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Naturalists' Society

Cymdeithas Naturiaethwr



Franklin George Evans M.R.C.S., F.R.Met.Soc, F.R.A.S (1826-1904) Second President

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We have his obituary in volume Vol. XXXVII of the Society Reports and Transactions

The obituary is entitled Franklin George Evans M.R.C.S., F.R.Met.Soc, F.R.A.S which instantly gives a sense of the breadth of interests that he had. A full copy of his obituary is available here

He joined the Society in 1869 after a letter from William Adams the First President entreated him to do so. It states that he was not an original member of the Cardiff Naturalists' Society, probably because while actively engaged in general practice over a scattered country district he felt the difficulty of attending meetings; but it was inevitable that he should eventually join a body whose work appealed to him strongly.

Franklin George Evans (1826-1904) second President of the Society

Franklin George Evans (1826-1904) second President of the Society

It goes on to say: -

Once a member he threw himself heart and soul into its work, attending both evening and field meetings with a regularity which would have done credit even to a man of considerable leisure. To those who worked with him in those early days, the most striking points about him were perhaps his scientific ardour, his catholicity of taste, and his keen concern for the welfare of the Society. In conjunction with other members of the Society, and especially its President, William Adams, Franklin Evans helped forward the Fine Art and Industrial Exhibition of 1870, organized chiefly with the object of obtaining funds for the Museum, and largely successful both in attaining that object and in stimulating interest in Art, Science, and the applications of both. He was elected vice president in 1879 and president in 1874.

His devotion to meteorology is noted in his obituary his detailed reports (including those published in the Cardiff and Merthyr Guardian) cover the time from January 1, 1866, to December 31, 1896, a period of thirty-one years. His Obituary gives detailed information on the establishment and monitoring of a number of rain gauges.

Society Meteorological Station

Society Meteorological Station

in relation to this his obituary notes the following

When powers were obtained in 1860 for a new reservoir at Lisvane (constructed 1863) there was as yet very little material on which to base an estimate of the size of a reservoir, and at that time it may have been thought that the storage secured was so ample that precise calculation was unnecessary. But in 1878, when the Llanishen scheme made it once more necessary to go to Parliament, the state of things was very different. At this time there were in the Society's field a number of gauges in various positions and various altitudes, and most of the registers had been kept continuously for ten years or more; so that they afforded valuable information as to the amount and the distribution of rainfall in the district.

There are very many references to his meteorological studies in the Cardiff Naturalists' Society Transactions and in other places and it is clear that his interest in obtaining sustainable water supplies continued as he was at the opening (closing surely) of the new Cantreff Reservoir in 1892.

Water For Cardiff. The New Source Of Supply. Opening Of Cantreff Reservoir. The Cardiff Times 17th	September	1892

Water For Cardiff. The New Source Of Supply. Opening Of Cantreff Reservoir. The Cardiff Times 17th September 1892

Tom Hoare of the Cardiff Story Museum noted to Wales Online that: -

“Among the grand houses in and around St Mellons was the 19th-century home of eminent physician Franklin G Evans , which has since played home to a junior Lord of the Treasury, a First World War military hospital, the swish Blue Horizon country club in the 1930s, a base for anti-aircraft guns during World War II, and is now home to the St Mellons Hotel."

The House is recorded as being built in 1878 and from the reference below to him living there in 1899 it is clear that he was still living there in 1899. The hotel has clearly undergone a lot of development in the intervening years and it is hard to tell what remains of the original house, but I suspect it is the central portion of the main hotel building in the picture below.

St Mellons Hotel, formerly Llwynarthan, the home of F G Evans

St Mellons Hotel, formerly Llwynarthan, the home of F G Evans

British Listed Buildings cite him as erecting the Lychgate of Church of St. John the Baptist in Llandaff, it having the inscription on a Plaque on south-west side of lych gate which says as follows: -

This Gate Was Erected By Franklin George Evans Justice Of The Peace For Glamorgan & Monmouth Of Llwynarthan Castleton, Monmouth Formerly Of Tynant Radyr And For 12 Years Churchwarden Of This Parish AD 1899 G E Halliday Architect

Interestingly it was not in that churchyard that he was buried

Evening Express 21st January 1904

Evening Express 21st January 1904

His obituary finishes with the statement that he took up Astronomy in his eighties and he eventually gave his telescope to the Borough of Cardiff. We have this picture in the society archives which is his weather station and telescope

Society Meteorological Station

F G Evans and CNS (later council owned) Meteorological Station and Astronomical telescope

There is more information and pictures of his telescope and the observatory on Bryn Jones website

One online reference lists him as active as a surgeon in Radyr between 1862 - 77 on Bob Sanders Website

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