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National Library of Wales
Welsh Plant Breeding Station (WPBS) archives

Reference code(s): GB 0210 WPBS

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: Welsh Plant Breeding Station (WPBS) Archives

Short Title: Welsh Plant Breeding Station (WPBS) archives

Creation date(s): 1919-1980

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 4.046 cubic metres (210 boxes)

Name of creator(s): Welsh Plant Breeding Station


Administrative/Biographical history: The Welsh Plant Breeding Station (WPBS) was established in 1919, largely thanks to a gift from Lord Milford. Its first Director was Sir R. George Stapledon (1882-1960), Professor of Agricultural Botany at University College of Wales Aberystwyth. The Station collected plants from the best of Britain's natural fattening pastures for its breeding programme. The best-known and longest lasting was S23, first released in 1933 and deleted from the National List on 1st November 1993. In 1933, a gift from Sir Julian Cahn established the Cahn Hill Improvement Scheme at Cwmystwyth, Cardiganshire, concentrating on methods of establishing productive hill pastures. This project was taken over by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to become the Pwllpeiran Experimental Husbandry Farm, now Agricultural Development and Advisory Services (ADAS). The Station's first home was in the Agricultural Buildings, Alexandra Road, Aberystwyth; it moved in 1940 to the new Agricultural Research Building, Penglais, Aberystwyth, and finally transferred, in 1953, to Plas Gogerddan, north of Aberystwyth, when the Plant Genetics Department was created. Its aim was to research the inheritance of physiological characteristics affecting crop production. From 1964-1983, work on establishing hill pastures was based at the Pant y Dwr Research Centre near Rhayader, Radnorshire. The upland work expanded with the acquisition of Bronydd Mawr, Brecknockshire, in 1983. Grant aided by the Agricultural and Food Research Council (AFRC) since 1956, the WPBS finally became an AFRC Station in 1987. With the Grassland Research Institute, parts of the National Institute for Research in Dairying, and the Poultry Research Institute, now respectively the Animal and Grassland Research Stations of Hurley, Shinfield and Roslin, it became the new AFRC Institute of Grassland and Animal Production (IGAP). The Institute's administrative headquarters then moved to Gogerddan in 1989. A year later, the Institute changed its name to the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research (IGER).


Scope and content/abstract: General correspondence files, chiefly financial in nature, with various companies, related bodies such as National Association of Agricultural Services, etc., 1955-1979, correspondence with Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, 1930-1957; Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, 1957-1968; Agricultural Research Council, 1951-1979; National Institute for Agricultural Botany, 1954-1985; WPBS reports, 1919-1980; annual reports, 1944-196; papers of the Directors and heads of sections, 1919-1974; minutes, etc., relating to various seed production committees, 1947-1957; the papers of Gwilym Evans, 1928-1961; the Cahn Hill Improvement Station at Pwllpeiran, Cwmystwyth, 1933-1973; files of experiments, with details of experiments in progress, field record cards, slips and notebooks, agrotype experiment data, including results of research undertaken at Bicton, Cambridge, Newcastle, Hurley and Aberdeen, and at Welsh county trials, [1919]-1969.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement: Arranged into the following: general correspondence; correspondence relating to royal visit; administration; papers of directors and heads of sections, etc.; Cahn Hill Improvement Scheme; and experiments.

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 deposited at the National Library of Wales have been retained. The papers of Gwilym Evans will be transferred to Ceredigion Archives.

Accruals: Accruals are not expected.

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition: Deposited by the AFRC Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research, Aberystwyth, per Mrs J A Edkins, Institute Librarian, in 1992.



Note: Title compiled from content of fonds.

Archivist's note: Compiled by Seri Crawley for the ANW project. The following sources were used in the preparation of the description: NLW, Schedule of WPBS Archives; Welsh Plant Breeding Station: 70th anniversary, June 1989 (Aberystwyth, 1989); The Grassland Research Institute 40 years on (Maidenhead, 1989); Stapledon Trust page on IGER website (, viewed 14 July 2003.

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

Date(s) of descriptions: April 2003; amended August 2005

Agricultural experiment stations | Wales | Aberystwyth
Agriculture | Research | Wales
Forage plants | Varieties | Wales | Field experiments
Plant breeding | Research | Wales
Welsh Plant Breeding Station | Archives

Personal names

Corporate names
Agricultural Research Council (Great Britain)
Cahn Hill Improvement Scheme
Great Britain | Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
National Institute of Agricultural Botany (Great Britain)
Welsh Plant Breeding Station

Aberystwyth (Wales)

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