South West Wales

Plaid Cymru founder Saunders Lewis gets Swansea blue plaque

Saunders Lewis Image copyright Swansea council

Plaid Cymru's founder, Saunders Lewis, has been recognised with a blue plaque on the Swansea home where he lived.

Although born into a Welsh-speaking Merseyside family in 1893, it was during his time as a lecturer in Swansea that Mr Lewis rose to prominence.

The plaque was unveiled on Thursday by Swansea council.

It is close to the area of Hanover Street in Uplands where he lived with his father between 1916 and 1924.

In August 1925, Mr Lewis met fellow nationalists at the Pwllheli National Eisteddfod, with a view to establishing what became Plaid Cymru.

He was the party's president between 1926 and 1939 and while it gained little electoral success during this time, it was credited with reawakening a sense of Welsh identity in people.

In 1936, he was jailed for nine months for helping to torch an unpopular RAF base on the Llyn Peninsula.

Patriotism

While he was greeted as a hero by a crowd of 15,000 people on his release, the action created unease among more moderate, pacifist wings of the party.

He stood down as president of the party in 1939 and became a campaigner for the Welsh language.

Mr Lewis predicted its death without action and his efforts led to the creation of Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, (Welsh Language Society).

Unveiling the plaque, David Hopkins, Lord Mayor of Swansea, said he occupied "a unique place in Welsh history" because of his patriotism and achievements.

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