Members at our 2007 BBQ

Cardiff
Naturalists' Society


Cymdeithas Naturiaethwr
Gaerdydd

 

 

William Ronnfeldt (1837-1919) 17th President


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We have an Obituary for William Ronnfeldt in volume LIII of the transactions in 1920

Mr. William Ronnfeldt died on December 17th, 1919, at the age of 82. Though born at Lubeck [Website Note: - Lübeck is a city in Schleswig-Holstein, northern Germany], in 1837, he was of Swedish origin. He came to England in 1859 and settled at Newcastle-on-Tyne. In 1862 he came to Cardiff, where he spent the remainder of his life, becoming naturalized in 1877.

He was a man of strong opinions which he fearlessly expressed, though he took no part in politics. Keenly interested in the intellectual life of Cardiff, he joined the Cardiff Naturalists' Society in 1873, was elected a member of the Committee in 1875 and President in 1889.

He was also a warm supporter of the Cardiff Public Library. Elected a member of the Committee in 1877, he continued to serve as an honorary member until 1914, when he resigned because he was no longer able to attend the meetings. From 1901 till 1914, he was Vice-Chairman of the Committee, and from 1896 till 1914 Chairman of the Finance Sub-Committee. He also served on the Books Sub-Committee. His wide knowledge of finance and literature enabled him to render most valuable services to the library. He was mainly responsible for the development of the music section, and for the foreign section, particularly the books in German, French, and Spanish.

Cardiff And New Libraries Bill Evening Express 27th March 1907

Cardiff And New Libraries Bill Evening Express 27th March 1907

His chief interest was music, and he took an active part in every movement for musical culture in Cardiff, including the music societies, the festivals, and the chamber music concerts.

He was a lifelong admirer of the music of Richard Wagner, who formed the subject of two papers which he read before the Naturalists' Society, one in 1885 and the other in 1900.

He also read four other papers on musical subjects, viz.: ­

  • 1889. On Songs.
  • 1896. Melody, Harmony, and Rhythm.
  • 1897. German Popular Songs.
  • 1899. Music Absolute and Applied.

Musical Meeting Of The Cardiff Naturalists' Society Evening Express 21st February 18964

Musical Meeting Of The Cardiff Naturalists' Society Evening Express 21st February 1896

His chief recreation was walking, and he characteristically chose as the subject of his Presidential Address in 1889, Country Rambles," in which he sung the praises of his favourite pastime. He had strong antipathies, one of which was his dislike of the ringing of church bells. His active life was brought to an end by a bicycle accident which left him a cripple a few years before his death. He had a wide circle of friends by whom he will be greatly missed.

During his time as president he clearly used his interest in music more sidely than just in our society as can be seen in this article where both he, and T H Thomas presented to the Cardiff Art Society

Lecture to Cardiff Art Society  South Wales Daily News 15th January 1890

Lecture to Cardiff Art Society South Wales Daily News 15th January 1890



Additional information about him and his family is available from many Newspaper articles available from the National Library of Wales scanned Newspaper collections. From these sources we can see that he was extensively involved in coal shipping and also became a colliery owner

Evening Express 14th December 1894 Lockett's Merthyr

Evening Express 14th December 1894 Lockett's Merthyr

Also in 1894 he was appointed Austro-Hungarian Consul for Cardif

Austro-Hungarian Consul for Cardiff Evening Express 14th February 1894

Austro-Hungarian Consul for Cardiff Evening Express 14th February 1894



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Before this... W Adams our First President

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

See our Full list of Presidents