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WHEN the King performed the ceremony of opening Kingsway, on Wednesday, October 18th, five or six persons who had most to do with carrying out this great London improvement had the honour of being presented to His Majesty. Amongst these highly privileged few there was one Welshman, who thoroughly deserved that honour, because he, probably, has borne more of the burden of anxiety and labour associated with such a vast undertaking than any other man in the public life of the metropolis, and he has done it as quietly as he has done it effectually. Mr. William Davies is a True Friend of the People of London. and for nearly a generation now has served his fellow citizens with unswerving fidelity. He is one of the many hardy sons of Cardi- ganshire who have been drawn from their native hills to the great city by the greater scope that London offers for exercising their energies. His forefathers, for four generations at least, were farmers, and it was at a farm called Bryngwyn Mawr, in the parish of Llanfihangel-Genau'r- Glyn, near Aberystwyth, that he was born, on the 24th of December, 1841. Mr. Davies was the eldest of three brothers. When he was six years of age the father died very suddenly, and the heavy burden of bringing up the three children fell upon the widowed mother. His first schooling was a little school kept in a private house in the valley of Penparciau by one Richard Roberts, known in the district as the Ffon fagl," because he had to use a crutch. This was a typical example of the old-fashioned schools in the rural parts of Wales, in which the education given was most elementary in kind and meagre in quantity. Before very long the lad was removed to the National School at Penybont, and later to the Grammar School in the town of Aberystwyth, of which Mr. Edward Jones was head master. When sixteen years of age, William Davies started upon Apprenticeship as Carpenter, at Talybont, and until he was nearly twenty-two he followed that trade in various places in North Cardiganshire. In July, 1863, he came to London, and here again he worked at his trade for nearly thirteen years, eleven of which were spent with the same firm. When twenty-seven he was married, and six years after we find him Starting Operations as a Builder. Fortune smiled upon him in his undertakings in a remarkable degree, for in 1886, ten years after, he had been so successful in business that he was able to wind up his concerns and to retire in comfort. But he has worked harder during the last twenty years than during any period of his life. During his first twenty years in London Mr. Davies lived in Chelsea, and it was there that he had his First Experience in Public Life. In the year 1877 he joined with the late Mr. J. H. Brass and others to form the Chelsea Ratepayers Association. At that time the local affairs of that parish were in a very unsatisfactory state, jobbery of every kind being the order of the day. The new association soon made its influence felt, and in 1878, Mr. Davies, who was its vice-president was elected on the Chelsea Vestry. He soon revolutionised that body as T Mr. WILLIAM DAVIES, J.P., L.C.C. his friend Mr. Brass did the Board of Guardians. On this vestry he served for nine years, and long before those years came to an end he had been elected on all its important committees. But his close connection with Chelsea ended in 1885 when he removed to Battersea, though he continued to sit on the Chelsea Vestry for two. years longer., In 1886, the year after he took. up his residence in Battersea he was elected on the vestry of that parish, and represented that body on the Wandsworth Board of Works, until, through his own efforts and those of the late Mr. O. Vaughan Morgan chiefly, Battersea became a separate authority. When the Local Government Act of 1894, which re-formed the old London vestries, came into force, he was elected first chairman of the new body, in virtue of which office he became a Justice of the Peace. This office he held during the whole time the Act which remodelled the vestries remained in force, with the exception of one year, and when the London Government Act of 1900 cut up London into boroughs, Mr. William Davies was elected the First Mayor of Battersea, the highest honour his fellow-burgesses could confer upon him. He refused nomination for election being of opinion that democratic principles demand a distribution of honours. At the termination of the period of his mayoralty he was made a permanent Justice of the Peace for the County of London. During the years that he presided over Battersea's Local Parlia- ment," he succeeded in introducing direct employment of labour and a Council Works Department which have proved of immense advantage to the borough both in efficiency and retrenchment. He also served on the Mansion House Committee of 1897, and secured £830 from the fund to feed its poor. It was not until 1895 that Mr. Davies became a Member of the London County Council. In that year Battersea not only elected him to represent it on that great body, but also placed him at the top of the poll, a position he held for nine years, notwithstanding the eminence and popularity of his colleague. There are not many members of the Council who have given more time to the duties, or who have served on more of its Committees. His thorough practical knowledge of buildings and of local affairs was soon recognised by his fellow-members though he did not make many public speeches. They saw in him a worker and a safe guide. How, high the Council estimates his qualifications will be seen by simply mentioning the "chairs" in which he has been placed. In 1896 he was made vice-chairman of the Building Act Com- mittee; 1897, chairman of the Improvements Committee; 1898, chairman of the Building Act Committee; 1899, vice-chairman of the Parks Committee, and chairman in the following year. For four years, from 1901 to 1905 he was again chairman of the Improvements Com- mittee. During the years that he has been at the head of this most important Committee, some of the greatest street improvements that the Council undertook were carried out, such as the widening of Piccadilly, at a cost of over £ 200,000, and constructing the new streets, Aldwych and Kingsway, which meant an expen- diture of over ^3,500,000. It was during the first year of Mr. Davies' chairmanship that the direction of the new street from Holborn to the Strand was settled, after being in dispute for a very long period; and it was his scheme of widening Southampton Row that solved the question. Unlike many of his fellow countrymen who have become prominent in London, Mr. William