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The Entrepreneurial Society of the Rhondda Valleys 1840-1920

Power and Influence in the Porth-Pontypridd Region

Until now most studies of the Welsh coal boom of the late 1800s and early 1900s have concentrated on the workers and the unions. Instead, in The Entrepreneurial Society of the Rhondda Valleys, 1840–1920, Richard Griffiths focuses his attention on the middle class and reveals how several of these individuals were—by hard work, perseverance, and often creative business practices—able to build up considerable wealth and power.

352 pages | 7 halftones, 3 maps | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2010

Culture Studies

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Notes on surnames

1    The South Wales Coal Industry
Dramatis Personae
2    ’A Dogged will, a fixity of purpose, a tenacity of spirit’: Siamps Thomas (1817–1901)
3    ’A blunt, straightforward, and from head to feet an honest man’: Richard Mathias (1814–1890)
4    The Rhondda Second Generation: William Henry Mathias (1845–1922), a Rhondda Notable
5    The Rhondda Second Generation: Some Other Major Figures
Aspects of Business and Political Life
6    W. H. Mathias and Local Government, 1886–1919
7    ’The history of the undertaking is rather peculiar’: The Cowbridge–Aberthaw Railway and the 
       Rhondda Connection, 1886–1892
8    Further peculiar undertakings: Windsor Colliery, Abertridwr and the Parc Newydd Estate
Two Disasters
9    Heroism or Negligence? Siamps Thomas and the Tynewydd Disaster, 1877
10  The Albion Disaster, 1894
Two Strikes
11  The 1893 Hauliers’ Strike
12  The 1898 Strike
Sir William James Thomas and the New Century
13  ’One of the greatest of the Welsh coalowners’: William James Thomas’s business 
       interests, 1900–1925
14  ’Ynyshir’s most noted citizen, the Principality’s most noble benefactor’: 
       William James Thomas’s many benefactions, and his later years

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