Sir William Howell Davies - 1851-1932 (Mayor 1895)




William Davies was born in Narberth Pembrokeshire on 13th December 1851.  His father was Thomas Davies who had originally come to Bristol from Wales in 1857.  Thomas was founder of a Bristol leather manufacturers and in 1875 William joined his father as a partner in the business.  Subsequently they acquired the business of John Cox & Co, Tanners, Bedminster.  He was president of the Anchor Society in 1892 For many years he was the President of the Bristol South Liberal Association and was President of the Bristol Chamber of Commerce in 1885.  In that year he was also returned to the Bristol City Council for Bedminster East ward and became leader of the Liberal party for the council in 1893.  He was made a Justice of the Peace in 1894, served as Mayor in 1895 and in 1897 he was made an Alderman. He was involved with various charitable institutions and was an active in church (non-conformist) and temperance circles.  He was knighted in 1908 and served as MP for Bristol South from 1906 - 1922.  He died on 26th October 1932 at Down House, Stoke Bishop. 

Sir William was a leading member if the Wesleyan Methodists in Bristol and his great-grandfather often entertained John Wesley himself when he visited south west Wales. He married in 1882 and there were two sons and three daughters.  One of his sons, Colonel Owen Stanley Davies D.S.O. was Sheriff of Bristol in 1920, sadly he died in 1926.

It was during his chairmanship of the Docks Committee that the City Council agreed the the scheme for the Royal Edward Dock and he remained chairman throughout its construction.  His reward was to be knighted by King Edward on th evening of the opening day, July 9th 1908, aboard the Royal Yacht with the Royal Edward Dock.    

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