In the 150th year since his birth, Nêst Thomas from the Lloyd George Museum in Gwynedd discusses how the life of Wales’ most famous politician is remembered in his boyhood village of Llanystumdwy.
David Lloyd George is widely regarded as a great statesman but like many politicians some aspects of his work were well received; others less so. Most notably he guided Britain through the First World War and led a coalition government that introduced social reform including pensions for the elderly.
To honour the life of the ‘Welsh Wizard’, the Lloyd George Museum was built in Llanystumdwy in Gwynedd where he lived from early childhood between 1864 and 1880.
Lloyd George was born in Manchester in 1863. His family moved to Pembroke and, following his father’s early death, his mother and her young family went to live with her brother, Richard Lloyd (Uncle Lloyd) who was a Baptist pastor and shoemaker in Llanystumdwy. It was his uncle’s influence which gave Lloyd George his passionate concern for social justice.
Based on the original collection of the Lloyd George Museum Trust, who ran the Museum between 1947 and 1987, it currently houses a range of artefacts including freedom caskets, scrolls, medals, memorabilia, costumes and paintings. Since Gwynedd Council took over the Museum in 1987 they have added two extensions, including a theatre which shows archive film footage and a Victorian schoolroom.
We are very proud to have two incredibly powerful documents that shaped his work in Parliament. Currently housed here is Lloyd George’s personal copy of the People’s Budget which has been dedicated to his uncle, Richard Lloyd. This was introduced in 1909 “to wage implacable warfare against poverty and squalidness” and taxed the rich to provide for the under privileged.
Visitors can also see Lloyd George’s personal draft copy of the Peace Treaty of Versailles. As Britain’s Prime Minister during what was then known as the Great War, he was involved in drafting the historic agreement that would change Europe forever. And, despite it being used for peace, Lloyd George was worried that the treaty was too heavy-handed towards the Germans.
A short walk from the museum, visitors can also visit his childhood home, Highgate, which has been recreated in a similar Victorian style to when he lived there. There, they can see his Uncle Lloyd’s shoemaker’s workshop and Victorian garden.
Lloyd George is one of only two Prime Ministers in Britain to have museums dedicated to them, the other being Winston Churchill; a long-time colleague and associate of Lloyd George.
The Lloyd George Museum continues to be developed as a worthy centre to remember the Welshman who became one of the greatest statesmen of the twentieth century and to promote world-wide awareness of his achievements.
Click here to see lots more enthralling content relating to David Lloyd George on People’s Collection Wales.