Born 10 March 1891 at 17 Dorothy St., Gelli, Rhondda, Glamorganshire, the daughter of John and Ellen Evans, both of whom came to the Rhondda from their native Cardiganshire in 1871. Educated at Rhondda secondary school and at the Rhondda pupil-teachers centre, she entered the University College at Aberystwyth in 1911 and gained a degree in Welsh in 1914. Appointed a lecturer at the Glamorgan Training College in 1915, she was promoted to the post of Principal in 1923. Ellen Evans took a particular interest in the use of the Welsh language in schools and colleges; her books, The Teaching of Welsh (1924), based on her M.A. thesis; Llawlyfr i athrawon (1926); and Cynllun Cymraeg (1927) were of great assistance to teachers in the early days of the development of Welsh-medium education in schools. She published Y Mabinogion i'r plant in 4 vols. (1924); Hwiangerddi Rhiannon (1926); and Y Wen Fro (1931), a volume on historical places in Glamorganshire, to meet the need for Welsh-language texts for children.
Ellen Evans was a member of several public bodies. She was the only woman on the Departmental Committee on Education, 1925-27, and the first woman to be elected to the court of the Medical School (later, the University of Wales College of Medicine). She was a member of the executive committee of Coleg Harlech from its foundation in 1927 and later served as vice-president of the college; she was also a member of the courts of the university colleges at Aberystwyth and Cardiff and a vice-president of Urdd Gobaith Cymru. She was the first chairman of the Welsh branch of the Nursery School Association. A regular lecturer, eisteddfod adjudicator and broadcaster, Ellen Evans was an enthusiastic supporter of Welsh-medium schools and of Welsh culture in general. Ellen Evans, supported by other Welsh women strong in their support of Wales and the Welsh language, had an immense influence on thousands of students who came to the college at Barry. She was appointed C.B.E. in 1948. She died 26 September 1953 and was survived by three sisters.
Published date: 2001
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