Protecting place names- lessons from Seattle

Daf Prys considers the wider ramifications of the Welsh Assembly’s rejection of the Historical place names Bill, and looks at how place names have been preserved in Seattle, USA


I moved to Seattle in the United States very early in 2017 to follow a project close to my heart. In this new alien place I keep looking for things to connect me to the space where I once inhabited. The weather for one, it seems I am a sucker for rain, and drawn to a unique political landscape but one thing keeps catching my eye: displaced cultures and languages.

Seattle is a place that gained its name only some 150 years ago. But what was there before: what was that beach called, and what is this hill’s name? What happens when place names are up for grabs? Well, the answer is they are taken.

Having seen what has happened here in the US, should we, in Wales, be wary? Dai Lloyd AM thinks so, he proposed a Bill in the Assembly to protect place names in Wales and I agree.  The evidence in my new home is all around me and sometimes manifests in spectacular ways, as you will see in the above video.



Daf Prys is a producer and writer. He is currently based in Seattle where he is developing a video game based on Welsh mythology and culture. He is the Creative Director of Fideo 8 and was previously the Publishing Editor of Planet magazine

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