Walter Bartley Wilson (3 January 1870 – 19 November 1954), was an artist, and is seen as the mainstay in the foundation of Cardiff City Football Club.
He was born in St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol, the son of Thomas Wilson, a brushmaker, and Sarah Hathaway, a teacher. He was born with a clubfoot. By 1891 he was orphaned and along with his cousin, Arthur Spurll who would go on to become editor of the Bristol Evening Post, he was brought up by his grandmother Jane Hathaway in Barossa Place, Bristol.
Bartley Wilson married his wife Sarah two days after Christmas in 1894 and in 1895 moved to 6 Green Street, Riverside, Cardiff, in time for his son to be born. He worked as a lithographic Artist.
Establishment of soccer clubs
Wilson was a fan of cricket and worried that his beloved cricket team would become separated during the winter months. He noted that the round ball game had taken root within his home of Bristol. Bristol City and Bristol Rovers both became professional by 1901. Wilson came up with the idea of forming a football team in his now adopted city of Cardiff, and, after putting up a poster in the Riverside Pavilion, Riverside A.F.C was formed in 1899. The Committee with Bartley Wilson elected as Secretary was made up of A.J. Stone, George Pearce, Jimmy Redfern, Stanley Barrett, Andrew Sheen, E.W. Holder, Billy Canter and Frank Burfitt – some of whom were to feature in early team line-ups.
In 1908, the year after Cardiff was made a “City”, Riverside A.F.C became Cardiff City and finally in 1910, after a dogged and constant badgering of the authorities, Cardiff City became a professional club, joining the Southern Football League. In 1933, following the retirement of Fred Stewart, Wilson took over as manager of the club for 9 months before stepping aside to bring in Ben Watts-Jones.
Bartley Wilson died and is buried in Western Cemetery on the outskirts of Cardiff.