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eisteddfota: City's glorious gathering.

Byline: Emyr Williams

THE fact that we live in rapidly changing times is most certainly brought home to anyone reading the volume of transactions of the 1900 Liverpool National Eisteddfod.

This was the time, according to this very interesting volume, when there were as many as 19, 950 Welsh households in Liverpool, boosted in real numbers to around 100, 000 Welsh people and their children all the year round, a far cry from today's Welsh speakers scattered thinly across Merseyside.

Those were the days, of course, when the Royal National Eisteddfod of Wales was a somewhat bilingual event, something that would not be tolerated in 2007. Just imagine what the reaction would be then if the Eisteddfod turned out to be a repeat of the 1900 festival, when even the main essay competition, entitled The Influence of Democratic Institutions upon Morals and Manners, was in English, the prize money being pounds 5. 5s.

The ``Eisteddfod Proceedings'' at the start of the volume sum it all up: ``The Royal National Eisteddfod of 1900 was inaugurated on Monday evening, the 17th September, by an influential gathering in the Council Chamber of the Town Hall, where the Lord Mayor (The Right Hon Louis S Cohen) presided over a very good attendance, the meeting being held under the auspices of the Honourable Society of Cymrodorion.

``Addresses on The Defects of Technical Education in Wales were delivered by Principal Reichel, MA, Mr Owen Owen, MA (chief inspector under the Central Welsh Board), and an interesting discussion followed.

``Immediately after the close of the meeting a largely attended and brilliant function took place, being an At Home given by the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress to the members of the General Committee and other prominent officials of the Eisteddfod, together with their lady friends, to the number of several hundreds ``The fine reception rooms of the Town Hall, which were placed at the service of the guests, were beautifully decorated with plants and flowers from the Botanic Gardens, and light refreshments were served in the dining and small ballrooms.

``In the large ballroom during the evening a programme of music was given by the Gitana Ladies Choir, conducted by Madame Maggie Evans. Part songs were rendered very sweetly by the choir, and solos and duets were given by Miss Cissie Davies, Miss Alice Hughes, Miss Lilian Rushton, Madame Emilie Mowll, Miss Bella Robinson, and Miss Bessie Williams. The accompanists were Madame Maggie Evans and Miss Clara Walker.

``Altogether the gathering was one of the brightest and most successful of the social events that have ever taken place in connection with the Eisteddfod, and the thoughtfulness and generosity of the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress in thus enabling the proceedings of the Eisteddfod to be inaugurated with such eclat was greatly appreciated. ''

What a start to any Eisteddfod! Would we see anything similar in 2007?

``The meetings of the Eisteddfod proper was in accordance with the usual order of things, preceded by the Gorsedd, which held its opening session in Whitley-gardens. ''
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 31, 2004
Words:504
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