T D Williams Papers

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The archive contains typescripts and manuscript drafts of T D Williams' literary works and scientific essays; notes compiled in preparation for the production of these works; and related correspondence.

Administrative / Biographical History

Thomas Williams was born in Llanelli, and educated at the town's Grammar School. It was here that he developed an interest in history and the classics, but chose to study the sciences at A-level. In 1906, he won the Carmarthenshire County Scholarship and the Margaret Davies Entrance Scholarship to the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, and graduated with first class honours in chemistry in 1909. He was awarded his Masters from the same institution in 1911.

On leaving Aberystwyth, Williams won a studentship to study at Trinity College, Cambridge. But he turned down this offer, choosing instead to attend the University of Karlsruhe in Germany, where he studied for the doctorate that he was awarded in 1914. He was appointed Research Assistant to his supervisor, Professor Bredig, but the outbreak of war intervened.

During the war years, Williams was held at the Ruhleben prisoner of war camp. Here, he met many like-minded people, and culture flourished. A fellow prisoner, M S Prichard, who held a deep interest in drama, inspired Williams to return to his childhood passions of literature and history. He founded a Welsh Society, obtaining books via the Red Cross from T F Roberts, Principal of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, and Sir Alfred Davies of the Welsh Department at the University of London.

Williams was released from Ruhleben in 1918, and despite the offer of a position at his old college at Karlsruhe, returned home to Llanelli immediately. He was offered lectureships in chemistry at the Universities of Aberystwyth and Swansea, but declined both. Instead, he took up a post as a Mathematics lecturer at the College of Engineering, Chelsea (now part of Imperial College, London). During this period, Williams developed the love of the theatre he had discovered while working as a violinist at the London theatres. His work at the college was for mornings only, allowing him the time he desired, and access to appropriate libraries, to further his research into Welsh history. The results of this research were the trilogy of plays, The Last of the Cambrian Princes. Written in blank verse and reflective of true historical events, they were published between 1960 and 1967.

Williams also met his wife, Emily Lucy of Highgate, whilst in London. On his retirement, they returned to Wales, settling at Swiss Valley, just outside his home town of Llanelli. During his later years, he adopted his middle name Demarden - of Carmarthen - and turned his back on science. Fearing technological developments would lead to the destruction of man, he became and avowed pacifist and Welsh nationalist. He died in 1982.

Conditions Governing Access

The papers may be consulted through application by e-mail to: archives@aber.ac.uk or by post to: Aberystwyth University, Archives, Information Services, Llandinam Building, Penglais, Aberystwyth, SY23 3DB. Tel: 01970 628593.

Note

This archive is held at the Hugh Owen Library, Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth.

Description compiled by Rhian Phillips, Archives Hub project archivist, with reference to Williams, T D, The Last of the Cambrian Princes: Part 3, Our martyred prince, (Llandybie: C. Davies, 1967), and the T D Williams Papers, Hugh Owen Library, University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

Other Finding Aids

Basic finding aid available on request from Archives staff.