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National Library of Wales
Davies, David, of Llandinam Papers

Reference code(s): GB 0210 LLANNAM

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: David Davies of Llandinam Papers

Short Title: Davies, David, of Llandinam Papers

Creation date(s): 1836-1907

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 5.893 cubic metres (189 boxes, 3 rolls, 73 volumes)

Name of creator(s): David Davies


Administrative/Biographical history: David Davies (1818-1890), industrialist and MP. He was born at Llandinam, Montgomeryshire, the eldest of nine children of David and Elizabeth Davies. On leaving the village school at the age of 11, David Davies helped his father in farming and sawing timber on commission, and his prowess was such that in later life he boasted that he was always "top sawyer". In 1846 he was invited to make the foundation and approaches for a bridge over the Severn at Llandinam; this set him on a career as a railway contractor. In 1851 Davies married Margaret Jones of Llanfair Caereinion; they had one child, Edward (1852-1898). In 1855 Davies built the first section of the Llanidloes & Newtown railway (opened in 1859). He subsequently built, with various partners, the following railways: Vale of Clwyd (1858), Oswestry & Newtown (1861), Newtown & Machynlleth (1862), Pembroke & Tenby (1863, extended to Whitland, 1866), 'Manchester & Milford' (Pencader to Aberystwyth, 1867), Van (Caersws to Van mines, 1871). In 1864 David Davies took a lease of coal in the Upper Rhondda Valley and sank the Parc and Maendy pits. David Davies & Co. was formed as a private company in 1867 to work these 'Ocean Merthyr' pits, and new collieries were sunk: Dare (1868), Western and Eastern (1872), Garw (1884), and Lady Windsor (1885). In 1887 the output had so increased that it was deemed advisable to set up a limited liability company, the Ocean Coal Co. Ltd. The inability of the Taff Vale railway and the Bute docks at Cardiff to cope with the Ocean traffic led Davies to promote a new dock at Barry with a railway connection from the Rhondda. The project was carried through after a severe parliamentary fight, and was brought to completion in 1889. As a man of wealth, David Davies entered public life. In 1865 he unsuccessfully contested Cardiganshire against another Liberal, but in 1874 and again in 1880 he was returned unopposed for Cardigan district. He was returned in 1885 after a contest, but in 1886 he disagreed with Gladstone over home rule for Ireland and was defeated by nine votes. He was one of the first governors of the University College of Wales at Aberystwyth and in 1875 was elected treasurer, a post which he held till 1887. He was returned unopposed in 1889 to represent Llandinam on the first Montgomeryshire county council.


Scope and content/abstract: Papers relating to the activities of David Davies, Llandinam, including relating to contracting in the construction of railways, the establishment of the Ocean Coal Co. Ltd, legal papers collected for the 1883 and 1884 Barry Dock Bills, and his son Edward Davies's letter-books.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement: Arranged chronologically into the following: Welsh railways, 1857-1907, arranged by railway; Ocean Collieries Ltd, 1866-1894; Barry Dock & Railway, 1836-1897; miscellaneous, 1865-1895; and the letter books of Edward Davies, 1879-1890.

Conditions governing access: Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to sign the 'Modern papers - data protection' form.

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright regulations apply.

Finding aids: A hard copy of the catalogue is available at the National Library of Wales. The catalogue can be accessed online.

Detailed catalogue


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: All records have been retained

Accruals: Accruals are not expected

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition: Deposited in 1933 by his grandson, Lord Davies of Llandinam.



Note: Title supplied from contents of fonds

Archivist's note: Compiled by Annette Strauch for the ANW project. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: NLW, Schedule of David Davies of Llandinam Papers; Y Bywgraffiadur Cymreig 1941-1950 (London 1970); Rowland, E.H., Eminent Welshmen (1907).

Rules or conventions: This description follows ANW guidelines based on ISAD(G) second edition, AACR2 and LCSH

Date(s) of descriptions: October 2004

Barry Dock and Railway Company | Records and correspondence
Coal mines and mining | Wales | Glamorgan
Coal trade | Wales | Glamorgan
Davies, David, | 1818-1890 | Archives
Davies, Edward, | 1852-1898 | Archives
Ocean Coal Company | Records and correspondence
Railway companies | Wales | Glamorgan

Personal names
Davies , David , 1818-1890
Davies , Edward , 1852-1898

Corporate names
Barry Dock and Railway Company
Ocean Coal Company


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