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Welsh Icons - 2007
Vox Pop

Welsh Icons
About Wales

and all things Welsh

Here are some of the responses we have received so far -

My chosen Welsh Icons are the Wales Millennium Centre and Aberystwyth Sea Front.

The Wales Millennium Centre represents a contemporary statement of modern architecture in the heart of Cardiff Bay.  Much of the building of course is made from Welsh materials and has become an iconic landmark in Wales. It is of course also home to the Welsh National Opera, the Urdd Gobaith Cymru, Hijinx Theatre, Diversions Dance, Academi and the Touch Trust which provides educational touch and creative therapy for children and adults with profound disabilities and autism.

Aberystwyth Sea Front displays the marvellous sweep of Cardigan Bay, at one end Alexandra Hall and Constitution Hill, and at the other the main College buildings of the University of Wales. It's home and my heart always gives a leap when I see it.
Nicholas Bourne AM (Leader of the Welsh Conservative Group)

Person - Nye bevan for his socialist roots, the NHS and his passion for the Labour party.
Places - Flint, because I live there, it's the place my family are and because  Flint Castle remains a small treasure of history. It is still not really known that widely that Richard the second was toppled there .I like to walk by the castle and imagine that day when thousands of troops marched up the estuary to depose a King. View-moel famau above the town of Mold in winter - especially when I see it as my first view of Delyn on the way home from London
David Hanson MP (Labour - Delyn)

Caerphilly Cheese - It has a distinctive flavour and texture.
Its name is known the world over. There are many versions. But there is only one true Caerphilly Cheese and that is the one made in the town itself.
Jeff Cuthbert AM (Labour - Caerphilly)

Middleton - National Botanic Garden of Wales. A truly iconic site with the Glasshouse as an iconic centre to it which deserves recognition and support.
Rhodri Thomas AM (Plaid Cymru - Carmarthen East and Dinefwr)

Pen Pych mountain; Scotch Terraces, Llwynypia; Stanleytown Terraces; Rhondda Heritage Park; St Mary's Penrhys. Darran Park lake, Ferndale. Powerhouse, Llwynypia.
Leighton Andrews AM (Labour - Rhondda)

Well, I guess when it comes down to it there really is only one. And you have him. Aneurin Bevan created something that cared for all regardless of their position, their status, their wealth, their colour or their religion.

His intention in creating the NHS was altruistic and socialist in it's very essence. And it changed history.

Very few of us will live up to that record. Political egos come and egos go....the provision of health care to all who need it, when they need it may be hard to deliver but it is the one thing we all instinctively believe is a right not a privilege. He changed our collective belief in what is, quite simply, the right thing to do.
Tasmin Dunwoody AM (Labour - Preseli Pembrokeshire)

Aberfan - The small welsh mining village that became the centre of the world on 21st October 1966 when the tips above Pantglas School came down and killed a whole generation of children and changed forever the lives of a whole community.
Cllr Jeff Edwards - Mayor, Merthyr

Cracking site - well done to you all.
My greatest icon of all time is Brains beer!! As for indivduals I would put Nye Bevan top of my list. Anyway I have voted in each of the categories.  I would suggest that under the jounalists heading you add JBG Thomas THE great rugby writer!
Best wishes for continued success
 Cllr Phil Williams - Merthyr

The greatest Welsh Icon must be Hywel Dda - the first free thinking leader in any country who not only appreciated the importance of the proletariat but also gave wives rights similar to those of their husbands - surely the first member of Plaid Cymru!
Cllr A Huw Evans - Pontardawe

My top icon of Wales has to be Nye Bevan, founder of the NHS, first class politician and a real people�s man. The Place well it has to be Snowdonia, what a place beautiful, idyllic and one of our great treasures - A must to visit!
As for foof then it must be Welsh Lamb, nice & tastly so bring on the mint sauce and enjoy it. I must also promote my county the Vale of Glamorgan, as it really is a great place to live and visit!

Great site - Well done!
Cllr Richard Bertin -Vale of Glamorgan Council

I would nominate the red kite as a symbol of recovery and resurgence in the Principality, and of the growing awareness of conservation and environmental matters generally.

Also, the Thomas Telford acqueduct spanning the Dee valley at Froncysyllte near Llangollen - it never fails to extract gasps of wonder from those seeing it for the first time. Also, a welcome reminder that the English have built more than just castles in  Wales!
Cllr Robin Guest - Flintshire County Council

OWAIN GLYNDWR, HYWEL DDA, GWYNFOR EVANS, TOMMY FARR, JIMMY WILDE AND HALF A DOZEN RUGBY PLAYERS - Phil Bennett, Ken Jones, Jack Matthews, Bleddyn Williams, Shane Williams, Martin Williams etc; in fact it would be at least a dozen.
Cllr Ron Stewart - Monmouthshire Council

My nomination will be the beautiful seaside resort of Saundersfoot. It has history in the coal mine which closed in 1936, the former iron works and the harbor. Present day it caters mainly for the tourist trade.
Cllr Rosemary Hayes - Pembrokeshire County Council

My nomination must be for the great Nye Bevan.... Why? Because we can be proud in Wales of the fact that the National Health Service was founded by him in the South Wales Valley Town of Tredegar. Where would we be today without it? From birth to death it is there serving us in a great Socialist tradition.

So what a man Bevan was, first as Leader of the Welsh Miners Strike in the late 20's and further when elected as a Labour MP in 1931, when he successful challenged Churchill on a number of matters. He was extremely proud of his routes and we should be proud of him - A true Socialist and a real man of principle!

Welsh Labour is part of our great Welsh tradition and Nye Bevann was the Patron Saint of Socialism in Wales. Voting Labour in Wales is one of our great traditions just like our rugby, our eisteddfods and our song... So long may it continue.

Nye Bevan certainly was in my opinion the greatest icon in Wales!

Cllr Richard Bertin - The Vale of Glamorgan Council.
Yes we have noticed that Richard has voted TWICE!

I wish to nominate Henry Morton Stanley as a Welsh icon.

He incapsulates the Victorian period - overcoming advesrsity and becoming a world renowned explorer.

Born in Denbigh illegimitmately he was sent to the St Asaph Workhouse where he spent his childhood. He found his way to the United States where he became a journalist of repute. He was sent by his paper to search for Livingston in Africa and he encountered him with the now famous phrase 'Dr Livingston, I presume?'
He is famous throughout the world for this phrase but few know that he was Welsh and Welsh speaking. He was also an author of repute. But, he never turned his back on his Welsh origins.

A biography on Stanley will soon be published by Faber & Faber which will raise his stature, vindicate him and restore his reputation.

Stanley has been sadly neglected - perhaps because he was Welsh and because of inaccurate reporting. His background as an illegitimate child in the Victorian period and his subsequent exploits deserve attention and recognition.

How many Welshmen can be recognised in the world by a phrase oft quoted?
Cllr Gwyneth Kensler - Denbighshire County Council

Food - Bara Brith
The flavour of this spiced, honey-glazed fruit bread is delicious when spread with salted Welsh butter, and it is no wonder that Bara Brith is still produced all over Wales.

Hotel - Soughton Hall
Built as a Bishop's Palace in 1714, Soughton Hall has been the cherished home to a succession of heirs in the Wynne-Bankes family line. Distinguished residents have included a Bishop, two knights, three High Sheriffs, a Chaplin to Queen Victoria, a Lord Chief Justice, a Lord Chancellor's secretary and in William John Bankes, one of the greatest travellers and collectors of the early nineteenth century.

It was William John who was responsible for re-working Soughton Hall in the 1820s. Inspired by his adventures in the Middle East he added the mullioned windows, the first floor drawing room and dining room and the Islamic turrets upon the court walls. His plans were drawn by fellow traveller Charles Barry, later Sir Charles Barry, architect of the British Houses Of Parliament.

In 1986, the Soughton Hall was purchased Soughton Hall and converted to a hotel. In 1995 the award winning Stables Bar Restaurant within the original stable block was created. With its stunning mature gardens, luxurious rooms, private house atmosphere and acres of beautiful Welsh countryside surrounding it, Soughton Hall is totally unique and very special.

Place � Mold
Mold (�Yr Wyddgrug�) is a bustling market town and the centre of various activities designed to preserve a lifestyle that goes back centuries. Daniel Owen (1836-1895), a most prominent novelist in the Welsh Language, was native to Mold. The town is an ideal centre for short-stay holidays offering visitors touring, mountain walks in the Clwydian Range and a variety of entertainment. The town boasts open-air street markets on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Mold is famous for its contribution to Welsh culture and this continues today Theatr Clwyd a provincial theatre with a national reputation.
Cllr Mel Higham � Flintshire County Council

My icon would be Grace Williams twentieth century composer, native of Barry born one hundred years ago February 16th 1906.She was educated in Barry Grammar School, graduated from Cardiff University and then became a pupil of Ralph Vaughan Williams.A contemporary and friend of Benjamin Britten her orchestral music has a lush sensuous quality in particular Sea Sketches and Penillion.. Much of her music was for the female voice but she had a wide canon of work for choirs , the harp and even the trumpet. She loved Wales and particularly the Vale of Glamorgan passionately. She was a woman of strong views, a pacifist and fiercely independent. Although offered an M.B.E. and a Civil List pension by the Queen she refused both preferring to live modestly in Barry off the proceeds  of the musical commissions she received .
Cllr Margaret Alexander - Leader of the Labour Group,
Vale of Glamorgan Borough Council

In the Political field - either Lloyd George or Nye Bevan

Benefactor - Marquis of Bute for his outstanding gifts to City of Cardiff.
Places - Gower Peninsular as place of outstanding beauty.

Building - Millennium Stadium, attracts more visitors to Cardiff.

Cllr Brian Griffiths - Cardiff County Council

My welsh icon is JOHN CHARLES.
The best footballer produced in GB and the best player in Italy.
Cllr Hugh Evans - Denbighshire County Council

My nomination is Esgob William Morgan who translated the Bible to Welsh in 1588

Cllr Catherine Hughes - Ceredigion County Council

Bryn Terfel. He is a great ambassador for Wales through his talent as a singer but also as a very generous and feeling human being, and for supporting everything that is good in Wales which includes the Welsh language and culture and the National Eisteddfod and the Urdd Eisteddfod. He is very generous in his supportive role as Trustee of the children's Hospice, Ty Gobaith.
Cllr Angharad Booth-Taylor - Conwy County Borough Council

I would like to nominate Iolo Morganwg for an individual icon. He had a dream which led to the idea of a National Eisteddfod including the role for Bards etc.  He lived for a time in Cowbridge and also Flemingston both of which are in the Vale of Glamorgan.
I would like to nominate Penarth Pier, Whitmore bay Beach and Dyffryn House and Gardens as iconomic places.
Cllr Jeffrey James - The Vale of Glamorgan Council

My person would be Nye Bevan for his post war contribution to British Politics, particularly setting up the NHS. Also the fact he never lost his feelings for Wales unlike some politicians.
My place would be either Snowden as the feature in Wales most known throughout Britain, or building wise The Wales Millennium Centre which as a modern statement of Wales as a place to be, stands out. It also provides the venue for the arts which Welsh people over the years have made such a great contribution.
Cllr Bob Derbyshire  - Cardiff County Counci

For me - Cardiff City Centre on an international rugby match day when Wales are playing. The city comes alive and true Welshness comes to the fore.

People are dressed up , Welsh flags are flying, people are singing traditional Welsh songs , businesses dress their windows with Welsh flags. The HWYL  is unique and never ceases to move me.And even if Wales don�t win , it is accepted with good grace and good Welsh humor resounds. Even visitors to the city join in and ask about traditional Welsh customs. You don�t get this anywhere else. England, Ireland, Scotland or abroad, they cant touch us.
Cllr Judith Woodman -Cardiff County Council

Owain Glyndwr is my nomination. His vision for Wales as a self governing nation is something I've been striving for in my political work since I was in school.
Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn - Cerdigion County Council

As the retiring Mayor of Carmarthen how could I nominate anything other than the Coracles on the River Tywi?  Surely a Welsh icon that the whole of the world associates with Wales.
Cllr Philip Grice - Camarthenshire County Council

You have already got the dragon � but my vote goes to our national flag � quite the best in the world, and wherever I am in the world if I see a Welsh flag my heart skips a beat (literally!)
Cllr Freda Salway - Cardiff County Council

I would like to nominate some extra ones:

B.B.C. Wales Broadcasting House, Llandaff, Cardiff.
Opened 1967. Still worthy of the accolade "architecturally the best B.B.C.
Regional Headquarters in the U.K.". Designer Dale Owen.(inspirational Client, Sir Alun Oldfield Davies)
Great Hall, Library and Bell Tower, Aberystwyth University College.
Royal National Eisteddfod Gold Medal Winner 1971. These, with the Development Plan for the whole campus by Dale Owen, their designer, lead to the renaissance of the "College on the hill". (Inspirational Client, Sir Thomas Parry)

The Welsh Folk Museum, now the Museum of Welsh Life.
The whole development inspired by the vision of Sir Iorweth Peate.
Cllr Maureen Kelly-Owen - The Vale of Glamorgan Council

I am with the Burlington Welsh Male Chorus in Ontario.
Originally from Rhymney Gwent, What about Henry Morgan? From what I have ever read about him, He is supposed to have been born in my Rhymney,or Rummey Cardiff.
Either way, I think he is worth a mention.
Good luck with your new site.
Ray Williams - Burlington Welsh Male Chorus, Ontario. USA

Da iawn! What a useful and attractive site for our members.  I have asked our web mistress to add you as a useful link, and I will also ask the editor of our paper, Dragon Tales, to publish your information.
 All the very best for your wonderful service.
Mary Ellen Morgan - President, Welsh Society of Central Ohio

You could say that I am a little predudiced but I do think that my brother Ivor Emmanuel (singer/actor) should be included as an icon. I think your site is a great idea.
John Emmanuel - New Zealand

Love your site.  It is a fantastic launching pad for teaching my kids about their Welsh Ancestry, something, I'm sorry to say, is not done enough in the U.S.
Keep up the good work.
Ponty-Dragon. USA

Hi all, This is a good idea. Best of luck with it. Do you need further names and ideas for your lists
Geoffrey of Monmouth was a writer. The late Emlyn Williams and late Sir Geraint Evans were among the best performers of their time and expertise. Emlyn was popular on the stage in Stratford, Ontario in my adopted country of Canada. I was so proud of that as a Welsh girl!
Lynne. Vancouver, Canada


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This Month

September 1st

Gwynfor Evans (politician) born 1912 in Barry

September 2nd

Victor Spinetti (actor) born 1932 in Abergavenny

September 7th

Max Boyce (entertainer) born 1945

September 13th

Roald Dahl (writer) born 1916, Cardiff