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Welshmen Known in London.-X.…


Welshmen Known in London.-X. Mr. Howell J. Williams, L.C.C. ADJOINING the county of Carnarvon, from which the gentlemen whose portraits adorned this page in recent issues, hail, is the county of Merioneth, a county that can boast of many sons whose names are household words wherever Wales is known and the Welsh language spoken, such as Williams o'r Wern, Ieuan Gwynedd, and, above all, Tom Ellis, of immortal memory. The subject of our present sketch hails from the same county, and possesses many of the qualities characteristic of the men of Merioneth. His grandfather, William Richard, Ty'r Capel, was one of the characters of Corris, a slate quarry district near the eastern border of the county, one of the founders and leaders of Calvinistic Methodism in those parts, and a deacon in Rehoboth chapel for a great number of years. His son, Mr. Richard Williams (the father of Mr. Howell J. Williams), who came to London comparatively early in life, was also well known as a leading member of the same denomination. He was one of the founders of the cause at Nassau Street Chapel (now Charing Cross Road). A short time before his death in 1902, he celebrated his jubilee in connection with that cause, and the friends there have placed a marble tablet in memory of him inside the chapel. Mr. Howell Williams' early childhood was passed at Corris, receiving his first schooling at the old Garneddwen School, Aberllefeni. In those days of boyhood he used often to be taken to school by two young men who after- wards became prominent religious leaders-the Rev. Griffith Ellis, M.A., of Bootle, and the Rev. John Roberts, of Khassia. While still young. Howell Williams had to bid farewell to the dales and hills of Corris, and join his parents in London. But he has never missed returning there once at least every year, so that a close and continuous connection with the place has been kept up, and though the boy must have found London a very different place from Corris, yet he found here also advantages and oppor- tunities which more than recompensed for every loss. He was placed In the City of London School under Dr. Abbott, and educated for a commer- cial career. And he found a religious home in Nassau Street Welsh Chapel, of which church he became a member whilst still very young- a connection that has been kept unbroken throughout the years. He was one of the class in the Sunday School of which the late Tom Ellis was a teacher during his earliest years in London, and a warm friendship sprung up between the two. When Howell's school days were over his father placed him with a large London building firm. He worked and studied hard to master all the details of the business, and had suc- ceeded so well by the time he was nineteen years of age, that he then found an opportunity to start on his own account. True it was only in a comparatively small way then, about twenty- two years ago, but the progress made; was sure from the very start, and before long became very rapid. He is now a Leading Builder in Central London, and a very large employer of labour. The following are among the many buildings that HOWELL J. WILLIAMS, L.C.C. he has erected :—The Daily Va-il and Evening News offices on the Thames Embankment (said to be the largest and finest newspaper offices and printing premises in the world); the National Press Agency Buildings the Rotherhithe Town Hall; the School of Economics; the Northern Polytechnic, and the buildings for the Benchers of Gray's Inn, in Gray's Inn Road. He is just now erecting the new Northern District Post Office for the Government, also a fine block close to the Bank of England for the new head offices of the London and South Western Bank Limited, as well as another large bank for Messrs. Kleinwort in Fenchurch Street. He is an elected representative on the Council of the London Master Builders' Association, and a member of the Institute of Builders. In public life Mr. Howell Williams is a stalwart Progressive and a strong Liberal. He was first elected on the London County Council as a member for the Rotherhithe Division at a bye-election in 1893 That fight was a very severe one, the feeling against the party of Progress at Spring Gardens being at the time very strong amongst certain classes. In 1898, the Progressives in South Islington invited him to become their candidate. He was elected by a large majority, and has continued to represent that large constituency of about twelve thousand electors ever since, and his constituents have no cause to complain of the manner in which he looks after their interests in particular, as well as those of London in general. In 1900, when Professor O. M. Edwards retired from the representation of Merionethshire in Parliament, Mr. Williams was one of those invited to lay their views before the Liberal electors with a view to become a candidate, and from amongst whom a final selection was made. The choice fell upon Mr. Osmond Williams, but the other Williams had a considerable number of sup- porters. Notwithstanding his busy business and public life, Mr. Howell Williams has Visited many Parts of the World. He has been twice to the United States and Canada, has visited North and South Africa, Arabia, Egypt, and most of the countries on the continent of Europe. When in South Africa in 1896, not long before the war broke out, he had interviews with the most prominent men in the Cape, including the late Cecil Rhodes, and President Kruger, Lord Milner, Sir Gordon Sprigg, De Wet, and Cronje, &c. We cannot enter into particulars concerning the many services rendered by this Warm=hearted Welshman to his fellow-countrymen in the Metropolis. He has, as already remarked, kept loyal to his early Welsh religious home, and was chosen by the church to act as co-treasurer in succession to his honoured father. He takes active interest in all Welsh affairs, is a member of the Cym- mrodorion," and a vice-President of the Cymru Fydd Society. Number of young Welshmen in London owe much to him. He has helped many of them to obtain situations, and at Penrhyn," his home in Camden Road, Young Wales always receives the kindest welcome and hospitality. When the General Assembly of the Welsh Calvinistic Methodists met in London, the delegates were invited to a garden party at Penrhyn." No one departs from the social gatherings at this pleasant home without carrying away with him happy recollections of the genial host and the charming hostess.