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Welshmen Known in London.-IV.…


Welshmen Known in London.-IV. Mr. J. Pritchard Jones. WE wonder how many of our readers know anything of a village in Anglesea called Newborough, in Welsh Niwbwrch." Not very many, probably. But Newborough has a history. At one time it was the proud possessor of a charter of incorporation, and the seat of a Welsh prince, and its life charmed the muse of more than one bard to sing its praises. Those, were days in the distant past, Thomas Pennant, the traveller and antiquarian, declared more than a hundred years ago that the glory of Newborough has now passed away." But in modern times Newborough has given to London one of her merchant princes, who has done something at all events to restore the glory of this ancient borough. Mr. J. Pritchard Jones is the son of the late Richard Jones, a small farmer living at Tynycoed, in the parish of Newborough. Richard Jones was a deacon in the Calvinistic Methodist.Church at Newborough for 46 years, and he died in 1897 at the ripe old age of 94. His son was educated at the Dwyran British School, and when fourteen and a half years of age apprenticed to Mr. Owen Owen, Draper, Bridge Street, Carnarvon. There he remained for two years, and then removed to another establishment in the same town. He also had some business experience at Bangor and elsewhere in his native county. But, like so many other young Welshmen he felt the attraction of London, and when only nineteen he made up his mind to try his fortune in this great metropolis. The Firm of Dickins and Jones. In the year 1872 he entered the firm of Dickins and Jones in Regent Street. There was a Mr. Jones in the firm at that time. Then they only occupied two houses as against twenty- two in the present day, but then, as now, the trade done, was of a very high class character. In six years after entering this firm Mr. Pritchard Jones was made a partner, and soon after, the "original" Mr. Jones retired leaving in partner- ship, Mr. Dickins and Mr. Pritchard Jones. The business grew apace. Before long a well- known firm adjoining went to the wall, and the two enterprising men next door purchased the business and the premises. It was taking the tide which leads on to fortune at the flood. I their commerce, already very large, doubled itself in the first year after the additional premises had been taken. Three years after the concern was turned into a limited liability company, with a capital of ^600,000. Some idea of its present hugeness may be formed when we state that during last year it made A Net Profit of £ 78,000. The Company employs about a thousand hands, and pays in salaries about ^36,000 per annum, not including out-door workers' wages. The ordinary shares and a large portion of the preference shares are held by the original partners. When the transformation was made shares to the value of ^20,000 were allotted to the heads of departments. Mr. Pritchard Jones has not let his great success in business make him indifferent to the welfare of others. He is one of the founders of the Drapers' Chamber of Trade," and also a trustee of the Roberts' Marine Mansions, Bexhill-on-Sea. It would be difficult to find a large employer of labour who takes a greater interest in his employees MR. J. PRITCHARD JONES. than he does. Early this year he introduced into his firm the Investment and Bonus Fund in order to promote thrift and self-help among the assistants and also to provide against a rainy day that may come to them. We cannot give the details of the scheme, a scheme which had occupied the mind of Mr. Pritchard Jones for years, but briefly the employees are invited to invest money with Messrs Dickins and Jones, on an interest basis of 4 per cent. To the sum thus invested the firm will add a bonus of 20 per cent. Mr. Pritchard Jones himself acts as' treasurer of this fund, and it is directed by a committee made up of an equal number or the Company and of the employees. A Great Welsh Philanthropist. But interested as he naturally is in those in his own trade this successful London Welshman has not forgotten the land of his birth. Unfor- tunately many Welshmen who come to London and make big fortunes here do very little to assist any fellow-countryman to climb the ladder of success. They go down to the National Eisteddfod, or attend a national dinner on St. David's Day, or offer themselves to represent some part of Wales in Parliament because no English constituency will have them, and that is all. Wales and its people obtain no benefit through them. They call themselves patriots, but their patriotism is of the cheap, loud, and nasty kind. Now, Mr. Pritchard Jones knows nothing about that despicable kind of patriotism. Unobtrusively, but very effectively he shares his wealth with his beloved native land. The desire of his heart is to see Wales more prosperous, more enlightened, and more happy; and any movement having those objects in view finds in him a warm and liberal supporter. Higher education in Wales has no truer friend, most generous himself he uses his great influence to persuade others to be generous, too. To the North Wales College he has been a tower of strength and a fountain of hope. But his noblest gift to Wales is The Pritchard Jones' Institute, which he built and endowed for his native village of Newborough at a cost of something like £ 19,000. This institute was opened and made over to the village on the 30th of June last. It was most appropriate that the ceremony should fall upon a day within the year when the munificent donor was high sheriff of his native Anglesea. The opening ceremony was per- formed by the Lord Lieutenant of the county, in the presence of a company of the leading men of both Mon and Arfon. This institute is unique, no other village in Wales possessing anything approaching it. It is a spacious struc- ture, with ample gables and a handsome clock tower. Immediately in front is a quadrangle laid out as a pleasant garden, and on the right hand and on the left are six delightful cottages. These are meant as residences for poor in- habitants of the village, married or single, but who must be of good repute. On the first working day of each month each married couple will receive a pension of 3os., and every, single man or woman will have a pen- sion of 2.0s. The ground floor of the main building contains a spacious library, well stocked with hundreds of the best English and Welsh. books covering almost every subject of recreation or study, a reading-room, a coffee-room, a smoke- room, a cloak-room, and lavatories. Upstairs there is a fine assembly-room, a ladies' reading- room, a cloak-room, and a committee-room,, besides a set of rooms for the use of the. cus- todian. In every respect it is an ideal village institute, and must prove of immense benefit to