Wales

This month marks the 130th anniversary of William Gladstone's Liberal government's passing of the Sunday Closing (Wales) Act 1881 which banned the sale of alcohol in Welsh pubs on the Sabbath.

The act was the first piece of Wales-only legislation passed by Westminster since the 1542 Act of Union.

Sponsored by well-known Welsh nonconformists in the Liberal party, including David Lloyd George, the Act would not be repealed until 1961.

Each county in Wales was responsible for holding a referendum on Sunday opening, to measure support in their particular area. The last country to vote in favour of dropping the ban was Dwyfor - now part of Gwynedd - in 1996.

The Act would impact on the culture, politics, and even the architecture of Wales, for over a century.

Historian and former BBC Wales producer John Trefor thinks that one unexpected effect of the act was that it may have helped to shape Wales as we know it.

"It was a victory, not only for the chapels and the temperance leagues, but for Welsh identity," he says.

"There was a sense that things could be done differently here. Wales-only Education and cemetery acts came soon after, and in many respects it established the principle on which devolution and the National Assembly are based."

Read Neil Prior's article on the BBC Wales News website.

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