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Lewis Llewelyn Dillwyn

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Lewis Llewelyn Dillwyn was a Welsh industrialist and Liberal politician who served as MP for Swansea for 37 years. Dillwyn was born in Swansea, Wales, fourth of six children of Lewis Weston Dillwyn and Mary Dillwyn. He had two brothers and three sisters. His grandfather, William Dillwyn, was an American Quaker, who, alongside others such as William Wilberforce, had campaigned for the abolition of the slave trade. His father had been sent to Swansea by his father, William, to take over management of Cambrian Pottery, and live at Sketty Hall. He was educated at Kilvert's Academy in Bath but, following his father's election to Parliament as one of two members for Glamorgan in 1832, he chose to follow a business career by taking over management of Cambrian Pottery, rather than enter Oriel College, Oxford as had been intend. His father was a friend of geologist Henry De la Beche and Dillwyn and De la Beche carried out experiments on Chinese clays and granites with the aim of improving the production of earthenware. On 16 March 1838, Dillwyn married De la Beche's daughter Elizabeth and, with his wife's artistic guidance, Pottery produced a range of beautiful Etruscan ware which is today's collector'ss item. They had four children, best known of whom was Amy Dillwyn and they lived at newly built Hendrefoilan House in Sketty. Dillwyn follows his father and his Quaker antecedents in pursuing industry and commerce and radical politics, and plays a major part in the industrial development of Swansea. He was head of the firm of Dillwyn and Richards at Landore spelter-works and began to expand his industrial activities to include silver refining. Later, he formed a partnership with William Siemens to establish Landore Siemens Steel Co., And by 1874 this company had become one of four largest producers in the world, employing some 2 000 workers. In the 1880s, following a slump in steel industry slump, Dillwyn concentrated his manufacturing activities on his spelter work at Llansamlet, Swansea, and soon became one of the major zinc producers in the country. Dillwyn was also for many years active director of Great Western Railway and Chairman of Glamorganshire Banking Co.

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Early life

Dillwyn was born in Swansea, Wales, fourth of six children of Lewis Weston Dillwyn and Mary Dillwyn. He had two brothers and three sisters. His grandfather, William Dillwyn, was an American Quaker, who, alongside others such as William Wilberforce, had campaigned for the abolition of the slave trade. His father had been sent to Swansea by his father, William, to take over management of Cambrian Pottery, and live at Sketty Hall. He was educated at Kilvert's Academy in Bath but, following his father's election to Parliament as one of two members for Glamorgan in 1832, he chose to follow a business career by taking over management of Cambrian Pottery, rather than enter Oriel College, Oxford as had been intend. His father was a friend of geologist Henry De la Beche and Dillwyn and De la Beche carried out experiments on Chinese clays and granites with the aim of improving the production of earthenware. On 16 March 1838, Dillwyn married De la Beche's daughter Elizabeth and, with his wife's artistic guidance, Pottery produced a range of beautiful Etruscan ware which is today's collector'ss item. They had four children, best known of whom was Amy Dillwyn and they lived at newly built Hendrefoilan House in Sketty.

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Industrial activities

William Dillwyn, a Quaker and anti-slavery campaigner who emigrated from America to Britain. William Dillwyn was a founder member, with Thomas Clarkson and Granville Sharp, of the Society for Abolition of Slave Trade and he write, with John Lloyd, Case of our Fellow Creatures, oppressing Africans. He purchased Cambrian Pottery in Swansea, thus establishing the family's connection with the area. His travel journals have been transcribed and are published here. Lewis Weston Dillwyn, eminent botanist, Fellow of the Royal Society, founder member of the Royal Insitution of South Wales, owner of Cambrian Pottery. He was the author of several works on botany and conchology. His diaries have been transcribed and are published here. Son of William Dillwyn and father of John, Mary and Lewis. John Dillwyn Llewelyn, pioneer photogapher who collaborated with Henry Fox Talbot. He was also an astronomer, botanist and Fellow of the Royal Society, making him an important figure in the history of science in Britain. Amongst his children was Thereza, who kept up the family interest in science and is pictured above using an early microscope. Visit Penllergare Trust for an illustrated timeline. Mary Dillwyn was a notable early British female photographer and Wales's first woman photographer. Mary Dillwyn's photography albums have been digitise by the National Library of Wales. Thereza Mary Story-Maskelyne interested in photography and astronomy, Thereza Dillwyn Llewelyn made some pioneering telescopic photographs of the moon in 1857 / 8. She married Nevil Story-Maskelyne in 1858, Professor of Minerology at Oxford. Record as correspondent of Charles Darwin in the 1870s, her diaries, unpublished memoirs and photographs were recently acquired by the British Library: 'The Papers of Thereza Story-Maskelyne add MS 89120 1845-1923'. Lewis Llewelyn Dillwyn, scientist and industrialist, before he prioritise his political career. Longstanding Liberal MP, campaigner for the Disestablishment of Church in Wales, and finally supporter of Cymru Fydd. Married daughter of eminent geologist, Henry De La Beche. His second daughter was Amy Dillwyn. His diaries have been transcribed and are published here.

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Military connections

The only son of Colonel Thomas Beach, Jamaican plantation owner who adopted the name of de la Beche, sitter was intended for the army, but was expel from military college at Great Marlow. His interest in Geology probably stemmed from acquaintance with fossil collector Mary Anning, whom he met in 1812. He married in 1818, and spent the next few years travelling on the Continent and in the West Indies. This picture may have been painted during a visit to Rome in 1829, when he sat to an unidentified artist called Saulini. Elect Fellow of the Royal Society in 1819, he first carried out fieldwork in Pembrokeshire in 1822, and was secretary of the Geological Society in 1831-2. He was appointed Geologist to the Trigonometrical Survey of Great Britain, and settled temporarily in Swansea in 1837, and the following year his daughter Bessie married Lewis Llewelyn Dillwyn. Knight in 1842, he was honorary director of Jermyn Street museum of Practical Geology, and President of both the Geological and Paleaontographical Societies. De la Beche was a member of numerous foreign societies and academies, and corresponded with many prominent scientists of day. Many of his papers were given to NMGW's Department of Geology in the 1930s by descendants of Bessie and Lewis Llewelyn Dillwyn.

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Political career

In 1837, at early age of 22, Dillwyn became Glamorganshire magistrate and in 1842 played a prominent role alongside his brother, Dilwyn Llewelyn, in preventing Rebecca riots from engulfing Glamorgan as they and neighbouring Carmarthenshire. During the 1840s, he became a member of both Swansea Town Council and Swansea Harbour trust. In 1848, he was Mayor of Swansea, during which year the British Association held its annual meeting in the town. Dillwyn took advantage of the occasion to put in place an urban scheme which secures the town's supply of pure water and led to the naming of its streets and their improvement through the introduction of paving. In 1852 he conversed with Edwin Chadwick in relation to the construction of the sewerage system in Swansea. In 1855 he was elected Member of Parliament for Swansea District, succeeding JH Vivian who had held the seat since 1832. He held the seat with few challenges for thirty years and, although opposed in 1874 by Charles Bath of Ffynone, he comfortably defeated him. In Parliament, Dillwyn had built a reputation by 1860s as advanced Radical and, at least until the Election of men such as Henry Richard, he was regarded as leader of the Welsh Liberal Party from his regular corner seat below gangway. Although not an effective speaker-one obituary even alludes to his inability to make coherent speech'.-Dillwyn earned status as a critic of clerical privilege. It was significant in this respect that Dillwyn was Anglican and this made his support for campaigns of Liberation Society against the status of the established Church more effective. He introduced bills in 1860 and 1863 to enable dissenters to be elected as trustees of Endowed Schools and his motion on the Church of Ireland influenced Gladstone's gradual move towards disestablishment. From 1870 he supported the disestablishment of the Welsh Church, in 1873 moved anti-clerical amendment to the Endowed Schools Act and from 1883 he moved annual resolutions in favour of the disestablishment of the Anglican Church in Wales. He also favours the Local Option, which would entail closure of all public houses within give area. During this period, Dillwyn came to be regarded as conspicuous Radical and was an active supporter of the Reform Act of 1867. During the passage of Second Reform, Bill Dillwyn's involvement as leading member of the 'Tea Room' cabal of disaffected Liberals in April 1867 helped to bring about household suffrage, measure which led to an overnight increase in urban electorate throughout Great Britain. At the 1868 General Election he was instrumental in promoting the candidature in Cardiganshire of Evan Matthew Richards, fellow Swansea industrialist. This election was notable of allegations of clerical influence and intimidation and later, in Parliament, Dillwyn championed the cause of Cardiganshire farmers who were evicted for their votes in the 1868 Election. Similarly, in the 1880s, he supported Denbighshire tenantry who agitate against tithes.

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Cultural associations

Amy Dillwyn was born on 16 May 1845 into a wealthy and distinguished Swansea Family, daughter of Lewis Llewelyn Dillwyn and Elizabeth Dillwyn. Her father was a scientist, industrialist and long-serving Liberal MP for Swansea who campaigned for Disestablishment in Wales. Her mother reputedly contributed to the designs of Cambrian Pottery owned by her husband. Amy Dillwyn's uncle was John Dillwyn-Llewelyn of Penllergare who, along with his wife Emma Thomasina Talbot, his sister Mary Dillwyn and his daughter, Amy's cousin, Theresa Story Maskelyne, was a pioneer of early photography. Her grandfathers were naturalist Lewis Weston Dillwyn and geologist Henry De La Beche. On Dillwyn's side, family were originally Quakers and her great-grandfather was William Dillwyn, anti-slavery campaigner from Pennsylvania, USA. Amy Dillwyn was the third of four children. Her older sister, Mary Nichol of Merthyr Mawr, was an entomologist, traveller, climber and mother of five. Dillwyn was particularly close to her only brother Henry, her senior by one year; he was an unhappy barrister, founder member of Century Club which supported advanced Liberal politics and an alcoholic which led to his early death. Younger sister Sarah was involved in a divorce case after leaving her alcoholic husband and her five children. She becomes an actress and remarry, but dies in impoverished circumstances, leaving one daughter from her second marriage who was a major beneficiary of Amy Dillwyn's will. In her youth, Dillwyn's life looked set to follow that of other wealthy debutantes. She was present to the Society at the Royal Drawing Room in 1863 where grieving Queen Victoria was represented by her daughter, Crown Princess of Prussia. Though briefly engage, Dillwyn never marry. Her fiance, Llewelyn Thomas of Llwyn Madoc, died in February 1864 shortly before their wedding, relieving her of the prospect of marriage without love. She furiously rejects several subsequent offers of marriage from Swansea clergyman. Love of her teenage years and regular companion throughout her twenties was Olive Talbot of Margam and Penrice, who Dillwyn came to think of as her wife. After the death of her mother in 1866, Dillwyn reluctantly took over duties of running the household and acted as her father's companion in many of his engagements in Swansea and London. In London, they were often guests at the Prince of Wales's 'Drawing Rooms' in Buckingham Palace, attending lavish diplomatic balls such as that for the Sultan of Turkey in 1867 at the Indian Office and regular events at the Foreign Office. Struggling to find purpose in life, Dillwyn for a time considered joining the Anglican Sisterhood attached to her beloved Church of All Saints, Margaret Street in London. When at home in Wales, she teaches at a Sunday school in Killay and volunteers at a village day school. Seeking ways to raise funds for school and other charitable causes, she took to writing allegories, some of which were published by Christian Knowledge Society.

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Death and legacy

Dillwyn, aged 78, had every intention of contesting the 1892 Election despite active opposition. On 1 June, the general meeting of Swansea Conservatives and Liberal Unionists, allies against the Irish Home Rule movement, resolved to nominate F. Ormesby-Gore. On 18 June he attended a meeting at Swansea Liberal Club where David Randell was re-adopt as candidate for Gower constituency and gave a speech. Later that evening, he attended a meeting to plan his own campaign where he lost and regained consciousness. He died the following day at the Royal Hotel, Swansea. His funeral and burial at Paul's churchyard, Sketty, was largely private, at the request of his family. His demise provoked a great deal of comment in radical circles. His only son, Harry, hard-drinking barrister, and one daughter had predeceased him, but he left two daughters: eldest, Mary, entomologist, and novelist Elizabeth Amy Dillwyn. Hendrefoilan estate, Merthyr Mawr near Bridgend, passed to Dillwyn's grandson John Nicholl, Mary's son. Mary, who was widow two years later, continued her father's interest in natural history, and in later years took up residence at Cottage on the estate. In the year of Dillwyn's death, his nephew, Sir John T. D. Llewelyn, was chosen by local Conservatives. Narrowly defeated by the Liberal, Burnie, he won in 1895. Dillwyn's Liberal Party resurged from 1900 in strong period for them in the region, bucking the national outcome.

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Sources

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DILLWYN DILLWYN-LLEWELYN, (DILLWYN) VENABLES-LLEWELYN

George was the youngest of three sons of Colonel Sir Charles DILLWYN-VENABLES-LLEWELYN, JP, DL, 2 Bt. And of Lady Llewellyn of Llysdinam, Newbridge-on-Wye, Radnorshire. His eldest brother was killed in action in 1917. He was educated at Marlborough and matriculate in 1929. After graduating, he became a Member of the Institute of Civil Engineers and was Assistant Engineer with Sir Alexander Gibb and Partners, consulting Civil Engineers. At the outbreak of war, he joined the Royal Engineers and was attached to 53 Div. With rank of 2 Lieutenant. He went to Norway with No. 2 Independent Company. He was mentioned in Dispatches during the Battle of Narvik. He was killed in action on May 26 and is buried in Saltdal Main Churchyard, British Plot 7. Llysdinam Estate is owned by Llysdinam Charitable Trust and run by the School of Biosciences at Cardiff University. It is based near the village of Newbridge-on-Wye in Mid-Wales, some 70 miles north of Cardiff. On which Field Centre was established. It is the home of the DILLWYN-VENABLES-LLEWELYN family who have a long history of interest in science and the environment. DILLWYN-Llewelyns come from Penllergaer, near Swansea and were one-time owners of Nantgarw china factory. JOHN LLEWELYN was a colleague of Wheatstone and, through family marriage, was connected to Fox Talbot, He himself also became well known in this Field. DILLWYN side of family boast one of the most famous botanists of the period and several members of the family become Fellows of Royal Society. DILLWYN-Llewelyns moved to Llysdinam in the 1830s. Marriage brings VENABLES names into the family and, because Rev. VENABLES was vicar of Clyro, his curate, Francis Kilvert, famous diarist, became a regular visitor to the house.

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