Samuel Baldwin Rogers

Samuel Baldwin Rodgers was a metallurgical chemist for a firm of J and C Bailey. As early as 1815 he realised the great proportions to which the railway system of this country would expand. At this time he advocated 1000 miles of railroads in England and Wales, but he was only laughed at and called a madman and was told that his ideas were impossible to adopt. Before he died 5000 miles of rails had been laid in this country.

He next proposed the construction of 10,000 miles of railroad, (with the exception of the short sea routes to and that of Flushing,) from London to Canton in China - a journey to take 12 days, with ramifications to all the principal cities, towns and works of Europe and Asia, and to many in Africa if thought desirable. By this, communication would be established and maintained about 700 million people and '' the blessings of civilisation be thus spread over the globe ''. A return of a 7 per cent dividend would be assured.

Many of his literary efforts appeared in a pamphlet form and would be printed in the Mining Railway and Commercial Gazette, and his dreams were all to be wholly or partially self-supporting, and help in the establishment of Working Benefit Societies' and so abate pauperism, slavery, crime and vagabondary. He advocated a superb substantial and convenient stone bridge across the mouth of the River Severn with a railway connection between England and Wales. He printed and circulated to all owners and workers of coalmines in Monmouthshire and parts of Glamorgan the establishment of gas lighting '' on a route extending from Cardiff to London via Gloucester '' and the new mode of supplying gas to the metropolis and to the Great Western and other railway companies.

He anticipated the production of coal by-products such as Tarmac and ammonia. He put forth financial results from the addition of ammoniated water to vegetation. He found a true friend in Crawshay Bailey and under his rule it Nantyglo brought about a big improvement in the Cort's puddle furnace. Rodgers' improvement was to substitute Iron for sand at the bottom of the furnace and it was old William Crawshay's favourite recognition when waited upon by Rodgers '' Well Old Iron Bottom ''.
Rodgers lived for eighty years and spent the last years of his life in Newport living on a pension granted by his Iron Master friend Crawshay Bailey.

Thomas Witton Davies

Thomas Davis was born in that Mason's Row, Nantyglo on 28th February 1851 of humble parents. His father could neither read nor write and his mother, was evidently a great influence in the home, though she learned to read, was never able to write. Early in his life the family, which consisted of five boys, (none of the four girls lived beyond infancy), moved to the North of England and settled in County Durham at Witton Park. Here Thomas grew up. He had no proper schooling and as he often stated, probably no College or University professor had such a poor start in education from when midway between his 21st and 22nd birthday he had practically all his educational work to do.

In 1872 he was accepted as a student at Pontypool College having been baptised in the River Wear at the age of twelve in 1863. He proceeded to Regent's Park Baptist College then in London, 1877, and two years later became Minister of High Street Baptist Church Merthyr Tydfil. But his best work was not to be in the pastoral sphere so much as in the academic and scholastic world.

After less than two years at Merthyr he was invited to become a Classical and Mathematical tutor at the Haverford West Baptist College, now the South Wales Baptist College at Cardiff. It was at this juncture that he took the second name '' Witton '' to distinguish himself from the principal whose name was also Thomas Davis. In 1891 Whitton Davis, moved to Nottingham, where he was seven years principle of the Midland Baptist College, now Leeds, and also lecturer in the Semitic languages at the University College Nottingham.

During these years he had began to travel, and interest which she found soar absorbing that it regarded it as a hobby. He won the degree of PhD at Leipzig University and was made an honorary Doctor of theology of Geneva. He travelled also in the Holy Land and America. In later years he lectured at Bethel Baptist Chapel on '' through the Holy Land on horseback ''. In 1898 he went to Bangor as Old Testament tutor at the North Wales Baptist College and lectured in Semitic languages at Bangor, a position he held until his retirement in 1921.

He distinguish son of a distinguished father writes '' although I was only ten years old when my father died in 1923, I can remember enough of him to give be vivid impression of him in my mind. He was a very hard worker and expected others to work hard to; I can remember waking sometimes of a summer evening and hearing my father pattering about in his study or on the landing at his book catalogue. He was an incurable collector of books, and rarely went out without returning laden with new acquisition; he regarded his library of over 20,000 volumes as one of the largest in the country. He was a keen Baptist, and very proud of the honour of being the first non-conformist to be made an honorary D. D. Of Durham University, an Anglican stronghold. He was an insatiable reader and amongst his library had most of the works of Thomas Carlylo exercised a great sway upon his mind. He was also a loving and devoted husband and father, and even in the busiest days of his life never forgot his duties in the home ''.