Cymdeithas Cymry Caerodor (Bristol Welsh Society)

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Cymdeithas Cymry Caerodor (Bristol Welsh Society)

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During the late 19th and early 20th centuries Bristol was home to a large Welsh population and several chapels of Welsh denomination. The idea of a Bristol Welsh Society was first suggested following a meeting of a group of Welsh ministers, ‘Gweinidogion Cymreig Bryste’, on St David’s Day at Brunswick Chapel Hall, Bristol, 1920; following this, a further meeting was held on 29th March, 1920 where the idea was put forward to form a Welsh society in Bristol. A secretary, D. C. Harries, was elected and a committee was formed which included the Reverends R. Roberts, D. Williams, and G. N. Miles, to represent the congregations of three Welsh chapels in Bristol, on Maudlin St., Broadmead, and Castle St respectively. This committee met for the first time on the 22nd April, 1920, and included a representative of Bristol's Welsh choir, A. T. Jones. Following a further meeting at Broadmead Calvinistic Methodist Chapel, Bristol, on the 27th May, 1920, this committee then decided to establish a permanent society of Welshmen in Bristol as ‘Cymdeithas Cymrodorion Caerodor’, with the aims of supporting Welsh causes and of electing a Chairman, Secretary, and Operational Committee to administer the Society. The Rev. G. Thomas was elected as its first president. In 1930, it was decided to create a badge of office for the Society’s President, and by the early 1930s numerous other sub-committees had been formed to facilitate the Society’s activities. Following the outbreak of war, in 1940 it was decided to halt the Society’s activities due to the increasing risk from enemy aircraft over Bristol and the Society's President's Badge was placed in Bristol City Archives for safekeeping. In 1944, ‘Cymdeithas Cymry Caerodor’ (Bristol Welsh Society) was formed, intended as a less formal version of 'Cymdeithas Cymrodorion Caerodor', which ceased in the early 1950s. The Bristol Welsh Society conducted a full programme of Welsh and Welsh-themed events and activities for its members, including Eisteddfodau, rallies, dinners, concerts, charity fundraising, and social evenings, and formed links with other Welsh societies in south-west England via the formation of an Inter-town Co-ordinating Committee, which included the Welsh societies of Taunton, Burnham-on-Sea, and Weston-Super-Mare. At its peak in the second half of the 20th century the Society had over 200 members. The Bristol Welsh Society celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1994, and continued to meet regularly until 2018, by which time the Society’s membership had declined and the decision was made to cease its activities.


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