Members at our 2007 BBQ

Cardiff
Naturalists' Society


Cymdeithas Naturiaethwr
Gaerdydd

 

 

Sir William Galloway, D.Sc., F.G.S. 11th President


Back to the 150th Anniversary index

the Passing of Sir William Galloway is noted in volume LXII of the transactions in 1929 with this obituary buy F J North

Sir William Galloway died in his 87th year on Wednesday, llth November, 1927. His connection with the Cardiff Naturalists' Society extended over 46 years, and was of somewhat unusual character.

Elected a member in 1881, he was given a seat on the Council in 1882, and occupied the Presidential chair in 1883. Between 1882 and 1889 he gave five addresses on subjects ranging from Explosions in Collieries to Flying Fish and, after that, took no active part in the Society's affairs until, in 1927, he read a paper upon Capillary Action to the Biological and Geological Section.

Galloway came to South Wales in 1874 as an Assistant Inspector of Mines, and, during the course of his official duties, came to the conclusion that coal-dust, not gas, was responsible for the violence of colliery explosions. His convictions were increased as a result of experimental work, but his ideas were not favourably received and, eventually, in order to gain freedom of action, he gave up his post and set up as a consulting engineer.

For about 10 years he occupied the position of Professor of Mining in the University College at Cardiff and, for a long period, acted as external examiner in mining for the Universities of Wales and Birmingham he was also responsible for the examination of certain grades of mine officials under the County Councils of Glamorgan and Monmouthshire.

He was actively connected with the South Wales Institute of Engineers (of which he became a member in 1881, and President in 1912), and was also a member and occupied the Presidential chair of the Institution of Mining Engineers. Continuing, in spite of indifference and even opposition, to develop his theory relating to colliery explosions, he showed that, if coal dust is mixed with a certain amount of stone dust, it will not explode, and advocated the distribution of stone dust in roadways and other places in mines where coal dust was likely to accumulate. This was in 1900, but nearly 10 more years elapsed before Galloway had the satisfaction of seeing his work acknowledged, and his method at first tried, and then universally adopted as the only convenient means at present known of reducing the chances and minimising the effects of explosions in coal mines.

Although recognition was tardy, when honours came they were freely bestowed, and Galloway received the degree of Doctor of Science from the University of Wales, the Shaw Gold Medal of the Royal Society of Arts, his portrait by Miss Margaret Lindsay Williams, from the Monmouthshire and South Wales Coal Owners' Association (the portrait now hangs in the Council room at the South Wales Institute of Engineers), and a gold medal from the South Wales Institute of Engineers. He was knighted in 1924, when 83 years of age.

Of a quiet and retiring disposition, a worker rather than a publicist, Galloway was but little known except to those with whom he came into contact in connection with his researches and their application; but his name will be remembered, like that of Sir Humphrey Davy, who interested himself in another aspect of colliery explosions, as one who, discovering something of great service to his fellow men, freely placed at their disposal the results of his labours. F. J. N.

ART UK this is the portrait referred to above



During his time as President the Bute Dock was opened as noted in this notice to members printed in 1883

Bute Dock opening invitation

Bute Dock opening invitation

There are many newspaper reports of his contribitions to Cardiff, especially in the area of public health which was clearly an area of great interest to him. and also to mine and coal related safety and this is just a selection

Explosions in Mines South Wales Daily News 9th October 1882

Explosions in Mines South Wales Daily News 9th October 1882

The Cardiff Times 27th January 1883 Mr William Galloway On The Sources Of Disease. The Health Of CardifF

The Cardiff Times 27th January 1883 Mr William Galloway On The Sources Of Disease. The Health Of CardifF

Weekly Mail 12th January 1884 Cardiff Sanitary Protection Association

Weekly Mail 12th January 1884 Cardiff Sanitary Protection Association

it is noteworthy that Dr. William Taylor and Mr Peter Price, two other Presidents of the Society were involved in this signficant work for Cardiff

However amongst all of his acheivements the one that is most noteworthy is the work on the explosive nature of coal dust. This extract from the Evening Express of 4th December 1894 describes his active work examining colliery explosions and reporting and educating on the outcome of these investigations. It is worth noting that presiding at this meeting was Charles Henry James who went on to become the 28th President of the society when he moved from Merthyr to Cardiff

Evening Express of 4th December The Albion Colliery Disaster

Evening Express of 4th December The Albion Colliery Disaster

He was noted as being honoured for this work in 1908

The Cardiff Times 28th November 1908 Prof. Galloway Honoured

The Cardiff Times 28th November 1908 Prof. Galloway Honoured

is noted in the transactions as living in Royal Bulding, Park place in 1902, and as noted above he was knighted in 1924, when 83 years of age. Many internet and published resources state that this was in the New Year's honours, but having tracked it down in the gazette which is the primary resource for these things we can clarify that it was in fact in the Birthday Honours for 1924

He is noted as being amongst the subscribers to the Robert Drane Memorial Plaque in 1927 and his death that year was announced in Volume LXI of the Transactions for 1928, followed by the obituary above the later year

Robert Drane Memorial Plaque unveiling at which Sir William Galloway was present

Robert Drane Memorial Plaque unveiling at which Sir William Galloway was present

Being such a noteable person there are many internet resources that describe his life and achivements and there is no need to repeat all of that here so links are provided: -

Wikipedia

Times Obituary

Grave in Cathays Cemetary



Back to the 150th Anniversary index

Before this... W Adams our First President

Next up... Peter Price Founder of the free Library

See our Full list of Presidents