Author of The Christmas Village and Return to Canterbury

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Monday, April 13, 2015

L is for Llanfairpwlgwyngil-go-gery-tyn-silo-so-go-goch.

Llanfairpwlgwyngil-go-gery-tyn-silo-so-go-goch is the very long name of a very small Welsh town. It may possibly be the longest name of a town ever, anywhere. In the essay my mother wrote in 1940, in which she describes her evacuation from Liverpool, England to Beaumaris, Wales, she mentions her train stopping at this junction. Here is the excerpt in which she speaks of it:

"We passed through miles upon miles of smoky towns: Liverpool, Birkenhead, and Chester, then small towns and villages, and finally we reached green fields and meadows.

As it was still September and summer was not yet over, the sun was with us too, and looked resplendent, shining on the winding brooks which we passed on our way.

The latter part of our journey consisted of a train ride around the feet of many mountains, in between which lay a stretch of water known as the Minai Straits. It was on the edge of this Strait that I was to make my future home. I always remember stopping at a very small Welsh junction the name of which caused us much laughter, for there were thirty-nine letters in the name. It was Llanfairpwlgwyngil-go-gery-tyn-silo-so-go-goch."

2 comments: said...

That's a mouthful, and I can only attempt to pronounce the last half of the word. Imagine having to write that down as your birthplace.
I think it's amazing, Melissa, that you have your mom's writing from 1940.

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

I think the kids had quite a fun time with that - she certainly remembered it! It's a little treasure to have that essay, that's for sure.