Local, National and International events in 1891

Events in Powys / Wales Events in Britain International Events


1st January
The 9th annual Eisteddfod was held at Victoria Hall, Llanwrtyd, presided over by Captain Penry Lloyd.
"In the course of his introduction he refered to the movement to establish Intermediate Educational Schools in Wales,as the means to combat with the English and Scotch speaking peoples in the various aspects of life."
Brecon & Radnor Express.

16th January
Skating Contests took place at Newton Pool ( River Usk), Brecon. £10 was distributed in Prizes and cash.
Brecon & Radnor Express.

Arts & Culture "Cymru" Published. A monthly magazine, "Cymru" contained articles on the history, literature and culture of Wales.

Opera diva Madam Patti recieves £30,000 for twenty operatic performances in Rio-de-Janeiro.

Brecon & Radnor Express: Craig y Nos Castle opens, 12 July 1891 - home of Mme Adelina Patti, renowned opera singer.

"Buffalo Bill's "Wild West" show has just been stationed at Cardiff; 200,000 people visited the show in one week." Mont. Express & Radnor Times, 6.10.91


Local Government Act in 1888, which created county councils and large towns as county seats decentralizing power.

5th January
Isabella and Charlotte Beddoes, of Hay are fined 7s. including costs, for vagrancy at Brecon. The alternative being 7 days imprisonment. P.C. John Powell and P. S. Stephen Davies were examined.

28th February
County Hall, Brecon, revokes orders and restrictions for Swine Fever in the following areas:-
Pontsarn , Aberglas Hotels and Penkelly Fawr Farm in the Parish of Vaynor, Brecon.
Brecon & Radnor Express.

23rd January
A Conservative meeting to discuss Irish Home Rule. Victoria Hall, Llanwrtyd Wells.
Brecon & Radnor Express.

6th March
Sergeant E Nilson (South Wales Borderers) of Roukes drift fame, dies at Cambridge Hospital, Aldershot.
Brecon & Radnor Express.

29th March
A fire broke out in an outbuilding at Lower Pentre Farm, Llanbister Road, the property of Lord Ormathwaite.
A number of horses and cattle escaped with great difficulty and several cattle were badly burnt. The fire was discovered by Mr Morgan but the building could not be saved and was burnt to the ground within 10 minutes.
Brecon & Radnor Express.

22nd April
May Fair announcment for the hiring of servants at the Guild hall, Brecon. 10 am - 6pm.
Brecon & Radnor Express.

A Manifesto of the Welsh Disestablishment Campaign Committee is ratified. ''It points out to Welsh people religious equality is truly a national question. Shows how Church establishment has brought religion into disrepute by plotting for the destruction of other Churches and claims that supporters of establishment have employed Church machinery for the purpose of all that is distinctive in Welsh nationality.''
Brecon & Radnor Express.

Apr 5: Sixth full British Census.

12th June
Mr Edwards of Cwmquarry near Llandewi is knocked down at Dolau station by his wagon whose wheels passed over his hip and leg. He was crushed severely.
Brecon & Radnor Express

Primary education made free and compulsory.

12th June
A verdict of accidental death was returned by the coroner for west Radnorshire at The Severn Arms Penybont, after a fatal accident in Dalau left one man dead and another critically injured. Bark peelers in Cefn Wood, Dolau, felled a tree which crushed two men who failed to run clear. John Francis of Rose Cottage, later died of his injuries and Benjamin Devonport was severely injured.
Brecon & Radnor Express

Professor Shipley attempts a balloon assent at Hay on Wye horse show. The attempt failed when the balloon rose 4 yards in height, turned over and the gas escaped. Briefly, Mr Shipley was caught around the neck by a loose rope but managed to break free.
Brecon & Radnor Express

September - the Free Education Act comes into force. Mont.
Express & Radnor Times, 1.9.91

Visit of members of the Water Committee of the Town Council to Rhayader, also Chairman of Public Works Committee, Town Clerk, Engineer of the Water Department and Medical Officer of Health. They visited Rhayader and the Elan Valley to see the land where the reservoirs were proposed to be built. 24.2.91 Montgomeryshire Express & Radnor Times

U.S. Protectionism
American Government passed the McKinley Tariff to promote home industries, especially since fully three-quarters of the products of the Welsh tinplate industry had been imported to the United States. The passing of the Tariff was a severe blow to Welsh industry; and some areas never fully recovered from its effects.

"The efforts made by the officials of the Welsh Tinplate Workers' Union to avert the enforced idleness for at least four weeks of 25,000 operatives have proved unsuccessful. At the end of the present week most of the tinplate works in the Principality will be closed." Mont. Express & Radnor Times, 30.6.91

"Landslip on the Cambrian Railway. Trains delayed. A Man Killed. On Monday evening, a landslip occurred at Talerddig Cutting, which is a rocky district between Llanbrynmair and Carno railway stations." Mont. Express & Radnor Times, 11.8.91

Serious floods in Montgomeryshire. Mont. Express & Radnor Times

1.9.91 - "GREAT FIRE IN NEWTOWN. "Partial Destruction of a Mill - Enormous Damage - Mill Hands Thrown out of Work - Grand Work by the Fire Brigades."

Fire at the Jones, Evans & Co. Ltd. mill in Newtown. Mont. Express & Radnor Times, 20.10.91

Mr Frank Edwards goes on a tour of the Counties in a bid to be elected as Liberal M.P for Brecon & Radnor. He discusses Liberal party policies including Disestablishment of the Church, Irish Home Rule and Reform of the House of Lords.
Brecon & Radnor Express

More floods in Newtown. Mont. Express & Radnor Times, 15.12.91

13th March
Old War Pensioner Sergeant Samual Warriner of Presteigne dies. He was present at the battle of Waterloo and Sergeant on the staff of the Royal Radnorshire Rifles Militia.
13.3.91 Brecon & Radnor Express

22.6.91 - Death of J W Gibson-Watt Esq. of Doldowlod reported. d. 19.6.91 at Brighton - b. 4.8.31. Great grandson of James Watt.

Death of the Earl of Powis, 12.5.91 Montgomery Express & Radnor Times, also Mont. Council minutes.

27th November
Mrs Hamer from Church Street, Rhayader reported £44 in gold was stolen from a box which she kept under a bed. Two vagrants who had stayed the night were believed to have stolen the gold. Sergeant Jones went in persuit and about 19miles from Rhayader managed to catch up with them . One managed to escape. However, on searching the arrested man he found £22, the spoil having been equally divided.
Brecon & Radnor Express


Idea for "Commonwealth Games"
Thirty years before the first Commonwealth Games, English clergyman Reverend J Astley Cooper planted the seeds from which the competition as we now know it took root.

Children's Illustrator Kate Greenaway (45) holds an exhibition of her work at the Fine Arts Societyin 1891.

Agatha Christie, British mystery writer, is born.

Painter Stanley Spencer is born.

The cartoonist David Low (1891-1963) chronicled and commented on many of the great events of the 20th century.

Oscar Wilde's "Picture of Dorian Gray" is published.

February 1891
Film star Ronald Coleman is born in Surrey, England.

August 1891
Composer Authur Bliss is Born.

In literature, Thomas Hardy's classic Tess of the d'Urbervilles is published.

The Judge's House (Holly Leaves) and The Snake's Pass: by Bram Stoker. 1891.

Noughts and Crosses 1891 by Sir Authur Quiller-Couch.

The Sherlock Holmes mysteries
, by Arthur Conan Doyle, also make their first appearance.

September - the Free Education Act comes into force. Mont. Express & Radnor Times, 1.9.91

• John Davidson's In a Music Hall

• William Morris's Poems by the Way

• The Rhymers Club gathered at the Cheshire Cheese in Fleet Street, London, 1891-93, including John Davidson, Ernest Dowson, W. B. Yeats, and others.

• James Kenneth Stephen's Lapsus Calami and Quo Musa Tendis.

Founding of "The Strand Magazine", perhaps the first cheaply-produced Linotype-set wood-pulp paper magazine. Aimed at a large middle class audience for both fiction and nonfiction, its success was assured when it contracted with Arthur Conan Doyle for a series of Sherlock Holmes stories.


Queen Victoria is 72 years old in 1891. She was also the Empress of India, a title that was was given to her by Disraeli P.M., by act of Parliament in 1877.

In 1891 the Empire consisted of approximately 10,500,000 square miles. It stretched from Central America, the East Indies, China, India and large areas of west, east and southern Africa. By 1901 the Empire had further expanded to 11,908,378 square miles. The aggregate area of the British colonies,dependencies, and protectorates at that time was more than one-fifth of the land surface of the globe.

1891 - The Prime Minister is Robert Arthur Talbot - Gascoyne-Cecil Salisbury. 3rd Marquess of Salisbury.
1885-86, 1886-92, 1895-1901

After Disraeli died in 1881, Salisbury became Conservative leader and in June of 1885 he was prime minister. His second government saw the passage of the Local Government Act in 1888, which created county councils and large towns as county seats decentralizing power. His third government was a coalition between Unionist, Conservatives and Liberals. His time was chiefly occupied with the second Boer War (1899-1902).

Feb.13th 1891" Jack the Ripper"
Frances Coles was the 11th and final victim of 'Jack the Ripper'. Scotland Yard still have no knowledge to the true identity of the murderer that terrorised the slums of London.

Joseph Chamberlain becomes leader of the Liberal Unionists in the Commons. The Liberal Party advocates Irish home rule, the disestablishment of the Welsh Church, 3-year Parliaments, and reform of the House of Lords.

5th April: Sixth full British Census.

Primary education made free and compulsory.

Public Health (London) Act seeks to control factory chimney emissions in the capital.

"The threatened strike in the Clyde shipbuilding yards came into force on Tuesday, when 7,000 men, employed in six of the yards, came out on strike as a protest against a 5 per cent. reduction." Montgomeryshire Express & Radnor Times, 16.6.91

Scotch Railway Strike.Police attacked in riots at Greenock engine sheds by Picketers.

Report of deaths in Bradford from hydrophobia. Mont. Express & Radnor Times, 18.8.911

1891 Treaty of Peace, friendship and navigation with Britain and Oman.
The Royal Navy provided a peace that allowed trade to thrive, whilst the British Army could and did help the coastally based leaders from being overthrown by tribes from the interior. Britain augmented their formal relationship with the Omani leaders by further treaties of 'peace, friendship and navigation' signed in 1891.

British Interests threatened by Chilean civil war 1891.
The rebellion attracted British entrepreneurs worried by Balmaceda's threat to encroach on the independence and revenues of the foreign-owned nitrate mines. Although not opposed to foreign investment, Balmaceda had proposed a greater role for the state and higher taxes in the mining sector.

October 1891
Charles Stewart Parnell, a dynamic and charismatic leader of Ireland's Home Rule movement, dies in October at Brighton, after a scandal over adultery splintered his party a year earlier.

"No fewer than twenty-five thousand people visited Mr Parnell's grave on Sunday week." Mont. Express & Radnor Times, 27.10.91

W.H. Smith, the newsagent and bookseller, dies. Mr W H Smith, First Lord of the Treasury, and Leader of the House of Commons. "Up to the age of forty he devoted all his energies to the business of "W H Smith and Son"." Mont. Express & Radnor Times, 13.10.91

The First street collection for charity takes place in Manchester, For Lifeboat Day.

October 1891
Sir James Chadwick, discoverer of the neutron, is born in Manchester.

Gandhi Sails to England in September to study law.

Charter of British South Africa Company extended to north of the Zambesi; Nyasaland proclaimed a British Protectorate



Ragtime is all the rage. Jazz (though it wasn't called this until after 1917) was in its earliest infancy in New Orleans.

Marie Eugene Dubois discovered 'Javaman,' now known as Homo erectus.

Founded in 1891, The Japan Society is founded to promote Anglo-Japanese relations.

Guy de Maupassant goes insane after writing novels, plays, 300 short stories.

Croquet and bicycle racing were new crazes. Basketball was invented in 1891 by James Naismith, a Massachusetts Y.M.C.A. instructor.

Morrison (Des Moines) devises the first functional U.S. electric car, claims it can do 22 kph.

In 1891 Jesse W. Reno created a moving stairway that elevated passengers on a conveyor belt at a 25degree angle. The invention is later shown at the Paris Exposition of 1900, where it is first called the escalator. The escalator as we know it was re-designed by Charles Seeberger in 1900.

Pavlova joins Imperial Theatre 1891

4 July 1891
Phineas T. Barnum, Circus owner, dies aged 80.

Gauguin settles in Tahiti.

Sergei Prokofiev is born.

In Holland the first practical submarine is invented. "The first to use a combination of battery power and internal combustion engines."

Impressionist Claude Monet paints his famous 'Haystacks'.

Enrico Caruso began serious training for his voice.

The first 'telephoto lens' is attached to the camera. Also, photographers can load camera film in daylight, not just in a darkroom.

1891: Harry Houdini became professional magician.

1891 Irish Literary Society of London founded at house of W.B.Yeats.

Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel is born near Ulm, Germany. He later becomes known as the "Desert Fox" for commanding the North African campaign in world war two.

Henry Miller 1891-1980, American Author

Henrik Ibsen wrote The Master Builder

1891: Ibsen's play Hedda Gabler

W L Judson invents the zipper

1891 George Bartholomew placed the first concrete street in the USA in Bellefontaine, Ohio, USA. It still exists.

Georges Seurat, French Impressionist painter and founder of ' Pointilism', dies.

Bronislava Nijinska born in Russia

Cole Porter, song writer, is born in 1891

Electric oven - Carpenter Electric Heating Manufacturing Co. 1891

The first true automobile (not carriage with motor) is invented by René Panhard and Emile Lavassor, France, 1891.

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky conducts part of the first concert in brand-new Carnegie Hall.

Max Ernst, German painter is born. He was later to become a leader of 'irrationality in art' and originator of the realist faction of the Surrealist movement.


United States
President Benjamin Harrison of was in power at the time Term of office 1889-93.
He was born in 1833. Died 1901.
Harrison was a protectionist who favoured high tariffs. This was exemplified by his nurturing of the McKinley Tariff of 1890, which imposed high import duties to protect American corporations but had the effect of jacking up prices--a stand that would cost him heavily among the voters.

January 16, 1891
In The USA the Sioux surrendered. This was the last major Indian conflict, and like all the others it ended in defeat for the Indians.

March 24th & April 15th
Anglo-Italian agreements over Abysinia.

April 1st 1891
Brazil adopts a new constitution.

3rd April
Bulgarian Finance Minister is shot and assasinated in Sofia.
*B&R 1891.

April 9th 1891
Pan German League founded.

Chilean civil war 1891
Mont. Express & Radnor Times, 16.6.91 report "...of civil war in Chile. 20,000 engaged, an estimated 3,000 dead..."

17th April
150 Jews arrested in the Jewish quarter of Moscow. Jews in and around St Petersburg and Moscow without legal status or authorisation are rigourously rounded up and expelled by police.
*B&R 1891.

May 31st 1891
The construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway begins.

August 27th 1891
Franco-Russian Alliance

Montgomeryshire Express & Radnor Times, June onwards
"Great damage was caused on Sunday morning in Lombardy, Verona, Venetia, and part of Tuscany by an earthquake. At Marcenego three persons were killed."

Mont. Express & Radnor Times, 1.9.91
"Terrible Earthquake in Japan. Despatches have been received at New York giving details of the recent terrible earthquake in Japan. . . .The lowest computation gives the number of deaths as 24,000, but it is probable that this will prove far below the actual total."

Mont. Express & Radnor Times, 3.11.91
Papal encyclical on the condition of the working classes.

Famine in Russia.
It affected between fourteen to twenty million people, of which 375,000 to 400,000 died, mostly of disease.

November 1891
Brazil's President, Deodoro da Fonseca, dissolves the new Brazilian Congress which leads to rebellions. He soon resigns in favour of Vice President Peixoto.

Australian demands for Trade protection and unification

U.S. Protectionism.
American Government passed the McKinley Tariff to promote home industries.

Germany implements the world's first public old-age pension system, proposed by Prime Minister Otto von Bismarck, who left office a year earlier.

First Arab protests against Zionist settlements in Palestine.

Ghandi starts to practice law in India.

An international agreement on copyright.

Jomo Kenyatta is born.
He became a leader of the Mau Mau revolt in Kenya in 1953. Later he became Prime Minister, and then President in 1964.

American Express issues travellers cheques.

The first international phone call via submarine cable, London - Paris.

Exiles from the Ottoman Empire, called Young Turks, meet in Geneva. The Young Turks later become the architects of Turkish nationalist movement.

The Anglo-Portuguese convention in 1891. To many politicians and entrepreneurs, this effectively ended the hope of further British expansion on the African continent.

Boer trek in South Africa - some 20,000 reported to be on the move.

International Conflicts

Chilean civil war 1891
Mont. Express & Radnor Times, 16.6.91 report "...of civil war in Chile. 20,000 engaged, an estimated 3,000 dead..."

Sioux nation surrendered January 16, 1891
In The USA the Sioux surrendered. This was the last major Indian conflict, and like all the others it ended in defeat for the Indians.

Unrest in China
From the 8 May 1891 Brecon & Radnor Express reports of unrest in China - foreigners and their property being molested and destroyed.

Foda Cabbah's rebellion
In 1891 France recognized British claims to both banks of the Gambia River. Soon after there was friction between France and the Mandingo and Fulani tribes. As a result Foda Cabbah was exiled to Mali where he directed operations against the British. Eventually French operations from West Africa and British operations in Gambia ended his rebellion.

Samori's migration war 1891
Threat to British interests in Sierra Leone came from the Sofas [also called Mandingo] under their chief Samori Toure'. Driven out of their native West Africa by the French, the Sofas migrated into eastern Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Gold Coast. They traded for modern guns and began launching slave raids against their neighbours. They were eventually defeated in a battle at Tungea.

Conflict between The Netherlands and the Muslim sultanate of Acheh, Sumatra.
(1873-1904 and ongoing in 1891). Dutch defeat the Achinese resulting in Dutch domination of the entire region.
In 1871 The Netherlands and Britain had signed a treaty that recognized Dutch influence in northern Sumatra in return for Dutch confirmation of Britain's right of equal trade in the Indies.

German unit attacked in German East Africa (Tanzania)
In 1891 Hehe warriors attacked the German unit in the district of Kilimanjaro in German East Africa, killing the commander and many others. This led to many retaliatory attacks by the Germans. Carl Peters German imperial high commissioner of the district eventually defeated the hehe tribe.

Franco Tukolor war 1891
France took much of Upper Niger from the Tukolor Empire.

Anti-French uprising in Vietnam
Vietnamese Large-scale Vietnamese rising against the French was ultimately defeated (1885-1895).

World Leaders in 1891

1865-1909 - Leopold II

1875-1908 - Kuang-hsu (Emperor)

1863-1906 - Christian IX

France - Presidents
1887-1894 - Marie Carnot (assassinated)

1888-1918 - William II

1863-1913 - George I of Denmark

1878-1900 - Humbert I

1867-1912 - Meiji

1890-1905 - Adolf of Nassau

1890-1948 - Wilhelmina Popes
1878-1903 - Leo XIII

1889-1908 - Charles

1881-1894 - Alexander III

1886-1931 - Alfonso XIII

United Kingdom - Monarchs
1837-1901 - Victoria

United Kingdom - Prime Ministers
1886-1892 - Marquess of Salisbury (Con.)

United States of America
1889-1893 - Benjamin Harrison (Rep.)