File L1/41 - Bust of Ramsay MacDonald

Identity area

Reference code

L1/41

Title

Bust of Ramsay MacDonald

Date(s)

  • 1982 (Creation)

Level of description

File

Extent and medium

1 file (0.25 cm.)

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Lord Tonypandy (1909-1997) was born Thomas George Thomas in Port Talbot, Glamorgan, one of five children of Zacharia Thomas. He attended Tonypandy Secondary School and University College, Southampton. He returned to Cardiff in 1931, where he taught at Marlborough Road Elementary School for Boys and Roath Park School. He was drawn into politics through the National Union of Teachers. Medically unfit for war service, he became a Special Constable and was elected to the union's Executive Committee in 1942. Thomas had joined the Labour Party in 1925. He was nominated with Barbara Betts (later Castle) for the dual seat of Blackburn, but stood for Cardiff Central, which he won in the Labour landslide in 1945 and, following the boundary changes in 1950, was MP for Cardiff West until 1983. As a Welsh Nonconformist, he opposed Attlee's conscription policy, and spoke against pub and cinema openings on Sundays. He also campaigned on leasehold reform. The peak of his ministerial career came between 1968-1970 when he served as Secretary of State for Wales; his other political posts were Minister of Civil Aviation, 1951; Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office, 1964-1966; Minister of State at the Welsh Office, 1966-1967, and at the Commonwealth Office, 1967-1968. He was Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons, 1974-1976; and Speaker of the House of Commons, 1976-1983. He was the 133rd Speaker of the House of Commons, and the first to become known to a wider public through the broadcasting of Parliament on radio. In 1983, he was created Viscount Tonypandy of Rhondda. After he took his seat in the Upper House, he began to speak out against British integration with the European Union, at a time when his party was pro European Union. In 1996 he endorsed the anti-Europe campaign of Sir James Goldsmith and his Referendum Party. He was Chairman of the Bank of Wales, 1985-1991; President of the National Children's Home, 1990-1995; and Vice-President of the Macmillan Fund for Cancer Relief, 1991-1997. He was a diligent Methodist lay preacher throughout his life. He was a strong opponent of devolution and measures to alter the legal position of the Welsh language. He campaigned against Welsh devolution in the 1979 referendum. In 1997, with the banker Sir Julian Hodge, he was a prominent patron of the Welsh "Just Say No" campaign in the second referendum. It was his last campaign. He died aged 88 on 22nd September 1997.

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Scope and content

A file of correspondence and papers relating to the proposal to place a bronze bust of Ramsay MacDonald in the House of Commons. The file includes a letter from George Thomas, Speaker of the House of Commons.

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Note

Preferred citation: L1/41

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number

vtls004189747

GEAC system control number

(WlAbNL)0000189747

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  • Text: L1/41 (31).