Sir Cyril Fred Fox
Our fourth Blue Plaque was unveiled on 13 April 2019 at 17 Heol Wen. It celebrates the life of one of Wales’s most notable archaeologists.
Cyril Fox was born in 1882 in Chippenham, Wiltshire. Early ill-health affected his education, but he still held a number of posts including one at the Bovine Tuberculosis centre at Stansted. He enlisted for the Essex Yeomanry (Territorial Army) for WWI, but did not see overseas service.
A long-held interest in antiquities led Fox to make a significant decision after the war: he read archaeology at Magdalen College, Cambridge and his PhD study established his place as an eminent archaeologist of his time. He took up a post with the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology in Cambridge, and was later appointed Keeper of Archaeology at the National Museum of Wales. Two years later, he became Director, a position he was to hold until he retired in 1948.
In 1910, Cyril Fox and his wife Olive moved to 17 Heol Wen, to the house named Four Elms (the trees which gave the house its name have long gone). Tragedy struck when, in August 1932, Olive was drowned in an accident. However, in 1933, he married Aileen, a young archaeologist just beginning her career, and they had three sons between 1934 and 1943.
Cyril Fox’s reputation continued to grow and he was the recipient of a number of prestigious awards and appointments. Success did not stop him taking part in local events and photographs show him helping out a local farmer with haymaking. He was adamant that he should be part of the museum’s fire watch rota along with other members of staff. Fox worked alongside another Rhiwbina worthy, Iorwerth Peate, in establishing the Folk Museum at St Fagans.
Sir Cyril Fox died in 1967; the Blue Plaque acknowledges the contribution he made to the archaeological world and to the cultural richness of Wales.