Mr J. P. D. Williams M.E. – General Manager of the Blaina Collieries.
Mr J. P. D. Williams Born in 1834 at Nantyglo. His family lived on the Garn, at the age of 11 he started in the coalmines. His first job was in the “Little Pit” Blaina under his brother-in-law Mr Thomas Lewis the Contractor.
He lost both parents by the time he was 13 and lived with his brother and sister, he decided to put all his efforts into learning and as he could only speak Welsh he was advised to go to the Garn Reading Rooms and learn to speak the English language, as at that time Technical Education was only taught in the English language and to become of any service to their country had to learn it. Through hard work and perseverance together with a determination to acquire knowledge he made his way up through the ranks of the colliery officialdom. He soon became one of the leading workmen in Messrs J & C. Bailey’s collieries and went on to become the sole Contractor of the Forge Pit at Nantyglo while Mr Phillips was the general manager of all the collieries at this time.
While studying he had become very successful Eisteddfods in literary subjects, this lead to him adopting the middle initials in his name P. D. as he used “Pen-Ddu” as a non de plume, which means Black Head.
In 1874 he became the General Manger of the collieries under the ownership of the Nantyglo and Blaina Ironworks Company, then in 1878 he managed them for the new owners the Lancaster Co.
In 1878 he became the Chairman of the Aberystruth School Board and worked with Mr Titus Phillips (Postmaster) and Mr Joseph Wallace (late Colliery Manager) of Abertillery and later with Mr W. B. Harrison.
In 1889 he was elected with a very large majority onto the Nantyglo and Blaina Local Board.
In June 1889 Mr J. P. D. Williams and Mr J. Dakers presided over the cutting of the sod for the new Lancaster Co Griffin No3 Colliery at Bournville.
In October 1894 Mr Williams was appointed School Manager for the Blaina and Abertillery District. Tenders of the Lancaster Co to supply coal to the Blaina Schools were accepted at 11s 6d per ton.
In April 1898 Mr Williams was unanimously elected Chairman of the Nantyglo and District Council with the Rev. D. Lewis Vice-Chairman. On the 30th April 1898 Mr Williams was sworn in as Magistrate of the Blaina Police Courts and sat with Mr J. Wallace, Mr J. Dakers and Mr E. J. Williams.
In December 1899 he was given a testimonial at the Market Hall, Blaina. The testimonial was presided over by Mr John Price, Mr John Evans and Mr David Wilkins (My Great-Grandfather, clerk of the works to the J. Lancaster Co). The contributions amounted to £130.00 and the presentation was to Mr and Mrs Williams, it consisted of an illuminated address surmounted by photographic portraits of Mr and Mrs Williams with photographs of all the company’s collieries around them both, together with a wrought Silver tea & coffee service and tray.
In June 1900 Mr Williams’ son Mr Dan A. Williams returned from active service in South Africa, he had served with distinction during the Boer War and was at the siege of Kimberley.
In February 1901 Mr Williams’ daughter Miss M. Williams gained the associate Diploma of the London College of Music for Pianoforte playing. She had been a pupil of Mr W. Carr ofAbergavenny.
On June 2nd 1902 Mr Williams sadly passed away at the age of 68. He and his wife were residing at the Populars, Blaina. He left a wife and 6 children