Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod

The People who Made it Happen

Harold Tudor (1908 – 1988)
Hon. Director of Publicity to the 1947 Eisteddfod

Born at Tanyfron, Wrexham, a journalist with the Liverpool Daily Post and in 1946 a regional officer of the British Council. A visionary, he conceived the idea of an International Eisteddfod and sowed the seed of that idea in Llangollen. He worked tirelessly to attract overseas competitors to the first festival.

“Without his inspiration there would not have been an International Eisteddfod at Llangollen in 1947” – Dudley R. Richards, Chairman 1986.


W.S. Gwynn Williams OBE, MA, Hon. RAM. Hon. RCM., (1896 -1978)
Hon. Music Director 1947 – 1977

Mr. W.S. Gwynn Williams, an experienced and ardent Eisteddfodwr, was a native of Llangollen. Music was his lifelong passion and his concern for the preservation of Welsh Music, particularly Folk Music, amounted to a “mission”. As proprietor of the Gwynn Publishing firm he produced much solo and choral music as welt as arrangements oi polyphonic music of many countries, factors which were to be of paramount importance to the launching of the International Eisteddfod. He was Organiser of Music for the Gorsedd of Bards for over 53 years and Honorary Music Director of the International Eisteddfod from its inception in 1947 until his retirement in 1977. Apart from the prodigious task of selecting test pieces for the various competitions, contacting the many groups and choirs from home and overseas, and the engagement of adjudicators and artists, he was responsible for the smooth running of the programme during Eisteddfod week. Without his enthusiasm and wide musical knowledge the International Eisteddfod could not have been undertaken.

G.H. Northing
Chairman of the 1947 Eisteddfod

History master at the local Grammar School, Llantysilio Church organist, knowledgeable musician; George Northing became one of the key figures in the initial organisation of the Eisteddfod. As Chairman of the Llangollen U.D.C. he accepted enthusiastically the idea of the Eisteddfod and it was largely through his efforts that the concept became a reality. Reporting on the first Eisteddfod: “A memorable occasion, an unqualified success. Singing, striking in its standard and endless variety, international friendships, interminable hand-shaking, and arising from this the anticipation of June 1948 … we have been making history.”

The Opening Ceremony

G. H. Northing, Chairman (Standing)

W. Clayton Russon, President (far left)

W.S. Gwynn Williams, Music Director (second from right)

Harold Tudor, Publicity Director (far right)

The 1948 Executive Committee (numbered left to right)

Chairman:- J. Rhys Roberts – seated (2)
Music Director:- W.S. Gwynn Williams – standing (1)
Joint Secretaries:- Mona Davies – seated (1)
A.G. (Bert) Reeves – standing (6)
Treasurer:- George Williams – standing (4)
Chairman Finance:- H. Glynne Jones
Secretary Finance:- R.O. Davies – standing (2)
Chairman Grounds:- J. Noel Bowen
Secretary Grounds:- E.Ellis Roberts
Chairman Publicity:- J. Trevor Ellis – standing (5)
Secretary Publicity:- J. Brian Jones
Chairman Hospitality:- Ena Lloyd-Jones – seated (3)
Secretary Hospitality:- Sarah Davies – standing (3)

Sir Clayton Russon, O.B.E.

Founder, Chairman and Group Managing Director of R. & G. Cuthbert Ltd., (Seedsmen) with its main branch in Llangollen, was appointed President to the 1947 Eisteddfod

As a prominent and successful man in the business world Sir Clayton brought to the Eisteddfod Executive Committee a degree of proficient alertness which provided the
necessary drive and enthusiasm to its early deliberations. From the very first he declared his complete faith in the success of the venture and his eloquent exhortations to greater effort by everyone concerned ensured that the presentation of the first Eisteddfod would be one worthy of the occasion. Lady Russon served as a Vice President from 1970-1994 and was a generous benefactor to the Eisteddfod.

Hywel D. Roberts, BA, Dip.Ed.,
Life Vice President of the International Eisteddfod

The longest serving and much loved stage compere died in 1989 after appearing as Stage Conductor for forty consecutive years from 1949 to 1988.
The Stage Conductor has a task calling for efficiency and tact. He has, and is, a personality in his own right. His title implies much more than ‘Master of Ceremonies’ or ‘Announcer’, and the part he plays throughout every day’s competitions and the evening concerts is vital. He must be prepared to spin out the time by talking agreeably to the audience during an awkward pause. He must be polite but firm with over-boisterous competitors and their fans, or with a group on the outside field that starts banging a drum in the middle of a choral contest item; to announce with equanimity a police message regarding a lost bunch of keys, an SOS for a doctor, a nervous children’s choir or an equally nervous Prime Minister.

Principal Stage Conductors/Comperes
1947 – Caerwyn a famous figure of the Welsh National Eisteddfod
1947- 49 – Meic Parry
1947- 51 – Pat O’Brien
1949- 57 – Hywel Davies
1949- 88 – Hywel D. Roberts
1952- 58 – Ifan 0. Williams
1957- 64 – D. Jacob Davies
1958- 80 – Havard Gregory
1963- 72 – T. Glyn Davies C.B.E
1964- 78 – Dillwyn Miles
1978- 96 – R. Alun Evans
1980- 83 – Nia Rhosier
1980- 92 – Iwan Thomas
1986- 96 – Robin Jones
1987- 88 – Aled Jones
1988- 93 – Richard Baker
1989 – Sara Edwards
1993- 96 – Frank Lincoln
1994- 95 Brian Kay

A.G. Reeves, B.Sc. – Life Vice President and Founder Member of the Organisation

1946 – 47 Hon. Executive Officer,
1948 – 49 Joint Hon. Secretary,
1950 – 52 Secretary Tickets Committee,
1953 – 58 Chairman, Tickets Committee,
1959 – 61 Created the role of CEO. (Competitors’ Liaison Officer),
1962 – 72 Finance Committee member
1973 V. Chairman, Finance Committee
1974 – 76 Chairman, Finance Committee
1974 – 78 Hon. Secretary to Council & Board
1977 – 88 Competitors’ Liaison Officer
1988 Joint Company Liaison Officer
1988 – 89 Hon. Company Secretary
1993 Appointed Life Vice President

Mr. Reeves served on the Standing Board from its inception in 1949 until his retirement in 1992 and he continues to take a keen interest to the present day.
Bert Reeves moved to Llangollen in 1945 to join R. & C. Cuthbert (Seedsmen) and later became Managing Director of that company. The list of his offices above shows the degree of his involvement from the beginning and the continued application of his business experience and organisational skills to the administration of the Eisteddfod. His exceptional contribution to the success of the Eisteddfod was recognised in 1993 by the award of a Life Vice Presidency.

Reproduced from the book ‘Fifty Glorious Weeks 1947 – 1996’
ISBN 0 9528296 06 – Compiler and Art Editor Robert B. Attenburrow M.B.E
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