William Phillips

William Phillips The Scwt was also the birthplace of a remarkable Swansea man who went to America to make steel and came home to save souls. William Phillips, born in 1889, was one of many bright children forced by the poverty of the times to leave school early and work in the local mines.
Landore was then one of the world's steel-making centres and many men emigrated to run the new steel plants springing up in America.
Among the pioneers were members of a local family which founded the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, later to become one of the largest in the world.
When they appealed for more workers, William decided to go. He settled in Cleveland, Ohio, and his life became a routine of working hard in the steel plant and drinking hard in the saloon.
Back home, Wales was in the grip of the great religious revival which was of little interest to William until one night, in his cups, he experienced a spiritual revelation that changed his life. He told his family he heard the voice of God calling him ­"William"
Profoundly affected, he became a Christian and sailed for home, paying £2-lOs for his passage from New York to Liverpool.
In Swansea he read that the Great Western Railway was building a new branch line from Aberaeron to Lampeter, employing hundreds of Irish navvies.
William cycled all the way to Aberaeron and in an old lean-to opened a mission hall. He lived upstairs, with nothing but a rickety iron bed and an orange box for a table. Soon his services were packed with all sorts of people - religious and respectable, drunks and prostitutes, young and old.
For all his success as a preacher, William was still desperately poor. One of the young ladies in his congregation, perceptive enough to see that he was going hungry, took to leaving a box of food on his doorstep. It was just like Elijah being fed by the ravens, his family said.
William brought her home to Swansea and they married in the old Bellevue Chapel in 1919.
He became a full-time apostolic minister and opened churches in Llanelli, Northern Ireland, Yorkshire, Liverpool and the Rhondda Valley.
He retired to Aberystwyth in 1946 and died at the age of 83.