No man knew more about the genesis of the University of Wales than Isambard Owen , as witness the broad outline of a scheme he drew up in 1891 , the much fuller memorandum of 1892 , and his abundant activity at the Shrewsbury conferences of 1893 (Jan. and Feb.) , at which the fundamental points of the charter were agreed upon (a good deal of the legal work was done by his brother Charles Maynard Owen ). When the university was founded in 1894 , with lord Aberdare as its first chancellor , Isambard Owen became his deputy , and, for years the main weight and responsibility for university functions fell upon him; he remained senior deputy chancellor till 1910 , and no one who remembers those days can forget his dignified presence, his sonorous and penetrating diction, the cultured Latinity of the ceremonial words. He was invited to become principal of the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire after the death of Viriamu Jones (q.v.) , and it was he (according to Sir Harry Reichel ) who fathered the idea that the structure of the University College of North Wales should be adapted to the rocky ridges of Pen-rallt rather than that the ridges should be levelled to accommodate the building. In 1904 he was appointed principal of Armstrong College , Newcastle-on-Tyne , and from 1909 to 1921 he was vice-chancellor of the University of Bristol : he had an effectively honourable place in the history of both institutions. He was knighted in 1902 , was LL.D. of the Universities of Wales ( 1911 ) and Bristol ( 1912 ), and D.C.L. of Durham ( 1905 ). He m., in 1905 , Ethel Holland-Thomas , of Cae'r Ffynnon , Talsamau, Mer. , and had two daughters. He d. in Paris 14 Jan. , and was buried at Glanadda , Bangor , on 2 Feb. 1927 .
Thomas Richards, D.Litt., (1878-1962), Bangor
Published date: 1959