Griffith George

Griffith George, (1847-1910) was born in Llangoedmor, Cardiganshire, moving shortly afterwards to Pontseli, near Newcastle Emlyn, where he was brought up. After education at Llechryd, he entered the drapery trade at the age of 17, spending some years in training at premises in Liverpool and London. He returned to Wales in 1872 and set up his own business at 76 Mill Street, Trecynon. By the mid 1880s he was able to move into prime premises in the centre of Aberdare at 11 Commercial Place, also known as The Bee Hive.

He was a well-known writer in both English and Welsh contributing to leading magazines and periodicals in Wales under the nom de plume of “Gruffydd Dyfed.” Well known works include his translation of the Athenian tragedy Alcestis into Welsh; and for his winning entry at the Pontypridd National Eisteddfod of a translation into English of Dewi Wyn’s Ode on Charity.

In Politics, he was a prominent Liberal in the town, serving as treasurer of the Aberdare Liberal Club. He was noted as an effective and fluent platform speaker. A committed Welsh Nationalist, he advocated the establishment of a Welsh Assembly back in the late nineteenth century. He was appointed as a Justice of the Peace in 1894. In the same year he became a member of the first Urban District Council for Aberdare, and while on that body he worked very hard to secure the adoption of the Free Libraries Act in the town. In 1901 he was elected to represent the Duffryn Ward on the Glamorgan County Council, and he became a member of the Parliamentary and other committees. He was also a member of the Education Committee of the Council, and a founding governor of the Aberdare County School established in 1896.

County Councillor Griffith George, J.P., of The Laurels, Aberdare, died in February 1910 at Tenerife, where he had gone a few weeks earlier for the benefit of his health, accompanied by his wife. Whilst on the voyage out to Tenerife he composed a hymn, which was subsequently performed by the Baptist choirs in Aberdare, including at Heolyfelin where he was a senior deacon.

Whilst in London, he married Miss Rachel Rees, of Castell Gorwyn, Trelech, Carmarthenshire. Two daughters and a son were born of the marriage, the latter, Glendower “Glen” George, became a mining engineer who practised in India and South Wales. After the death in 1884 of Griffith George’s first wife he married, again in London, Mrs Jane Winifred Davies, widow of Mr Rees Davies, timber merchant, of Swansea. Griffith George was again made a widower when Jane died in 1903. Subsequently in 1904 at the age of 57, he married Miss Clara Elizabeth Hodges, 42, daughter of William Hodges, of Aberdare.