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British Industrial History

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David Davies

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David Davies (1818–1890), industrialist and politician, Coal owner and railway contractor

1818 Born in the village of Llandinam, Montgomeryshire, son of David Davies, a farmer and timber sawyer.

After his father died, he had to support the family.

1846 He became a contractor; his first contract was to build the approach roads and foundations for Llandinam Bridge.

This led to contracts for other bridges and roads.

1851 Married Margaret Jones of Llanfair Caereinion. They had one son, Edward, who was to die in 1898.

1855 Built the first section of the nearby Llanidloes–Newtown railway line, and later extended his operations all over Wales.

By the early 1860s he had supplied much of mid-Wales with a network of railway lines, many of which he built in partnership with Thomas Savin, with whom he later fell out.

1861 David Davies 42, owner of 300 acres and railway contractor employing 700 men, lived in Llanwnog, Newtown with Margaret Davies 42, Edward Davies 8[1]

1862 He travelled to the island of Sardinia to advise on developing the railway system there.

1864 He took a lease of mineral property between Tonpentre and Treorci in the upper Rhondda valley, not hitherto a coal-producing area.

After two years of anxiety for Davies, one of the finest seams of steam coal in the world was struck in the Maendy pit, Cwmparc.

1867 Set up the Ocean Collieries Company to exploit the discovery

1870 Sank a new pit at Dare

1872 Became a governor of the new University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, founded in 1872.

1874 won the Cardigan seat for Parliament and continued in Parliament in various seats for some years.

1877 Sank another pit at Bwllfa.

1884 He fostered the passing of an Act of Parliament to build new docks at Barry, as a rival route for Rhondda coal.

1885 Opened the Barry Docks which rapidly grew, outstripping Cardiff by 1913 as the major coal-exporting port in the world.

1887 Registered the Ocean Coal Company as a limited liability company.

1890 David Davies died on 20 July in Llandinam.

At a later date his grandson, David Davies (1880-1944), became first Baron Davies of Llandinam.



1890 The Bwllfa and Merthyr Dare Steam Collieries were set up to acquire properties situated in the Dare Valley, Glamorganshire. [2]


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1861 census
  2. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  • Biography of David Davies, ODNB