Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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GRIFFITH , WILLIAM ( 1853 - 1918 ), mining engineer and author ;

b. at Portdinorwic and educated at Caernarvon , [was at first a draper's apprentice at Portdinorwic ], but he afterwards became a partner in a local slate quarry and acquired experience in each of its departments. He then embarked for Victoria , Australia , and was engaged in mining in which he became expert and did much prospecting work . He returned to Wales and took up some Welsh gold-mines , in which he was interested for several years. He then sailed for South Africa and attached himself to the diamond industry at Kimberley . Again he came home to spend another period in the slate mines of Wales . He returned to South Africa after receiving commissions from various London companies to report on mines . From this period he played a conspicuous part in the history and development of Central Africa . He was engaged by Cecil Rhodes as leader of an expedition sent out to prospect in Central Africa and was later placed in charge of an exploration party for the De Beer Mining Company , and, in company with Dr. Jameson , he prospected properties for the British South Africa Chartered Company . He published in 1894 and 1895 two books giving an account of his journeys, Anturiaethau Cymro yn Affrica [2nd ed. 1912 , ed. by W. J. Gruffydd ]. In 1893 he m. Annie , second daughter of Thomas Morris , Aberystwyth ; [and was landlord of the Waterloo Hotel there.] He d. 25 Nov. 1918 , leaving two sons, and was buried at Aberystwyth cemetery.


  • The Welsh Gazette , 26 Nov. 1918 ;
  • [information from the late Professor W. J. Gruffydd ].


Idwal Lewis, Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959