Legionary Museum, Caerleon; the Museum of the Welsh Woollen Industry at Dre-Fach, Felindre; the Welsh Slate Museum and the Museum of the North, both at Llanberis in Gwynedd.



1910: THE TONYPANDY RIOTS
Much of the turmoil in the coalfields was symbolized by the Tonypandy Riots, in which the presence of armed soldiers to keep order, sent by Home Secretary Winston Churchill, did much to make that great man's name anathema in the Valleys (that most of the troops openly fraternized with the locals did nothing to lessen Churchill's infamy in the area). The very act of sending the troops also led to a great distrust of the English Government and hastened the rapid rise of socialism and the Labour Party in South Wales.



1910: "YR HAF" (The Summer) THE PRIZE WINNING POEM
At the 1910 National Eisteddfod, R. Williams Parry's poem signaled his arrival on the literary scene. Known as "Y Bardd yr Haf" (the poet of summer), Williams Parry, from the bleak North Wales quarry region, wrote of the horrors of war and the love of nature. In 1924 he published his influential "Yr Haf a Cherddi Eraill" (Summer and other poems).



1911: UNOFFICIAL REFORM COMMITTEE MEETS
At the newly-formed Central Labour College in London, Welshmen James Griffiths, Aneurin Bevan, Ness Edwards and others learned the necessity of industrial action in order to achieve ownership of the mines and control the system of production. Thus, with their leadership, the Unofficial Reform Committee was formed, first meeting at Tonypandy, Rhondda in 191l. It led to a series of strikes in the coalfields and the demand of the miners for legislation to ensure their rights.

  

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