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Birth of a University: An intellectual snapshot of one year (1883-1884)

Cardiff University 125 logo






Original University staff

Original University staff

October 1883, foundation of the 'University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire' in Cardiff

Richard Lewis consecrated as Bishop of Llandaf

5 miners die - Lewis Merthyr colliery
6 miners die - New Dyffryn colliery, Rhymney
5 miners die - Gelli colliery, Ystrad

Cardiff population in 1881 was 82,761

In Wales the Treorchy men's Choir was established in the Rhondda Valley

National Eisteddfod visits Cardiff

Cardiff's Angel Hotel, Park Hotel, Cardiff Royal Infirmary, and Coal Exchange all initiated.

Cardiff Royal Infirmary

Cardiff Royal Infirmary



Welsh architect of 'Portmeirion', Clough Williams Ellis

Welsh architect Percy Edward Thomas, (president of RIBA)

Margaret Haig Thomas, Viscountess of Rhondda

Patrons of the Arts, the Davies sisters, Gwendoline 1882, Margaret 1884.

Sir J. F. Rees, later Principal of the University College, Cardiff.

Noah Abbott, miners' leader, born at Porth (died 1969)




John Batchelor, Cardiff's 'Friend of Freedom'

Morgan Williams, Chartist leader, dies in Merthyr

William Rees (Hiraethog), editor of 'Yr Amserau'




Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 1883

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 1883

Orient Express made its first run linking Istanbul to Paris by rail

Benz founds motor car company, Germany

European cholera outbreak, 1883-7

French begin colonization of Madagascar

Britain replaces French rule in Egypt, Evelyn Baring (Lord Cromer) as Consul General

Germany colonizes part of Namibia

First 'Social Security' health system, Germany, under Bismarck

Antonio Gaudi begins work on the Sagradia Familia in Barcelona

World exhibition in Amsterdam attracts one million people

Leo Delibes opera 'Lakme' premiered in Paris

Renoir paints 'Dance in the Town'
Cezanne paints 'Rocky Landscape'
Mackmurdo paints 'Wrens City Churches'

R.L. Stevenson writes 'Treasure Island'
Anthony Trollope publishes 'An Autobiography'

Nietzsche writes 'Thus Spake Zarathustra'
Francis Galton (eugenics theorist) writes 'Inquiries into Human Faculty' 


J.G. Fichte, Pedagogische Schriften, 1883

J.G. Fichte, Pedagogische Schriften, 1883


Benito Mussolini, dictator of Fascist Italy

Clement Attlee, later Britain’s Prime Minister

John Maynard Keynes, economist

Karl Jaspers, philosopher

Franz Kafka, writer

Jose Ortega y Gasset, philosopher

Walter Gropious, architect and founder of the Bauhaus school of design



Les Contes Drolatiques (ill. G. Dore)

Les Contes Drolatiques (ill. G. Dore)

Karl Marx, London

Richard Wagner, Germany

Edouard Manet, artist

C. W. Siemens, inventor of regenerative furnace

Gustav Dore, French artistic engraver






Krakatoa volcano

Krakatoa volcano

Krakatoa volcano erupts, over 30,000 die

Russian ‘Social Democratic Party’ founded by Georgy Plekhanov (a later leader of Lenin)

Stanleyville (later Kisangani), Congo, was founded by Sir Henry Morton Stanley

Treaty of Ancon ends war between Chile, Peru and Bolivia

Brooklyn Bridge, New York opened


Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge


Faisal I, ibn Al Hussein ibn Ali El Hasemi 1st King of Iraq-Syria

Joseph Alois Schumpeter, USA economist

William Carlos Williams poet, winner of Pulitzer prize

Khalil Gibran, Lebanese-American poet



Ivan Turgenev, Russian writer






'The Scottish Highlands: Highland Clans and Highland Regiments'

'The Scottish Highlands: Highland Clans and Highland Regiments'


University College of North Wales, Bangor, opens

15 miners die - Pochin Colliery, Tredegar,
14 miners die - Naval Steam Colliery, Pengraig

Cardiff coal exports reach 9 million tonnes (c. 40% of UK total)

South Wales Echo, Cardiff’s evening newspaper, established.

First home rugby international at Cardiff Arms Park against Ireland (Wales beat Ireland)

Dr. William Price wins court case to make cremation legal



Jack Jones, Welsh author

R. Williams Parry, major poet

A. J. Cook born, miners’ leader

J. R. D. Jones born, founder of the South African Institute of Race Relations





'Hanes Bywyd a Theithiau Dr Livingstone'

'Hanes Bywyd a Theithiau Dr Livingstone'

AIEE, later, Institute for Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE) founded

The London prison for debtors closed

Pathogen identified for cholera, by Robert Koch (Germany) 1883/4,
Pathogen identified for tetanus, by Nicholaier (Germany)

Full voting rights for men in Britain (women get the vote in 1928)

Maxim invents machine gun

German-Russian alliance treaties 1884-87

Engels writes ‘Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State’
Fabian Society founded.

The Statue of Liberty was presented to the United States in ceremonies at Paris, then New York

Palais de Justice, Brussels completed, 1883/4

Prague starts to build a National Museum

Greenwich was established as universal time meridian of longitude

Trysorfa y Plant: Yr Ymenydd

Trysorfa y Plant: Yr Ymenydd

Seurat painted ‘Una Baignade, Asnieres’
Claude Monet painted ‘Bordighera’

Huysmans wrote the novel ‘A Rebours’
Joseph Peladin wrote ‘Le Vie Supreme’ (Rosicrucian Society – magic/occult)

In England part 1 of the Oxford English Dictionary, by James Murray, was published

The Gaelic Athletic Association was founded in Ireland



Sir Hugh Walpole, English novelist

Max Beckman, German painter

Auguste Piccard, Swiss physicist

Wilhelm Backhaus, German pianist



Gregor Mendel, Czech geneticist

Isaac Todhunter, English mathematician

Hans Rott, Austrian composer

Bedrich Smetana, Czech composer



Nights with Uncle Remus

'Nights with Uncle Remus'



Czar Nicholas II succeeds his father, Alexander III

General Charles Gordon departed London for Khartoum, later defeated by Mahdi’s troops

George Eastman patents paper roll film photographic strip, for Kodak box camera

H.M. Stanley establishes 40 Congo trading ports for King Leopold, Belgium

Mark Twain wrote the classic ‘Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’


'Buddhism in China'

'Buddhism in China'


Damon Runyon journalist and writer

Harry S. Truman, later USA president

Marie Vassilieff, Russian artist

Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States



John Williams Jones, editor of USA ‘Y Drych’ newspaper, dies in Utica

Marie Bashkirtseff, Russian artist

Cyrus McCormick, American inventor