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National Library of Wales
Thomas, D. A., (Viscount Rhondda), papers

Reference code(s): GB 0210 DATMAS

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: D. A. Thomas (Viscount Rhondda) Papers

Short Title: Thomas, D. A., (Viscount Rhondda), papers

Creation date(s): 1874-1934

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 0.188 cubic metres (5 boxes, 10 volumes, 2 envelopes, 1 parcel, 1 picture, 2 rolls, 2 cases)

Name of creator(s): David Alfred Thomas (1856-1918), 1st Viscount Rhondda


Administrative/Biographical history: David Alfred Thomas (1856-1918), first Viscount Rhondda, was a statesman and coalowner. He was born on 26 March 1856 in Aberdare, Glamorgan, the son of Samuel and Rachel Thomas. He was educated at Dr Hudson's School, Clifton, Bristol, and Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. In 1879 he went to Clydach Vale to study coal mining. In politics he was Liberal MP for Merthyr Boroughs, 1888-1910, and MP for Cardiff District of Boroughs, Jan.-Dec. 1910. He did not achieve recognition at Westminster, and was disappointed not to be granted ministerial office after the Liberals' general election landslide victory in 1906. He subsequently channelled his energies into the Cambrian collieries, amassing a vast fortune, eventually culminating in the establishment of the Cambrian Combine with a capital of £2,000,000. His capitalist zeal and management practices resulted in clashes with the leadership of the South Wales Miners' Federation. In 1915 Lloyd George, Minister of Munitions, sent him to the United States on ministry business. His success led to him being created Baron Rhondda of Llanwern in 1916 and promoted to Viscount Rhondda in 1918. He was appointed President of the Local Government Board by Lloyd George in December 1916 and became Food Minister in June 1917, overseeing the introduction of food rationing. In June 1882 Thomas married Sybil Margaret Haig of Pen Ithon, Radnorshire, and they had one daughter, Margaret, later Viscountess Rhondda. He died at his home at Llanwern, Monmouthshire, on 3 July 1918.


Scope and content/abstract: Papers of D.A. Thomas, Viscount Rhondda, including letters to D. A. Thomas on political matters such as working conditions in the mining industry, education, church disestablishment, and the temperance movement, 1891-1910 (mainly 1891-1895); drafts and copies of letters from D. A. Thomas on similar subjects, 1891-1895; miscellaneous letters, 1893-1895; subject files, 1874-1917, on the coal industry, including the Cambrian Navigation Collieries, the Mining Association of Great Britain, the South Wales Liberal Federation, temperance and disestablishment; scrapbooks of press cuttings, 1894-1927, relating to Cymru Fydd, D.A Thomas, Merthyr politics and Keir Hardie, the Lusitania, and Lady Rhondda; miscellaneous items, 1897-1934, including genealogical material and congratulatory addresses to D.A.T.; circulars and memoranda.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement: Arranged into the following: correspondence; subject files; scrapbooks of press cuttings; and miscellaneous items.

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 is available online.

Detailed catalogue


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: All records donated to the National Library of Wales have been retained.

Accruals: Accruals are not expected.

Archival history: The archive remained in the possession of his family, who added to the papers, until 1934.

Immediate source of acquisition: Donated by his daughter, the Rt Hon. Margaret, Viscountess Rhondda of Llanwern, 1941.


Related material: Further papers are in the House of Lords Record Office: The Parliamentary Archives, Lloyd George Papers.


Note: Title compiled from content of fonds. Items postdating Viscount Rhondda's death were accumulated by his widow and daughter.

Archivist's note: Compiled by Rhys Jones for the ANW project. The following sources were used to compile this description: NLW, Schedule of D. A. Thomas (Viscount Rhondda) Papers; Dictionary of National Biography 1912-1922 (Oxford, 1927); Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940 (London, 1959).

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

Date(s) of descriptions: March 2003

Church in Wales | Establishment and disestablishment
Coal mines and mining | Wales
Education | Wales
Glamorgan (Wales) | Politics and government | 19th century
Temperance | Wales
Thomas, D. A. | (David Alfred), | 1856-1918 | Archives

Personal names
Hardie , James Keir , 1856-1915
Thomas , D. A. (David Alfred) , 1856-1918
Thomas , Sybil Margaret , 1857-1941 , Viscountess Rhondda

Corporate names
Cymru Fydd
Liberal Party (Great Britain)
Lusitania (Steamship)
Mining Association of Great Britain
South Wales Liberal Federation

Cambrian Navigation Collieries (Wales)
Merthyr Tydfil (Wales)

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