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W. N.

By rhiw_com  
Welsh Not
In 19th Century Wales, over 70 % of the population spoke only Welsh, and the London government of the day saw this as a major threat, so concerned were they that they undertook cultural genocide. And one sad consequence of the 1847 education report was that all education was to be in English only.

Any child that was caught speaking Welsh in school was forced to wear a wooden plaque around their necks, with W. N. carved on it, they were made to stand in front of the class and be humiliated and belittled by the teachers, the last child of the day to wear the plaque was given a severe beating.

Whole families left the country for America, Canada, Patagonia and Australia to get away from this and other tyrannies, as these countries, gave them the freedom they sought.

This wicked practice died a death after a few years, as the teachers themselves refused to continue with this barbarous act.

Gwenno my six year old Granddaughter was the model here, and this image is part of an exhibition that will be touring the country this year, it's about this part of our history that a lot of people have never heard of, or wish to forget.

To get her to look like this, I photographed her first thing in the morning before she brushed her hair. The light came from a north-facing window, with a reflector to her right.
The hardest part was hiding her smiling face, as she thought it was all great fun.

F3.5, 1/40 sec, Lens @ 55 mm, ISO 250. No filter.
Toned it in Photoshop, and used the blur tool around the edges.

Please view…Large…if you can.

P.S. If you Google “Welsh Not” images, you’ll see the original shot that I took three years ago for a web page.

Hope you like it, and many thanks for your comments and clicks on my last upload.

Hope you have a great weekend, Regards Tony

Tags: Photo journalism Black and white Portraits and people

Voters: looboss, PatrickSmith, aitchbrown and 121 more

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chrissd 15 304 United Kingdom
19 Jan 2007 7:15PM
have never heard of this despicable behaviour and me being half welsh by birth, how aweful must that have been, your daughter personifies it perfectly, an excellent image and a lesson to us all, thank you
Maddie 15 2.7k 2 United Kingdom
19 Jan 2007 7:18PM
interesting story, im glad they changed thier rules in the end. The picture shows well this piece of history.
19 Jan 2007 7:20PM
what a very interesting story and image...quality at its best...thanks for sharing this...

graceland 16 2.5k 2 United Kingdom
19 Jan 2007 7:21PM
Thanks for showing us this and telling the info ,
Can i copy you Info there for another site ,not picture !!
Sezz 16 619 15 England
19 Jan 2007 7:22PM
A poignant reminder Tony and very well taken. Thanks for sharing the history.

Sez Smile
NevP 15 853 13 Canada
19 Jan 2007 7:37PM
A technically beautiful shot, the toning is up with the best I have seen, gorgeous light.

A sad piece of history, like so much of history. It seems that ignorance and prejudice endure no matter what. Who said "history is just philosophy with examples"?
redstag 15 100 15 United Kingdom
19 Jan 2007 7:42PM
Fascinating image, even more fascinating description. Lucky you to have a willing vict, er I mean model.

Out of interest does your grand daughter speak Welsh?

elkiebrooks 17 83 5 United Kingdom
19 Jan 2007 7:49PM
A striking image with striking words.
rhiw_com 14 24
19 Jan 2007 7:51PM
Many thanks for your brilliant comments.

Yes Jon, Welsh is her first language, and it is for 85% of the Llyn peninsula population, including myself.

All the very best, Tony
Malc_V 15 England
19 Jan 2007 7:54PM
Brilliant image, great work, and well done to your grand daughter too.

Very interesting write up.

redstag 15 100 15 United Kingdom
19 Jan 2007 8:01PM
Wish I could congratulate you on your superb shot in your native tongue!
A wonderful shot. And along with Big Brother another reason to be a little ashamed of being English!
All the best
kitsch 15 439 4 United Kingdom
19 Jan 2007 8:06PM
interesting shot and narrative

very well done
chris-p Plus
15 73 England
19 Jan 2007 8:11PM
Fascinating..well produced and excecuted
starliz 16 1.6k 3 England
19 Jan 2007 8:11PM
a very sad bit of our history,thanks I had never heard of this before,a very effective image,wonderful shot.
rhiw_com 14 24
19 Jan 2007 8:19PM
Many thanks Jon (Redstag).

In no way is this a dig at England or it's people, these atrocities happened over a hundred and fifty years ago, and I doubt that many in England, or any other civilized country would be party to this kind of behavior today.

I've tried to convey in this image, what the child was going through, when she was standing all alone, maybe only seconds before she was punished in front her class mates.

"History is a window on the past, and a lesson for today and the future".

Thanks for all your brilliant comments.

Regards Tony
chase Plus
15 2.1k 541 England
19 Jan 2007 8:24PM
A sad story Tony which the image depicts very well.
rontear Plus
17 23 9 England
19 Jan 2007 8:37PM
Evocative image, linking the past( in most cases our governments want to forget they have a lot of blood on their hands!). Another incident we knew nothing about. Great sentiment Tony. Ron.
phototime 14 8 United Kingdom
19 Jan 2007 8:57PM
A great bit of history Tony and a great image.

pmorgan 14 217 13 England
19 Jan 2007 9:09PM
A very Poignant shot Tony, as always expertly captured, and message very well conveyed.

taggart Plus
16 47 14 United States
19 Jan 2007 9:11PM
I love this picture and your description brought a small memory to mind-- My husband was a University English professor-- a great deal was made or using correct "English" and sentence formations. The children seemd to be doing alright with this-- but I was very carefully told by their lady school bus driver that --the very minute they stepped on the bus, they slid seamlessly into "Valley Talk"-- the local lingo which is a language unto itself--- I am afraid THEY would have gotten a placque to wear had they tried such at home-- All very funny now !.

thanks for the memory!

rhiw_com 14 24
19 Jan 2007 9:24PM
Many thanks, Janet, Ron, Mo, Paul and Jenn, for your comments, very much appreciated.

Regards Tony
LisaRose 14 172 4 United States
19 Jan 2007 9:45PM
What an amazing photo with great impact. Thanks for the history a long with it. Powerful picture.

Glynn Plus
15 1.2k 1 United Kingdom
19 Jan 2007 9:46PM

Very powerful image and thanks for the narrative my friend, it makes you stop and think.

Nigel_95 Plus
15 262 2 United Kingdom
19 Jan 2007 10:01PM
I had never heard of this before Tony. No doubt it is history that it was convenient not to teach us. I know it is mainly only spoken in North Wales, but I am glad your language is kept alive. Long may it be so.

John_Humphreys 15 69 2 Ireland
19 Jan 2007 10:29PM
Uimhir a 30! John
Buffalo_Tom Plus
14 2.3k 15 Wales
19 Jan 2007 11:20PM
Super story Tony and it is good that these acts are discussed and brought to the attention of the populace.Great picture to accompany the story.
Possum 14 148 England
19 Jan 2007 11:28PM
Tony, this is just fantastic, not just for the shot but for the piece of (shaming) history attached to it. The way you've portrayed it in the image with her head hanging down is simply perfect.
20 Jan 2007 2:08AM
Strong description but realist.
Like a lot the composition and narrative.
Really fantastic work.

GregorP 16 4 Slovenia
20 Jan 2007 3:20AM
Nice story and lovely shot! Well done!
Mavis 18 143 2 England
20 Jan 2007 8:12AM
A very interesting story Brian and a lovely portrait .
My Sister-in-Law lives at Llantwit Major and she played a part in the learning of Welsh in the local School
Slaterm 14 496 1 United Kingdom
20 Jan 2007 9:10AM
History is a fickle thing Tony - strange to think that when Edwaed Longshanks had suppressed the Scots, the Welsh almost took most of England! At least welsh language and culture is growing strong again. Seems just as English culture seems to be on slide (Big Brother) and the language has been butchered!
TelStar 16 116 United Kingdom
20 Jan 2007 10:05AM
Beautiful shot and an excellent reminder of historical prejudice and educational ineptitude.
Jou©o 16 56 Finland
20 Jan 2007 2:26PM
an EC in my eyes!

A Booth 18 11 4 United Kingdom
20 Jan 2007 3:08PM
superb lighting and contrast captured on this young model.
Alfoto 14 Wales
20 Jan 2007 3:27PM
Beautiful image Tony - Great narrative to this powerful photograph. Da iawn.
20 Jan 2007 3:44PM
Excellent portrait with beautiful tones.
kinfatric 16 550 9 Scotland
20 Jan 2007 4:25PM
what a great subject and shot, really well done with a superb description.
BertC Plus
14 29 Malta
20 Jan 2007 4:40PM
Interesting story and a technically superb shot, the toning is excellent as is the light.
Fantastic Tony !
20 Jan 2007 7:00PM
Lovely shot Tony,the toning gives it the appearance of a mid 19th century picture and the fact that Gwenno's face is obscured by her hair gives it a sense of mystery.
Superbly handled subject.
MalcolmS Plus
15 1.2k 13 England
20 Jan 2007 7:28PM
Great comment Tony, that's two things I've learnt tonight. Never heard of this so thanks for the information.

Looks well in sepia, can't get away from the image of your granddaughter chuckling away under her hair

TerryBaxter 14 11
20 Jan 2007 7:31PM
This is one of the most striking images of this month, Tony. It's also why we have to stand up and be counted. Thankyou for your kind comments, also.

sincere regards, Terry.
Chant57 Plus
15 395 3 United Kingdom
20 Jan 2007 10:26PM
An excellent informative narrative Tony, and a wonderful image to accompany it. Super tones, and detail. A very striking thought provoking image.
rhiw_com 14 24
21 Jan 2007 8:43AM
Of all the images that I have in my portfolio, I think the comments on this one are by far the most interesting and heartwarming. Apart from showing me what a great bunch of people there are on EPZ, It shows quite clearly that none of you took offence, at what could have been a very provocative image and description.

If I had uploaded this without the graphic description, hardly anyone would know what it was about, and it took me quite a while to choose my words carefully, as not to offend, or make anyone feel uneasy.

I apologise for not being around the last couple of days, but the flu bug has hit me quite hard, and I'm feeling very much under the weather.

Regards to you all, Tony
TerryBaxter 14 11
21 Jan 2007 8:58AM
Reckon you're right, sir. Get well soon!

Regards, Terry.
KKmoments 14 12 1 United Kingdom
21 Jan 2007 10:40AM
What a super model your grandaughter is.... brilliant pose and love the tones to create the perfect image of the past.... coupled with the description is a beauty. I've never heard of Welsh Not so it made for a fascinating read as well as view... superb work.
Alison_S 15 339 United Kingdom
21 Jan 2007 10:59AM
I think this is stunning work Tony. I had never heard of this before, and it was fascinating to read the history behind your image, (feel so sad for the poor little mites though).

daffydill56 17 190 United Kingdom
21 Jan 2007 11:27AM
A very striking image Tony, and an interesting read too.

bliba Plus
15 2 Austria
21 Jan 2007 2:48PM
nice to see some portraitwork...excellent and the discription also

Elwin 14 2
21 Jan 2007 3:43PM
Lovely work Tony.
Good backstory.

sunshot 16 24 United Kingdom
21 Jan 2007 5:13PM
a very intresting story tony,excellent work well done.

JimV 14 6 3 Canada
22 Jan 2007 2:27AM
Excellent work! You have conveyed a piece of history wonderfully here Tony, both with the camera and the written word. Much the same was happening in Scotland at that time with the Gaelic language.
Rgds., Jim
AlanBW 15 20 England
22 Jan 2007 8:21AM
Cracking image with a great pose and superb toning, as well as a fascinating (and disturbing) piece of social history
Hanners 15 875 10 Ireland
22 Jan 2007 11:24AM
Fantastic photograph, superbly shot and toned and a wonderful informative scipt. Great stuff.

Dotrob 15 Wales
22 Jan 2007 12:52PM
Lovely sepia image, A sad but very interesting piece of history,that I had never heard before.
mollye 14 3 United Kingdom
22 Jan 2007 4:48PM
Really interesting story but great sepia image lovely work
anthhope 15 1 England
22 Jan 2007 8:37PM
An excellent photo. Great stuff!!
DYankee 14 6 United States
22 Jan 2007 8:58PM
What a well done photo, which really captures the feeling of any child that had to endure such a display.
Dawn Smile
Rogerex 14 32 12 Australia
23 Jan 2007 8:05AM
A beautiful portrait. Thanks for sharing the history of that sign.
Gaz_H 14 150 1 United Kingdom
23 Jan 2007 1:13PM
Tony, this is an absolutely superb portrait and a pleasure to view. Thank you for the history behind it.
PatrickSmith 16 1.2k 2 United States
23 Jan 2007 4:46PM
This is excellent, both the story and the image. Have her look down makes this work.

KingArthur 14 8 Malta
23 Jan 2007 6:53PM
A good portrait Tony, beautiful lighting and tones, interesting write-up.

viscostatic 14 49 9 United Kingdom
24 Jan 2007 9:58PM
A very sad but interesting story to accompany this image. I had no idea that the English government were so severe on the Welsh language and people - and as recently as the mid 19th century. Thank you for enlightening me about this. As always the photograph is top quality.

26 Jan 2007 12:39AM
I had no idea of this story-it's very sad, after reading the story the photo makes perfect sense-
AnnaBanana 14 119 1 United Kingdom
26 Jan 2007 3:32AM
I had never heard of this sad and cruel tale - thank you for bringing it to light. The image is so powerful, and the toning works to provide an old feel. Beautiful and powerful.

Scott_Scot 16 4 4 Scotland
26 Jan 2007 8:27AM
Lovely capture and a great story!
(Those English did some nasty things during this period of history!)

clivebo 14 16
28 Jan 2007 12:37PM
Good portrait
jimPat 16 8 1 Scotland
28 Jan 2007 6:22PM
Great piece of work Tony and narrative - Regards JP
29 Jan 2007 12:18AM
Hi Tony,

Didn't recognize it as yours at first! Great camera work with super tones!!

The fact that we don't see her face only enhances this image - just wonderfully done

VintageRed 15 15 1 United Kingdom
29 Jan 2007 10:08AM
Yes I'm not sure the smiling face would have matched the tone you've created. Great shot Tony.
Nigel_95 Plus
15 262 2 United Kingdom
30 Jan 2007 8:12PM
I hope you feel better soon Tony.

clivebo 14 16
31 Jan 2007 4:49PM
Nice shot like it a lot
Chriscj 15 96 1 England
2 Feb 2007 9:57AM
Great history lesson Tony, hard to believe things like that went on.

14 13 1 United Kingdom
5 Feb 2007 11:48AM
Well presented and captured Tony!
6 Feb 2007 5:49PM
Great shot Tony capturing the sadness; a study of our social history always throws up some horror stories that have been hushed up, great work, Adrian
Shroomer 14 14 167 England
6 Feb 2007 6:18PM
Fantastic shot Tony, very poignant of times lost, love it. Richard
trissie 14 United Kingdom
17 Feb 2007 10:00AM
A great interesting story and a lovely capture.

Trish x
Gecko 14 25 Australia
19 Feb 2007 7:34AM
Very interesting story, love the image, Pam
Mari 17 1.8k United Kingdom
4 Mar 2007 9:48AM
Hi Tony, this is wonderful, love the tones and speaks volumes, I know how she feels (as I told you yesterday!!)

Was great to meet you at last as i've always been a fan of your stunning Llyn shots.

Mari Smile
PLCimagery 14 77 1 England
8 Mar 2007 7:40PM
SUPERB piece of work!
rhiw_com 14 24
9 Mar 2007 5:47AM
Many thanks for all your brilliant comments, they are all very much appreciated.

Regards Tony
annefromleo 15 11 1 United Kingdom
9 Mar 2007 7:31AM
Thanks for the History lesson Tony, shocking...
KarenFB Plus
14 5.6k 180 England
11 Mar 2007 8:19AM
This was a 'featured e2 photo' this morning. (I'm afraid I missed it the first time around). Thank you for sharing this with us, and I think your photo perfectly depicts this dreadful treatment of the Welsh.

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