The Leader of Westminster City Council, Cllr Nickie Aiken, and Cllr Jason Williams raised the Welsh flag over Westminster City Hall to celebrate St David’s Day today (1 March).
The flag was flown for 1 hour in a symbolic gesture to recognise the enormous contribution that Welsh people have made to Westminster and the United Kingdom. Both Cllrs Aiken and Williams are originally from Wales before making their home in the city.
Links between Wales and Westminster go back for centuries, but in modern times, notable Welsh contributions to Westminster life has come from across the worlds of fashion, politics, culture and entertainment. A green plaque now marks where fashion giant Laura Ashley began hand-printing textiles in her Pimlico flat. Mary Quant is synonymous with Carnaby Street and the swinging sixties. Ivor Novello’s lavish West End musicals were the smash hits of their day.
One key area that the Welsh really made a mark in Westminster was the drapery trade. Welsh draper’s assistants were numerous among the clothing and textile shops of Oxford Street, Queensway and Westbourne Grove. Several were successful enough to be among the first proprietors of large department stores, most notably DH Evans (now House of Fraser on Oxford Street), who was originally from Carmarthenshire.
On a ceremonial and official note, Westminster is also home to the Prince of Wales’ official London residence, Clarence House, and the Government Welsh Office is based at Gwydyr House. The Welsh Guards are one of the 5 regiments of Foot Guards in the Household Division who normally provide the Queen's Guard at Buckingham Palace and are such a favourite of tourists who come from far and wide to see the Changing of the Guard.
The Leader of the Council, Cllr Nickie Aiken, said: “As a proud Welshwoman, I am thrilled that we have been able to celebrate St David’s Day and to fly the flags of Wales and the Union together. But I also take enormous pride in the community of which we are all part in Westminster. Like so many others, I have moved to the city and made it my home, where the combination of all our different backgrounds and experiences bring unrivalled vibrancy to our distinct neighbourhoods, making it a true City for All.
“I would like to wish everybody a very happy St David’s Day - Hoffwn ddymuno Dydd Gŵyl Dewi hapus i bawb!”