Born 11 January 1882, at ? Abergavenny, Monmouth, son of David Alban and his wife Hannah. The mother d. at Abergavenny, 28 September 1884. The father was a journeyman tailor and he died at Hereford, 2 January 1891. Consequently, the family was scattered. Two elder sons became shoemakers near Fleetwood. Frederick John was brought up by a Miss Williams at Lower Monk Street in Abergavenny until he was 16 years old. The children knew her as ‘aunt’, but it is not known whether she was a blood relation. Brought up under straitened circumstances, he attended the national school at Abergavenny until the age of 12, when he had to leave because the ‘school pence’ were raised to 6d. a week. He obtained a junior post at the office of Spicketts, solicitors, at Pontypridd where he gained proficiency in shorthand and typing. He strove to better himself by borrowing books and copying them in shorthand. He worked hard and allowed himself only four hours of sleep of a night. He was, however, a typically lively lad, and on different occasions he broke an arm and a leg which were not properly set, and damaged his eyes which affected his sight.
He settled at Pontypridd and at the age of 17 was appointed clerical assistant to the Local Board of Guardians. Three years later he became accountant to the urban district council. In 1907 he obtained the first place in the final examination of the Institute of Municipal Treasurers and Accountants, achieving the same distinction in the finals of the Society of Incorporated Accountants and Auditors and of the Institute of Chartered Accountants. In 1909, he won the gold medal of the Society of Incorporated Accountants and Auditors. He was also a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants. For two years he was accountant to the United Water Board of Pontypridd and Rhondda, when he came to the notice of Thomas Jones (1870 - 1955) who saw in him the making of a deputy accountant for the Welsh National Insurance Commission, a post which he held from 1912 to 1916, when he resigned to become secretary and controller of the Welsh National Memorial Association established by David Davies, aft. Lord Davies (1880 - 1944), and his sisters, Gwendoline and Margaret to commemorate King Edward VII and to combat tuberculosis in Wales. He acted as accountant for the Ministry of Food in Wales, 1918-19. He resigned from his post with the Memorial Assoc. in 1922 but continued as its consultant on financial matters, and acted as financial consultant to local authorities.
With Norman Ernest Lamb he established the firm of Alban & Lamb, chartered accountants, of Newport and Cardiff. He established the Accountancy and Secretarial Training Institute at Newport to provide a correspondence course and to publish concise handbooks to help students prepare for professional examinations, inspired by his own early experiences in his efforts to master the elements of his profession. He was consulting accountant to the Taff Fechan Water Board, and served on tri- bunals set up under the various Acts of Parliament concerning electricity, water and gas. He was chairman of the finance committee of the (then) Welsh National School of Medicine. He had retained an interest in medical administration from his period of service to the Memorial Association and had successfully persuaded Welsh local authorities to co-operate in the campaign against tuberculosis. The results of his wise and effective leadership were seen again in the fruitful relationship created between the Welsh Hospitals Board, the Medical School, and the Cardiff united hospitals during his chairmanship of the Board from 1947 to 1959.
He published a number of books on the administration of water undertakings, on matters relating to rating and local government finances, and income tax legislation. In 1954 he published Socialisation in Great Britain and its effects on the accountancy profession. He received many honours both within and outside his chosen profession. He was made president of the Society of Incorporated Accountants in 1947, and honorary life member of the Certified Public Accountants' Association of Ontario, and an honorary member of the Institute of Municipal Treasurers & Accountants, 1954. He was a J.P. for Glamorgan, was made a C.B.E. in 1932 and knighted in 1945. The University of Wales awarded him the honorary degree of LL.D. in 1956. He was a double silver medallist of the Royal Society of Arts. He was Grand Treasurer in the United Grand Lodge [of Freemasons] of England and Wales and Provincial Grand Master of the Mark Province of South Wales from 1950 until his resignation on account of ill health in 1963.
He married 17 August 1906, Alice Emily Watkins (born at Ewyas Harold, 21 October 1881), died of James Watkins, wheelwright, and his wife Emily, late Woodhill, formerly Hughes. In 1906, she was a milliner at Crickhowell and after her marriage was of great assistance to her husband in secretarial work. They had six children, four sons and two daughters. Two of the sons and both daughters qualified in medicine, and the other sons in their father's profession. He died 2 May 1965.
Published date: 2001
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