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David Lloyd George in North Wales

Posted On: Sun 19 Mar 2017 Posted In: Local History Posted By:

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He was the greatest Welshman which that unconquerable race has produced since the age of the Tudors….. and those that come after us will find the pillars of his life’s toil upstanding, massive and indestructible”.

Winston Churchill’s parliamentary tribute to David Lloyd George just after his death in 1945 paid homage to the Liberal politician who had come to be considered as one of the greatest social reformers of the twentieth century.

Image from wiki commons

When Lloyd George’s father, a schoolmaster working in Manchester, passed away soon after his birth his mother took her young family back to her native Llanystymdwy, a small village near Criccieth in North Wales, to live with her brother Richard. It’s believed that Richard Lloyd, a strong Liberal and a Nonconformist Baptist Minister greatly influenced the young David’s political and religious opinions. Thanks to early influences from regular church meetings, Lloyd George had become renowned as a fiery, rousing and confident public speaker. He joined the local Liberal party and was put forward as a candidate for the then Caernarvonshire Borough, and at the age of just 27 became the youngest ever Member of Parliament.

Lloyd George’s political career was long and varied, but he is perhaps most well known for his role as Prime Minister during the First World War; becoming the first, and only, Welsh person to serve as the British Prime Minister. After the fall of Henry Asquith two years into the war, Lloyd George took power, and his radical ideas and war organisation efforts proved successful and he led Britain to victory in November 1918.

After a landslide victory for a coalition of Lloyd George’s Liberals and the Conservatives in the post-war elections, the Prime Minister’s popularity was high as he promised to rebuild Britain.

In captivating speeches he demanded a “country fit for heroes to live in” and almost immediately embarked on a programme of rigorous social reform, for which he was celebrated. As well as raising the school leaving age Lloyd George’s government also provided funds for local authorities to build social housing. The provision of Unemployment Insurance – a forerunner of today’s Job Seeker’s Allowances – was extended to many more ordinary working class families. Pensions were doubled to look after the country’s aging population and in 1919 the Ministry of Health was set up, leading to vastly improved health services.

But in 1922 Lloyd George’s Conservative colleagues voted to abandon the coalition and he was ousted. He continued to play a large part in British politics until the end of his career some twenty years later. Although allegations of scandals involving the selling of peerages, as well as rumours of womanising and affairs, were rife, the dynamic and compelling Welsh boy from a small seaside town will forever be remembered for taking Westminster by storm.

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David Lloyd George in North Wales
We delve into the history of one of the area's most famous residents, as we explore the life of politician and statesman, David Lloyd George in North Wales.