Y Wawr

The first issue of Y Wawr appeared in the winter of 1913 at the end of the long Edwardian summer.  In the editorial of that issue, the editor says that ‘the main objective of the magazine is to strengthen the union between the people of Wales and the students of the University of Wales’ and that it was ‘the product of Nationalism awakening in the hearts of students of the University College in Aberystwyth’. The students were aware that they were in a privileged position; they had been given an opportunity to receive an education ‘through the hard work of the ordinary people’ who had established the university and felt it their ‘duty to repay them for their labours’.

There is nothing in the contents of that first issue that would cause offence to the most sensitive of readers, apart, perhaps, from the fact that it was all in Welsh. And in 1913, as sometimes today, that in itself was a challenge to the status quo. But as subsequent issues appeared and the War progressed, the contents of Y Wawr changed and one or two contributors started to ask what were Wales and the Welsh doing supporting and fighting on behalf of the British Empire. Such a question in a time of war was certainly going to attract criticism to the magazine. Matters came to a head with the spring 1918 issue and that is the subject of The breaking of The Dawn: the rise and decline of Aberystwyth students’ first Welsh language magazine, Y Wawr the rise and decline of Aberystwyth students’ first Welsh language magazine, Y Wawr’. We are very grateful to Robin Chapman for tracing the history of Y Wawr and for throwing new light on the controversy that brought about its demise.