Grammar School on , where the senior English
teacher was D.J. Thomas, Dylan’s father.
The first meeting of the two schoolboys is described in “The Fight”, a
short story in Dylan’s “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog”. Mount Pleasant
Before Dan Jones went abroad on the music scholarship, he was one of the “Kardomah Boys”, the group of talented young men who met informally over coffee upstairs in the Kardomah Café in
Castle Street in
the 1930s. They included painters Alfred
Janes and Mervyn Levy, writer Charles Fisher, journalist and broadcaster
Wynford Vaughan Thomas, and Dylan. When
from 1935 poet Vernon Watkins joined them, Dan Jones had already moved from to pursue his
music studies. He and Swansea Vernon
first met during the war at - where both were
working at the government code breaking centre.
In October 1949, along with Alfred Janes, Vernon Watkins and writer John Prichard, Dan Jones took part at the Grove in the Uplands in the BBC radio discussion “
and the Arts” with Dylan. The ‘Evening Post’ photo of that occasion
(reproduced on the cover of the ‘Radio Times’) stated that Daniel Jones was
then the only Welsh composer to have written a symphony, and would be
conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra in a performance of it during the
Swansea Festival. Swansea
In 1951 he was made a Doctor of Music, and the following year awarded an Honorary D Litt degree.
Before Dylan took the train to
London for his fateful fourth visit to New
York in October 1953, he sent a telegram to Dan Jones “Can you
meet Bush 1.30 today on my way to – Dylan”. Though now demolished, the Bush Hotel in the
High Street became the final Swansea pub Dylan visited, joined that afternoon
by others including Vernon Watkins, Rev. Leon Atkin of St Paul’s Church in St
Helen’s Road, and Dan Jones, who eventually saw him onto the train at High
Street Station. America
After Dylan’s death the landlord of Brown’s Hotel in Laugharne drove Dan Jones to Southampton to meet the liner “
United States”, which
brought Dylan’s body back from . New
Awarded an OBE in 1968, he published the memoir “My Friend Dylan Thomas” in 1977. The National Museum of Wales has Alfred Janes’s portrait of Dan Jones, while Bernard Mitchell’s photographic portrait hangs in the National Portrait Gallery.
Daniel Jones had three daughters from his first marriage in 1937, and a son and a daughter by his second marriage. From 22 Rosehill Terrace off Constitution Hill he moved to
Southward Lane, a detached house in where a plaque
states he lived from 1957 until his death in 1993. By then he had composed thirteen symphonies –
his fourth in 1954 in memory of Dylan – and eight string quartets. Many of his
compositions were written to commission - by the Festival of Britain, the Swansea
Festival, the Royal National Eisteddfod, the BBC and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Newton
Composer Dr Daniel Jones was far more than just “the friend of Dylan Thomas”.