Birmingham's leaders yesterday finally bowed to public pressure to help fund a heritage museum in a Welsh valley flooded to provide water to the city - but denied doing a U-turn.
Deputy council leader Paul Tilsley handed over a cheque for £20,000 to a delegation from the Elan Valley yesterday afternoon.
It follows months of campaigning after council leader Mike Whitby initially refused the request claiming it was of "limited direct benefit" to the people of Birmingham.
That decision sparked criticism in Wales and among Brummies who claimed the authority should recognise its "historic" link with the valley.
Coun Tilsley (Lib Dem Sheldon) yesterday met campaigners from Rhayader, the nearest town to Elan, who are leading the £550,000 bid to create the heritage centre.
He stressed the council's donation was to be used to forge educational links between the Welsh region and Birmingham schools.
"Learning about engineering is important to children's education. Birmingham's forefathers designed a system more than 100 years ago to bring water to the city and it was a feat of engineering," he said.
Asked whether campaigners had forced the authority into a U-turn, Coun Tilsely said: "It was not due to public pressure.
"We have been trying to find a way of going forward with our colleagues from Elan. This was some time in its gestation."
But John James, regional chairman of the Institute of Directors and outspoken critic of the council's original stance, said: "There is no doubt that without the public pressure this payment wouldn't have been as generous as it was.
"The important thing is they have made the payment and recognised what they should have recognised all along."
Lead campaigner Peter Cox, chairman of Community Arts Rhayader and District, paid tribute to the support of Birmingham residents.
"They understood it from day one," he said.
"In Wales, Coun Tilsely will now be seen as having made a very positive political decision and people will respect him for that."
Mr Cox said a bid to raise £104,000, to unlock an additional £444,500 of Heritage Lottery funding, was now "almost there", thanks to Birmingham's donation.