- 1874-1927 (Creation)
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J. E. Powell was a Wrexham ironmonger. He was born around 1851 at Wrexham, Denbighshire, the son of Evan Powell, ironmonger, of Town Hill, Wrexham. He took over his father's ironmongery business about 1875, and established the Cambrian Ironworks in 1876 in association with his brother and a gentleman called John Whitaker. He had a keen interest in educational matters and was a member of the Central Welsh Board at the turn of the century as well as being a Governor on local school boards. He was also a member of the Calvinistic Methodist Church at Pentrefelin and was a Trustee and Chairman of the North Wales C. M. Loan Fund between 1907 and 1920. He served as a Justice of the Peace in Wrexham.
J. E. Powell was actively involved in the establishment of the Central Welsh Board of Education and was also a member of the Board. The Board was established in 1896 to foster educational interests and opinion in Wales. It comprised 80 members and its first meeting was held on 8 January 1897. J. E. Powell was present representing Denbighshire.
The Board was seen as an organisation created to foster discussion on educational matters in Wales. However, opinion regarding the value of J. E. Powell's contribution to the Board varied. O. M. Edwards, Chief Inspector of Education for Wales, described him in 1910 as 'a man of strong convictions and very stormy eloquence ... and was above all others, the champion of the Central Welsh Board - which he considered to be perfect ... and any criticism of Welsh intermediate education was treason...'.
Following a deputation sent by the Board in 1913 to see the President of the Board of Education, the Rt. Hon. J. A. Pease M.P., Powell was described as a 'mere appendage to the group'. It was also stated that 'Powell was present apparently to provide a boring and colourless historical interlude on the failure of Wales to establish a Welsh National Council for Education, and said, in his ignorance, that all the Welsh counties had joined in the attempt'.
J. E. Powell remained an active member of the Board up to 1925 when illness prevented him from attending meetings, although he continued to correspond with the Board until his death on 2 January 1926.
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