Scandinavia and the World
Scandinavia and the World

Comments #9780483:


How to Train Your Red Dragon 28 7, 3:23pm

I've been there twice! What happened is this: Back in the 1970s it was noticed that the town was basically dying-- it had no industries, the businesses were closing, the mines nearby were long closed and all the young people were moving away as soon as they could. Richard Booth, owner of the half-ruined castle there, came up with a plan to get the town in the public eye and keep it alive: bookstores. So for the next couple of years they bought the stock of libraries and booksellers that were closing, bought books by lot from auctions, whatever they could do. And on April 1st in 1977 Hay-on-Wye declared itself to be an independent country-- they sent an ambassador to Amsterdam, made announcements in tons of newspapers and on TV, etc. Richard Booth gave out knighthoods (I think he was declared king) and had somebody patrolling the Wye river in a rowboat with an empty rifle as the Navy. Were they serious? No, but it DID draw a lot of attention; so did all the bookstores that they opened that day. It worked, too, as now buses run from London to Hay-On-Wye and there's a yearly book festival; and to this day you can get your passport stamped there. Fantastic place; it has a very nice campground on the edge of the village and some GREAT pubs too. My Welsh ancestors would be so proud of this place. Worth going there!