W.J. Parry Papers

Scope and Content

Album, numbered 15, formerly in the possession of W.J. Parry and probably compiled by a serviceman who took part in the Crimean campaign of 1854-1855. It contains sketches and photographs of various scenes such as parts of the Mediterranean coast.

Letters from W.J. Parry to J.E. Lloyd, 1894, mostly written whilst W.J. Parry was on a visit to Argentina, and concern collection of mineral samples which he was arranging to send to Professors Dobbie and White of the University College of North Wales.

Photographs of paintings by Peter Leon of Mr and Mrs W.J. Parry.

Jubilee volume of Bethesda Congregational Chapel, c. 1900 by W.J. Parry.

Administrative / Biographical History

William John Parry of Coetmor, labour leader and author, was born on the 28 September 1842 in Bethesda, Caernarfonshire. Active in politics throughout his life, he took a leading part in the famous 1868 election.

W. J. Parry was a member of the first Caernarfonshire County Council in 1889 and its chairman in 1892-1893. He took a prominent part in the creation of the North Wales Quarryman's Union in 1874 and became its first secretary. Later he became its president for some years. In 1879 he visited slate quarries in the United States at the Union's request.

Several books were published by him, dealing with the quarryman's affairs; Caebraichycafn : yr Ymdrafodaeth,1875; Chwareli a Chwarelwyr , 1896; The Penrhyn Lock-out, 1900-1901; Statement and Appeal, 1901; and Cry of the People, 1906. He also edited with W. J. Williams the Welshtranslation of the evidence on slate quarries and quarrymensubmitted to the Royal Commission on Labour (1893).

He was active in writing for Yr Herald Cymraeg, Y Genedl Gymreig, the Caernarvon and Denbigh Herald and the North Wales Observer on labour problems, leaseholds, Crown lands, Home Rule, county councils, arbitration, etc. He was also one of the founders of the newspaper called Y Werin in 1885, and was its first editor for three years.

A prominent member of the University College of North Wales, it was he who sent out the first letter requesting that books be donated. He himself also presented numerous books and papers to the University library and to the National Library of Wales. He was an Independent, and a deacon at Bethesda Chapel. He died on 1 September 1927 at Bethesda.

Also held at the Archives Department of the University of Wales Bangor are the Coetmor Papers.


Incorporated into the General Collection of Bangor Manuscripts

Access Information

Open to all users.

Acquisition Information

Photographs donated by Mrs Helen Ramage.


Description compiled by Elen Wyn Simpson, March 2004.

Other Finding Aids

A typescript catalogue is available at the Archives Department of the University of Wales Bangor. Reference numbers : General Collection of Bangor Manuscripts 24267, 26667, 28763-28764, 35449

Conditions Governing Use

Usual copyright conditions apply. Reprographics are made at the discretion of the Archivist.