Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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GRIFFITHS , WILLIAM ( 1898 - 1962 ), bookseller ;

b. 6 June 1898 at Evanstown , Gilfach-goch, Glam. , son of Joseph Griffiths and his wife Margaret Ann (née Williams ) . He received his early education at Abercerdin elementary school , Evanstown , 1903-11 . He worked for some years as a collier and then went to live in London . He took an interest in music and became a student at the Guildhall School of Music , receiving tuition on the violin from teachers such as Jeffrey Pulver and Harold Fairhurst . He was a skilful violinist and played professionally until about 1931 . He then joined Foyles , the booksellers in Charing Cross Road , where he was responsible for its Welsh department for about fourteen years. In 1946 he opened his own shop in Cecil Court ( Leicester Square ) where he established a Welsh bookshop with his three brothers. This was a successful business and he made the shop a popular meeting place for London-Welsh people and it was well known to Celtic scholars and other visitors from various parts of the world. He was prominent in London-Welsh life. He served as the chairman of the Council of the London-Welsh Society and as chairman of the Literary Circle of that society. He edited Y Ddinas from Nov. 1956 to Feb. 1959 . He was a member of the Council of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion for many years and he was elected a member of the Bardic Gorsedd under the name of ‘ Gwilym Cerdin ’. He m. Winifred Irene , daughter of John Kent and his wife Sara (née Rogers ) in the parish church of Mentmore, Bucks. 23 Sept. 1933 and they had one daughter. He died in a London hospital on 8 Oct. 1962 .


  • Information from his brother Arthur;
  • Y Cymro , 23 July 1948 ;
  • Western Mail , 9 Oct. 1962 ,
  • The London Welshman , Nov. 1962 ;
  • The Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion , 1963 , 146-7;
  • Y Ddinas, Cylchgrawn Cymry Llundain , passim , during his editorship;
  • The Biographical Index of W. W. Price, Aberdâr (at the National Library of Wales and Aberdare Public Library) .


Griffith Milwyn Griffiths, M.A., Aberystwyth

Published date: 2001