Born 18 April 1859, elder son of Thomas Jones, sea-captain, of Pentower, Fishguard, and Martha Philipps, his wife. He was educated at Fishguard national school, privately, and at University College, Bristol. Deciding to become a civil engineer he worked on the Severn Tunnel and the Manchester Ship Canal, eventually becoming a partner, and, later, managing director of Topham, Jones, & Railton, a firm which was responsible for work for government departments or public undertakings at Gibraltar, Fishguard Harbour, Singapore, the Aswan Dam (Egypt), and elsewhere. He was a member of the Institute of Civil Engineers and in the years 1935 and 1936 occupied the presidential chair of the Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors. During World War I he attained the rank of major (T.F.) in the Engineer and Railway Staff Corps of the Royal Engineers, was a member of the committee of three appointed to deal with the organisation of civilian labour for defence purposes in the London area, was Petrol Controller, 1917-18, Chairman of the Road Transport Board, 1918-19, and Commissioner for Dyes under the Board of Trade, 1917-19; he was also Controller of Coal Mines in 1919.
Sir Evan Jones (he was created a baronet in 1917) served his native county and Wales generally in a number of capacities. He served as High Sheriff of Pembrokeshire, 1911-12, became chairman of the Pembrokeshire County Council in 1926, was a Deputy Lieutenant and later (1932) became Lord Lieutenant of that county; he also represented the county in Parliament (as a Coalition Liberal) from December 1918 to October 1922. He gave excellent service to the Representative Body of the Church in Wales over many years (he served for some time as Chairman of its Finance Committee), to the University of Wales, and to the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth. His service to the National Library of Wales was notable both for its length and for its outstandingly devoted character. He was an original member (1907) of the Court of Governors and continued as member for over forty years, becoming in turn Chairman of the Building Committee (in the years when the building of the Library was proceeding stage by stage), Treasurer, and Vice-President. He qualified as a Life-Governor by virtue of his gifts to that institution, both selections from his own large private library of materials relating to Wales (for he was an assiduous collector of Pembrokeshire and non-Pembrokeshire material) and the purchase for the Library of the Compton House (Aberaeron) library and the Llywarch Reynolds (Merthyr Tydfil) collection and by his gift to the Library of his own very extensive collection of book plates of Welsh interest. A bust of him by Sir William Goscombe John (1924) and a portrait in oils (1939), are in the National Library. In 1927 the University of Wales conferred on him the degree of LL.D. (honoris causa); he was also an Officer of the Order of the Nile.
He married (1), 1884, Cecilia Ann Evans, daughter of Jacob Evans, St Fagans, Glamorganshire, by whom he had three sons (two of whom lost their lives in World War I) and three daughters, and (2), Lily Ann Railton (died 1945), daughter of James Railton, of Malpas, Monmouth. He died 20 April 1949 and was buried at Fishguard.
Published date: 2001
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