Welsh industrial emigration: The legacy

Emigrants outside Australia House, London
Emigrants outside Australia House, London

In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, millions of people across the world moved to different countries looking for work. They wanted to improve their lives, try new working practices, or have adventures in different lands.

Many people left Wales and took traditional Welsh industrial skills with them. Some helped create continuing economic success in the countries they moved to. Some made huge fortunes, finding fame. Others led more quietly successful lives, settling down and raising families. Some returned to Wales after time abroad, others were never to see this country again.

Here we look at the various industries from Wales that supplied workers and expertise around the world. What were those industries and skills? Where did the workers go? What values and traditions did they take with them? What impact did their leaving have on the country they left behind?


Marc Haynes Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales Staff
3 November 2017, 16:09
Hi Don,

Our Principal Curator of Industry has got in touch with you using the email address you provided.

Thank you for your query,

Digital Team
Don Finlayson
2 November 2017, 12:02
Hello from Canada,
I am researching the history of the Daniel Lewis John family who came to Canada from Wales around 1930. They settled in Hamilton, Ontario and Daniel found work in the new steel industries in the city. My question concerns some trips John made in the 1920's to India and Australia. In 1925 there is a record of him travelling from Sydney to London. He is listed on the records as a "tinsmith". In 1926 there is a record of him travelling from London to Yokahama with the note, "contracted to land at Bombay". He is listed as a "tin plater". He travelled on the Peninsula and Orient Steam Navigation Company ship, the "Mantua". He 1928 he went from Calcutta to London on board the "Morvada", a ship operated by the British India Steam Navigation Company. He was listed as a "tin plater".
Why would he be making these trips? Did the company he worked for in Wales send men out to the far reaches of the Empire to help start up some new industries? Any information you could give me would be a big help.
Thank you.
Don Finlayson

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