Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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WILLIAMS , WILLIAM JONES ( 1863 - 1949 ), civil servant, secretary of Kodak Limited, treasurer of Coleg Harlech and Urdd Gobaith Cymru ;

b. 21 May 1863 at Salford , Lancashire , the eldest of the 7 children of John Williams ( 1828 - 1877 ), warehouseman , formerly of Tynygraig , Garthgarmon , near Llanrwst , and his first wife Ellen Williams ( 1838 - 1874 ), formerly of Bethel , near Llandderfel, Mer. He was at Manchester Grammar School from January 1875 until December 1876 when he began to be employed on 21 December at ‘ Mr. Salmon's, Machinist, Manchester ’ at a wage of five shillings per week. He entered the Civil Service by examination, c. 1880 , joining the Exchequer and Audit Department as a Second Division Clerk , and remaining in that service until 1900 . In 1900 , at the invitation of George Davison , late of Plas Wern Fawr , Harlech (now the home of Coleg Harlech ), who had himself been in the Exchequer and Audit Department , Williams joined Kodak Limited as Secretary ; he remained with that company until 1928 . Before he had left the Civil Service he had taken by external examinations the degrees of B.A. , and LL.B., London . He also qualified as a barrister as of the Middle Temple , but was never formally called to the Bar . While he was with Kodak Limited Williams travelled extensively in Europe (including Russia ), South Africa , and Egypt , organising Kodak branches, etc., mainly in his capacity as an expert accountant .

In his early years in London he was a member of Shirland Road CM Chapel ; he was actively connected with the Cymru Fydd movement, and was a member of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion , and an early member of the Fabian Society . After his retirement from Kodak he became associated actively with several other societies, institutions, and bodies. Among these were Coleg Harlech ( Treasurer , 1927-48 , and subsequently Vice-President ); Urdd Gobaith Cymru ( Treasurer 1931-42 ), the Labour Party — he supported a Welsh Labour weekly Y Dinesydd , the Workers' Educational Association , the Caernarfonshire Historical Society , the Cambrian Archaeological Association .

One major interest which he shared with his wife Mary Williams ( 1873 - 1942 ), of London and formerly Ruthin , whom he married in 1903 , was mountaineering . He climbed in north Wales and the Alps with such pioneers as Owen Glynne Jones , Roderick Williams , J.M. Archer Thomson , and G.D. and A.P. Abraham ; he had joined the Alpine Club in 1903 and was also a member of the Climbers' Club . He was a contributor to S.H. Hamer , Dolomites ( 1910 , 2nd ed., 1926 ) and to Cassell 's Storehouse , ed. by S.H. Hamer . He had a large private library and had throughout the years collected Welsh books and works on mountaineering . He d. 10 August 1949 .


  • Alpine Journal , 57, Nov. 1950 ;
  • information supplied by the late Dr. Thomas Jones, C.H. ;
  • Yr Aelwyd , Oct. 1949 .


Margaret Beatrice Davies, M.B.E., Aberystwyth

Published date: 2001