Plaid Cymru’s Dyffryn Ogwen Councillors support Cylch yr Iaith’s calls for the National Trust to strengthen its Welsh perspective at Penrhyn Castle and ensure that the cultural history and heritage of the location is presented to visitors.
Plaid Cymru Dyffryn Ogwen Team, Councillors: Paul Rowlinson, Dafydd Owen, Rheinallt Puw and Dafydd Meurig
Following a number of complaints from people who recently visited Penrhyn Castle in Llandygái near Bangor, Cylch yr Iaith, in an open letter, calls on the National Trust to improve its Welsh language provision at the location, ensuring that staff can offer visitors information in Welsh or English when attending the Castle.
They are also concerned that there is not enough information about the history of the development of Penrhyn slate quarry or the local community in and around Bethesda, in print or video format in either Welsh or English.
“The National Trust shows a lack of awareness of the historical heritage, which in turn leads to a lack of respect for the local community in presenting the history of the Castle and its context,” said Arllechwedd Ward Councillor, Dafydd Meurig.
“Generations of local people still remember the distress and pain suffered by their families, their parents or grandparents, who faced severe hardship during the Great Penrhyn Quarry Strike.
“The National Trust receives public funds to convey the history, culture and heritage of an area. Surely it should do so with respect for the local community? Unfortunately, many people who visit Penrhyn Castle are unhappy with their experience.”
In its letter Cylch yr Iaith list:
- non-Welsh speaking staff at the reception below the Castle
- the entry ticket and receipt are in English only
- non-Welsh speaking staff driving the visitors from the reception to the castle
- non-Welsh speaking guide
- no reference to the community of Bethesda in the guide's presentation
- no books relating the history of the Penrhyn family or the history of Bethesda in either English or Welsh
- no videos showing the history of the quarry or Bethesda in either English or Welsh
Councillor Rheinallt Puw, who represents Ogwen Ward on Gwynedd Council said; “As Councillors for this area, it is disappointing that a respected organisation like this disregards the Welsh language in this instance. The National Trust works closely with the communities of Dyffryn Ogwen to convey the history. It is important to develop this relationship so that we can share the history of our quarrying communities.
“People, their experiences and their communities are what give real value to historic buildings. The stories of the people bring a sense of atmosphere and place, and research from Visit Wales confirms this. The National Trust needs to continue to develop the relationship with the people of Dyffryn Ogwen and bring the history of the period to life, educate visitors and give a unique Welsh flavour to people who walk through the gates of the Castle and the gardens.
“Plaid Cymru fully supports Cylch yr Iaith’s calls. We will be writing to the National Trust asking that visitors to Penrhyn Castle are given a real taste of the culture and ethos of Dyffryn Ogwen, Gwynedd and Wales.”