Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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WILLIAMS , WILLIAM JOHN ( 1878 - 1952 ), H.M. Inspector of Schools and Director of the Council of Social Service for Wales and Monmouthshire ;

b. 1878 , the fourth son of Richard and Anne Williams , Hafod , Swansea . His brother Richard Trefor Williams , O.B.E. , (who d. in 1932 ) was the Chief Inspector of the Ministry of Health at Cardiff . Educated at schools in Swansea and at the University College of Wales , Aberystwyth , where he graduated LL.B. and M.A. , he was a schoolmaster at Gowerton County School , Bootle Intermediate School and Newport High School . He became a barrister at the Middle Temple in 1912 , and an inspector of schools in the Welsh Department of the Board of Education in 1915 . He played an important role in encouraging the use of the Welsh language in the elementary schools of Carmarthenshire . In 1933 he succeeded Dr. G. Prys Williams as Chief Inspector of Schools , and remained in the post until he reached retirement in Dec. 1944 . He took particular interest in extra-mural studies , especially in the activities of the W.E.A. and the external department of Coleg Harlech . From 1945 until 1952 he served as the Director of the Council for Social Service for Wales and Monmouthshire which he had served as assessor since 1934 .

Williams was a member of a large number of committees , among them the Welsh Committee of the Arts Council of Great Britain , the Welsh Committee of the British Council , the Welsh Committee of UNESCO and the B.B.C. Appeals Committee (Wales) . He was also a director of the Welsh National Opera and a vice-president of Coleg Harlech , 1948-52 . In 1943 he was awarded the degree of LL.D. honoris causa by the University of Wales .

He m. in 1906 Maud , dau. of David Owen , J.P. , and Anne Owen of Morriston , Swansea . They had one son. They lived at Llanelli and later at 4 North Road , Cardiff . He d. 23 Jan. 1952 , and his remains were cremated at Glyntaff Crematorium .


  • Who was who? ;
  • Y Cymro , 23 Nov. 1933 ;
  • The Times , 24 Jan. 1952 ;
  • The Cardiff Times , 2 Feb. 1952 ;
  • The Biographical Index of W. W. Price, Aberdâr (at the National Library of Wales and Aberdare Public Library) .


Dr John Graham Jones, Aberystwyth

Published date: 2001