Fonds GB 0210 LLANNAM - David Davies of Llandinam Papers,

Identity area

Reference code



David Davies of Llandinam Papers,


  • 1836-1907 / (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

5.893 cubic metres (189 boxes, 3 rolls, 73 volumes)

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

David Davies (1818-1890), industrialist and MP. He was born at Llandinam, Montgomeryshire, the eldest of nine children of David and Elizabeth Davies. On leaving the village school at the age of 11, David Davies helped his father in farming and sawing timber on commission, and his prowess was such that in later life he boasted that he was always "top sawyer". In 1846 he was invited to make the foundation and approaches for a bridge over the Severn at Llandinam; this set him on a career as a railway contractor. In 1851 Davies married Margaret Jones of Llanfair Caereinion; they had one child, Edward (1852-1898). In 1855 Davies built the first section of the Llanidloes & Newtown railway (opened in 1859). He subsequently built, with various partners, the following railways: Vale of Clwyd (1858), Oswestry & Newtown (1861), Newtown & Machynlleth (1862), Pembroke & Tenby (1863, extended to Whitland, 1866), 'Manchester & Milford' (Pencader to Aberystwyth, 1867), Van (Caersws to Van mines, 1871). In 1864 David Davies took a lease of coal in the Upper Rhondda Valley and sank the Parc and Maendy pits. David Davies & Co. was formed as a private company in 1867 to work these 'Ocean Merthyr' pits, and new collieries were sunk: Dare (1868), Western and Eastern (1872), Garw (1884), and Lady Windsor (1885). In 1887 the output had so increased that it was deemed advisable to set up a limited liability company, the Ocean Coal Co. Ltd. The inability of the Taff Vale railway and the Bute docks at Cardiff to cope with the Ocean traffic led Davies to promote a new dock at Barry with a railway connection from the Rhondda. The project was carried through after a severe parliamentary fight, and was brought to completion in 1889. As a man of wealth, David Davies entered public life. In 1865 he unsuccessfully contested Cardiganshire against another Liberal, but in 1874 and again in 1880 he was returned unopposed for Cardigan district. He was returned in 1885 after a contest, but in 1886 he disagreed with Gladstone over home rule for Ireland and was defeated by nine votes. He was one of the first governors of the University College of Wales at Aberystwyth and in 1875 was elected treasurer, a post which he held till 1887. He was returned unopposed in 1889 to represent Llandinam on the first Montgomeryshire county council.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Deposited in 1933 by his grandson, Lord Davies of Llandinam.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Papers relating to the activities of David Davies, Llandinam, including relating to contracting in the construction of railways, the establishment of the Ocean Coal Co. Ltd, legal papers collected for the 1883 and 1884 Barry Dock Bills, and his son Edward Davies's letter-books.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Action: All records have been retained..


Accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

Arranged chronologically into the following: Welsh railways, 1857-1907, arranged by railway; Ocean Collieries Ltd, 1866-1894; Barry Dock & Railway, 1836-1897; miscellaneous, 1865-1895; and the letter books of Edward Davies, 1879-1890.

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. The catalogue can be accessed online.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Notes area


Title supplied from contents of fonds

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

October 2004.


  • English



Archivist's note

Compiled by Annette Strauch for the ANW project. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: NLW, Schedule of David Davies of Llandinam Papers; Y Bywgraffiadur Cymreig 1941-1950 (London 1970); Rowland, E.H., Eminent Welshmen (1907);

Accession area