(1863-1945) It is a little-known fact that David Lloyd George was actually not born in Wales, but in Chorlton-on-Medlock in Manchester
on 17 January 1863, the son of William George, a local headmaster.
After his father died in 1865, David and his mother moved to
Llanystumdwy, in Gwynedd, North Wales to live with his mother’s
brother, who was a shoemaker and Baptist master. David almost
certainly acquired his radical political views and his Welsh
nationalism from his uncle. He attended the village school,
where he was good at Geography and Mathematics, and at 16 he
was apprenticed to a solicitor’s office. Although he qualified
as a solicitor, Lloyd George never really practised Law, but
was elected to parliament as a representative of the Liberal
Party in 1890, and was to remain MP for the Caernarfon constituency
for the next 55 years.
The Liberal Party won a landslide victory at the 1906 general
election and Lloyd George was appointed to be President of the
Board of Trade. By 1908 he had become Chancellor of the Exchequer
and made his mark by proposing the first Old Age Pensions Act.
In 1911 he continued with his radical social reforms by introducing
the National Insurance Act which was designed to insure workers
against sickness and unemployment.
At the outbreak of war in 1914, Lloyd George was appointed as
Asquith’s Minister of Munitions – by 1916, largely as a result
of his success in this Ministry, he was made Minister of War.
However, Asquith was a notoriously weak war leader, and he resigned
in December 1916, when Lloyd George became Prime Minister. At
the end of the Great War, Lloyd George attended the Paris Peace
Conference in 1919 and warned against the harsher proposals
of the Treaty of Versailles.
Meanwhile, at home Britain was facing an economic shock as nearly
four millions soldiers returned home to find little or no work.
Further, in Ireland, violence and powerful nationalist feelings
had forced the partition of the country and setting up of an
Irish Free State in 1920. Lloyd George’s post-war coalition
began to fall apart and Lloyd George resigned in 1922. He would
never serve in government again despite leading the Liberal
party from 1926 to 1931. Shortly before his death in 1945 he
received the title Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor.
Born Margaret Jackson at Ashton-under-Lyne in 1938 into a comfortable
middle class family, she was to become one of the most influential
women in British politics at the end of the twentieth century.
As leader of the House of Commons under Tony Blair’s Prime Ministership
since 1997, she is well known for her plain speaking and indomitable
debating style, giving her an equal standing amongst an otherwise
male dominated government cabinet. Her father had died when
she was only 12 and Margaret began a five year engineering apprenticeship
and had gone on to study for a degree in Metallurgy at the University
By the time of the 1964 general election, she had begun working
for the local party office as a researcher, and worked her way
up through the party until she was selected as the Labour Candidate
for Lincoln in the 1974 election, significantly reducing the
opposition’s majority in that city, before winning the seat
later, in October of that year. She is married to Leo Beckett.
Scanlon of Davyhulme – President of the Allied Union of Electrical
Born Hugh Parr Scanlon in Salford on 26th October 1913, he was
a leading Trades Unionist on the national scene in the 1950s
and 60s, and was made Lord Scanlon of Davyhulme in 1964. His
parents had emigrated to Australia in 1911, but his father had
died within a year and his widowed mother returned to England
with two children and expecting Hugh as a third. Back in Manchester,
living with in-laws, she found work at the local Co-op Soap
Factory. As Hugh grew, he attended St Mary’s School in Davyhulme,
Manchester. He helped finance the family by doing a newspaper
delivery round during his lunchtimes and after school in the
At 14 he became apprenticed at the Metro Vickers Factory in
Trafford Park, was a shop steward by the age of 23, and was
elected to the position of President of the AUEW – the Associated
Union of Engineering Workers, at the age of 32. Scanlon went
on to become a member of the Trades Union Congress national
Congress for 10 years where he became known as a tough negotiator,
and celebrated for his distinct lack of humour. He
eventually resigned in 1959 and was elevated to the House of
Lords in 1979, taking the title Baron Scanlon of Davyhulme in
the County of Greater Manchester, for his services to industry.
Hugh Scanlon died on the 28th of January 2004 at the age of
Marples MP, Bart
Marples of Wallasey – Minister of Transport
Born Alfred Ernest Marples in 1907 at Henshaw Street in Stretford,
this local elementary schoolboy succeeded in becoming Postmaster
General and Minister of Transport during his time as a member
of the Conservative Government Cabinet. He was eventually to
be given the title Baron Marples of Wallasey. His father had
been a renowned engineering charge-hand and Manchester Labour
campaigner, and his mother had worked in a local hat factory.
Ernest attended Victoria Park Council School and won a scholarship
to Stretford Grammar School, but by the age of 14 he was already
active in the Labour Movement, as well as earning money selling
cigarettes and sweets to Manchester football crowds. He also
played football for the YMCA team. There
followed a succession of jobs – miner, postman, chef, and accountant.
Eventually he joined the Territorial Army, and rose to the rank
this time his whole perception seems to have changed, as, by
1945 he had become a prospective Conservative candidate and
was elected to Parliament, and also set up his own company of
Civil Engineers (Marples, Ridgeway & Partners) with his
meagre savings and a bank loan. Professionally,
as a member of the government, he is best known for having introduced
the STD telephone system (Subscriber Trunk Dialling) which eliminated
the use of operators on national phone calls, and as Minister
of Transport he brought in roadside yellow lines, the first
British motorway (the M1), parking meters and seat belts.
was also under Ernest Marples that Dr Beeching was brought in
to controversially cut the British railway system down by two-thirds.
Marples emigrated to live in Monaco after his retirement from
politics and he died in 1978.
Henry Hunt is indelibly associated by local Mancunians with
the so-called “Peterloo
Massacre“, though he was already well known as a political
radical long before the episode at St Peter’s Fields in Manchester
on the 16th of August 1819. He was born into a comfortably well-off
farming family in 1773 at Upavon in Wiltshire. By the age of
24 on the death of his father, young Henry had inherited several
thousand acres of land as well as a substantial country estate
in Somerset. Unusually, especially for his time, and rare that
such a well born and affluent man should become associated with
the radical working-class reform movement. However, he was apparently
a controversial figure from the outset, having spent six weeks
in prison in 1800 as a result of a civil dispute with a neighbour.
While in prison he had met up with the radical lawyer, Henry
Clifford, who was instrumental in completing Hunt’s full conversion
to political activist and public oratory.
Social and economic conditions in England had become a breeding-ground
for dissent, anarchy and radicalism, as the country was in the
throes of a deep depression – industry was in overproduction
and there was massive nation-wide unemployment due to the demobilisation
of almost half a million ex-British Army soldiers from the Napoleonic
Wars. Street protests and demonstrations were rife and local
authorities feared a “copycat” revolution such as that which
has taken place in France two decades earlier. In 1816 the Government
had already introduced the Coercion Act, designed to deal with
public riots and sedition, as well as taking steps to strengthen
the Public Order and Riot Acts – such was the instability of
the political atmosphere of the time.
In 1818 Hunt stood as a parliamentary candidate for Westminster.
His manifesto was inevitably radical, calling for secret ballots
(then unheard of), universal suffrage and the repeal of the
disastrously prohibitive Corn Laws. He was rejected outright
by the then wholly middle class electorate. In 1819 he was invited
to speak at a planned protest meeting in Manchester at St Peter’s
Fields, along with Richard Carlisle. In excess of 80,000 people
were expected to attend. Though the meeting was entirely ordered
and peaceful, fearful local magistrates ordered the Cheshire
Yeomanry to break up the meeting before it could get under way.
In the ensuing cavalry charge, eleven people died, hundreds
were injured and Hunt and local radical Samuel Bamford, were
arrested. One local observer who had been at the Battle of Waterloo,
commented that the fields looked like the “Battle of Peterloo”
and the event went down in history thereafter at the Peterloo
Massacre. Hunt was charged and found guilty of holding an unlawful
and seditious assembly and was awarded 30 months in jail for
his trouble. On release he continued campaigning and was instrumental
in forming the Radical Reform Association with William Cobbett.
He was successfully elected as Member of Parliament for Preston
in 1831- although his career was brief and he lost his seat
in 1833, retiring completely from public life. He died at his
home in Hampshire in 1835.