Fonds GB 0210 DATMAS - D. A. Thomas (Viscount Rhondda) Papers,

Lord Rhondda's work as Food Controller during the First World War,

Identity area

Reference code



D. A. Thomas (Viscount Rhondda) Papers,


  • 1874-1934 / (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.188 cubic metres (5 boxes, 10 volumes, 2 envelopes, 1 parcel, 1 picture, 2 rolls, 2 cases).

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

David Alfred Thomas (1856-1918), first Viscount Rhondda, was a statesman and coalowner. He was born on 26 March 1856 in Aberdare, Glamorgan, the son of Samuel and Rachel Thomas. He was educated at Dr Hudson's School, Clifton, Bristol, and Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. In 1879 he went to Clydach Vale to study coal mining. In politics he was Liberal MP for Merthyr Boroughs, 1888-1910, and MP for Cardiff District of Boroughs, Jan.-Dec. 1910. He did not achieve recognition at Westminster, and was disappointed not to be granted ministerial office after the Liberals' general election landslide victory in 1906. He subsequently channelled his energies into the Cambrian collieries, amassing a vast fortune, eventually culminating in the establishment of the Cambrian Combine with a capital of £2,000,000. His capitalist zeal and management practices resulted in clashes with the leadership of the South Wales Miners' Federation. In 1915 Lloyd George, Minister of Munitions, sent him to the United States on ministry business. His success led to him being created Baron Rhondda of Llanwern in 1916 and promoted to Viscount Rhondda in 1918. He was appointed President of the Local Government Board by Lloyd George in December 1916 and became Food Minister in June 1917, overseeing the introduction of food rationing. In June 1882 Thomas married Sybil Margaret Haig of Pen Ithon, Radnorshire, and they had one daughter, Margaret, later Viscountess Rhondda. He died at his home at Llanwern, Monmouthshire, on 3 July 1918.

Archival history

The archive remained in the possession of his family, who added to the papers, until 1934.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Donated by his daughter, the Rt Hon. Margaret, Viscountess Rhondda of Llanwern, 1941.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Papers of D. A. Thomas, Viscount Rhondda, including letters to D. A. Thomas on political matters such as working conditions in the mining industry, education, church disestablishment, and the temperance movement, 1891-1910 (mainly 1891-1895); drafts and copies of letters from D. A. Thomas on similar subjects, 1891-1895; miscellaneous letters, 1893-1895; subject files, 1874-1917, on the coal industry, including the Cambrian Navigation Collieries, the Mining Association of Great Britain, the South Wales Liberal Federation, temperance and disestablishment; scrapbooks of press cuttings, 1894-1927, relating to Cymru Fydd, D.A Thomas, Merthyr politics and Keir Hardie, the Lusitania, and Lady Rhondda; miscellaneous items, 1897-1934, including genealogical material and congratulatory addresses to D.A.T.; circulars and memoranda.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Action: All records donated to the National Library of Wales have been retained..


Accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

Arranged into the following: correspondence; subject files; scrapbooks of press cuttings; and miscellaneous items.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to sign the 'Modern papers - data protection' form.

Conditions governing reproduction

Usual copyright regulations apply.

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes


Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

A hard copy of the catalogue is available at the National Library of Wales.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Further papers are in the House of Lords Record Office: The Parliamentary Archives, Lloyd George Papers.

Related descriptions

Notes area


Title compiled from content of fonds. Items postdating Viscount Rhondda's death were accumulated by his widow and daughter.

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number


Project identifier


Access points

Place access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru = The National Library of Wales

Rules and/or conventions used

Description follows ANW guidelines based on ISAD(G) 2nd ed.;AACR2; and LCSH


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

March 2003.


  • English



Archivist's note

Compiled by Rhys Jones for the ANW project. The following sources were used to compile this description: NLW, Schedule of D. A. Thomas (Viscount Rhondda) Papers; Dictionary of National Biography 1912-1922 (Oxford, 1927); Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940 (London, 1959);

Accession area