Fonds GB 0210 BENMAS - Sir Ben Bowen Thomas Papers,

Identity area

Reference code



Sir Ben Bowen Thomas Papers,


  • 1926-1977 / (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.054 cubic metres (6 boxes)

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Sir Ben Bowen Thomas (1899-1977) served as the Permanent Secretary to the Welsh Department of the Ministry of Education, 1945-1963. He played an important role in the sphere of education throughout his career, beginning as a tutorial class lecturer in UCW Aberystwyth, 1922-1927, and then as Warden for the newly-founded Coleg Harlech, 1927-1940, working with its founder, Dr Thomas Jones (1870-1955). He also served on the McNair Committee on the Training of Teachers and Youth Leaders, 1942-1944. Sir Ben quickly rose to an international status in the world of education, as a UK delegate to UNESCO, 1946-1962, and a member of the Executive Board, 1954-1962 (being chairman from 1958-1960). His interests in education took him into the field of television, and he was closely involved in the Independent Television Authority (ITA) Commission, 1964-1970. He also became President of University of Wales, Aberystwyth. He wrote numerous articles on education and religion for newspapers and pamphlets, as well as several of an autobiographical nature. His grandfather was the Rev. Benjamin Thomas (1838-1913), a Baptist minister in Ystrad Rhondda, Glamorgan.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Bequest in 1977

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Papers of Sir Ben Bowen Thomas (1899-1977), educationalist and public servant, comprising autobiographical material on his career, interests and family, 1954-1972; biographical articles and an interview, 1964-1966; letters to his wife and daughter with references to his work with UNESCO and Welsh educational matters, 1947-1960; letters from Dr Thomas Jones and Sir Percy E. Watkins relating to educational issues and Coleg Harlech, 1926-1955; correspondence concerning BBT's work with UNESCO, 1954-1962; miscellaneous correspondence, 1948-1976; addresses and speech notes, 1949-1977; pamphlets, offprints and articles, 1941-1973; research notes on regions and towns of Wales during the 18th and 19th centuries; circulars, articles, reports, etc. relating to education and educational bodies in Wales, 1942-1975, to UNESCO, 1946-1958, and to public and cultural bodies such as the Welsh Language Council, ITA and the Rural Development Board, 1965-1973; McNair Report on the Training of Teachers, 1942-3; memorials, tributes and obituaries of other educationalists; and miscellaneous press cuttings and notes. The archive also includes a collection of sermon notes and exercise books of his grandfather, the Rev. Benjamin Thomas, (1838-1913), a Baptist minister in Ystrad Rhondda, Glamorgan.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

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


Accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

Arranged into the following groups: autobiography/biography; correspondence; address and speech notes; pamphlets, offprints & articles; research notes; education & educational bodies; public & cultural bodies; religious material; memorial services, tributes, obituaries; and 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

Welsh, English.

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

Visual items received as part of the archive are National Library of Wales, Special Collections, PB8872-5. Letters to Ben Bowen Thomas from A.G. Prys-Jones, and donated by him, are NLW MS 21482B. Other papers of Benjamin Thomas are NLW MSS 16008A, 16040A.

Related descriptions

Notes area


Title compiled from content 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

March 2003


  • English



Archivist's note

Compiled by Seri Crawley for the ANW Project. The following sources were used for the preparation of the description : NLW Schedule of Sir Ben Bowen Thomas Papers; Thomas, Ben Bowen, "Aber" 1872-1972 (Cardiff, 1972)

Accession area