This film is part of Free

Tryweryn, the Story of a Valley

Devastation of a Welsh-speaking community: Capel Celyn village and farms of the Tryweryn Valley disappear beneath the waters of a reservoir so Liverpool’s thirst may be slaked.

Amateur film 1965 36 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales


The local school is closed, the chapel celebrates its last wedding, furniture that has stood in farmhouses for centuries is removed, graves are dug up and re-located. Thus did the Tryweryn Valley and the village of Capel Celyn become one vast reservoir via an Act of Parliament that allowed Liverpool City Council to proceed with the creation of its new water supply despite the opposition of every Welsh MP bar one.

The Tryweryn Bill allowed Liverpool City Council to by-pass obtaining planning consent from the relevant local authorities. Wales’ powerlessness was exposed and protests involved members of the Free Wales Army and Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru. Pupils and staff of Friars School in Bangor filmed the demolition and construction work from start to finish and have produced what might have been regarded as an objective record of an emotive event. The school concludes that the reservoir has enhanced the natural beauty of the area and that it will attract tourists “to enjoy the sailing and fishing on these once troubled waters."