Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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EVANS , JOHN CASTELL ( 1844 - 1909 ), science teacher .

Born 20 July 1844 at Castell-y-Waun , Tregastell , Llanuwchllyn , son of John and Catherine Evans . He was for a time pupil of the Rev. Thomas Roberts ( Scorpion ) , in the school he kept at the Old Chapel , Llanuwchllyn , and is said to have attended the Bala grammar school for a period. As a boy he was particularly intelligent and alert, especially in mathematics. He took a great interest in the traditions of his native area as indicated by three of his manuscript books which survive. There is no evidence that he underwent training at a training college, but he was a pupil and pupil-teacher at Bala British school , and he is said to have taught at Corwen school. From 1864 he was a schoolteacher at Devonport , where he married, in 1868 , Jessie , daughter of William Henry Beal , and kept school on his own account. By 1871 he was at Harrogate .

This narrow life thwarted his ambitions, and in the 1870s, although he was a married man with several children, he decided to go to London to pursue the study of science, and entered the Royal College of Chemistry . By 1877 he was a student-demonstrator at the Royal College of Chemistry ; in 1878-9 he was engaged in research work under Sir Edward Frankland , especially in investigating the reactions of zinc-ethyl ; in 1879-80 he acted, temporarily, as demonstrator at the City and Guilds Technical College , Finsbury , eventually becoming senior demonstrator ; he was F.C.S. ( 1880 ), and in 1888 he was elected F.I.C. He studied the provision of technical education in Germany and he later took charge of chemical training in metalurgy [at the City and Guilds Technical College ?]. He used ore which he himself had collected in Patagonia . He published, in 1902 , the first volume of Physico-Chemical Tables , described by competent authorities as a comprehensive and valuable compilation; he also wrote a text-book entitled A New Course of Experimental Chemistry which passed through several editions.

Evans was a Baptist by persuasion, and he took up preaching. He was an active officer of the London causes at Forest Gate and Ferme Park , besides maintaining close relations with the Welsh church in Castle Street . He died at Ilford , 13 May 1909 .

Sources:

  • Journal of the Royal Institute of Chemistry , 1909 (obituary notice);
  • Y Greal sef Cylchgrawn Misol at wasanaeth y Bedyddwyr , 1909 , 249;
  • Seren Gomer , 1931 , 116-7;
  • information from Mr. Gwyndaf Davies , Llanuwchllyn, the Caernarvonshire county librarian, and the Rev. W. J. Rhys .
  • NLW MSS 10567-8, [20,547C] and J. M. Rhys , 1 [MSS. 16653B ?];
  • The National Library of Wales Journal , xiv, i;
  • Cronicl yr Ysgol Sabbothol (Dolgellau) , 1881 , 216;
  • J. V. Eyre , Henry Edward Armstrong, 1848-1937 (London, 1958) , 73-4, 286-7;
  • information from Iolo Francis Roberts .

Author:

Thomas Richards, D.Litt., (1878-1962), Bangor

Published date: 1959