1920’s and 30’s
There are only very scant records of the Choir (such as newspaper reports), remaining from this period and a full list of Choir presidents does not exist.
At the London Welsh Male Choir Annual Dinner on the 2 December 1925, the chair was taken by their President, Sir William Price, J.P.
Records show that Capt. G C H Crawshay was the president in the Chair for the Annual Dinner, on 30 November 1927, to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Choir’s inauguration. The Guest, of the evening was Mr. William (Cook) Davies (Vice-President), the Convener of the first meeting of the Choir in September, 1902, and it is believed that he was also a Choir president at a later date. Another attendee was Mr. O. Picton Davies was the proprietor of several London hotels and Choir benefactor, who also succeeded to the presidency later.
1961 – 1969 William Harries
When the Choir was reformed in 1961, William Harries was the President of the London Welsh Trust in Gray’s Inn Road, which was the ideal location for a small choir to rehearse and give concerts to the London Welsh community.
When the Choir visited the partitioned city of Berlin in 1963, at the invitation of the 1st Battalion The Welch Regiment, the president and his wife, Annie, also went and took advantage of an invitation to be accommodated in the officers quarters. William Harries was most impressed with the red uniforms worn by officers in the mess, and decided that the Choir should have such a distinguished uniform. At that time the Choir ‘uniform’ was a black blazer with the Choir badge on the left breast pocket, grey trousers, white shirt and the Choir tie. The president proposed that the Choir should adopt a new uniform based on the Officers Mess outfit and he would finance it. The offer was accepted and the current distinct Red Jacket was first worn at a concert in November 1963.
1969 – 1972 Annie Harries
On the death of her husband, Annie Harries, who had been very active in supporting the Choir over many years, was invited to become president. Indeed, when her husband kitted out the Choir with a new uniform in 1963, she insisted and paid for the Choir to have the Prince of Wales Feathers to be sported on the left breast.
A few years later she moved to live abroad and in the last year of her presidency, correspondence with her ceased to be acknowledged.
1973 Elwyn Roberts
Elwyn Roberts had been chairman of the Choir since late 1967, and had been the driving force of the inaugural 1,000 Voices concert in 1969 and those that followed. He lost the chairmanship at the start of 1973 (the AGM was a month late), but was unanimously elected Choir president at the same AGM. He stood down as president when he was re-elcted Choir chairman at the end of 1973.
1974 – 1990 Douglas Evans
Douglas Evans was the landlord of the Cock Tavern in Great Portland Street, which was recognised as the central London HQ of the London Welsh RFC (Old Deer Park, Richmond), especially in the years prior to a bar being opened at Gray’s Inn Road. With his wife Clare, Doug had been a Choir supporter for many years, both socially and financially, and occasionally accommodating the Choir for rehearsals.
1990 – 2009 Cliff Morgan
Following the death of Douglas Evans, the Choir elected Cliff Morgan as its president. He had been a Choir vice-president since the mid 1970s, and was one of the world’s most renowned international rugby players. Thus began an almost 20-year close relationship during which time Cliff held several senior posts within the BBC, including the Head of Outside Broadcasting. Despite a heavy workload, especially in the early years of his presidency, Cliff would very often join in the Choir’s concert ‘après’ entertainment, regaling those present with tales and very often conducting the Choir with the deepest of passions. In 2009 Cliff informed the Choir that he wished to stand down as its president, and the post of Past President was created in his honour. Even a few weeks before he died, four years later, he took the time to write a letter of condolence to an ex-chorister on the death of his wife - an active Past President of the Choir to the end.
2009 - 2012 Philip Madoc
Philip Madoc had been a Choir vice-president for seven years when he was elected to succeed Cliff Morgan as president. Phillip had had a distinguished international acting career and the Choir had appeared with him on stage on several occasions, as far ago as 1971. Philip was the compère for the 1998 and 2000 Male Voice Festivals at the Royal Albert Hall. Philip Madoc died ‘in office’ on 5th March, 2012.
In 2009 the Choir’s Constitution was re-written and one of the numerous changes made affected the election of the President. Previously the post was elected annually at the AGM. The revised position meant that the post would be a four-year post by a prominent Welshman or musician recommended by the Trustees for election by the Choir. After the 4-year term the person would be acknowledged as a Past President.
2012 – 2017 Huw Edwards
Huw had been a vice-president of the Choir since 2005. He has compèred many of the Choir’s public concerts over many years and continues to do so, and indeed compèred the Male Voice Festival at the Royal Albert Hall way back in 2002.
The Choir’s current elected vice presidents are:
Wyn Calvin (1991-), Max Boyce (1999-), Stuart Burrows (2002-), Roger Lewis (2004), David Goldstone (2007-), Dr Haydn James (2010-), Paul Bateman (2012-), Lyn Felden (2012-), Sian Lloyd (2016-)
The following dignitaries have been elected vice presidents of the London Welsh Male Voice Choir during the years indicated:
Sir Harry Secombe (1969–2001), Cliff Morgan (1977-1990), Ken Griffin (1979-1990), Vic Balchin (1979-1994), Elwyn Roberts (1981-1987), Sir Geraint Evans (1983-1992), Vic Stevens (1986-1993), Brian Clark (1988-1998), Sir Anthony Hopkins (1988-2002), Les Davies (1990-2001), Sir George Martin (1993-2006), Peter Morgan (1993-2008), Martin Sharman (1998-2007, Lord Gordon Parry (2001-2004), Philip Madoc (2002-2009), Huw Edwards (2005-2013).