John Viriamu Jones
 
John Viriamu Jones
Educationalist and Scientist
The first principal of the University College, Cardiff
(Picture courtesy of Cardiff University)


John Jones was the second son of the late Rev. Thomas Jones Congregational minister (1819-1882), the poet preacher of Swansea on the 2nd of January 1856 at Pentrepoeth, near Swansea, in 1856. “His middle name “Erromanga” pronunciation of ‘William’, reflects his father's admiration of the famous missionary, “John Williams.” The name was given to him suggested his parents’ hopes, for ‘Viriamu’ was the name of the martyr-missionary, John Williams of Erromanga, rendered as best it could be in the Polynesian tongue.

His mother was described by her daughter, as being of slight build, with irregular features and pale but clear complexion, and a look that was wise, kind, and critical. From the same source we learn that the Sunday after her death Robert Browning ‘came into the vestry after the service, put both arms round papa, and, with tears in his eyes spoke a few strong words of sympathy and understanding.’

Like his mother, Viriamu Jones had great strength of will and keen insight into character; his sustained enthusiasm and devotion to high ends and his very sensitive and gentle nature recalled his father. Like his father, too, he might have said ‘he was a man who loved to be loved and who could not live in an unkind atmosphere.’

Early Years

Viriamu first years were passed on the small but busy colliery district of Morriston, afterwards in the north of London until 1870, in which year his father was called to Swansea. At the time of Viriamu’s birth the family consisted of his eldest brother, David Brynmor (later Rt Hon. Sir David Brynmor Jones, K.C., M.P. for Swansea, 1895-1914; Recorder of Cardiff, 1914; Master in Lunacy of the Supreme Court 1914), and his sister Annie (now Mrs Home). Three younger brothers, Irvonwy (he was drowned in Swansea Bay August 20th 1886), Leifchild (Leifchild Stratten, M.P. for North Westmorland, 1905-1910; Rushcliffe, Notts, 1910: President of the United Kingdom Alliance) and Morlais, (Morlais Glasfryn, who became a consulting engineer and died in 1905), were born between 1858 and 1863.

Viriamu’s earliest memory was of an incident which he thought must have happened before he was three years old. His parents were living in Albert Street, Regent’s Park. It was the hour when tradesman’s carts call for morning orders; the front door was open, and he strayed across the street alone. Next moment, a horse and cart drove up to his father’s door, and hearing his mother calling to him to return, he ran back the most direct way, straight under the horse’s body.

One of the habits of the family was to read aloud after the mid-day dinner. In Viriamu’s case this proved rather unfortunate. Always eager to give and share pleasure with others, the boy would hasten through his meal, and, while the others were still contentedly eating their pudding, go to the bookshelf and take down the volume of Dickens. Long afterwards his step-mother expressed bitter regret that this had been allowed, for even as a schoolboy he suffered acutely from the ailment which gradually became an invariable accompaniment of his work when done as high pressure.

Education

Viriamu’s first school was Oakley House, Reading; the master, Mr William Watson, like most of those he taught, was a Nonconformist, and among his earliest pupils were Viriamu Jones and Professor E.B. Poulton, Professor Poulton remembers but little of his schoolfellow, except that he was active at games and clever. One incident, however, he says, made a deep impression upon his. There had been a quarrel between two boys of which the cause is forgotten.

“Viriamu withstood me and delivered a long impassioned remonstrance, arguing that he was being treated wrongly, unfairly. His schoolfellow was a sufficiently ordinary boy to persist in doing the wrong without saying much on his own defence, but he was in reality deeply impressed and can now, after a lapse of time, remember Viriamu’s earnest look and the spot in the school garden where he stood.”

He was only eleven years old when he left Oakley house and went to University College School, while his father lived at Norwood, a period of which little or nothing is recorded; but his father’s removal to Swansea, in January 1870, entailed his leaving his London school and working for two years as the Normal College, Swansea, under Mr Williams.

This institution was of the first results of the nineteenth-century educational movement in Wales which began under the Nonconformist influence and was opened for the training of teachers at Brecon in 1846. It failed in its original intention of lack of means and of material; but in dearth of good secondary schools it supplied that need, first at Brecon and from 1851 in Swansea under the principal, Mr Evan Davies, M.A., LL.D. (Glasgow), for some fifteen years, then under Mr Williams, an M.A. of London. As a frankly Nonconformist school it became both popular and efficient, the pupils taking excellent places in the London Matriculation examination, then regarded as a standard examination for boys leaving school.

It was at this school that Viriamu achieved the earliest of his successes, being the first of five hundred candidates for the London University Matriculation examination. His family were delighted; but three years’ residence with his brother Brynmor in London lodgings which followed was not good for his health. Never robust, he contracted the habit of overwork which was to lead to much physical suffering in later years. The facility (a curious illustration of this is recorded by his sister. When still at University College School, ‘he would sit in the evening with his books before him, humming a popular air, keeping time with his fists or thumping the table or beating the floor with his heels. He seemed an idle, careless little vagabond, but we found that he was really intent upon his object and quite heedless of the buzz of talk around him, or of any word addressed to himself’), with which he worked and his strong desire to please his parents only increased the temptation.

He went to University College, London, in 1872, and worked there until he went to Oxford in 1876.

His parents felt absence from home so much as to grudge every day spent away from them during his vacations, and their over-anxiety could scarcely be satisfied with such letters as he managed to write in term time. The following is an extract from a letter to his father, written when Viriamu Jones was beginning his career at University College, London.

November 7th 1872. I have often during the last week wished was at home for some reasons. No till one is in pain does one know what a blessing it is to have sympathy and to be at home.

Seven years later (1879), after passing his Final Examination of Mathematics and while his father was still at Melbourne, he again thirsted for home. I wish I had not made the Guernsey engagement so that I might have come to Swansea from Scotland, for, to tell the truth, I am rather tired of motion, and Swansea is still home.

When he took his second B.Sc. and won the University Scholarship in Geology in the Honours examination of the London University, his step-mother expressed the family’s approval and satisfaction (October 1875).

Your note of this morning gave us all great pleasure. You sustain your first honours in a most splendid manner.

His fellow student, Claude Thompson, (Claude M. Thompson, M.A., D.Sc., F.C.S., Professor of Chemistry at The University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire), with whom he lodged in London, also took notice of his success (September 20th 1875): ‘What howling swell at philosophy you have become!’

In February 1876, Mrs Thomas Jones told him:

I read your verses to Annie with great pleasure and delight. There were some very fine compliments passed on you, which I will not give, since you constantly tell me not endeavour to make you vain.

And again in March:

We were very glad to have your letter on Sunday morning. I am afraid the very orthodox folk would condemn us sadly, and I am not sure that I had no qualms in the subject, for the laughter your letter provoked. One after the other coming down, it was not enough for them to laugh, but they must needs read it aloud and then another hearty round would be the effect.

In March 1877, Irvonwy sent the family news:

Papa is in his usual health but in great trouble about leaving for Melbourne. Mr John Jenkins (Lord Glantawe, was a Deacon of the Walter Road Chapel, Swansea), and Mr Yeo (Mr Frank Ash Yeo, also a Deacon of Walter Road Chapel; represented the Gower division of Glamorgan in the Parliament of 1885), are also cut up, they both insist that the Church shall be left open until our Father’s return in three years. Papa of course does not agree to this.

From Melbourne, in August 1877, came a message from his father ‘not to pay much attention to rowing at the expense of work.’ His stepmother adds: ‘Your career has hitherto been brilliant. Don’t let I be flat as the end!’

When he was only eighteen and going in for the first B.Sc. examination he was seriously ill, as he wrote his sister in August 1874:

Thanks for your letter. You think possibly too much of my success. The more I have the more humble I feel (this is a fact), but nevertheless I am glad that you are all pleased. I have some more news for you. Perhaps you know that I was up last week for the first B.Sc. examination. I was ill throughout it and could not cram, so had to go in as I was.

He did not add that his brother Brynmor had had to take him to Sir John Williams, G.C.V.O., M.D., on the morning before he examination was held, to be treated in such fashion as to make it physically possible for him to the through the work.

In November 1874, Viriamu was awarded a Brackenbury Mathematical Scholarship at Balliol, but did not go up to Oxford until 1876. In 1875, he passed the second B.Sc. examination in the University of London, obtained the University Scholarship in Geology, (his competing for this was an afterthought, his gaining it evidence, not only of the ease with which he mastered a new subject, but of his power of gauging the mind of the particular examiner. Viriamu Jones’s success in this instance gave him that feeling of discomfort which a generous mind must feel in taking ant prize from those who have, on moral grounds at least, deserved it more (one competitor had been working for three years) and are known to need it much), and was second on the list and the first in the second class in Logic and Moral Philosophy respectively; but it was the Balliol triumph, won when he was under nineteen, that really roused his family enthusiasm.

(Professor Leland affirms that by daily learning and continuous revision the memory may be made so strong that a whole sermon once heard may be repeated. This many Eastern’s, have learned the Mahabharata or the works of Confucius by heart, devour their European text books to a comma.

In Wales, many a collier has his Bible word for word, the unwritten poetry of the bards yet lives, and memories are good, In Viriamu’s home, where things heard in the day were repeated and discussed at night, the father’s rich memory, diligently trained, fed the imagination of the children, and each would store up somewhat in his turn, upon which all might speculate and comment).

Friends at College

Professor Poulton gives a list of Viriamu Jones’ Oxford Friends’ and notes that no fewer than three of these: W.P. Ker, C.E. Vaughn, and R.H. Pinkerton, became members of the College staff at Cardiff, while P.A. Barnett of Trinity held a Professorship at Sheffield under his rule. Other friends were A.H. Bullen, C.H. Firth, H.R. Reichel, J.M. Rigg, and J.T. Wills; the latter, one of the boldest spirits among them, recalls the fact that about 1875 to 1880 Balliol College was at the height of its renown. Dr Jowett had been Master of Balliol since 1870. Professors T.H. Green, Henry Smith (Savilian Professor of Geometry), and Richard Nettleship were among its tutors. Viriamu found himself in good company and made many friends. One of these writes about him: ‘He was welcome in most of the little parties of four or five that met and talked,’ among whom were such men as Walter Laurence, who made the settlement of Kashmir and was private secretary to Lord Curzon, Lord Curzon himself, Sir Edward Grey, Lord Milner, Arnold Toynbee, the Hon. St John Broderick, Clinton Dawkins, who became H.M. Financial Adviser in Egypt and Minister of Finance in India, and other well-known men. With Professor Poulton he had interests and experiences in common, both in term time and vacation; among them was being practised for the first and last time, an event that led to the composition of sundry parodies.

He had taken a First in Mathematical Moderations in the fifth term of his residence (Michaelmas 1877), and another First in his Mathematical Finals in June 1879. The third and fourth years were went spent in lodgings, first at Beaumont Cottage, Beaumont Buildings, St John Street, then after he had taken his B.A., at 10a St Giles, one of two charming grey-stone houses which all who knew Oxford before 1909 will well remember, and which have now been inevitably and not unworthily replace by the new buildings of St John’s. At the end of his fourth year, in June 1880, Viriamu Jones took a First in the Final School of Physics. He was however, to stay at Oxford a fifth year, partly as a successful tutor to private to private pupils at his new rooms, (all my pupils too, to the number of five, have passed their exam), 50 St John Street, partly as Demonstrator in Physics at the Clarendon Laboratory under Professor Clifton.

Viriamu did not, however, think very much of these examination successes, as early as 1877 he had written to his sister of an old University College friend; ‘He is now M.A. B.Sc. of London, and will probably soon take his D.Sc. All these exams are a mistake, of that I am convinced.’

In 1881 he was elected Principal of Firth College, Sheffield. This post he resigned in 1883 on his appointment to the principal ship of the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire at Cardiff, an institution which was founded in October of that year and, which, on the creation of the University of Wales became one of the constituent colleges of the University. With the help of a band of able scholars and teachers, he made the College a great centre of learning. He was greatly helped by his wife, Katherine Wills, daughter of judge Sir Alfred Wills. He collected some £70,000 for the college, and persuaded the Cardiff Corporation to make the college the generous grant of the site of the present buildings in Cathays Park.Viriamu Jones early realized two great needs of Wales, a Welsh university and a system of secondary education, and for both ideals he worked indomitably. He had a large share in framing the charter of the university (of which he became the first vice-chancellor, 1895-6), and he was mainly responsible for the greater freedom of choice of subjects in its degree-schemes. He became first vice-chairman of the Central Welsh Board for Intermediate Education.

Picture courtesy of Cardiff University
Picture courtesy of Cardiff University

In the midst of these indefatigable activities, he devoted every moment of his leisure to scientific research, mainly in physical measurements such as the determination of the ohm. For this research work he was elected F.R.S. in 1894.

Although the son of a Welsh preacher whose name was a household word throughout the Principality, Principal Jones was virtually an unknown man in Wales at the time of his election to this post. At the time of his death few public men outside party politics were better known to his countrymen, and when the history of Welsh education since 1883 comes to be written his name will figure as largely in it as that of any other man. It is not too much to say, as Principal Reichel once said, that Principal Jones was the virtual author of the degree schemes of the University of Wales. What Dr. Isambard Owen has been in the general administrative work of the University that Principal Jones was in the work of academic organisation? No one who has watched the course of university polities and of university business in Wales since the granting of the University Charter will quarrel with the association of the names of these two men as the foremost pair in the great work that has been done. Even before the actual foundation of the University the two already stood out as the men who were together destined to take the lead in determining the character and in shaping the policy of the new University. The movement which led to the formation of the University Charter Committee was primarily due to the impulse given by an address delivered by Principal Viriamu Jones before the Cymmrodorion Society in connection with the London Eisteddfod of 1888. Dr. Isambard Owen was in the chair on that occasion, and from that time may be dated the alliance which brought the two men so prominently forward in the University movement.

Principal Jones was from the first sanguine and enthusiastic in his hopes and ideals as to the new University. No one so increasingly urged upon Welshmen their duty to have faith in their own University. His enthusiasm and his confidence were contagious, and at present educational opinion in Wales is strongly in favour of having all Welsh educational effort directed towards the national University. The Cardiff College, under Principal Jones's held leadership, was the first to give up all pretence and preparation for London University examinations and to devote itself exclusively to Welsh University work. On the Court and the Senate of the University, Principal Jones came in time to be regarded as the most authoritative and inspiring exponent of the University's ideals and system of work. It is too early as yet to judge whether the somewhat complicated scheme for degrees in arts, for which Principal Jones was responsible, is likely to be a permanent success. Many of those officially connected with the University feel that it may yet have to be considerably modified. Principal Jones was a firm believer in latitude of choice for the student, thereby showing his sympathy with that ideal of Lehrfeiheit which Dr Isambard Owen once eloquently advocated in a document well known to Welsh educationists. It may be doubted whether students for a "pass" degree should be allowed the latitude which it is both right and necessary that an honours student should have. But this is a mere detail, and experience will show the right way. What remains and stands out in clear relief as the most remarkable feature in the history of the organisation of the University of Wales is the wonderful resource, ingenuity, and insight displayed by Principal Jones in his contributions to the task of framing the degree regulations. Nor is it the University alone than has had occasion to observe and admire his powers. The success of the College at Cardiff has been largely due to his energy and ability as an organiser. No Welshman knew better how to approach influential bodies whose interest in educational work required to be engaged. Whether it were rich London companies or democratic county councils that had to be wooed and won, Principal Jones was always a consummate suppliant.

Statue of Viriamu Jones Cardiff University
Statue of Viriamu Jones Cardiff University
Principal Jones was from the first sanguine and enthusiastic in his hopes and ideals as to the new University. No one so increasingly urged upon Welshmen their duty to have faith in their own University. His enthusiasm and his confidence were contagious, and at present educational opinion in Wales is strongly in favour of having all Welsh educational effort directed towards the national University. The Cardiff College, under Principal Jones's held leadership, was the first to give up all pretence and preparation for London University examinations and to devote itself exclusively to Welsh University work. On the Court and the Senate of the University, Principal Jones came in time to be regarded as the most authoritative and inspiring exponent of the University's ideals and system of work. It is too early as yet to judge whether the somewhat complicated scheme for degrees in arts, for which Principal Jones was responsible, is likely to be a permanent success. Many of those officially connected with the University feel that it may yet have to be considerably modified. Principal Jones was a firm believer in latitude of choice for the student, thereby showing his sympathy with that ideal of Lehrfeiheit which Dr Isambard Owen once eloquently advocated in a document well known to Welsh educationists.
It may be doubted whether students for a "pass" degree should be allowed the latitude which it is both right and necessary that an honours student should have. But this is a mere detail, and experience will show the right way. What remains and stands out in clear relief as the most remarkable feature in the history of the organisation of the University of Wales is the wonderful resource, ingenuity, and insight displayed by Principal Jones in his contributions to the task of framing the degree regulations. Nor is it the University alone than has had occasion to observe and admire his powers. The success of the College at Cardiff has been largely due to his energy and ability as an organiser. No Welshman knew better how to approach influential bodies whose interest in educational work required to be engaged. Whether it were rich London companies or democratic county councils that had to be wooed and won, Principal Jones was always a consummate suppliant.

The funeral of the late Principal Jones

The funeral of the late Principal Viriamu Jones took place on Saturday. A memorial service was held in Park Hall, Cardiff, and the gathering was of a representative character Mrs Viriamu Jones was accompanied by Mr Brynmor Jones, M.P. Lord Tredegar presided over the service, and the Lord Bishop of Llandaff read the lessons, while the sermon was preached by the Rev. J. Williamson, M.A. (Congregational). Among others on the platform were Dr Isambard Owen (Deputy Chancellor). Mr Ivor James (Registrar. University of Wales). Mr Alfred Thomas. M.P., Mr Austin Jenkins (Registrar), Mr H. M. Thompson (Treasurer of the College), the Mayor and Town Clerk of Cardiff, and the members of the University College Senate.

After the service there was a procession to the Great Western Railway Station, and the gathering included representatives of almost every public body. Among the general public were Sir John Gunn, Sir Thomas Morel, Mr D. A. Thomas, M.P., and Mr W. Abraham, M.P.

A special train conveyed the body and the mourners to Swansea, where the interment took place, the cortege being joined by the Mayor of Swansea and the members of the Corporation and various local educational bodies
.Death of Principal Viriamu Jones

A brilliant career
Glowing tributes
Arrangements for the funeral

It is with keen regret that we announce the death at Geneva, on Sunday last, of Principal Viriamu Jones. The deceased gentleman left Cardiff on the 20th ult., spent the night in London, and on the following day crossed the Channel, accompanied by his wife and his brother (Mr Brynmor Jones, K.C., M.P.), to seek the further rest recommended by his friend, Dr Isambard Owen, and others in the congenial air and surroundings of Geneva, where he had spent several months last year recovering from his first attack of illness in 1899. Mr Brynmor Jones, finding him in good spirits and apparently feeling well, left him at the Gare de Lyons in Paris. The accounts received after his arrival at Geneva were favourable. The Principal seemed to enjoy his return to Switzerland. He was enthusiastically fond of the country, and was well known as a keen member of the Alpine Club. For several days there was nothing to indicate danger, but towards the beginning of last week there were signs of weakness, which were put down by Dr Pasteur, his medical attendant and an old personal friend, to reaction after the strain of the journey. On Saturday there was & consultation of medical men including Dr Revilland a well-known specialist, who gave it as their opinion that the malady was of a nervous (and not of a malignant) order, and that they no longer considered it serious. On Sunday, Mr Brynmor Jones, who happened to be out of town, received a telegram from Mrs Viriamu Jones stating that his brother was dangerously ill, but that the doctors hoped that he would rally. Later in the day a telegram arrived to say that the Principal had passed away painlessly about noon.

Principal Jones was the second son of the late Rev. Thomas Jones, the "poet preacher" of Swansea, and was a brother of Mr Brynmor Jones, K.C., M.P. and Mr Leif Jones, the late Liberal candidate for South Manchester. He was born at Pentrepoeth, near Swansea, in 1856. He was educated at University College, London, and Balliol College. Oxford. He was a Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford, and a Fellow of the Royal Society. In 1881 he was elected Principal of Firth College, Sheffield. This post he re- signed in 1883 on his appointment to the principal-ship of the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire at Cardiff, an institution which was founded in October of that year and which on the creation of the University of Wales became one of the constituent colleges of the University. Although the son of a Welsh preacher whose name was a household word throughout the Principality, Principal Jones was virtually an un- known man in Wales at the time of his election to the post. At the time of his death few public men outside party politics were better known to his countrymen, and when the history of Welsh education since 1883 comes to be written his name will figure as largely in it as that of any other man. It is not too much to say, as Principal Reichel once said that Principal Jones was the virtual author of the degree schemes of the University of Wales. What Dr Isambard Owen has been in the general administrative work of the University that Principal Jones was in the work of academic organisation? No one who has watched the course of university politics and of university business in Wales since the granting of the University Charter will quarrel with the association of the names of these two men as the foremost pair in the great work that has been done. Even before the actual foundation of the University the two already stood out as the men who were together destined to take the lead in determining the character and in shaping the policy of the new University. The movement which led to the formation of the University Charter Committee was primarily due to the impulse given by an address delivered by Principal Viriamu Jones before the Cymmrodorion Society in connection with the London eisteddfod of 1388. Dr Isambard Owen was in the chair on that occasion, and from that time may be dated the alliance which brought the two men so prominently forward in the University movement.

Principal Jones was from the first sanguine and enthusiastic in his hopes and ideals as to the new University. No one so unceasingly urged upon Welshmen their duty to have faith in their own University. His enthusiasm and his confidence were contagious, and at present educational opinion in Wales is strongly in favour of having all Welsh educational effort directed towards the national University. The Cardiff College, under Principal Jones's bold leadership, was the first to give up all pretence of preparation for London University examinations and to devote itself exclusively to Welsh University work. By the Court and the senate of the University, Principal Jones came in time to be regarded as the most authoritative and inspiring exponent of the University's ideals and system of work. It is too early as yet to judge whether the somewhat complicated scheme for degrees in arts, for which Principal Jones was responsible, is likely to be a permanent success. Many of those officially connected with the University feel that it may yet have to be considerably modified. Principal Jones was a firm believer in latitude of choice for the student, thereby showing his sympathy with that ideal of "Lehrheiheit" which Dr Isambard Owen once eloquently advocated in a document well known to Welsh educationist. It may be doubted whether students for a "pass" degree should be allowed the latitude which it is both right and necessary that an honours student should have. But this is a mere detail, and experience will show the right way. What remains and stands out in clear relief as the most remarkable feature in the history of the organisation of the University of Wales is the wonderful resource, ingenuity, and in- sight displayed by Principal Jones in his contributions to the task of framing the degree regulations.

Nor is it the University alone that has had occasion to observe and admire his powers. The success of the College at Cardiff has been largely due to his energy and ability as an organiser. No Welshman knew better how to approach influential bodies whose interest in educational work required to be engaged. Whether it were rich London companies or democratic county councils that had to be wooed and won, Principal Jones was always a consummate suppliant. Much was perhaps due to his urbanity of manner and suavity of speech. Few academic men could vie with him in felicity and tact as a public speaker. In argument he was dexterous and alert, but he was by no means the mere subtle dialectician that many who heard him on the University Court or the Senate took him, on first impressions, to be. He had a warm heart, an active imagination, a generous idealism, and these qualities gave the warmth of genuine eloquence to his public speech. Principal Jones was not without those gifts of eloquence, not to mention the minor graces of speech, which belonged to his revered farther. Browning was an admirer of Thomas Jones, and Browning was the favourite poet of the preacher's son. No one with whom Browning poetry is a passion can fail to be an idealist, and it was the idealism of Principal Jones that was the greatest source of his power in Welsh education. He was something much more and better than the diplomatist and tactician. Socially he was a man of unusual charm and geniality. His favourite recreations were mountaineering and cycling, but he was so hard a worker as to be unable to find time for them except for a brief spell in the summer. The pioneers of Welsh educational work during the past few years have had to live laborious days indeed and none spared himself less than Principal Viriamu Jones. His illness came as the inevitable penalty, and the loss of so gifted and strenuous a worker, will long be felt in connection with Welsh education.

The funeral arrangements

As it was felt that the interment of Principal Jones should be marked by the last possible public tribute of respect, a number of Cardiff gentlemen met Mr Leif Jones (brother of the deceased) on Tuesday evening to consider what arrangements should be made to that end. During the day the following message was received by telegraph, despatched at Geneva, from Mrs Viriamu Jones:
"To the "Registrar the University College, Thanks for the kind sympathy. Have asked Brynmor Jones to communicate with you with a view to arrange a funeral service in Cardiff on Monday next and burial at Swansea afterwards.—KATE JONES."

The gentlemen present were: Mr Alfred Thomas, M.P. (later Lord Pontypridd), Alderman W. Sanders, Mr Lewis Williams, Professor Corway, and Mr J. Austin Jenkins. The arrangements that they made (subject to slight alteration that might be necessary) were as follow:-

A memorial service will be held at the Park Hall, Cardiff, on Saturday morning at 10.30 o'clock. The sermon will be preached by the Rev. John Williamson, M.A., pastor of the Charles Street Congregational Chapel (where the deceased was a member). The hymns selected are: "O God, our help in ages past," "0 Fryniau Caersalem," "Jesu, Lover of my soul" (to the tune "Aberystwyth"), "Lead Kindly Light," and "Bydd Myrdd o Rhefeddodau." Principal Edwards, the Rev. J. Morgan Jones, Mr Lewis Williams, and Mr J. Austin Jenkins are entered to take the parts of the service, and Dr Joseph Parry will conduct the choir.

After the service a procession will be formed as follows: —

Mayor and Corporation of Cardiff.
Members of the Cardiff Technical Instruction Committee.
Governors of the Cardiff Scheme, Welsh Intermediate Schools. County Council of Glamorganshire.
County Council of Monmouthshire.
Mayor and Corporation of Swansea.
Mayor and Corporation of Newport.
Cardiff School Board
The Hearse.

The Mourners.

Council and Governors of the Cardiff University College.
Senate of the University of Wales.
Students of the Cardiff College.
Elder Boys of the Cardiff Intermediate and Higher Grade Schools.

The funeral cortege will leave Cardiff by a special train, starting at one o'clock, arriving at Swansea at 2.15 p.m., and the interment will take place in the deceased's family grave at the Danygraig Cemetery.

The students of the Cardiff College are in the unfortunate position of having their examinations being held now. On Saturday 27 will sit in elementary logic alone.

The arrangements at Swansea

It has been now definitely decided that the funeral arrangements at Swansea shall be of an official character, and letters are being sent out by the Town Clerk to the members of the Council, and to the other local public bodies and educational institutions, inviting them to meet the coffin at High Street (G.W.R.) Station at 2.15 on Saturday afternoon, and to accompany it to the Danygraig Cemetery, where the interment will take place. The only service at Swansea will be that at the graveside, and the family have expressed a wish that the Rev. Evan Jenkins, of Walter Road Congregational Church, of which the father of the deceased was for many years pastor, should officiate there. Mr J. B. Pritchard, Oxford Street, who has charge of the local arrangements, has communicated with Mr Jenkins, who is at present in London, but it is expected that he will accept the invitation of the family.

Swansea Associations


It was generally supposed that the remains of the kite Principal Viriamu Jones would be interred in the same grave as his father's, the poet-preacher of Wales and his brother's, late Irvonwy Jones, whose career was cut short in 1886 through the capsizing of a boat in Swansea Bay. The late principal of the Cardiff College was born at Morriston, and spent much of his boyhood in the district. But since he reached manhood he has only visited the town occasionally to see his step-mother who resides there, and his sister (Mrs Home), the wife of the Registrar at the Swansea County Court, and when he could spare the time to attend meetings of the board of governors of the Swansea Intermediate Schools. The place of interment will be the Danygraig Cemetery, about six miles from the place of Principal Jones's birth. Here lie the remains of his father and brother, a handsome monument in the un-consecrated aide marking the spot. On one side of the monument is the following inscription, which gives the career of the poet-preacher in a nutshell:—

The Burial Place
of the
Reverend THOMAS JONES,
Minister of the Gospel of Christ.
He was born at Rhayader on the 17th day of July, 1819;
Ordained at Llanelly, 1844; Minister of Libanus Chapel, Morriston, 1851-1858.
Minister of Bedford Chapel, London, 1861- 1869, and of the Congregational Church, Walter Road, Swansea, 1870-1877 and 1881-1882.
Chairman of the Congregational Union, of England and Wales, 1871.
Minister of Collins Street Chapel, Melbourne, 1877-1880.
And Chairman of the Congregational Union of Victoria, 1878.
He died at Swansea on the 24th day of June, 1882.

"May the winds blow gently, and the dews of heaven fall loving upon his honoured grave."

On another side of the square pedestal is the record of the death of Irvonwy Jones, the third son of the Rev. Thomas Jones who was drowned in Swansea Bay on the 10th of August, 1836.

Arrival of Mrs Viriamu Jones

Mrs Viriamu Jones, who was accompanied by Mrs W. Wills and her brothers-in-law, Messrs. Brynmor Jones, K.C M.P., and Morlais Jones, arrived at Charing Cross on Wednesday afternoon by the Continental train. The bereaved party were met at the station by Mrs Brynmor Jones, Mrs Vincent, Mr S. T. Evans, M.P., Mr Lawley, of Beira, Mr Morlan Main, nephew, and several other friends. Mrs Viriamu Jones, who is bearing up well under the great strain of her terrible loss, stayed in London over the night with Mr and Mrs Brynmor Jones, at Bryanston Square, where Mr Leif Jones was also staying.

Glowing tributes

The grave of Viriamu Jones
The grave of Viriamu Jones

A meeting of the Council of the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire was held at the College, Cardiff, on Wednesday, being specially called in view of the lamented death of the principal, Mr J. Viriamu Jones, F.R.S. The chair was taken in the unavoidable absence of Lord Tredegar (president), by Mr Alfred Thomas, M.P. (president-elect.) “Later Lord Pontypridd”. Mr Alfred Thomas said it was no exaggeration to say that the passing away of one who had filled so great a place in the public life of Wales as the late principal was nothing less than a national calamity. (Hear, hear.) It would be difficult to estimate the splendid services Principal Jones had rendered his country as an educationist, yet this much they were quite free to say that when the early history of the College was written, and still more that of the University of Wales. His name would stand out in proud prominence as that of a great master mind. He held a unique place among the many illustrious men who had so distinguished themselves as Welsh educationists. Indeed, he had but one peer among the younger generation of Welshmen. What Thomas Ellis was in politics Viriamu Jones was in education (Hear, hear.)

His influence was simply matchless. No one in our days so powerfully influenced those, with whom he associated. So richly endowed with natural gifts, so thoroughly equipped with all the resources available to a highly-trained intellect, possessing an indomitable courage and perseverance which he brought to bear upon every obstacle to progress, little wonder that he was irresistible and invincible. In the life and the work of Principal Jones the youth of the Principality had a splendid example of what was open to a man of probity, ability and perseverance. But of course in Principal Jones they had a brilliant genius, with the heart of a lion, and who dedicated himself to the gigantic task of uplifting the educational standard of the Welsh people. It now remained for them, as far as they were able, to fill in the picture the outlines of which the principal drew with such a bold and masterly hand. In doing honour to the distinguished man whose loss they mourned, let them not fail to remember and to honour one who had ever been so faithful a help-mate, (hear, hear who had proved such a source of comfort and joy both in the bright days of rugged health and the long and trying sickness which had culminated in a great bereavement in which they offered her their deepest sympathy and condolence. He moved:

"That this Council has heard with the deepest sorrow of the death of Principal Viriamu Jones, places on record its sense of the irreparable loss which this College in particular has sustained and Welsh higher education in general, and its heartfelt condolence with Mrs Jones and the other members of the family in their great bereavement. His brilliant abilities, his high attainments his great powers as an organiser, his sincere and deep patriotism, his unfailing tact and resourcefulness, his unflagging devotion to highest duty, and his untiring efforts on behalf of higher education in Wales, constituted him a proved and trusted leader, who has left the abiding impress of his genius and devotion deeply on the mind and character of the Principality. His qualities of mind and heart not only won the admiration of the entire community, but also the affection of all with whom he was associated in the government of the College and in the work of the University of Wales, as well as of all the students of this institution since its foundation."

Mr John Duncan said he happened to be one of the first to be associated with Mr Viriamu Jones after his appointment as principal. It might be recalled that Mr Lewis Williams and he acted as joint secretaries at the inception of the University College, having as enthusiastic coadjutors Mr Alderman Sanders and other gentlemen. No similar College in the kingdom, possessing such scanty means had made such progress in a like period, and the personality and constructive ability of Principal Viriamu Jones was the moving force all the time. (Hear, hear.)

They could only inadequately realise, as yet. the great part which the principal had played in the establishment of the College; his loss would become more apparent later on when they would sorely miss his remarkable tact, his infectious enthusiasm, and his unswerving confidence in the mission and the future of the University College at Cardiff. The course had been an extremely difficult one to steer, and there were still many rocks and shoals to avoid. It was then they would fully realise the loss of that guidance which they had hitherto enjoyed. (Hear. hear.) Meanwhile, they were full of gratitude to the memory of one who had so ungrudgingly devoted his industry and talents to the welfare of the institution. (Hear, hear.)

Medallion Sir W. Guscombe
Medallion Sir W. Guscombe


Alderman Sanders paid an earnest tribute to the work of the principal, and observed that while they had lost the life they had not lost the influence of that life and its example.

Principal W. Edwards, D.D., said that the more they saw of the principal the more they admired his splendid qualities. He was a patriot in the highest sense of the term for his was a patriotism that took in the highest welfare of the whole nation. Humanly speaking, he had doubtless shortened his days by his untiring efforts. A great organiser, he was the very man needed at the head of that institution, and in that position he had been the benefactor of the whole nation. His tact and resourcefulness were wonderful. He had an iron hand in a silken glove. A man of strong convictions, he was able by his persuasiveness and suavity to win opponents over to his side. They could talk more fluently of a smaller one, but now they were overpowered with the sense of the loss sustained, and which would be felt for years to come.

Mr Lewis Williams said that he spoke under the shadow of one of the profoundest sorrows that had ever come into his life. As Bright said of Cobden so he could say of the late principal, "I little knew how much I loved him until I found I had lost him." Their sense, all of them, was that of a great personal loss, and a national loss. While they mourned him, there was another feeling in their heart, that of gratitude that God had given them such a man to be their principal and leader. It was a great gift. No country in Europe could have furnished them with a man more admirably fitted for the particular work that needed to be grappled with at the time of his appointment, a man with deep enthusiasm for his work and with broad and democratic sympathies.

The resolution was put and carried in deep silence, after which the Council adjourned without transacting any business.

Dr Isambard Owen’s testimony

Dr Isambard Owen, whose connection with the late principal was extremely close and intimate, in response to an inquiry writes: - "To attempt an appreciation of Viriamu Jones is a task of singular difficulty, for no man ever needed it less. Few men of the time have lived their lives and done their life's work under a more unsparing light of publicity. Not many, one may surely say, would have come so triumphantly out of the ordeal. To praise his work in science is but to echo the voice of the scientific world, to dwell on his personal qualities, his enthusiasm and energy, his courage, his spotless honour, his ungrudging sacrifice of self, his high academic ideals, his statesmanlike grasp of affairs, his unsurpassed powers# of organisation, is to speak of matters about which the people of Wales has long since made up its mind. Perhaps, however, a fellow-worker may claim especially to know how deeply his nature was imbued with that master of quality of faith without which even the rarest gifts may prove void. An unshaken confidence in the capacities and the future of his own people and m the purpose of the work he set himself to for their sakes seemed to me to inspire his very thought and action. He mounted from success to success because he had no doubt of his aims. He was able to convince and lead others because he so profoundly believed himself."

Reference at the Board of Guardians

In moving a vote of condolence with the relatives of the late Principal Jones, at yesterday's meeting of the Board of Guardians, the Rev. Dr Gomer Lewis (chairman) expressed the feelings of deep regret of the Board at hearing the sad news. His death might be termed a calamity, for he was, in the truest sense of the word, a great educationist. As a native of Swansea, and a brother to the M.P. for the district, it was only right that they should pass a vote of sympathy with the family of the deceased gentleman.

Sir John Llewelyn seconded. The late Principal Jones had filled a very important position with marked ability, he did not know anyone who could have filled it better. He was exceedingly pleased to see that the Guardians recognised his services to education in the Principality.

Mr David Davies, as "one of the younger generation," added his testimony to the great ability of the deceased principal, who had not only been a patriotic Welshman, but a son of Swansea as well.

Mr Philip Jenkins spoke of his acquaintance with the late Principal Jones, and his father before him, the gifted poet preacher, and said that it was very sad to see so brilliant a career cut short in such a manner.

The motion was passed in silence, the Guardians all standing.

Resolutions of appreciation and sympathy


Resolutions of appreciation of the late principal's sterling qualities and sympathy with his widow and relatives have been passed by the Glamorgan Welsh Congregational Gymanfa, the East Glamorgan Calvinistic Methodist Association, the Barry and District Educational Society, Cardiff Women's Liberal Association Executive Committee. National Eisteddfod of Wales Executive Committee at Merthyr, and Tredegar Board of Guardians.

Glamorgan Baptist Association

At a largely attended conference of the West Glamorgan Baptist Association, at Cwmavon, on Wednesday, a resolution was passed expressive of the great loss to Wale- by the death of Principal Viriamu and of a hope that he may be succeeded by a Welshman. Dr Gomer Lewis, win moved the resolution, spoke eloquently of the immense service the late principal had rendered to the cause of education in Wales, and especially of the way he always looked after the young Welshmen, in whom he discovered the talent for learning, quoting as an instance the case of the son of Mr John Hopkin John, of Swansea.

A tribute from Sir G Kekewich

Sir George Kekewich Permanent Secretary of the Board of Education has written to Dr Isambard Owen, Deputy Chancellor of the University of Wales, with reference to the death of Principal Viriamu Jones in the following terms —

"It was with the greatest sorrow that I saw announced in to-day's papers the death of our friend Viriamu Jones. To me, personally, who knew him so we'll, it is a great loss and to Wales a greater. He was a man who could be absolutely trusted, and in these days that is no mean praise-a man to whom I never hesitated to say exactly what I thought, confident that he would never turn it to his own purpose or use it for other than good ones. His loss to the Principality you can appreciate, perhaps, more even than I. But at any rate I knew how valuable a life his was to the Cardiff University College, and to the Welsh University. No man had the interest of Welsh education more at heart than he and though happily there are many in Wales as whole-hearted and enthusiastic, there are but few, if any, who can adequately supply his place in energy ability and knowledge. The deep interest which I have always taken in Welsh education and the admiration that I have had for my friend as one of its wisest and truest advocates must be my excuse for writing you these few words to express my un- measured regret at the loss which we and the Principality and the cause of education have sustained."