Urdd Gobaith Cymru was established by Sir Ifan ab Owen Edwards in 1922. His aim was to protect the Welsh language in a world where the English language dominated every aspect of life outside the home.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, the future looked bleak for the Welsh language, even though there were over a million Welsh speakers in Wales.
Two of the most prominent figures to challenge the crisis at this time were O.M. Edwards and his son, Sir Ifan ab Owen Edwards. O.M. Edwards, Wales’ first Chief Inspector for Education, contributed on a regular basis to the monthly magazine‘Cymru’r Plant’, established by him in 1892. He published many Welsh books on Wales and Welsh politics.
He tried twice to establish a youth movement for the young people and children of Wales. ‘Urdd y Delyn’ was established in 1896, and ‘Byddin Cymru’ in 1911, but both attempts failed.
After the death of O.M.Edwrads, his son Sir Ifan ab Owen Edwards became the editor for the magazine ‘Cymru’r Plant’ and in 1922, in that magazine, he appealed to the children of Wales to join a new movement which was called ‘Urdd Gobaith Cymru Fach’. This was a new beginning in the history of the Welsh language and culture. The first local Urdd branch was established in Treuddyn, Flintshire in 1922.
By the end of 1923, as a result of their enthusiasm, the number of members rose to 3,000, and by 1927 5,000 young people had become members of the Urdd. The number of Urdd branches also rose to 80 by 1927.
By the end of the 1920s therefore, the Urdd had grown to be an active, dynamic movement. It grew to be popular and confident, and the word ‘small’ (bach) was deleted from its name. It was now called ‘Urdd Gobaith Cymru’