A Box of Tricks

Its been quiet on the blog for a while while I try to get my head down and get box 52, the nightmare box, finished. Today I can finally say I’ve done it!

While its taken me forever to get through, the contents of the box were less varied than the other and it was almost entirrely concerned with the management of the quarry, and there were a couple of interesting themes/topics I picked out from it:

1. The dismissal of Arthur Wyatt – The majority of the box is concerned with this. The last bundle I looked at contained the final report compiled against him as well as the correspondence between him, George Sholto and the Youngs. Reading through the letters you could feel the pace quicken and the tension grow throughout 1885, and towards the end of the letters were toing and frowing between Wyatt and Pennant on a daily basis, until Wyatt claimed his doctor was sending him away for medical reasons. Interesting to read back through this, and to see the game of cat and mouse being played out.

2. Perceptions of the pennants – There were a lot of translations of articles from the Welsh language media in this bundle which give an insight into how the family were perceived (and how the perception changed over time). Given the cumbersome nature of some of the translations you can’t help but wonder to what extent the language barrier played a role in fuelling the troubles between Pennant and the quarrymen. This is a topic I hope to explore further over the next two weeks, and I’m please to say that I’ve been invited to give a paper about it at my first conference in a few weeks. It was also interesting to read the letters from people asking them for help, some of whom had clearly struggled to write in English, and it seems as though they did give help too – so maybe not as bad as we think?

3. Family life – very little has come to light so far about family life for the Pennants, but this box contained a few letters from Lady Penrhyn (Maria Louisa Fitzroy) to her step-son George about Wyatt and the management of the quarry.  The fact that she has taken it upon herself to communicate on behalf of her now ailing husband is interesting, as is the fact that his daughters and herself were clearly picking up on business matters he was not despite being women, and of course, unable to understand matters of business! 😉

Anyway, here are the descriptions for the documents I haven’t posted before. It may be quiet for a while again as I’m going to revise some of the descriptions I wrote, but I must say I’m looking forward to getting stuck into a new box and looking at a fresh topic.

Apologies for typs, will be sorted by the time the catalogue gets produced I promise!

52.12 Bundle of correspondence relating to the quarry (generally focused on unreast, particularly the 1896 strike), Elis o’r Nant, and political matters.
Bundle includes:

a) 4 June 1890 Translation of an article published in ‘Y genedl Gymreig’ (Page 5) entitled “Bethesda – A meeting of Quarrymen”. Describes meeting held at Cefnfaes School about the necessity for a Quarrymens Union.
b) 11 February 1892 – Precis of Evidence offered by E.A. Young in Royal Commission of Labour investigation. Printed, with additional notes in the hand of Lord Penrhyn.
c) October 1893 – Translation of a letter from Ellis Pierce (Ellis o’r Nant) published in Y Faner & cover letter from the Narth Wales Property Defence Association.
d) Feb 1896 – Three letters from R. james regarding ‘lies told of Rev. ceidiog Roberts’.
e) 17 March 1896 Various documents relating to the Annual Dinner of ‘The Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion’ including table plan (with hand written note by Lord Penrhyn regarding Proffessor Rhys of Jesus College Oxford), List of toasts, and Book of Words of performance given by Rhondda Glee Society.
f) 17 November 1896(?) – Letter of support (on strike matters) from Henry Platt, Gorddinog.
g) 30 October 1896 Letter addressed to Lady Penrhyn from E.W.Jones, Hope Hall, Bethesda. Letter acknowledges that bothe quarrymen and Lord have noble intentions, but that the problems in the quarry come from the management and the unfair distribution of wages by them.
h) 1896 0 Bundle of correspondence between Lord Penrhyn and Carter Vincent Douglas-Jones, Solicitors regarding partnership agreement with Mostyn Roberts.
i) 16 October 1896 Letter from Rev G. Jones, former curate of Pentir suggesting that Lord Penrhyn may not be aware of low wages and abuses of men at the quarry. “I think it is my duty to tell you as I do not think you would allow such things to go on with your knowledge.” Copy of the response from Lord Penrhyn is also included “…myself who have no other wish than to treat the men in my employment with kindness and impartiality.”
j) 4 November 1896 – Letter from John Thomas, Liverpool asking whether, due to the current strike, Lord Penrhyn would consider selling the quarry as he has some interested buyers.
k) 11 November 1896 – Letter from W.A. darbishire giving support to Lord penrhhyn and detailing how they dealt with the desire for a ‘Quarry Committee’ at Penmaenmawr Quarry.
l) 20 May 1899 Copy of a letter from W. Rowcliffe regarding the ‘Common and Open Spaces Bill”.
m) 27 feb 1899 – Letter about Ellis o’r Nant from Chap A Jones.
n) Various envelopes without contents.

52.13 1865-1887
Bundle includes:
a) 8 Dec 1865 – Page 4 of a letter published in Yr Herald Gymraeg showing support for Lord Penrhyn and describing locality. Other pages can be found in 52.11, 52.03n, 52,08e.
b) 24 November 1865 Letter from Robert Thomas requesting a meeting with Edward Gordon Douglas Pennant to discuss any grievances he may have regarding a meeting held by the quarrymen about forming a Union. Attached is a newspaper article describing the meeting, stating that between 1,200 and 1,500 men attended the meeting on the mountain and 1,543 penrhyn quarrymen subscribed to the union. Written on the back of the letter in the hand of Edward Gordon Douglas Pennant are the names of the quarrymen who spoke.
c) June 1879 – Letters from A. Wyatt about complaints made to him by Mr Turner and an anonymous letter published in the ‘Liverpool Mercury’. Enclosed is a letter sent to Barber (solicitor) about the matter. Also discusses slate sales and suggests that some smaller quarries have been selling slate under list price.
d) Dec 1884 – Remittances received from Merchants in November 1884 and their disposal.
e) 6 Dec 1885 – Cover letter in the hand of george Sholto Douglas pennant.
f) September 1885 – Correspondence regarding Mr Elizer Jones, 21 Ogwen Terrace, Bethesda. Included are letters from the son of Mr Jones asking for help for his father (who is struggling to find painting work from Liberal supporters due to being a Conservative), a letter of support for Mr Jones, and a letter of thanks for the support given.
g) C.1885 Memorandum regarding number of slates sold per 100 in the hand of George Sholto Douglas Pennant.
h) 4 March 1885 – Letter from Lady Penrhyn about Lord Penrhyns opinion on how to handle 7 quarrymen.
i) 28 October 1886 – Copy of a letter concerning the fall of 1879.
j) 3 March 1886 – letter from A Young (senior) regarding the dismissal of A. Wyatt.
k) 15 October 1886 Letter from E.A. Young detailing trip to London. Young met with Emigration Office and the Royal Institute of British Architects to whom letters are to be sent from both Penrhyn and Dinorwig Quarries.
l) 21 October 1886 – letter from E A Young regarding tickets bought to take Quarrymen (and families) on an excursion to London. 651 adult tickes were bough, 3 children and 682 tickets for an exhibition.
m) c. Early 1886 – letter containing anonymous letter about A. Wyatt. Also contaings clippinmg of anonymous letter published in a newspaper regarding the management of the quarry following the dismissal of Wyatt and a letter of thanks for the dismissal.
n) 26 April 1886 – Application for the post of Quarry Manager from Turner.
o) 9 April 1886 – Letter from E.A. Young regarding railway at Port Penrhyn.
p)c1885/1886 Notes on the report of J.J. Hughes (railways and quarry).
q) 25 October 1886 – Letter from E.A. Young regarding the report of T.J. Hughes on the railway and issue of water supply to the Cilgeraint Mill.
r) 14 July 1886 – Letter from E.A. Young regarding the influence of the election on slate sales. Also details a storm which wrecked 2 boats and caused the disappearance of 3 others.
s) 4 October 1886 – Letter from E A Young requesting permission to produce additional slate/coal wagons.
t) 4 August 1886 Letter of acknowledgement form E.A. Young.
u) 30 Dec 1887 – Copy of a letter sent to K.W. Douglas regarding correspondence with E.A. Young (documents 52.09 and 52.11A1).
v) 17 August 1887 – letter from John J Evans requesting help in securing treatment for John Williams at the Liverpool Eye and Ear Infirmary. Notes that Lord penrhyn subsrcribes to the institution.
) N.D. Translation of the Rules of Cae Braich y Cafn Club

52.14 Bundle of accounts, press cuttings and correspondence mainly relating to the quarry, charities and Caernarvon County Council
Bundle includes:
a) 1 Jaunary 1873 – List of Balances due to and from merchants.
b) 15 May 1875 – North Wales Chronicle cutting of London City Mission – Welsh Auxilliary Meeting details. Gives insight into opinion of Welsh identity.
c) 1889-1905 – Large bundle of documents relaing to Penmachno Almshouses.
d) 25 August 1900 – Invitation to and report relating to the Doctor Lewis Charity Annual meeting.
e) 6 May 1901 – Edition of The Morning leader featuring announcing public meeting to be held about the Penrhyn Lock-out’ listing W.J. Parry, Lloyd-George, Kier Hardy among the speakers.
f) 1901 Envelope of press cuttings relating to the strike including accounts of meetings and statement by E.A. Young.
g) 10 Sept 1901 – Letter regarding Dr William Lewis charity from J Henrhy Thomas
h) 1901/02 Envelope containing two press cuttings relating to strike.
i) Sept/Nov 1901 – Envelope containing two press cuttings relating to strike.
j) 25 March 1901 – Envelope containing income tax documents. Includes return for, letter from E.A. Young and draft letter from Lord Penrhyn.
k) March 1902 – Letter of invitation to, and agenda for Annual general meeting of County of Caernarvon Council Annual Meeting.
l) 10 March 1902 Letter of invitation to and agenda for Standing Joint Comitte Meeting.
m) 8 May 1902 – Letter from John S. Foster, caerblaidd Offices, Blaenau Ffestiniog giving thanks for the possible employment of his brother.
n) Sept/October 1903 – Envelope of documents relating to comments made abdout Sir Cuthbert Quilter (and Lord Penrhyn) in a public meeting by Rev R.B. Hughes. Contains press clippings, transcripts of correspondence between Quilter and Hughes and letter from Quilter to Lord Penrhyn – “ It was an outrageous and uncalled for attack & if you can frighten him out of his life, even if nothing else can be done, I think it will do him no harm.”
o) 15 Jan 1904 – letter to Lord Penrhyn regarding services to the County Council plus response from Lord penrhyn stating he “would be happy to do so if it is the general wish of the electors of Llandygai that I should represent them.”
52.15 Letter from W.O Armstrong Williams regarding ‘Private’ Circular and a ‘privaye Meeting’ held to discuss it. Possibly addressed to E. W. Mathew Esq.
18 October 1877

52.16 Letter from Armstrong Williams of Cefn, Pwllheli stating that he is still unwell and unable to attend meeting but “will most readily coincide with my brother magistrates in any measure that may contribute to maintain the dignity of the bench.”
1 November 1877

52.17 Letter from H. Lloyd Carter regarding possible partnership with Mr Mostyn Roberts. Refers to Lord Penrhyn’s invariable kindness to himself ‘in sickness and in health’.
10 November 1896

52.18 Letter regarding legal dealing with Liverpool Mercury.
52.19 Bundle of correspondence, accounts and reports relating to the quarry. The bundle is mainly made up of documents relating to the investigation into Arthur Wyatt and his subsequent dismissal, and documents relating to price fixing amongst Caernarfonshire Quarries.
Bundle includes:
a) 1 January 1884 & 1 January 1885 Computation and Valuation of Quarry Stock & cover note in the hand of George Sholto Douglas Pennant regarding stock.
b) 1885-1886 Large bundle of correspondence and reports regarding the investigation into Arthur Wyatt done by Alexander Young, and the subsequent dismissal of Wyatt. Includes letters from A Young, E.A. Young, George Sholto Douglas Pennant, A. Wyatt and Southwell and the final report conpiled by A. Young.
c) 4 March 1885 – Letter from Lady penrhyn regarding A Wyatt.
d) 1886 – large bundle of correspondence regarding agreements between Caernarvonshire Quarries to fix prices, discounts and exports. Correspondence includes letters from Menzies, Georrge Sholto Douglas Pennant and E. A. Young and details the meetings held to arrange prices, deviations made from the agreed prices and confirmation from George Sholto Douglas Pennanat that A. Wyatt should not have attended mettings/fixed prices on his behalf. Refers to the periods 1882-1886.
e) 1886 – Correspondence from Dunlop regarding an idea to amalgamate Penrhyn, Dinorwic an Oakley Quarries with response from Georgo Sholto Douglas Pennant.
f) 16 Oct 1886 – Letter from E.A. Young regarding gift from the quarryment to Miss K. Pennant on her marriage accompanied by a list of quarrymen who have donated.
g) 1888- Two enveleopes containing correspondence relating to a ‘slate ring’.
h) 1888 – Correspondence relating to the lease of the writing slate factory.
i) N.d. Two notes in the hand of George Sholto Douglas pennant: One ragarding profits and one relating to ‘cases’.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s