Robert T. Matthews, B.Sc.,
Chartered Minerals Surveyor, Mine Surveyor & University Lecturer
Bob Matthews attended Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School from September 1948 until July 1956. He was born in 1937, and was brought up on the Gadlys, and attended Park Boys School before attending ABGS. He took his O levels in 1953, and for Advanced Level he took Geography and Geology. He was an active sportsman and represented the school in the Rugby 1st XV, Cricket 1st XI, and in the tennis team playing with Alun C. Davies in the first doubles pair. He was also a member of the Swimming Team that won the Inter School Relay at the Aberdare Swimming Club Annual Gala 1951.1 After leaving school, he played in past student rugby matches against the school.
After his A Levels he entered Swansea University to study Geology, but after two years left to join the NCB to train as a Mine Surveyor. This meant a four year course leading to an HNC in Mine Surveying. Then, after a minimum of 2000 hours of underground experience followed by practical and oral examinations, Bob gained his Statutory Mine Surveyors Certificate of Competency in 1962, which enabled him to become a Surveyor for a Mine.2 After a further mandatory period of three years, in 1965 at the age of 28, he became a “Unit Surveyor” which meant he became responsible for his own mine.
In the interim, Bob decided to pursue a qualification with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and passed the professional examination at Intermediate level in 1966. Leaving the NCB in 1967 he spent the next six years working as an Engineer in Opencast Mining with George Wimpey and Derek Crouch Contractors on both north and south crops of the South Wales Coalfield.
Following the suggestion of one of his old college lecturers, he joined Cooke and Arkwright in 1973, a firm of Chartered Surveyors based in Cardiff. At C&A he was a Surveyor/Negotiator specialising in Minerals, and all aspects of Surveying (including Land Surveying) and Commercial and Industrial Rating. He became a Chartered Surveyor on qualifying in 1976, having passed the Institution’s professional examinations. He was subsequently awarded the Institution’s ‘Penfold Gold Medal’ for his achievements; he was only the tenth recipient of the prize since it’s inception in 1893. He was by then an ARICS (nowadays MRICS), and became FRICS in 1989.
In January 1977, Bob was persuaded to become part of the teaching staff in the Department of Mining and Mine Surveying at the Polytechnic of Wales, later to become the University of Glamorgan, and whilst there, just one year before he retired Bob gained his BSc degree in Minerals Surveying from that university. After 22 years in his post at Treforest, Bob retired in 1999.
Previously in 1997, he became the President of the Minerals Division of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and represented that body in Bulgaria, China, and Poland.
Bob married Mair, whom he met whilst in Swansea University. They have one daughter, and one grandson, who incidentally is a geologist, at present working in the oil industry. Bob and Mair live in Nelson, Caerphilly County Borough but still keep in touch with their friends and family in Aberdare.
31 October 2015