Page last updated at 12:33 GMT, Wednesday, 17 June 2009 13:33 UK

Call to make Wrexham 'more Welsh'

Brendon Williams
BBC News website

Owain Glyndwr statue at Corwen
Could Wrexham benefit from more statues to promote its history?

An internet discussion group is urging businesses and residents to "Make Wrexham more Welsh."

Freelance writer Jane Redfern Jones, who set up the forum on Facebook, said a more obvious Welsh identity could help attract tourists.

She said towns like Llangollen and Corwen in Denbighshire marketed themselves successfully, while "so much more" could be done in Wrexham.

The comments have provoked a mixed response in the town.

Ms Redfern Jones said: "It just really strikes me when I'm driving through Wrexham that, if I was a visitor, what is there to tell me I'm in Wales?

"You can go for miles and there's nothing to tell me I'm in Wales.

"There's very little to make people think 'Wrexham is an interesting place, I'll go there'."

Gareth Jones
Overall, the Welshness of Wrexham is increasing...people are sending their children to Welsh-speaking schools
Gareth Jones, souvenir shop owner

She said Denbighshire towns Llangollen, with its annual International Music Eisteddfod, and Corwen with its statue of Owain Glyndwr, were attractive places which had been successful in attracting visitors.

But she said comparatively little was done in Wrexham to promote its "fantastic history and heritage".

She added: "We have a university now called Glyndwr - maybe the students could produce murals to promote it more.

"I think a lot of local businesses could do more."

However, not everyone in Wrexham agrees.

Professor Michael Scott, vice-chancellor of Glyndŵr University, said: "Wrexham couldn't be more Welsh.

"Its people are passionate about Wales and here at Glyndŵr University we're passionate about Wales. You only have to look at our name - inspired by one of the most famous Welshmen of all - to see evidence of that."

In the town itself, Gareth Jones, who runs a Welsh souvenir shop in Wrexham's General Market, said: "I'm from Wrexham and I feel Welsh, yes.

Lesley Jones
I think there should be more to celebrate local history and culture
Lesley Jones, florist

"And overall, the Welshness of Wrexham is increasing.

"For instance, people are sending their children to Welsh-speaking schools when they don't speak the language themselves.

"I complained a few years ago that the Welsh flag wasn't flown above the Guild Hall every day, and the council told me it's only done on St David's Day and special occasions."

Florist Lesley Jones said: "I feel Welsh, I was born and bred here.

"But as far as tourists go, we're near the border and Chester's very close, so we're in Chester's shadow.

"I suppose the council could do a lot more to promote it as a Welsh town.

"I think there should be more to celebrate local history and culture."

Newspaper seller Eric Read said: "We're British aren't we? I support the Welsh rugby team, and I was born here, but I feel more British than Welsh.

"You will struggle to get a great deal of Welshness because it's a border town."

Wrexham Council has been asked to comment.

Here is a selection of your comments:

Defiantly Wrecsam needs to be more obviously Welsh having some welsh flags on the main entrance to the town by Wrexham Football club would help & having a sign or statue of Glyndwr or even a red / bronze dragon statue on the main B&Q roundabout which is the main entrance to the town.
Paul Williams, Wrexham

Wrexham might be in Wales (just) but an awful lot of people who live here are English, like me. We don't want Wrexham to be any more Welsh, thank you. Wrexham has more in common with Cheshire & Merseyside than the rest of Wales. The Welsh Assembly has little interest in Wrexham, being far more interested in the South Wales cities.
Michael Cawood, Wrexham, Wales, UK

To celebrate the diversity of Welsh History and Culture is so obvious, I can't understand why Wrecsam Council has not embraced this idea during the last 20 years. While not wanting to embrace jingoism or rampant nationalism it is after all what we are, Welsh and Proud! Wrecsam is the gateway to Wales, lets make it obvious.
Simon Bellis, Born in Wrexham now an exile

Wrexham and the whole of North East Wales is 100% Welsh. The people who live here are also very proud to be Welsh. Wales is a diverse nation and we in in Wrexham should be allowed express our welshness in our own way and not be lectured at by others. Inhabitants of North West Wales, West Wales and South Wales may find our Welsh ways not to their liking but that's their problem
Mark Edwards, Wrexham

Wrexham is wonderful place full of excellent people. It has suffered from being ignored both culturally and economically, and has never really developed its welshness. It has the potential to be a real Welsh city rather than an underconfident piece of the English commuter belt. Your correspondent who says "Wrexham has more in common with Cheshire & Merseyside than the rest of Wales." is not just wrong but arrogant. We're in Wales, and we're Welsh. We want good relations with England but we also need to stand on our two feet, make our own weather, unlock our potential.

dave Rodway, cardiff

It would be a start if the town's name was consistently spelled as Wrecsam. There isn't even a letter X in the Welsh alphabet!
Heulwen Jones, Wales

If, by "more Welsh" you mean welcoming, friendly and picturesque - then yes! Generally the town's layout isn't conducive to visitors - there's "edge of town" developments spread out all over the place! Town planners need to give it more structure & landmark features (not just focusing on St Giles!) The old town is 'cut-off' by outdated pedestrianised zones and travelling through on the relief road (by the police station) just doesn't entice people to park up and explore.
Janine Clayton Smith, Wrexham, Wales

What a stupid idea it would be to make Wrexham 'more Welsh' As to not knowing you are in Wales, the person who makes these comments must be blind as EVERYWHERE you go (much to my distaste)are bi-lingual signs. Let us concentrate on being part of the United Kingdom and the European Community rather than having a parochial attitude all the time. As to attracting more tourists? - to see what? A ten pin bowling alley or a second rate football team?
james mason, wrexham UK

Buried in a churchyard near Wrexham are the remains of one of the national bards of Wales, Craigfab. He was my great great grandfather. And it's shocking that nobody knows or cares about things like that.
Kate Jones, Lancaster

More needs to be done to make Wrexham promote itself as a prosperous Welsh town and more needs to be done to get rid of ignorant people who treat Wrexham as a place to reside to commute to England. I don't dislike England or the English but I hate people who live in Wales who have no respect for its culture and language.
R Roberts, Ruthin, North Wales

If it is within the borders of Wales then it is Welsh, regardless of some of the somewhat strange comments of some people here. Its up to the Welsh Assembly to provide adequate funding, but the local authority has to come up with the initiatives in consultation with residents.

Liverpool and Manchester are very close to Wales, and Liverpool's rich history is closely entwined with that of north Wales, maybe we should petition for it to be called Lerpwl
Rob, london

Yes more should be done to make Wrexham more Welsh, it needs to be more welcoming to the eye for starters and picturesque,something we don t have much of with all the rubbish buildings that are being allowed to be thrown up and all the bulidings that are demolished to make way for them - all the old bulidings that actually meant something to our history and heritage. Wrexham planners need a good shaking and wake up to what they are doing to help make Wrexham less Welsh or is that what they re trying to do so to make things easier for the West Cheshire/North East Wales Sub Regional Strategy to slip into place ?
Tara green, Wrexham, North Wales

This article is bonkers - Wrexham and the surrounding villages are full of Welshness! If Ms. Redfern Jones is driving for miles without seeing any signs of being in Wales then she's driving with her eyes shut! (Does she think Rhosllanerchrugog is a typical English village name?!) The Wrexham area is much more Welsh than the Rhyl/Prestatyn area for example, and tourism is more important to them than it is to Wrexham, so I think she's picked the wrong target for her comments.
Dan, Denbighshire, Wales

Wrexham is welsh but gets little support from Cardiff since the WDA was disbanded. Also our sportsmen and women struggle to get into the top rank Welsh teams because they are so far from the "Hub". We have more in common with the North West of England which is why the Welsh language is not a priority here, yet to get a job in any local government the applicants must be Welsh speakers. Wrexham is British first and Welsh second...just as it should be throughout the United Kingdom - and anyone who is aiming to change that is subversive!
Don Maldon, Queesnferry - North Wales

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