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Welshmen Known in London.…


Welshmen Known in London. XV. Mr. D. R. Evans. OUR subject-portrait for this week is not so well known, perhaps, in the sense that the fourteen who have preceded him in this series are, but he is, nevertheless, so thoroughly a type of the successful Welshman in business that his inclusion here is impera- tive. Mr. D. R. Evans never did aspire to be a public man, but by dogged perseverance, judicious enterprise, and straight dealing he has emerged from the obscurity of a little Welsh village into the very first rank of commerce in the capital of the WwHd. David Richard Evans was born in the year 1859, in the village of Conwil Elvet, that romantic and picturesque spot which is the » birthplace of the Rev. Elvet Lewis. That same district—West Carmarthenshire—is, also, noted for having produced such eminently powerful preachers as the Revs. Ossian and Eynon Davies, J. M. Gibbon, Dr. Gomer Lewis, and those immortals, the Revs. Herber Evans and Hugh Price Hughes, each of whom has added interest to the place of his birth and to Wales. Losing his mother when only six years of age, "D. R.'s" earliest Christian training devolved upon his Puritan grandmother. That it stood him in good stead is proved by the fact that he attributes his success mainly to this early training, combined with his cultivation of thrift and the practice of temperance principles. His father, Mr. Thomas Evans, having become a responsible official under the G.W.R. Company at Llanpumpsaint, the family have been connected with that locality ever since. Mr. Thomas Evans re- tired from the service about ten years ago, and was the recipient of a handsome testi- monial, consisting of an oil painting of him- self and a substantial purse of gold, which Proves the respect in which he is held by his neighbours. He still lives to enjoy his rest, and to devote himself more ardently than ever to the cause of the Welsh Calvinistic Methodists at Llanpumpsaint. As a Llanpumpsaint boy, Mr. D. R. Evans Is an old schoolmate of Mr. Timothy Davies, now M.P., and the two started for London and fortune together. It may be interesting too, in Passing, to mention that, many years ago, another native of Llanpumpsaint sat at St. Stephen's. was the member for North Lambeth, and his name was Williams. (( At the age of fifteen, the future famous Colonial Produce Importer and Tea and Coffee Merchant" left the dear old homestead to be apprenticed to a Mr. Skyrme, grocer, &c., at centre, Rhondda Valley. This journey took hini six hours by train, which is the time occupied nowadays in covering the distance etween Paddington and Carmarthen His employer's business included a post office, of which young Evans was put in sole charge. At that time, thirty years ago, he boasted of know- ing every householder's name and address in the three districts of Pentre, Ton, and Ystrad, a feat that would be a miracle in the present day. And the lad whom he taught to succeed him in the post office (Mr. Owen Williams, from Car- diganshire) was, when the Government opened a district post office on a large scale, appointed the first postmaster-a position which he still holds-and a letter received from him recently is among Mr. Evans's most valued mementos. It was during his four years' life in the Rhondda that the Calvinistic Methodists opened their first MR. D. R. EVANS. chapel at Pentre; and he joined this off-shoot from the Ton, and undertook the secretaryship of the new Sunday School. After a year at Llanelly in the employ of Mr. Thomas Jones, grocer, now a leading merchant, the young grocer's assistant, twenty years of age, leaves the dear homeland and enters the employ of a firm of grocers in Ivy Lane, in the City of London, and under the shadow of St. Paul's Cathedral and the General Post Office. Except- ing for a period in the WTest End to gain further experience, this proved to be his only situation before he acquired the business for himself. Within the four years following he added three branches, but disposed of these in order to take a large central establishment at 68, Farringdon Street, to meet the success which had rewarded his foresight when he realised the rapid growth of the cocoa house and general temperance catering movement, of which Pearce & Plenty and Messrs. Lockhart were then acting as pioneers. That was thirteen years ago, when he took over his present chief depot: it had a full licence attached to it, but this he promptly cancelled. Here he has steadily devoted him- self to the coffee tavern and restaurant trade, and after acquiring several warehouses in dif- ferent parts he has this year been able to con- centrate his ever-growing stock in one com- modious building. These premises, situated at 13, 14, and 15, Bear Alley, Farringdon Street, are replete with all the up to-date machinery and appliances. The central depot at 68, Farringdon Street has now been adapted to the requirements of the wholesale business exclusively, while the retail trade is being carried on in half-a-dozen branch shops, includ- ing such concerns as Barber and Co., the one- hundred-year-old tea and coffee firm at Black- friars Bridge and in the Borough, which continue to trade under their old names respectively. Mr. Evans resides at Putney, having been married to a lady hailing from Crediton, Devonshire, the home of General Buller. But, notwithstanding this change of environ- ment, he still retains his old Welsh national fervour, just as much as when, with such com- panions as Sir Marchant Williams, Mr. Timothy Davies, M.P., Mr. David Edwards, Mr. Wood- ward Owen, Messrs. Thomas and Williams (East End firm), Mr J. T. Job, and Mr. Jones, of Holloway, he took a very active part in the establishing of the first chapel in Jewin Cres- cent. The temperance cause has always found in him a warm devotee, and during his first years in London he was an official of the Welsh Lodge of Good Templars which met at Jewin Chapel. He recalls with pride his connection with the old Cambro-Briton Society, in which the late Mr. Tom Ellis took such an active interest. He believes in encouraging such institutions as the Welsh Club, for the benefit of the Welsh people in London. It is gratifying to note, too, that Mr. D. R. Evans takes a leading share in the promotion of all benevolent movements connected with the grocery and catering trades in London, and is on the committee of the Grocers' and Tea Dealers' Benevolent Protection Society (1837). He has on more than one occasion represented these trades at International Conferences. Mr. Evans is assisted by his brother, Mr. Tim Evans, the well-known Welsh vocalist, who entered the business on leaving school, and has worked himself up rapidly through all grades into his present responsible position.