Fonds GB 0210 LORDED - Lord Edmund-Davies Papers,

Identity area

Reference code



Lord Edmund-Davies Papers,


  • 1908x1992 / (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.373 cubic metres (37 boxes)

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Herbert Edmund Davies (he later assumed the surname of Edmund-Davies) was born on 15 July 1906 at Mountain Ash, Mid Glamorgan. He was the third son of Morgan John Davies and Elizabeth Maud Edmunds. He married Sarah Eurwen Williams-James (d. 1991) in 1935. He was educated at Mountain Ash Grammar School, King's College, London and Exeter College, Oxford, where he won the Vinerian scholarship. He was called to the Bar by Gray's Inn, 1929. He became a lecturer and examiner at the London School of Economics, 1930-1931. He joined the Army Officers' Emergency Reserve, 1938, and was commissioned into the Royal Welch Fusiliers, 1940. He was seconded to the Judge Advocate-General Department and became Assistant Judge Advocate-General, 1944-1945 (Lt-Col 1944). He took Silk in 1943 and served as Recorder of Merthyr Tydfil, 1942-1944; Swansea, 1944-1953; and Cardiff, 1953-1958. He became Chairman of Denbighshire Quarter Sessions, 1953-1964; Judge of High Court of Justice, Queen's Bench Division, 1958-1966; a Lord Justice of Appeal, 1966-1974; a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary, 1974-1981 and Foreign Office Observer, at the Cairo espionage trials, 1957. He was Chairman of the Transport Users' Consultative Committee for Wales, 1959-1961; Tribunal of Inquiry into Aberfan Disaster, 1966; Council of Law Reporting 1967-1972; Home Secretary's Criminal Law Revision Committee, 1969-1977; Home Secretary's Police Inquiry Committee, 1977-1979 and Use of Welsh in Courts Inquiry, 1973. He was President of London Welsh Trust/London Welsh Association, 1982-1992; University College of Swansea, 1965-1975; Hon. Standing Counsel, University of Wales, 1947-1957; and Pro-Chancellor, University of Wales, 1974-1985. In 1958, he was knighted on becoming a High Court Judge of the Queen's Bench Division. He was created a life peer as Baron Edmund-Davies of Aberpennar, Mid Glamorgan in 1974. He died 26 December 1992.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Donated by Lord Edmund-Davies, June 1988 and September 1989, and per his daughter, Mrs Elisabeth Large, Burnley, Lancashire, February 1991 and September 1994. A further group was donated September 2007 by The Hon. Elisabeth Large, Wincanton, Somerset.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Papers of Lord Edmund-Davies of Holborn, London, reflecting his career as a barrister and High Court judge, including papers deriving from court cases in which he was involved, 1936-1983; papers relating to the Great Train Robbery, [1964]; papers relating to the Aberfan Disaster Tribunal, 1966-1967, 1974; general legal papers, 1972-1986, including papers relating to the Welsh Language Act 1967, the work of the Committee of Inquiry on the Police, and the work and procedure of the House of Lords; photocopies of miscellaneous legal papers, 1908-1979; printed copies of appeals from the Court of Appeal to the House of Lords, 1947-1954; Lord Edmund-Davies' judge's notebooks, [1976x1985]; papers, mainly opinions of counsel relating to cases concerning the National Coal Board, 1947-1956; petitions against the Cardiff Corporation relating to water supply, 1954-1955; and minutes of meetings, reports, memoranda, etc. deriving from the work of the Committee of Inquiry on the Police, which Lord Edmund-Davies chaired, 1977-1979; together with papers relating to specific subjects such as the affairs of the London Welsh Trust, British Universities and Lord Edmund-Davies' selection as an observer for the British Government at the trial at Cairo of two Britons accused of spying, 1957-1986; speeches, lecture notes, and articles including legal speeches, [c. 1920s-1986], and offprints and typescripts of lectures by others, 1921-1983; correspondence files, 1967-1987; literary works by Lord Edmund-Davies, 1917-1929; correspondence and papers relating to his various appointments, 1942-1982; press cuttings, [1926x1992]; and miscellaneous correspondence and papers, 1908-1990.

Additional papers of Lord Edmund-Davies, Aberpennar, barrister and high court judge, including letters, papers relating to a visit to Canada, 1966, press cuttings, addresses to universities and other learned societies, and a number of photographs of him. This group remains uncatalogued.

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 groups: court cases; The Great Train Robbery, 1963; The Aberfan Disaster Tribunal, 1966-1967; legal papers; miscellaneous; general legal papers; speech and lecture notes; specific subjects; correspondence files; miscellanea; literary works; speech and lecture notes and articles; legal papers; correspondence and papers; press cuttings; miscellaneous;

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

English, Welsh.

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

A hard copy of the catalogue, is available in 'Minor Lists and Summaries 1988' at the National Library of Wales.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

A tape recording of Lord Edmund-Davies is held in NLW National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales (CM5332), and photographs in NLW, Photographic Collection (PG5708).

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

May 2003


  • English



Archivist's note

Compiled by Seri Crawley for the ANW Project. The following sources were consulted in the compilation of this description: NLW Schedule of Minor Lists and Summaries (1988); Who was Who, (London, 2001); NLW Obituaries Cumulated Index (1992-1997)

Accession area