It was the culmination of many years of political pressure exerted by Liberal and Nonconformist Wales previously on a Conservative, and now on a new Liberal government. After much deliberation, which reflected prevailing religious and social divisions, the Depart- mental Committee was appointed by Gladstone's government,3 The members were Lord Aberdare (Chairman), Viscount Emlyn, M.P., Reverend Prebendary H. G. Robinson, Henry Richard, M.P., Profes- sor John Rhys and Lewis Morris. Significantly, the voice of Welsh nonconformity was firmly represented and also the reputed friends of the Aberystwyth College were prominent. They commenced their work on 8 October and by 10 February, 1881, over 250 witnesses had been heard at fifteen different centres in Wales, including Aberystwyth and Lampeter. In an editorial referring to the Committee's imminent visit to Aberystwyth, The Aberystwyth Observer remarked- The subject is one of vast importance to the Welsh people The Com- mittee itself is deserving of every confidence and its report will carry proportion- ate weight and influence not only with the Government, but also throughout the Principality.' On 18 August, 1881, a 72 page Report together with 40 pages of Appendices was published. An accompanying volume of evidence amounted to another 896 pages. For contemporaries and modern historians, it has been regarded as the major blueprint in the educational development of modern Wales. 5 The Cambrian News said that the Report is conceived in a broad liberal spirit the work has been done in a way that deserves the hearty thanks of the people of Wales.'6 Nevertheless, it did feel that there were "two serious omissions" in the Report, through its failure to make any firm recommendations regarding the provision of higher education for girls and the greater utilisation of the University Extension Lecture Scheme. In The Aber- ystwyth Observer, it was said that to men of all classes, creeds and sections whose minds are evenly-balanced, the report of Lord Aberdare's committee will give the utmost satisfaction. The recommendations are fair and impartial.'7 Over half a century later, T. I. Ellis viewed the Report as heralding the beginning of a new era in Welsh education' and worthy of being regarded as the educational charter of modern Wales.'8