Merthyr Tydfil Heritage Regeneration Trust

Heritage Plaques - People

Listed Building information kindly supplied by CADW

Laura Ashley
Plaque sited at CF48 3PU

Laura Ashley, the fashion designer, was born in Dowlais in 1925.

The Laura Ashley Company was started by Laura & her husband Bernard in a  London flat in 1953. It started with tea towels and scarves in their own distinctive style.

When the company was floated in November 1985, two months after Laura Ashley’s sudden death, it had become an international group with 219 shops worldwide

Laura Ashley
Henry Seymour Berry -
Lord Buckland of Bwlch
Statue sited at CF47 8AF
(Statue & plinth - Grade II Listed)

Henry Seymour Berry (1877-1928) acquired substantial holdings in steel, coal, transport, printing, and shipping. 

He was made a Freeman of the Borough in 1923 and became Baron Buckland of Bwlch in  1926

Erected 1931. Designed by W Goscombe John RA.

Standing, black-painted, bronze figure in full robes with cocked hat in crook of left arm; parchment grasped in
right hand. Moulded pink granite plinth with inscription: "Henry Seymour Berry, Baron Buckland of Bwlch,
Hon. Freeman of the Co. Borough of Merthyr Tydfil. Born 1877 - Died 1928. Erected by Public Subscription".

Henry Seymour Berry
James Gomer Berry -
Viscount Kemsley
Plaque sited at CF47 8AF

James Gomer  Berry (1883-1968) and William Ewart Berry together built a vast empire of magazines, regional and national newspapers, including the Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph, and the Sunday Times.

Gomer became Baron Kemsley in 1936 and Viscount Kemsley in 1944. He was made a Freeman of the Borough in 1955.

James Gomer Berry
William Ewert Berry -
Viscount Camrose
Plaque sited at CF47 8AF

William Ewert Berry (1879-1953) and James Gomer Berry together built a vast empire of magazines, regional and national newspapers, including the Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph, and the Sunday Times.

 William was made Baron Camrose in 1929 and a Viscount in 1941.

William Ewart Berry

John Collins
John Collins V.C., D.C.M., M.M.
Plaque sited at CF47 8RE
Plinth sited at CF47 8DF

John Collins was born in Taunton in 1880 and came to Merthyr when he was about ten years old.

He fought in the Boer War and also served in India. In 1914 he joined the Welsh Regiment.

He won his Victoria Cross whilst serving in Palestine with the 25th Battalion, The Royal Welch Fusiliers. The citation states “...although isolated and under fire from snipers and guns, he showed throughout a magnificent example of initiative and fearlessness.”

Known as Jack the V.C., he died in 1951 and is buried in Pant Cemetery.

John Collins
S.O. Davies
Plaque sited at CF47 8RF

Stephen Owen (S.O.) Davies, 1886-1972, was Member of Parliament for Merthyr Tydfil from 1934 until his death, a total of 38 years. He had previously been a miner and miner?s agent.

He was a strong advocate of Welsh Home Rule and was rebuked by the Labour Party for his part in the Parliament for Wales campaign.

He was rejected on grounds of age as the official Labour candidate in the 1970 General Election but stood as an Independent Socialist, winning the seat convincingly.

Dr. Thomas Dyke
Plaque sited at CF47 8ES

Thomas Dyke (1816-1900) was born in Merthyr and played an active part in its public life for the greater part of a century. Trained at Guys and St. Thomas’s hospitals he was parish surgeon for various Merthyr districts and for the Dowlais Iron Company.

He was appointed Merthyr’s Medical Officer of Health in 1865.

The improvements in water supply, sewerage, sanitation, inspection, and housing, most of them under his guidance, meant that by the end of the century Merthyr’s average death rate was less than the average for other industrial centres and the death rate from infantile diarrhoea for most of 1865-1900 was the lowest of any town in the United Kingdom.

Dyke was also a prominent Freemason, a founder of the Merthyr subscription library and a keen advocate of town incorporation.

Thomas Dyke
Trystan Edwards
Plaque sited at CF47 8DU

Trystan Edwards (1884-1973), had a brilliant undergraduate record at Oxford before embarking on an architectural career.

He served his articles under Sir Reginald Blomfield and began to lecture at Liverpool University in 1911. He joined the Ministry of Health after serving in the navy during World War I, dealing principally with housing policy. In 1933 he was ahead of his time by founding the Hundred New Towns Association, a policy which didn’t bear fruit until after the Second World War.

In private practice he wrote a number of books about architectural  and planning philosophy. He also wrote “Merthyr, Rhondda and the Valleys” published in 1958.

Trystan Edwards
Moss Evans
Plaque sited at  CF48 2PG

Arthur Mostyn (Moss) Evans, 1925-2002, was born in Cefn Coed, Merthyr, one of 12 children.

In 1940 he joined the Amalgamated Engineering Union while working at Joseph Lucas in Birmingham

In 1950 he moved to the Bakelite Factory in Birmingham and became a shop steward a year later. His rise in the Transport & General Worker?s Union started in 1956 becoming Birmingham Regional Trade Group Secretary in
1960, the Engineering National Officer in 1966, National Secretary (Automotive Section) in 1969 and National Organiser in 1973.

He was elected General Secretary of the union in 1977 defeating 14 other candidates. He retired on ill health grounds in 1985 at the age of 58.

He served as a Labour Councillor in Kings Lynn & West Norfolk from 1991, also serving a term as Mayor.
Sir Samuel Griffith
Plaque sited at CF47 8AN

Sir Samuel Griffith, 1845-1920, was born in the Glebeland, Merthyr Tydfil. His father was a Congregational Minister who emigrated, with his family, to Australia in 1854.

He was Premier of Queensland, Australia from 1883 to 1888 and  again from 1890 to 1893.

He was Chairman of The Constitutional Committee of the National Australian Convention in 1891.

From 1903 to 1919 he was First Justice of The High Court of Australia

Samuel Griffith
John Hughes
Plaque sited at CF47 8AN

John Hughes (1814-1899) trained as an engineer at the Cyfarthfa Ironworks in his native Merthyr Tydfil. He acquired an international reputation in marine engineering and armament production.

He was invited by the Tsar to help in the development of Russian railways and heavy industry.

He moved to the Ukraine in 1870 and established a steelworks at Hughesovka (Yuzovka) which was first renamed Stalino & then Donets’k.

John Hughes
Jack Jones
Jack Jones
Plaque sited at CF48 1BN

Jack Jones, (1884-1970), was born in Merthyr and became a coalminer at the age of 12. He was politically active in turn, in the Communist Party, the Labour Party, the Liberal Party and Oswald Moseley’s New Party.

His novels include, ‘Bidden to the Feast’, 1938  and Off to Philadelphia in the Morning published in 1947, the latter being the story of Joseph Parry.

His three volume autobiography is among his finest achievements

Jack Jones
Richard Lewis (Dic Penderyn)
Plaque sited at CF47 8AF

Richard Lewis (1807/8-1831), better known as Dic Penderyn, was a native of Aberavon.

At the time of the 1831 Merthyr Rising he was a miner in Merthyr Tydfil.

He was charged with feloniously wounding Donald Black of the 93rd (Highland) Regiment. He was found guilty and sentenced to death.

Despite a petition of 11,000 names for his reprieve, he was hanged at Cardiff on 13th August, 1831. His last words on the scaffold were reported to be ‘O Arglwydd, dyma gamwedd’ – ‘O Lord, what injustice’. He is buried in Aberavon.

Later in the century another man confessed to the crime for which Lewis had been hanged.

Dic Penderyn
Sir William Thomas Lewis -
Lord Merthyr
Statue sited at CF47 0BL
(Statue & plinth - Grade II Listed)

William Thomas Lewis (1837-1914), later Lord Merthyr, was probably the most powerful figure in Welsh industry in the decades before 1914.

From a lowly beginning in 1855, he rose, by 1880, to be the manager of all of Lord Bute’s mineral, docks, railways, urban and agricultural property.

He became a major coal owner and established the Lewis Merthyr Consolidated Collieries Ltd. He was Chairman of the Coalowner’s Association and was totally opposed to trade unions.

He was made a Freeman of the Borough in 1908 and was raised to the peerage in 1911.

Granite plinth dated 1900. Bronze statute by T Brock RA, sculptor of London, 1898.

The monument was relocated from the original site outside the General Hospital.

Standing, bearded figure with arms across front holding unrolled document or plan. Miners’ lamp and pile of
papers at rear of feet. Tapering pedestal with moulded cornice and stepped plinth. Bronze heraldic plaque to

Long (rear) inscription of good works begins: "Erected by the Voluntary Subscriptions of Friends and

Leslie Norris
Plaque sited at Merthyr Central Library
CF47 8AF

Merthyr born Leslie Norris (1921-2006), was much influenced by his upbringing in the south Wales valleys.

He spent most of his life in England and the United States, where he earned his living as writer-inresidence at various
academic institutions.

He came to prominence in the 1960's and soon established himself as a major figure in Welsh literature in English.

He published over twenty books of short stories, translations, poetry and criticism.

Johnny Owen
Statue sited at CF47 8EL

Johnny Owen, 1956-1980, began boxing at the age of eight.

By the time he was 24, he was the British, Commonwealth  and European Bantamweight  Champion.

He was shy, kind and unassuming outside of the ring which was the only place where he was ‘comfortable’. He became known as ‘The Matchstick Man’ owing to his skeletal frame .

In 1980 he was knocked unconscious in a World Title fight  in Los Angeles. He went into a coma and died six weeks later.

Johnny Owen
Joseph Parry
Dr. Joseph Parry
Plaque sited at CF48 1BN

Joseph Parry was born on 24th May 1841 in the front, side room of 4 Chapel Row, Georgetown, Merthyr Tydfil. At the age of seventeen he began to take music lessons and made rapid progress. He sent four compositions to the Swansea Eisteddfod in 1863 signing them 'Bachgen Bach o Ferthyr, erioed, erioed' (A Merthyr boy forever and ever). In 1868 he entered the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he studied for three years.

It is estimated that his songs numbered about 300, including the well-loved 'Myfanwy', in addition to some 300 anthems, chorales, glees, choruses, operas and orchestral works. He is probably best known internationally for his hymn tune 'Aberystwyth - Jesu, lover of my soul'.

Joseph Parry

Eddie Thomas
Statue sited at CF47 8LR

Eddie Thomas, 1925-1997,  was born in Merthyr .

He was a miner who won the Amateur Boxing Association lightweight title in 1946. He turned professional and became the British, European & Empire welterweight champion from 1949 to 1951. His weight difficulties and injury forced his retirement in 1952.

He became a very successful manager and took both Howard Winstone & Ken Buchanan to World Championships.

He was Mayor of Merthyr Tydfil in 1994 and later became a Freeman of the Borough

Eddie Thomas
Lucy and Robert Thomas
Fountain sited at CF47 8DF
(Fountain - Grade II Listed)

Lucy Thomas  (1781-1847), was one of the most remarkable people in the south Wales coalfield. She is considered to be the ‘Mother of the Welsh steam coal trade’.

It was the coal from the Waun Wyllt Colliery at Troedyrhiw opened by her husband Robert in 1824, that helped to establish the reputation of Welsh coal on the London market.

Lucy & Robert Thomas are commemorated by a decorative fountain at the southern end of Merthyr High Street. 

Formerly sited further south close to the site of the present roundabout.

Later C19. Designed by W Macfarlane & Co, architectural ironfounders of Glasgow. Inscribed plate records the erection of the fountain "in commemoration of Robert and Lucy Thomas of Waunwyllt, the pioneers in 1828 of the South Wales Steam Coal Trade". Given by Sir W T Lewis and W T Rees of Aberdare, ca 1890.

Octagonal, openwork iron canopy (in sections) with circular ribbed dome enriched by interlaced foliage trails, all surmounted by a heroic classical figure. Filigree spandrels to cusped arcades with rope-mouldings, circular armoria and guilloche bands. Griffin finials over volute brackets to angles, polygonal foliage capitals to leaf
shafts with foliage frieze above square bases.

Lucy Thomas
Richard Trevithick
Richard Trevithick
Monument sited at CF47 0LJ

Richard Trevithick from Camborne in Cornwall was carrying out work on the stationary steam engines at the Penydarren Iron Works for Samuel Homfrey.

For some time he had been experimenting on self-propelled steam vehicles.

Whilst at Penydarren, he had the opportunity to try his railway locomotive on the Penydarren Tramroad.

On 21st February, 1804, Richard Trevithick’s  locomotive was used to haul a train of 10 tons of iron and 70 passengers along the Penydarren Tramroad from Merthyr to Abercynon (then known as Navigation), a distance of nearly ten miles.

This was the first steam engine to haul a load on rails!

Richard Trevithick
Pendrill Charles Varrier-Jones
Sir Pendrill Charles Varrier-Jones
Plaque sited at CF48 4EZ

The Papworth Village Settlement in Cambridgeshire, later to become world famous as a heart transplant centre, was originally  built as a tuberculosis hospital.

Sir Charles Varrier-Jones, who was the inspiration and guiding light of the centre, was born in Troedyrhiw in 1883.

Many other institutions of a similar kind also appointed him as a director.

Sir Charles died in 1941

Is it Ethical to Pay for Essays? Exploring the Pros and Cons of Using Essay Writing Services

Pendrill Charles Varrier-Jones
Gwyn Alf Williams
Plaque sited at CF48 3ND

A native of Dowlais, Gwyn Alfred Williams (1925-1995), was a lecturer at Aberystwyth University followed by professorships at York and Cardiff.

His books on Welsh subjects include –  ‘The Welsh in their History’ 1982, ‘The Merthyr Rising’ 1978, ‘When Was Wales?’ 1985 and ‘Madoc: The Making of a Myth’ published in 1979.

He was a Marxist who later joined Plaid Cymru.

He took part in many television progammes of which his series with Wynford Vaughan Thomas, ‘The Dragon Has Two Tongues’ aroused much interest in Welsh history.

Gwyn Alf Williams

Howard Winstone
Statue sited at CF47 8EG

Howard Winstone, 1939-2000, was born in Merthyr Tydfil. He lost three fingertips in a factory accident which meant that he was never a great puncher, but won a Gold Medal at the 1957 Commonwealth Games followed by the ABA championship.

He turned professional in 1959 and became the undefeated British & European featherweight champion from 1961 to 1968. He fought three times for the World Championship losing each time before, after the retirement of Vincente Saldivar, winning the World Title in 1968. Having passed his best, he lost the title in the same year.

He was made a Freeman of the Borough in 1969.
Howard Winstone


© Keith L. Lewis-Jones