Lloyd George's village celebrates 150th anniversary

The politician, known as the Welsh wizard, rose from humble origins on the Llyn Peninsula to introduce the pension and lead Britain through World War I

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Staff at the David Lloyd George museum in Gwynedd hope that the 150th anniversary of his birth will help make him better known around the UK.

He was Britain's only Welsh-speaking prime minister, born in Manchester on 17 January 1863, spending most of his childhood in Llanystumdwy in Gwynedd.

His former home is now part of a museum, and his grave is alongside the River Dwyfor in the village.

He was voted number 79 in a BBC poll to find the 100 Greatest Britons in 2002.

As prime minister between 1916 and 1922, he is credited with guiding the UK through the First World War.

Earlier in his political career, he was Chancellor of the Exchequer at a time when the first state pension and sickness benefits were introduced.

However, Nest Thomas, the Principal Museums Officer at Gwynedd Council, said: "I don't think he's as well known as he could be. In Wales, he has a high profile because of the local connection.

Start Quote

I must have been aware as a very small child that he was quite a special man then”

End Quote Philip George Great nephew

"When you think of the Second World War, you connect that with the prime minster of the time, Winston Churchill. But with the First World War, there isn't the same connection in people's minds with David Lloyd George.

Exhibition

"The younger generation, when they come to the museum, are fascinated to learn about this famous Welshman, so it's a new discovery for a lot of them.

"Hopefully with all the events ahead to remember a hundred years since the First World War, there'll be a chance to increase his profile."

The 150th anniversary of David Lloyd George's birth will be marked by a service at the grave, a tea party and commemoration lecture. A special exhibition has been put together of family photographs and heirlooms provided by his great grandson, the fourth Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor.

David Lloyd George's great nephew, Philip George, will also be at the service. He said that people in Llanystumdwy are still proud of the village's connection with David Lloyd George.

"His daughter Olwen lived locally, and when she went to the Post Office to collect her pension, she would always say 'thank you, dad'.

"One of the earliest memories I've got is of placing a wreath on his grave for the centenary of his birth fifty years ago.

"I must have been aware as a very small child that he was quite a special man then. The fact that we're here, 50 years later, celebrating the 150th anniversary of his birth underlines that."

Former deputy Labour leader Roy Hattersley is the author of David Lloyd George: The Great Outsider.

He told BBC Radio Wales how Lloyd George was prime minister during World War I, but "wasn't a very successful prime minister afterwards".

He added: "His great achievement were the years when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, before the First World War, and introduced unemployment benefits...those were his great achievements and it makes him the major figure in radical politics over the last 150 years".

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