The Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion

Promoting the language, literature, arts and science of Wales

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The Welsh In London 1500–2000

Emrys Jones (August, 2001)

Paperback ISBN 0-7083-1697-2
Hardback ISBN 0-7083-1710-3

London is the home to the oldest and largest Welsh community outside Wales. From the accession of Henry Tudor the numbers of Welsh men and women living in London increased steadily. Many of the early arrivals were not permanent residents: drovers and weeders were seasonal workers and the top echelons of society divided their time between their estates and their townhouses. By the mid-eighteenth century London was something of a mecca for Welsh writers and antiquaries. This was the period that saw the establishment of the Cymmrodorion and the Gwyneddigion and the first meeting of Gorsedd Beirdd Ynys Prydain. The middle of the nineteenth century saw another surge towards London. This was the age of the dairymen and drapers and the rise of the chapel as a focus for Welsh life in London. During the Depression there was another massive influx as Welsh teachers, industrial workers and domestic servants sought work in the metropolis. Emigration from Wales continues today but on a reduced scale. It is estimated that some 70,000 people of Welsh descent now live in London.

This is the human story of the London Welsh, with its focus on the comings and goings of ordinary men and women as well as the contribution of some outstanding individuals.


‘…readable and nicely illustrated volume about a significant if often elusive group that belongs simultaneously to the histories of London and Wales’
Urban History


‘At long last we have a history of the Welsh in London which does justice to the inherent interest and importance of the subject, written by one of the leading urban geographers of our time, and which succeeds, in a most convincing manner, in providing a full and rounded account of its subject. It is written in a plain and unfussy style, often with wit and humour. It is well illustrated and is altogether a pleasure to read. The author is reassuringly familiar with all the places he refers to, and he takes an infectious pleasure in the perambulations, which his readers are invited to enjoy his company. Though scholarly and fully annotated, the book will appeal equally to the curious reader and the well-informed scholar.’
Archaeologia Cambrensis


‘Apart from being highly readable, The Welsh in London opens up a number of fascinating aspects of history of the Welsh migrant experience in the capital’
Journal of Contemporary History


‘This account of the Welsh diaspora in London is full of interest, providing a comprehensive overview and a whole host of intriguing details and sidelights.’


‘…y mae’n gyfrol ddifyr, darllenadwy, er ei hysgolheictod …Mae yma lwyth o wybodaeth ddiddorol, pwyntiau bach sy’n cosi chwilfrydedd …Mae’n gyfrol sy’n ein tywys o Oes y Tuduriaid i oes SWS a chysylltiadau rhyngrwyd, o Evan Evans y Prydydd Hir I Evan Evans Tours …dyma gyfrol neilltuol o ddifyr a diddorol.’
Llais Llên



  • Emrys Jones is emeritus professor of geography, London School of Economics and president of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion.
  • Hafina Clwyd, teacher and journalist; editor of Y Faner 1986–92
  • William P. Griffith, Senior Lecturer, Department of History and Welsh History, University of Wales, Bangor
  • Rhidian Griffiths, Keeper of Printed Books, National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth
  • H. T. Ivor James, retired general practitioner
  • David Lewis Jones, Librarian, House of Lords
  • Peter Lord, Research Fellow, Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, Aberystwyth
  • Neil McIntyre, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, Royal Free and University College Medical School
  • Jeremy Segrott, Senior Research Assistant, Department of Geography, University of Wales, Swansea
  • Wyn Thomas, Lecturer in Music, Department of Music, University of Wales, Bangor