Edgar Leyshon Chappell
Our second Blue Plaque was unveiled in 2013, and is situated on the wall of the house in Y Groes where Edgar Chappell lived between 1914 and 1924. He was born in Ystalyfera in Glamorgan in 1879, and made an early career as a teacher.
From his teenage years, Edgar Chappell was also very much involved in politics, something which would play a major part in his later life. As a result of his political activities, he became an ardent supporter of campaigns to improve conditions of housing for those on lower incomes. He was a keen supporter of the Housing and Town Planning Act of 1909, which made illegal the Victorian practice of building high-density back-to-back houses for industrial workers.
Chappell’s political career went from strength to strength, culminating in his being appointed an alderman of Glamorgan County Council, under whose aegis Whitchurch and Rhiwbina then fell. He was active in making structural improvements to local roads and was behind moves to establish schools in the area. In a wider context, he was an early advocate of devolution, believing that a Welsh government was best placed to cater for Welsh conditions.
Edgar Chappell’s interests also included local and family history, and his book on the history of Whitchurch remains a very useful reference for local residents. He was for many years a faithful member of Beulah chapel, and after moving from Y Groes, he and his family lived on Rhiwbina Hill, then in Beulah road.
Following his death in 1949, Chappell left a substantial legacy, which he wished to be used for the furtherance of higher education – a fitting memorial to one whose concern lay with the wellbeing of members of society who were less well off.