Gall y rhan fwyaf o amgueddfeydd ddiolch un cymwynaswr yn arbennig am newid eu byd; Syr William Reardon Smith oedd y gŵr hwnnw yn achos Amgueddfa Cymru.

Fel trysorydd (1925-28) a llywydd (1928-32) yr Amgueddfa, Syr William Reardon Smith fu'n gyfrifol am wyrdroi cyflwr echrydus coffrau'r Amgueddfa, a goruchwylio'r gwaith o gwblhau adain ddwyreiniol fawreddog Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Caerdydd, sy'n rhan annatod o ganolfan ddinesig unigryw Caerdydd.

Nid Cymro oedd Reardon Smith; cafodd ei eni i deulu morwrol ym mhentref glan môr Appledore ar arfordir gogledd Dyfnaint ar 7 Awst 1856.

Gwas llong

Pan oedd Syr William yn 3 oed, bu farw ei dad pan suddodd ei sgwner mewn storm ar y môr ger Porth Tywyn. Er gwaethaf hyn, daeth Reardon Smith yn was caban pan oedd yn dal i fod yn ei arddegau cynnar. Dechreuodd trwy weithio ar longau lleol oedd yn ymwneud â busnesau arfordirol ardal Môr Hafren. Aeth ymlaen wedyn i wasanaethu ar y llongau hwylio oedd yn cludo deunydd i adeiladu rheilffyrdd i UDA a mwyn copr i Chile.

Y Capten Reardon Smith

Ag yntau ond yn 22 oed, daeth yn gapten ar nifer o longau hwylio ac agerlongau, y mwyafrif ohonynt yn eiddo i'r cwmni llongau enwog o'r Alban, Hugh Hogarth of Glasgow. Symudodd i Gaerdydd gyda'i wraig a'i deulu ym 1900.

Ym 1905, sefydlodd gwmni i brynu a gweithredu agerlong newydd, y City of Cardiff. Dyma oedd ei wir alwedigaeth. Bu'r fenter yn llwyddiant ysgubol, ac erbyn dechrau'r Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf, roedd ganddo naw agerlong cargo, oll yn allforio glo o'r de.

Er iddo golli sawl llong wrth law'r llongau tanfor yn ystod y Rhyfel, daliodd ati i ehangu ei lynges. Erbyn 1930, roedd Reardon Smith yn gyfrifol am dros 35 o longau.

Syr William

Gwnaed Syr William yn farwnig ym 1920, a throdd ei sylw mwyfwy at weithgareddau dyngarol. Sefydlodd Ysgol Forwrol Reardon Smith ym 1921. Pedair blynedd yn ddiweddarach, prynodd fad hwylio mawr, y Margherita, i'w ddefnyddio fel cwch hyfforddi ac fel bad hamdden i'w deulu.

Cyfrannodd yn hael at Ysbyty Brenhinol Caerdydd a hefyd at gost adeiladu ysbyty newydd yn Bideford. Gwaddolodd gadair athro yn adran ddaearyddiaeth Prifysgol Caer-wysg, sy'n dwyn ei enw hyd heddiw.

Ond Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Cymru oedd prif ffocws ei haelioni. Rhwng 1915 a 1935, cyfrannodd ef a'i wraig, y Fonesig Ellen, rhyw £150,000 at goffrau'r Amgueddfa.

Yn ogystal â'r rhoddion personol yma, gweithiodd yn ddiflino i godi arian o ffynonellau eraill. Er mwyn cydnabod ei gyfraniad, enwyd y ddarlithfa newydd a agorwyd yn adain ddwyreiniol yr Amgueddfa ym 1932 yn Ddarlithfa Reardon Smith.

Bu farw Syr William ar 23 Rhagfyr 1935 yn dilyn salwch byr. Mae'r byd yn cofio amdano nid yn unig am ei lwyddiant fel perchennog llongau ond hefyd am ei haelioni neilltuol. Dewisodd wario ei ffortiwn ar newid byd pobl eraill, ac am hynny, mae trigolion de Cymru a gorllewin Lloegr yn ddyledus iddo hyd heddiw.

Erthygl gan: David Jenkins.

sylw(7)

Adam Whittaker
29 Tachwedd 2020, 13:21
Lyn, yes he did. Wanna was my wife's great aunt. My wife is Samantha Reardon Smith is the original Sir William's great great granddaughter.
Lyn Thomas
4 Chwefror 2020, 04:43
Did Sir William have a daughter/daughter in law called Wanna Reardon Smith? She lived somewhere near Bath.
David smith
7 Hydref 2019, 01:46
Curious, did sir William Reardon Smith have any sons or maybe a brother that moved to to the United states and settled in Minnesota and built a farm/ranch Having a son that moved to California and purchased a ranch.
Sara Huws Staff Amgueddfa Cymru
3 Mai 2018, 12:07

Hi there John

Thank you for your enquiry. I will pass it on to one of our Curators and post their reply here.

Best

Sara
Digital Team

John Paskell
2 Mai 2018, 13:20
My father, John Henry Paskell was born on 27 April 1911, and joined the Reardon Smith Nautical school as a cadet in 1925. As a result of his hard work during the course he was awarded a medal to commemorate his performance as "Top Boy". The prize that accompanied the medal was to join the crew of Margherita to race against the Kings yacht Britannia and three other yachts,Westward, Shamrock and White Heather.
Dad often wondered what happened to Margherita, but was unable to find out. This was pre Internet, but I have also tried without success. He died in 2007 at the age of 96, and now my son, is keen to follow up the family history.
I would be grateful if you could let me have any photographs of the Margherita, and the class of 1925-27. I have one very faded photograph oh Dad on the yacht, but it is so faded you can't see much. If you don't have any information, can you put me in touch with someone who might be able to help.
Kind Regards
John Paskell.
Wendy Voit
26 Chwefror 2018, 11:01
I was born in Cardiff in November 1952 and was very interested to read about Sir William and the marvellous things he did to help others. My Mother told me many things about him. He was her great uncle, I was told. She said her family would often spend their summer vacations on the Gower Coast at his home and he paid for my Mother's education. We visited Appledore a few years ago and were made very welcome by the community when my Mother explained who we were. My Great Grandmother's maiden name was Avery and she married into the Salmon Family. I go to meetings at my museum for lectures also, as I have many interests including Art, History, Photography, Astronomy, travelling and love venturing on the Sea
It is a shame we cannot go back in time and meet with our ancestors.
Bill Gillbard
2 Chwefror 2017, 10:00
Spent three years at Smith's junior Nautical College 1952-1954 when it was Housed in the Technical College in Cathays Park. Spent 40 years at Sea subsequently. Very grateful for Sir Williams generosity. Have seen His monument in Cathays Cemetery.
Regards Bill Gillbard

Gadael sylw