The history of
of the Subject
Falls in Wales
SOME REFERENCE MATERIALS
A selection of reference materials relating to Arthur Mee
are presented here, taken from a number of sources, some
of them obscure. Only materials out of copyright are included.
For an overview of the life of Arthur Mee, see:
Information in Seryddiaeth a Seryddwyr
Silas Evans dedicated his book to Arthur Mee. The dedication
This translates into English as,
MR. ARTHUR MEE,
NODDWR SERYDDIAETH YNG NGHYMRU,
A SYLFAENYDD CYMDEITHAS SERYDDOL CYMRU,
FEL ARWYDD DIFFUANT O EDMYGEDD A PHARCH,
Y CYFLWYNAF Y GYFROL HON.
MR. ARTHUR MEE,
PATRON OF ASTRONOMY IN WALES,
AND FOUNDER OF THE ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY OF WALES,
AS A SINCERE INDICATION OF ADMIRATION AND RESPECT,
I DEDICATE THIS VOLUME.
There follows a photograph of him using his telescope
in his run-off roof observatory to study the Sun.
||Left: the photograph of Arthur Mee
on the dedication page of Seryddiaeth a Seryddwyr.
He is shown using his 8-inch reflector to study sunspots by
(This photograph was published earlier in the Cambrian Natural
Observer, 1902, vol. 5, facing page 1, published in 1903,
with the caption, "8 1/2 inch reflector arranged for viewing
the Sun (Arthur Mee).")
Arthur Mee wrote a Foreward in English in Seryddiaeth a
A short biography appeared in the book, pages 281-282.
It reads as follows (with a translation into English to follow):
Mr. ARTHUR MEE (1860-).- Ganed yn Aberdeen, mab y Parch. G. S. Mee
ac Elizabeth, merch J. Phillips, o Sir Benfro. Ymbriododd
yn 1888, â Claudia, merch y diweddar D. Thomas, Llanelli.
Daeth i Gaerdydd yn 1892, ac yno y mae heddyw, ar staff y
Western Mail, ac yn byw yn Tremynfa, Llanishen.
Nis gallwn roi ond crynhodeb o'i fywyd a'i waith. Mae yn
gymeriad amryddawn ac amlochrog- seryddwr, hanesydd,
hynafiaethydd, a bardd; awdur Observational Astronomy;
Heavens at a Glance; Reminiscences of an Amateur
Astronomer; Story of the Telescope. Gynt yn F.R.A.S.;
yn awr yn aelod o'r B.A.A. a Societe Astronomique de France.
Bu yn defnyddio ei adlewyrchydd wyth modfedd a hanner am lawer
blwyddyn, ond gwnaeth anrheg ohono i Barri, ac yno y mae
heddyw mewn lle cyfleus ar y Buttrils, a defnyddia yn awr
ei wydr chwe modfedd. Mae wedi darlithio llawer yn ei
amser, ac wedi cyfrannu llawer i gyhoeddiadau
fel y Knowledge, y B.A.A., a'r English Mechanic.
Ef a ddug allan Who's Who in Wales. Mae yn un o'r rhai
mwyaf gwylaidd a gostyngedig a rodia'r ddaear. Ei hoff waith
yw cynorthwyo ereill ymhob modd yn ei allu, ac mae ugeiniau
o seryddwyr ieuainc heddyw yn ddyledus iddo am hyfforddiant,
ac yn canu ei glod.
This is Rhys Morris's translation of Silas Evans's account:
MR. ARTHUR MEE (1860-).-He was born in Aberdeen, son of Rev. G. S. Mee
and Elizabeth, daughter of J. Phillips of Pembrokeshire. He married
in 1888 Claudia, daughter of the late D. Thomas of Llanelli.
He came to Cardiff in 1892, and there he is today on the staff
of the Western Mail and lives in Tremynfa, Llanishen [a part
of Cardiff]. I can only summarise his life and work. He is a versatile
and many-faceted character - an astronomer, historian, antiquary,
and poet; author of Observational Astronomy; Heavens
at a Glance; Reminiscences of an Amateur Astronomer;
Story of the Telescope. Formerly a F.R.A.S.; now a member
of the B.A.A. and Societe Astronomique de France.
He used his eight-and-a-half-inch reflector for many years, but he
has made a gift of it to Barry, and there it is today in a convenient
place on the Buttrills. He now uses his six-inch glass.
He has lectured much in his time, and has contributed much to
publications such as Knowledge, the B.A.A. and the English
Mechanic. He publishes Who's Who in Wales.
He is one of the most modest and humble persons to walk the earth.
His favourite work is to help others in every way he can, and scores
of young astronomers today are indebted to him for his coaching, and
sing his praises.
Entry in Who's Who in Wales, First Edition, 1920
Arthur Mee acted as editor of the first edition of the book
Who's Who in Wales in 1920. He included a self-deprecating
entry about himself which devoted much space to his father.
It read humorously,
MEE, Arthur ("Idris"), Editor "Who's Who in Wales";
b. Aberdeen, Oct. 21, 1860; s. Geo. Samuel Mee and
Elizabeth, dau. of James Phillips, a Pembrokeshire farmer.
After a brilliant career at Glasgow University, cut short by
overwork, Geo. S. Mee (whose father was a Northampton man),
became pastor of a Baptist Church at Aberdeen, where his
powers soon attracted attention, and are referred to at some
length by Sir. Robertson Nicoll in his "Life of James Macdonell."
Leaving the ministry for journalism, he edited the
Bradford Observer for a time, a paper there, dying in 1876.
Intended for the medical profession, his son Arthur Mee saved
many lives by becoming a journalist; m. 1888, Claudia,
dau. late David Thomas, Llanelly; removed to Cardiff, 1892,
and has been ever since connected with the Western Mail
in various literary capacities; has dabbled in many things -
Astronomy (an observer since 1878), Welsh Antiquities,
Genethliacal Astrology, Esperanto, etc.; author of books and
brochures on several of these subjects; Member British and
French Astronomical Societies; contributor to Knowledge,
English Mechanic, B.A.A. Journal and Transactions,
and other scientific publications, and of course the Western Mail
(one of the oldest contributors to its famous "Wales Day by Day").
At present his leisure is mostly occupied in explaining to enquirers
that he is not Arthur Mee of the "Children's Encyclopaedia."
Rel. Christian (no Church); Pol. None,
Address: Tremynfa, Llanishen, Cardiff.
Obituary in the Journal of the British Astronomical
Following his death in 1926, an obituary appeared in the
Journal of the British Astronomical Association,
36, 123, January 1926,
written by "H.P.W." (certainly Hugh P. Wilkins, who had
been a friend of Mee).
ARTHUR MEE. - Arthur Butler Phillips Mee was born on
October 21, 1860. He was the son of the late Mr. George
Samuel Mee, who, after a brilliant career at
Glasgow University, became pastor of a Baptist Church
at Aberdeen. Arthur Mee was born in that town, and moved
to Llanelly when his father left the ministry for
journalism. Mr. Mee's early years were spent in Llanelly
and there he married Miss Claudia Thomas, a native of the
town. He joined the staff of the Western Mail in 1892,
and remained connected with that journal as an assistant
editor up to the time of his death.
Astronomy was one his earliest hobbies and throughout
his life he retained the keenest interest in the
science. He made a speciality of Mars and the Moon,
observing for years with an 8½ in. Calver reflector.
Two of his Martian drawings appear in Flammarion's
"La Planète Mars," while on March 11, 1892,
he observed for the first time, the transit of Titan
and its shadow on the globe of Saturn. In addition to
several booklets, he published an excellent work on
"Observational Astronomy," one of the best companions for
amateur observers. His selenographical work was of
considerable value; a large portion has not yet been
published. He was original Member of the Association,
and was at one time a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical
Society, and one of the Société
Astronomique de France.
The internment took place at Cardiff Cemetery on
January 19, in the presence of a large and representative
Mee's Paper about the Transit of Saturn in M.N.R.A.S
Arthur Mee described his simultaneous observation of Titan in
front of Saturn's disc and its shadow on the planet in a paper
in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society,
52, 423-424, April 1892. It read:
Note on the Transit of Titan, 1892, March 11.
By Arthur Mee.
This evening, with pretty fair definition, I had been observing the
Moon, and afterwards (about 10.15) turned my 8 1/2 in. Calver
equatoreal on Saturn. I immediately saw, a little way within
the southern limb, and slightly east of the meridian, a dark
spot, and almost immediately afterwards, a brown spot still
further to the east. I watched the pair with powers 200-400
till I had to leave the telescope. The dark spot seemed
central at 10.30. Looking up the almanac next day, I found
the dark spot was the shadow of Titan in transit,
and it at once occurred to me that the brown spot must be the
satellite itself, and, as I can find no record of a similar
previous observation, I venture to forward this note, hoping
that others with ampler opportunities will tell us more of a
deeply interesting if not unique phenomenon.
1892 March 11.
Accounts about the death of Arthur Mee in the Western Mail
The Western Mail, the newspaper for which Arthur Mee
worked until his sudden death in January 1926, carried a
number of tributes.
A long article about Mee, which included a small portrait photograph,
appeared in the Western Mail on Saturday, 16th January, 1926,
page 8. The text is reproduced below.
DEATH OF MR. ARTHUR MEE.
We regret to record the death, which took place at Tremynfa,
Llanishen, on Friday evening of Mr. Arthur Mee ("Idris"), for many
years a popular member of the staff of the Western Mail.
Although feeling a little poorly, Mr. Mee came to the office as
usual on Friday and went through his work with the care and the
quiet humour that were always characteristic of him. He left,
as was his wont, in the early afternoon, with a cheery farewell to
his colleagues, but when he reached home at lanishen
he became ill and a doctor was called. At eight o'clock he passed
away from heart failure.
ASTRONOMER, POET AND AUTHOR.
HIS WORK ON THE "WESTERN MAIL."
STORY OF A VERSATILE LIFE.
Mr. Mee's death, coming so suddenly and unexpectedly, has caused
the profoundest regret to his colleagues on the staff of this paper and to a
very large circle of friends. Small in stature, Mr. Mee was nevertheless
a great character and a man of many accomplishments. He had a gift of
unexpected humour in conversation, sometimes genially cynical and
always shrewd and witty, that made him unique, but apart from this, he had
many qualities that endeared him to his friends, and his kindness of heart
was unfailing, his care and attention to detail unflagging to the end.
EARLY YEARS IN LLANELLY.
Born at Aberdeen on October 21, 1860, he was the son of the late
Mr. George Samuel Mee and Elizabeth, the daughter of the late Mr.
James Phillips, a Pembrokeshire farmer. George Mee had a brilliant
career at Glasgow University, cut short, unfortunately, through overwork,
and subsequently became pastor of a Baptist church at Aberdeen, where
his powers soon attracted attention, and are referred to at some length
by the late Sir Robertson Nicoll in his "Life of James Macdonell."
Leaving the ministry for journalism, George Mee edited the "Bradford
Observer" for a time. His health failed him, and he went to Llanelly as
editor and part proprietor of the "South Wales Press." Arthur Mee was
only sixteen when his father died. He was intended for the medical
profession , but, as he put it in his humorous way in an autobiographical
note, he "saved many lives by becoming a journalist." His early years
in journalism were spent in Llanelly, and there he married Miss Claudia
Thomas, daughter of the late Mr. David Thomas, of that town. He joined
the staff of the Western Mail in Cardiff in 1892, and he had ever since
been connected with this journal as an assistant editor.
AS AN ASTRONOMER.
To the general public he was best known as an astronomical observer,
lecturer, and writer. Astronomy was one of his earliest hobbies. As
the age of eighteen he was a competent observer, and throughout his life
he was a keen and watchful student of natural phenomena. As a lecturer
on astronomy he was much sought after in South Wales, and he varied the
subject with delightful descriptions of travels in Ireland, North Wales,
and other places. He had the faculty of interesting everybody, cultured
and poorly educated alike, and some of his most entertaining lectures
were delivered to gatherings of seamen composed partly of negroes and
in the neighbourhood of Cardiff Docks. As an astronomer
he possessed a very fine equatorial telescope, which he presented some
years ago to the Barry Astronomical Society. It is erected on the Buttrils,
and is a source of pleasure and interest to many people. He wrote frequently
in these columns and also in books on astronomical subjects, and he had
made a special study of the moon and the rings of Saturn, about which
he could speak with some authority. His star maps and astronomical notes
were very widely read and studied. In recent years he was attracted to
astrology. He took a delight in casting the horoscopes of his friends, and he
received many letters acknowledging the accuracy of his readings of the
stars. The deeper and more exact science of astronomy, however, was his
greatest love. But he had many others, amongst them Welsh antiquities
and languages. He mastered the Welsh language. He was a French, Latin
and Greek scholar, and even Esperanto at one time claimed his attention.
In literature his tastes were catholic. As a young man he took a
prominent part in the literary life of Llanelly, and whenever appealed to
concerning matters of history or literature connected with the tin-plate town
he proved a mine of information. For several years he was secretary of
the Llanelly Debating Society and took an active part in the debates.
ON THE "WESTERN MAIL."
His work on the staff of the Western Mail was varied.
For many years
he produced, sometimes daily, a short topical poem relating to local
occurrences and public men, and the genial, pointed wit of "Idris" was read
with great delight in the "Wales Day by Day" column. He was a voracious
reader. He took a delight in the modern novel as well as in the most learned
book on philosophy, and he had an unerring capacity for seizing upon the
heart of a book that made him an invaluable reviewer. He contributed to
some of the scientific journals, and amongst his own books "Observational
Astronomy" is, perhaps, the best known. He lived his life in the atmosphere
of books, and he loved to visit the Central Library, on the committee of
which he once served as a co-opted member, acquiring a personal knowledge
of the treasures on the shelves equalled only by that of the Librarian and his
chief assistants. But he was no bookworm in the sense that he shut out the
other interests of life. Behind his serious face there lived a genial, kindly
soul that took a catholic interest in all about him and moved his friends to
laughter by his shrewd, amusing but never offensive observations. For
more than 30 years he has contributed to these columns. Some of the
articles which but yesterday he wrote appear in today's issue. Such are
the swift changes of death.
Arthur Mee may have been said to have died as he would have wished,
in harness. He leaves behind him the memory of a quiet, unobtrusive, but
forceful personality, and those who know how sweet has been his domestic
life will sympathise deeply with his widow, who for 37 years has been his
Mr Dan Jones, F.R.A.S., Director of the Cardiff City Observatory at
Penylan, in Astronomy a coadjutor of Mr Mee's and in general relations
an old friend was greatly distressed to hear of his sudden death. "The
news has come to me as one of the greatest shocks of my life," he said to
a Western Mail representative, "especially when I recall the personality
of the man. His association with astronomical matters dates back to my
childhood days or even earlier. He was unquestionably one of the most
enlightened astronomers that Wales has ever produced. His writings, his
lectures, and his addresses have been welcomed in all parts of the
country, and the loss sustained by Wales in particular will never be retrieved
by the single efforts of one man. As far as I am personally concerned I have
always been in close touch with him."
"His advice and readiness to help on all questions have been the means
of placing me in the position I occupy today. Through his death I have lost
one of the most faithful friends I have ever had. Words fail me to say more,
though I feel deeply."
will take place at Cardiff Cemetery on Tuesday at noon.
Appreciations of Arthur Mee by the Vicar of Aberpergwm,
by Rev. W. E. Winks, by Rev. Charles Davies,
by Mr. J. R. Llewellyn and by Mr. J. Conway Davies,
were published in the Western Mail on
Monday, 18th January, 1926, page 9. That by J. R. Llewellyn
concerned astronomy. Part of it read:
I had the privilege of enjoying the personal friendship of
Mr. Mee for nearly forty years.
I remember, when Mr. Mee intimated his intention to present to
the Barry Astronomical Society his valuable equatorial
telescope, I ventured to ask why so valuable a gift went
to Barry and not to Cardiff. His reply was so characteristic
of himself. "At Cardiff," he said, "there are sufficient men
of means to provide for the astronomical requirements of the
city, but at Barry this may not be so." And at Barry Mr. Mee's
splendid gift is greatly appreciated.
Arthur Mee's funeral was reported in the Western Mail
on Wednesday, 20th January, 1926, page 5, column 4.
The article read:
SEEKER AFTER TRUTH
The funeral of the late Mr. Arthur Mee (Idris), for many years
assistant editor of the Western Mail, whose death occurred
suddenly last Friday, took place at Cardiff Cemetery on Tuesday
morning from his residence, Tremynfa, Llanishen, and was attended
by a representative company of journalists who had been colleagues
of the late gentleman and many other of his friends.
FUNERAL OF MR. ARTHUR
MEE AT CARDIFF
A short service at Tremynfa was conducted by the Rev. R. L. Rhys,
vicar of Llanishen, and immediately afterwards the motor cortege
proceeded to the cemetery.
The chief mourners were Messrs. W. L. Forsdike, D. J. F. Forsdike,
and W. T. Forsdike, ex-Alderman G. F. Forsdike,
and W. T. Forsdike (nephews) and W. T. Forsdike (grand-nephew).
The representatives of the Western Mail Limited were:-
Sir William Davies (editor-in-chief), Messrs. J. A. Sandbrook,
G. H. Sutton, F. J. Hodson, J. R. Llewellyn (Barry office), Tom Jones,
Picton Davies, J. H. Rickard, J. T. Jones, J. W. T. Ley, Cemlyn Jones,
H. A. Davies, W. J. Minchinton, T. G. McCabe, D. R. Prosser,
and A. P. Yates.
Others present included Messrs. Watkin Williams, Gwilym Hughes,
James Turner, J. Martin Jones, Bert Allen, Watkin Williams, jun.,
Wallace James (Cardiff Cymmrodorion Society), the Rev. W. G.
Legassick, B.A. (Llanishen Baptist Church), Messrs. W. M. Lewis,
W. G. Walters, D. Pugh Jones, John Rees, F.R.A.S., F.R.G.S.
(representing the Astronomical Society of Wales), C. L. Richardson,
John Hales, and J. Lewis.
The Rev. Charles Davies, Tabernacle Baptist Chapel, the Hayes,
Cardiff, conducted a service in the cemetery chapel and also
officiated at the graveside.
In the course of his address in the chapel the Rev. Charles
Davies, who had known Mr. Mee for many years, referred to him
as essentially a seeker after truth and a man possessed of
a remarkable mind. In his search after truth Mr. Mee explored
innumerable fields of knowledge, and his interest in life
and in the hereafter was insatiable until the end.
The motive which activated Mr. Mee in his intellectual
explorations was not mere curiosity, but a sincere desire to
seek for and to hold fast to that which was good. His was a
beautiful character, and his kindness to young people was
something to which the speaker could testify.
As a writer for the press, Mr. Mee had great opportunities
of serving his day and generation, and in that capacity
he was always true to the ideals of service.
The speaker made touching reference to the widow, Mr. Mee's
Messrs. Augustine J. Stone, undertakers, 5, Working-street,
Cardiff, carried out the funeral arrangements.