AROUND 35 people staged a protest outside the Civic Offices, in Barry, on Saturday, July 25.

They were demanding that the Vale of Glamorgan Council re-name a Barry street they say has 'slavery' connotations.

The 40-minute protest, organised by Cardiff & Vale Stand Up To Racism with Black Lives Matters, surrounds the name of Ffordd Penrhyn – one of the roads in the Barry Waterfront development.

The protesters say the name is “shameful” and “disgusting” as Richard Pennant, of the family that built Penrhyn Castle, owned nearly 1000 enslaved people across his four plantations in Jamaica.

They say money used to build Penrhyn Castle was made off the brutalisation, slavery, and torture of enslaved black lives.


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But others, including the Vale council, argue that ‘penrhyn’ is the Welsh word for ‘peninsula’ and that the road in Barry leads to a peninsula.

The Vale council is conducting a review of statues and commemorations, including street names, public buildings and plaques.

But campaigners have already identified ‘Gladstone’ as another potential cause for concern with Gladstone Primary School, Gladstone Road, Gladstone Bridge, and Gladstone Gardens all in Barry.

Former prime minister, William Gladstone was the son of Sir John Gladstone who was of the British Empire’s largest slave owners.

They opposed emancipation and said slaves had to have better morals.

Gladstone opposed the abolition of slavery.

Addressing the gathering, lawyer and activist Hillary Brown said: “Regardless of what the Welsh version of this means, regardless of whether the word was written in Swahili, regardless of whether the word is written in any language at all – what it stands for to people of colour and those who find the abhorrent and revolting trade in human flesh it stands for glorifying one Wales’ worst slave traders.

”The Vale of Glamorgan Council’s position is indefensible.

“I’d like to urge the Vale council to reconsider the name for Penrhyn as quickly as possible.

“It is obvious that it is causing a lot of hurt and there’s a lot of debate and it’s creating an awful lot of division.

“There are people feeling that our demands are around a word.

“They are certainly not.

“They are around a name.

“The reality is it’s one of four roads and the other three are named after individuals.

“We call for the name of Ffordd Penrhyn to be changed.”

She added: “There will be another protest in August in Gladstone Park where we raise the issue of once again the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s failure to recognise some of our wonderful pioneering firsts who made have made global history in pioneering the way forward for peace.”

Bianca Ali, of Black Lives Matter Cardiff & the Vale, said: “We are very well away of the bi-lingual meaning of Ffordd Penrhyn.

“In Welsh it means ‘peninsula’ and with Barry being an Island we can understand geographically why it was chosen.

“We have full respect for the Welsh language and its meaning.

“We will be facilitating an online forum to discuss this matter going forward – encouraging friends of the Welsh language to get involved.

“Please understand the concerns of the black Welsh community for who this word or name has serious racial connotations linked to Jamaicans, slavery, and the oppression of generations.

“It’s not ‘peninsula’ - it is the capital of slavery in Wales.”

Stand Up To Racism Cardiff & Vale chairman, Hussein Said, added: “The assumption we don’t understand the Welsh language is deeply offensive.

“A black Jamaican woman saw that name and was disgusted by it.

“That is all we need to talk about.

“We are not fighting against the Welsh language.

”We are fighting against the legacy of the slave trade.

“It may be just a word to you, but it’s of historical significance to other people.”

Barry resident, Alison Woolcock said: “My grandfather came over from Jamaica.

“When I saw the name Penrhyn I was disgusted that new development was being given a name for someone with a strong history of being associated with the slave trade.

“There needs to be a name change.

“It could be simply done by putting an ‘yr’ in there, but they are not even looking to take that into consideration.”

Speaking after the protest, Ms Brown said: “We are going to be putting together a list of other streets and other names and they will be part of the next protest.

“There’s more than one.

“Right now, we have a number of people who are researching as much they possible can as to whether it (Gladstone) was named after him - Gladstone.

“We really want to Vale of Glamorgan to understand our position and stand with us; not against us.”

Plaid Cymru supporter, Mr Morgan, of The Rhondda, said: “Penrhyn is not a local word.

“You will not find that name within a 50-mile radius.

“To put that word into Barry, why the hell would you?"

Ziad Al Sayed, a Vale Constituency Labour Party officer, said: “I would like my colleagues – all the Labour councillors and Plaid Cymru to reconsider their position and take into consideration the opinion of other people who are hurt by this who and would like to see some change.”

Vale council leader, Cllr Neil Moore said: “The street in question was not named after an individual, but rather includes the Welsh translation for peninsular or headland, reflecting its location near the coast.

“It is also a Cornish name for headland.

“The name does not refer to any historical figure.

“A process to review all statues and commemorations, including street names, public buildings and plaques in the Vale of Glamorgan is under way.

“It is vital those on public land are representative of local people’s values and those of a modern, inclusive council.

“We will be working with our communities and appropriate organisations to investigate links to slavery and any other behaviour or practice not befitting our ethos.

“The council will be considering the contents of the review in due course.

“This is a further example of the council’s determination to tackle prejudice in all its forms.

“As an organisation, we remain absolutely committed to the principle of equality regardless of race, age, gender, religion, disability or sexual orientation.”