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Welsh History Review

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Vol. 8, nos. 1-4 1976-77

The making of Lloyd George : Book review.

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Pensions under Lloyd George, was much involved in the Welsh iron and
tinplate industries in the nineties as secretary of the Steel Smelters. His
near-success in Gower in the 1900 'khaki election' was as striking a portent
of Labour's challenge to Welsh liberalism as was Hardie's triumph at
Merthyr. Dick Wallhead, a Londoner, was a powerful and inspiring figure
as Labour and ILP member for Merthyr from 1922 until his death in 1934.
His efforts to avert the disaffiliation of the ILP from the Labour Party in
1932 were well in the Hardie tradition, and indeed Wallhead himself re-
joined the parliamentary Labour Party the following year.
In addition, six entries may fairly be classified as 'Welsh'. Noah Ablett's
stormy career from checkweigher at Mardy to member of the MFGB
executive until 1926 is lucidly traced by the editors. It is remarkable how
obscure Ablett's pre-Ruskin career remains even after the efforts of so
many scholars. The precise impact of the 1904 religious revival upon his
socialism and that of the Plebs League, for instance, still remain mysterious.
A. J. Cook, a Somerset man, but inextricably associated with the Welsh
valleys since he went to work in the pits in the Rhondda in 1899 at the
age of sixteen, is finely described, including his somewhat pathetic end;
the bibliographical note here is quite superb. Clem Edwards, known after
1910 as a virulently anti-socialist member for East Glamorgan and then for
East Ham, is shown to have had an active and fruitful trade union career
prior to 1900, as secretary of the Federation of Trade and Labour Unions,
as labour editor and in many other connections. Thereafter he was a
pugnacious Lib-Lab. member for Denbigh Boroughs from 1900 to January
1910 with his own maverick views on the education question. Two miners
members of the inter-war years, one from the Labour left, the other
from the party centre, are also featured-George Daggar, member for
Abertillery, 1929-50, and Ted Williams, member for Ogmore, 1931-46 and
later High Commissioner in Australia. It is good to know that Daggar's
library has recently been acquired by the Swansea Miners' Library. Finally,
Thomas Williams (later Baron Williams of Ynyshir), who died in 1966,
represents the Co-operative movement. These offerings from the rich seams
being worked at Hull ('abnormal places' and all) make this book a bargain
at any price.
KENNETH O. MORGAN
The Queen's College,
Oxford
THE MAKING OF LLOYD GEORGE. By W. R. P. George. Faber, 1976.
Pp. 184. £ 5.50.
W. R. P. George is a son of Lloyd George's brother, whose own book,
My Brother and I, was published in 1958. Judged as a collection of remi-
niscences, interspersed with interesting and often important documents, the
book is highly successful. It is eminently readable, and gives a moving
picture of complex and unusual family relationships. Judged as a work
of scholarship, however, the book has, inevitably, a few failings. The bulk
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