Rise of the University


Department of Law is established - the first in Wales.


Department of Dairy Science is established.


First Men's halls of residence are opened.


T. A. Levi is appointed Professor of English Law and Jethro Brown, Proffessor of Constitutional and Comparative Law.


The mysterious and legendary College Yell is first heard in and around the Old College Quad.


Sir C. Bryner Jones appointed as Professor of Agriculture. Bryner Jones became a figure of immense influence in the agricultural development of Wales, particularly following his appointment as Agricultural Commissionerfor Wales. He was involved in virtually every movement to promote the interests of agriculture in Wales, including the development of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society, the establishment of the Plant Breeding Station, the Welsh Journal of Agriculture and the University's Department of Agricultural Economics.


The Davies family of Llandinam continue their generosity to the University through the gift of £23,000 towards the construction of the Edward Davies building.


The University's first rugby XV begins its run of 15 years undefeated. Other notable sporting endeavours include: swimming, rowing, football, hockey, tennis, cricket, athletics and golf.


Sir John Williams provides funds for the new posts of lecturers in Welsh History and Welsh Literature. The University's Archives hold a collection of miscellaneous items belonging to Sir John Williams. Further details of this collection can be found here.


The National Library of Wales opens in the Assembly Rooms.


Departments of Applied Mathematics and Pure Mathematics are established.


Department of Agricultural Botany is established.


T. Gwynn Jones becomes the first person in the University of Wales to be promoted to the grade and title of Reader.


T.H. Parry Williams joins the Department of Welsh and is appointed Professor of Welsh in 1920.


The Education Department gives free, intensive training courses to disabled discharged soliders who wish to become teachers.


R.D. Laurie succeeds H.F. Fleure as head of the Department of Zoology. Through the generosity of Samuel Vestey, a new chair in Zoology was established 1922, with Laurie as its first occupant. In an age of financial stringencies, Laurie proved to be an inspirational leader. Unable to persuade the University authorities to fund a building for the fledgling department, Laurie and his colleagues built their own. Laurie was also active in improving the working conditions of the Britain's university staff. He was the founder, the first President and the Honorary Secretary of the Association of University Teachers.


On 29 May, Aberystwyth becomes the first University College in Britain toallow students to read for initial and higher degrees in Geography in both the Faculties of Arts and Sciences.


David Davies, together with his sisters, Gwendoline and Margaret, gives £20,000 to establish a chair of International Politics. The foundation enabled Aberystwyth to pioneer an entirely new academic discipline.


Branches of the Old Students' Association are established in India, Burma and Ceylon.


Lawrence Philips, later Lord Mitford, donates £10,000 to establish a Plant Breeding Station. On 25 April, R.G. Stapledon accepted the twin posts of Director of the Plant Breeding Station and Professor of Agricultural Botany. Under his directorship,the Plant Breeding Station became internationally renowned, due to its enormous contribution to land improvement the world over.


At Frongoch, the University's farm, following grants from the Empire Marketing Board, a great variety of grasses are developed (S.23 Ryegrass, S.48 Timothy, the cocksfoot varieties S.37 and S.143, and the clovers S.100 and S.123), which transform the world's grasslands.


Aberystwyth becomes the the first Welsh College to establish a Department of Extra Mural Studies.


The Old Students' Association donates the Assembly Rooms for use as the Students’ Union. The building was officially opened by H.R.H. Edward, Prince of Wales on 30 October. To mark the event, the University unveiled the only public statue of the Prince in Britain.


Plans are made to concentrate future building developments on Penglais site.


Department of Agricultural Economics is established.


Dr Lily Newton appointed as Professor of Botany. Under her leadership, the department expanded and established a considerable reputation for the excellence of its research and teaching. In 1952, Professor Newton became Acting-Principal of the University.


Aberystwyth becomes the first University in the world to establish a chair of Welsh History, with E.A. Lewis as its first Professor.


College hall destroyed by fire.


The College is awarded its crest. It includes the legend: 'Nid Byd, Byd Heb Wybodaeth' ('A World Without Knowledge, Is No World').


E. H. Carr, Professor of International Politics, publishes ‘The Twenty Years Crisis’ a seminal text of international politics. This classic work is still in print, as is his 'What is History?'


Alban Davies, a retired milk-merchant, gives £35,000 to the University to buy 205 acres of land on Penglais.


E. J. Williams in the Physics Department ‘carries out the most striking of his experimental achievements……the direct demonstration by cloud chamber of the decay of cosmic ray mesons into an electron. Later Williams made contributions of decisive importance to the campaign against the U-boat, thus rendering possible the later Allied invasion of Europe from the sea’.


Many members of staff in the Agricultural Departments and at the Plant Breeding Station, including D. W. Davies, E. T. Jones, Trevor Thomas, Moses Griffith, W. Ellison, T. J. Jenkins, Iorwerth Jones and others, are seconded to the service of the War Agricultural Committees. The work of the departments was wholly restructured to support the Food Production Campaign. The efforts of the government to increase the productivity of Britain’s land was achieved through the genius of Sir R. G. Stapledon and his colleagues. Sir Reginald Dorman Smith, Minister of Agriculture from 1937, would later claim that without the achievements of Stapledon, Britain would have starved and would not have been capable of mounting any military challenge.

Early days

College by the sea to College on the hill