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This report is taken from PN Review 249, Volume 46 Number 1, September - October 2019.

Letter from Wales Sam Adams
A week ago, on Saturday morning, we returned to Gilfach Goch to assist at the unveiling of a Rhys Davies Trust commemorative plaque on the former home, an end of terrace house in Kenry Street, of the brothers, ‘Will, Jos, Jack and Arthur’ Griffiths, who had jointly owned ‘Griffs’, a bookshop in Cecil Court, off Charing Cross Road, in London.

Here I pause to consider ‘Kenry’, an unusual name for a street in a Welsh mining valley. Nearby parallel terraced rows, all dating from the late decades of the nineteenth century, built to accommodate an influx of colliers and their families for newly opened pits, bear similar outlandish designations. Their naming, too, was an act of commemoration, though I doubt anyone living in Gilfach now has any knowledge of that. Wyndham Street derives from Windham Wyndham-Quinn, 4th earl of Dunraven and Mount-Earl (1841–1926), an Irish peer who had a remarkably full life. After Christ Church, Oxford, he had a career in the army, was a war correspondent for the Daily Telegraph, reported on the siege of Paris 1870–71 and presumably the Commune, formed a committee to recruit mounted ‘Sharpshooters’ in the Boer War, served as under-secretary of state for the colonies, owned an America’s Cup yacht, laid claim to 15,000 acres of Colorado as a private game park (now the Rocky Mountain National Park), and was active, as a moderate, in the Irish Home Rule question, eventually becoming a senator of the Irish Free State (1922–26). Given his roots in the Irish aristocracy, it is more than a surprise to learn that from ...

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