David Davies, 1st Baron Davies

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David Davies, circa 1905. David Davies MP.jpg
David Davies, circa 1905.

David Davies, 1st Baron Davies FRGS (11 May 1880 16 June 1944) was a Welsh Liberal politician and public benefactor who was MP for Montgomeryshire from 1906–29. He was a grandson of the great Welsh industrialist David Davies. As a philanthropist, he established the King Edward VII Welsh National Memorial to combat tuberculosis in Wales, as well as the Wilson Chair of International Politics at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth. [1]

Fellowship of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS) is a prestigious Fellowship granted by the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) that is open to those over the age of 21 who can demonstrate:

Liberal Party (UK) political party of the United Kingdom, 1859–1988

The Liberal Party was one of the two major parties in the United Kingdom with the opposing Conservative Party in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The party arose from an alliance of Whigs and free trade Peelites and Radicals favourable to the ideals of the American and French Revolutions in the 1850s. By the end of the 19th century, it had formed four governments under William Gladstone. Despite being divided over the issue of Irish Home Rule, the party returned to government in 1905 and then won a landslide victory in the following year's general election.

Montgomeryshire (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom

Montgomeryshire is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Created in 1542, it elects one Member of Parliament (MP), traditionally known as the knight of the shire, by the first-past-the-post system of election.


Early life and education

Davies was born in Llandinam, Montgomeryshire, the first child of Edward Davies and May Jones. [1] His father was the only son of David Davies, often known as David Davies Llandinam, was the greatest Welsh industrialist of the Victorian era, having made his fortune in the coal mines. [2]

Llandinam village in the county of Powys, Wales

Llandinam is a village and community in Montgomeryshire, Powys, central Wales, between Newtown and Llanidloes, located on the A470. As a community, Llandinam is made up of the village itself, small hamlets including Plas Dinam and Little London and several farms.

David Davies (industrialist) Welsh industrialist and Liberal politician, born 1818

David Davies was a Welsh industrialist and Liberal politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1874 and 1886. Davies was often known as David Davies Llandinam. He is best remembered today for founding Barry Docks.

He was educated at Merchiston Castle School and King's College, Cambridge, graduating in 1903. [3] His family's wealth allowed the young Davies to travel extensively to exotic locations, where he enjoyed game hunting. He visited Africa, Asia and the United States, including Alaska. [2] His two younger sisters, Gwendoline and Margaret, became renowned patrons of the arts. [2]

Merchiston Castle School independent school for boys in the suburb of Colinton in Edinburgh, Scotland

Merchiston Castle School is an independent school for boys in the suburb of Colinton in Edinburgh, Scotland. It has around 470 pupils and is open to boys between the ages of 7 and 18 as either boarders or day pupils; it was modelled after English public schools. It is divided into Merchiston Juniors, Middle Years and a Sixth Form.

Kings College, Cambridge college of the University of Cambridge

King's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England. Formally The King's College of Our Lady and Saint Nicholas in Cambridge, the college lies beside the River Cam and faces out onto King's Parade in the centre of the city.

Gwendoline Elizabeth Davies, CH, was a Welsh philanthropist and patron of the arts who, together with her sister Margaret, is recognised as the most influential collector of Impressionist and 20th-century art in Wales. She and her sister were independently wealthy, their fortune inherited from the businesses created by their grandfather, the industrialist David Davies. Davies and her sister created one of the most important private collections of art in Britain and donated their total of 260 works to what is now the National Museum Wales in the mid-20th century.


Politically and personally, Davies followed the lead set by his grandfather. In 1906, at just 26, he was elected the Liberal Member of Parliament for the Montgomeryshire constituency.

In the First World War, he commanded the 14th Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers until 1916, when he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to David Lloyd George. [2]

David Lloyd George former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, was a British statesman and Liberal Party politician. He was the final Liberal to serve as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Following the war, Davies became an active supporter of the League of Nations. In 1929, Davies stood down prior to the general election to focus on international affairs. [2]

League of Nations 20th-century intergovernmental organisation, predecessor to the United Nations

The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organisation founded on 10 January 1920 as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first worldwide intergovernmental organisation whose principal mission was to maintain world peace. Its primary goals, as stated in its Covenant, included preventing wars through collective security and disarmament and settling international disputes through negotiation and arbitration. Other issues in this and related treaties included labour conditions, just treatment of native inhabitants, human and drug trafficking, the arms trade, global health, prisoners of war, and protection of minorities in Europe. At its greatest extent from 28 September 1934 to 23 February 1935, it had 58 members.

Despite this, Davies continued to support the official Liberal Party. He became President of Montgomeryshire Liberal Association and was at odds with his successor as MP, Clement Davies. In 1931, Clement Davies became a Liberal National and continued to support the National Government after the official Liberal Party moved into opposition in 1933.

In 1932, he established the New Commonwealth Society for "the promotion of international law and order," writing several books on the right use of force, notably The Problem of the Twentieth Century (1930), which was translated into German and other languages.

His ideas influenced the writing of the United Nations Charter, especially with regards to sanctions and the transition of national armies to an international police.

On 24 June 1932, he was created Baron Davies of Llandinam, in the County of Montgomery, for public services. [4]

In 1938, with a general election likely to occur in the near future, Lord Davies put pressure on Clement Davies by persuading the Montgomeryshire executive to seek clarification from their MP on his views regarding the National Government and appeasement. The MP shortly after opposed appeasement and resigned the Liberal National whip. [5]


Like his sisters, Davies was a significant philanthropist who donated to a number of good causes both locally and nationally. In 1910, he contributed £150,000 (£15 million as of 2019) to the King Edward VII Welsh National Memorial, which was formed with the aim of eradicating tuberculosis in Wales. [2]

He endowed perhaps the world's first Chair in International Politics, established in honour of Woodrow Wilson in 1919 at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, [6] which also hosts the David Davies Memorial Institute of International Studies. He was also the president of the National Library of Wales.

Davies was the brainchild and leading funder of the Welsh Temple of Peace in Cardiff pledging £58,000 in 1934 (£4.04 million as of 2019) towards the erection of a building.

Family and issue

In 1910, Davies married firstly Amy Penman, daughter of Lancelot Tulip Penman of Broadwood Park, and had two sons: [1]

Four years after Amy's death in 1918, he remarried Henrietta Margaret Fergusson, daughter of James Grant Fergusson of Baledmund, Perthshire, and had four more children: [1]

In 1944, while launching a new X-Ray mobile scanning unit at Sully Hospital (which the Temple of Peace in Cardiff had funded), Davies volunteered to undergo the first routine chest scan. The scan revealed advanced cancer from which he died from a few months later in June 1944.

His eldest son and heir, Major Hon. David Michael Davies, was serving in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and was killed in action in September 1944, a few months after succeeding to the title. His eldest son succeeded as the third Baron Davies, days prior to his fourth birthday. [8] [1]

A statue commissioned in honour of his Grandfather stands in Llandinam in Powys on the A470. The Llandinam Building at Aberystwyth University was named in his honour.

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Mosley, Charles, ed. (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knighthood (107 ed.). Burke's Peerage & Gentry. pp. 1049–1050. ISBN   0-9711966-2-1.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Lord Davies: Politics and Public Life in Wales". The Times . The Times Digital Archive. 17 June 1944. p. 6.
  3. "Davies, David (DVS899D)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  4. "No. 33838". The London Gazette . 24 June 1932. p. 4111.
  5. Dutton, David (2008). Liberals in Schism: A History of the National Liberal Party. London: Tauris. ISBN   1845116674.
  6. "The Legacy of One Man's Vision". Aberystwyth University, Department of International Politics. Retrieved 2015-01-27.
  7. England and Wales, Death Index, 2007-2017
  8. "Fallen Officers". The Times . The Times Digital Archive. 23 October 1944. p. 6.

Further reading

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Arthur Humphreys-Owen
Member of Parliament for Montgomeryshire
1906 1929
Succeeded by
Clement Davies
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Davies
Succeeded by
David Davies