The honour of first suggesting that Cardiff should adopt the Public Libraries Act belongs to the late Mr. Peter Price, whose many years of patient hard work will be remembered as long as the Library records endure.

In the year 1858 Mr. Price wrote letters to the Cardiff newspapers advocating the adoption of the Act and the establishment of a Library. For two years nothing definite was done, although the letters had borne fruit by enlisting the services of Mr. George Smart, a member of the Town Council, who worked zealously with Mr. Price.

It was in 1860 that the first practical step was taken towards inducing the ratepayers to establish a Library. On the 24th October in that year a public meeting of ratepayers was held in the British Schoolroom, Millicent Street, to consider the advisability of adopting the Act.

Courtesy : Glamorgan Archives

Peter Price was born in the little country town of Builth, in Brecknockshire, in 1824, and was the youngest of a family of ten ; left fatherless at the age of seven, to be brought up by a widowed mother on straitened means, his regular education was limited to a few years at the school kept by the parson of the parish. He displayed marvellous aptitude for the acquirement of knowledge, and set about educating himself, and he continued his education up to the very last year of his life.

The Mechanics' Institute at Worcester first gave Mr. Price systematic help in his self-education. He was engaged in that town in the drawing office of an engineering firm.

In 1851 he came to Cardiff, and set up in business as a contractor, in partnership with his brother-in-law, and in a few years he was busily engaged advocating the adoption of the Public Libraries Act for the town. After the adoption of the Act he acted as hon. secretary for thirteen years. When he relinquished this office he still continued a member of the Committee, and was ultimately made vice-chairman, and during the last three years of his life he was chairman. He died October 4th, 1892. For thirty years he had watched the growth of the Institution, and he saw it develop from a thing of nothing to almost what it is to-day. This was his life-work, and will ever remain his most enduring memorial.

On the occasion of the opening of the then new building in 1882 a portrait of Mr. Price was painted by Mr. B. S. Marks, R.C.A., and presented by him to the Libraries Committee. This portrait will in future hang on the wall of the main staircase leading to the Reference Library. He took a keen interest in all that related to the education and welfare of the people. He was a member of the School Board for the first five years of its existence, a member of the Corporation for some years prior to his death; as Borough Magistrate, Governor of the University College, member of the Technical Instruction Committee, Governor of Wells' Charity, and in numerous other offices he served his town ungrudgingly and well.