Document referenceHRA
Level of description Fonds
TitleHughesovka Research Archive
Creator(s)The Glamorgan Record Office
BackgroundJohn Hughes was born in Merthyr Tydfil about 1815, the son of an engineer at the Cyfarthfa Ironworks. John worked at Cyfarthfa and then the Ebbw Vale works before moving in the early 1840s to the Uskside Engineering Works in Newport. By the early 1860s, he was a member of the Board of the Millwall Engineering and Shipbuilding Company in London. In 1868 John Hughes took up a concession from the Russian Imperial government – eager to develop the country’s heavy industry - to develop iron and steel works in the Ukraine. He set up the New Russia Company Ltd., and in the 1870s established on the Ukrainian steppes a large and self-sufficient industrial complex which included blast furnaces, collieries and iron ore mines.
Over the next twenty years, the works prospered and expanded, and a town – Hughesovka – grew up around it. By the end of the nineteenth century, the works was the largest in the Russian Empire. Hughes was accompanied to the Ukraine by his wife and family. After his death in 1889, his four sons, John James, Arthur David, Ivor Edward and Albert Llewellyn, took over the running of the company. Hughes took with him a number of skilled men, many from Wales. Many of these men settled in Hughesovka, bringing out their wives and families. Over the years, although a Russian workforce was trained by the company, skilled workers from the United Kingdom continued to be employed, and many technical, engineering and managerial positions were filled by British (and especially Welsh) emigrants. A thriving expatriate community was established, living in good quality company housing, and provided with an English school and an Anglican church. Life could be hard, with very cold winters, hot summers, and occasional cholera epidemics, but some families remained in Hughesovka for many years.
The Bolshevik revolution of 1917 brought the Hughes family connection with the works to a close and the Hughes family and most of the British workers returned to Britain. The works were taken over by the Bolsheviks in 1919, and the town was renamed first Stalino, in 1924, and then Donetsk in 1961. The works survived and prospered, and Donetsk is still a major centre of metallurgical industries. A few of the British workers had remained in 1917, and their descendents still live in Donetsk
DescriptionThe Hughesovka Research Archive is a collection in the true archival sense – material brought together from a number of different sources, all relating to one theme. It comprises about 75 different archival fonds, and includes material relating to: • the British and Welsh families who lived in Hughesovka, and their descendants; • John Hughes and his descendants; • the New Russia Company established by John Hughes, and the Hughesovka works and collieries; • a visit made by Hughes and other family descendants to Donetsk, 1990, accompanied by Susan Edwards; • research carried out by the Glamorgan Record Office, including copies of journal articles, and genealogical research material; • activities of the GRO to publicise the collection – in particular, a major exhibition (1991), publication of a booklet (1992) and a research visit made by Susan Edwards to Ukraine and Russia (1992); • Copies of Hughesovka-related material held in Donetsk Archives and Museum; It contains both original and copy material, including material copied from originals held by other repositories, both in the UK and in Russia and the Ukraine, and relevant copies of articles in journals and newspapers. The collection illustrates the achievements of one of the highly skilled Welsh emigrants who founded and developed industries around the world. It is indeed a useful comparator to other Welsh enterprises abroad – the Welsh colony in Patagonia for example - and an indication of the strength of Welsh industrial enterprise. The main strength of the collection lies in the light it throws on the members of the expatriate community in Hughesovka, but it also contains material relating to the career of John Hughes, to the New Russia Company and to the works, including some technical information. It is particularly strong in photographic material, including numerous photographs of the town and works, and of the British families. It also includes a number of photographs of present-day Donetsk.
Copies of a small amount of the material are held elsewhere. This is noted for each sub-fonds, where applicable.
Extent6 standard boxes, 3 outsize boxes, 1 file
Physical characteristicsMost in good condition, but some items in poor condition
AppraisalAll records which meet the collection policy of the Glamorgan Archives have been retained.
Source of AcquisitionThe collection consists of a large number of different deposits from individual depositors (mostly descendents of the Hughes family and other Hughesovka residents), together with material collected in the course of research into the history of Hughesovka or as a result of the publicity activities of the Glamorgan Record Office.
Finding AidsDetailed list available for most of the collection. Two outsize boxes of material, mostly ephemera, remain unappraised and uncatalogued.
Access statusNo restrictions.
Conditions of accessNo restrictions.
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