West Glamorgan Archive Service

Royal Institution of South Wales Collection

Reference code(s): GB 0216 RISW

Held at:

Title: Royal Institution of South Wales Collection

Short title: Royal Institution of South Wales Collection

Dates of creation: c.1485-2004

Level of description: Fonds

Extent and medium: 1.23 cubic metres (43 boxes)

Name of creator(s): Royal Institution of South Wales


Administrative and biographical history: The Royal Institution of South Wales was founded in 1835 by George Grant Francis (then only 21) and is the oldest cultural society of its kind in Wales. Francis drew up a prospectus for the establishment of a Literary and Philosophical Society in Swansea and within one week he had obtained over 50 names as annual subscribers. Two general meetings were held at the Town Hall in Castle Bailey Street and the Society was duly founded with the following objects: ‼sup>~The Cultivation and Advancement of the various Branches of Natural History, as well as the Local History of the Town and Neighbourhood, the Extension and Encouragement of Literature and the Fine Arts, and the general Diffusion of Knowledge.‼sup>TM Amongst the founders were Lewis Weston Dillwyn (1778-1855) who had an interest in botany and natural history and was President of the Royal Institution from 1835-1856; George Grant Francis (1814-1882) whose chief love was antiquarian research and collecting; John Henry Vivian (1785-1855) was chiefly influential in obtaining the Royal title for the Institution; Sir William R. Grove (1811-1896) occupied his leisure hours with scientific studies and was ‼sup>~the first to effect the actual combination of the gases oxygen and hydrogen by an electrical current‼sup>TM; Sir Henry De la Beche (1796-1855) devoted his adult life to geology; Sir W.E. Logan (1798-1875) became an enthusiastic student of geology; John Gwyn Jeffreys (1809-1885) was a conchologist; Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot (1803-1890) was President of the Royal Institution in 1856-1857; Reverend W. Hewson, Vicar of Swansea took the chair at one of the Town Hall meetings in 1835; and Matthew Moggridge gave many lectures on Botany, Zoology, Coins and Gower. In 1838, Queen Victoria consented to be the patroness of the Institution and gave her permission for it to be called the Royal Institution of South Wales. The Royal Institution owned and managed Swansea Museum for nearly 140 years. For ten years from 1975, the Royal Institution entered into partnership with Swansea University which helped to support the Museum. In 1991 the Museum and its collections were given to Swansea City Council.


Scope and content: Royal Institution Society, 1835-2001; Royal Institution Accounts, 1807-1991; Royal Institution Library, 1834-1991; Royal Institution Development, 1838-1993; Royal Institution Building, 1838-1991; Royal Institution Staff, 1867-1989; Royal Institution Events, 1842-2002; Royal Institution Lectures, 1835-1986; Royal Institution Guides, c.1835-1992; Royal Institution Catalogues, n.d. and 1840-1991; Royal Institution Museum Sections, 1844-1991; Royal Institution Correspondence, 1821-1994; Royal Institution Documents, c.1485-2004; Acts of Parliament, 1785-1864; Royal Institution Bequests, 1927-1984; Royal Institution Photographs n.d. and c.1850-1993; Other early institutions, 1822-[1950s]; Other organisations, n.d. and [1900]-c.1995; Published and unpublished works collected by the RISW, 1725-c.1952


Language/script: English

System of arrangement: This catalogue lists the items chronologically under the headings stated in Scope and content.

Conditions governing access: No restrictions.

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright regulations apply.

Finding aids: A hard copy of the catalogue is available at the West Glamorgan Archive Service. The catalogue can be accessed online. =
Detailed catalogue


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: All records transferred to the West Glamorgan Archive Service have been retained.

Accruals: Accruals maybe expected.

Immediate source of acquisition: The records were originally held at The Royal Institution of South Wales, Swansea. They were transferred to West Glamorgan Archive Service in the Spring of 2004 as part of The Royal Institution of South Wales Collection.



Publication note: For more information on the Royal Institution of South Wales see the History of the Royal Institution of South Wales, Swansea, 1835-1935, by W.A. Beanland, B.A.; printed 1935, Royal Institution: Swansea. See also the Royal Institution of South Wales‼sup>TM website at www.risw.org

Note: Title supplied from contents of fonds

Archivist's note: Compiled by Katie Millien for the West Glamorgan Archive Service.

Rules or conventions: This description follows ANW guidelines based on ISAD(G) second edition, AACR2 and LCSH.

Date(s) of description: May 2006



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