Tuesday, 29 December 2009

200 years since Gladstone's birth

It is Gladstone's birthday and certainly in this part of the world it is being well marked. Gladstone was born in Liverpool-indeed in the next street to where I am sitting now. He went on to try to be an MP for South Lancashire which included Southport and Birkdale. You can read more about that on our website where you can access an online copy of Micheal Brahams's excellent history of the 'First 100 years of Southport Liberals'
The BBC did an excellent Radio Four programme direct from St Deniol's Library- Gladstone's residential memorial library. I have visited St Deniol's several times for conference-none of them Liberal ones! Under the present Warden it has become a very welcoming place and the Library is fascinating especially to those interested in Gladstone, victorian studies , Liberalism or theology. The building is a Victorian mock gothic gem. As you enter it there is a display of Gladstonian artefact donated by one Eric Flounders.
Regretably the Liberal Party contribution to the Radio Four programme was from David Steel. He was never a man for the detail-witness (amonst other examples)his major cock up over the 'dead parrot' policy statement. If he had spent as much energy and effort on checking that document as he spent preventing the policy committee and others getting a sight of it until after it was publish life may have been better. Well on this occaison despite being in Gladstone's Library he was easily outclassed in his knowledge and understanding of the Grand Old Man by both Andrew Adonis and David Willets. Sad. Surely there were other better qualified folk.....For his New Year reading the chapter on General Gordon in Roy Jenkin's biog may cause him to revise his opinion that Gladstone's policy in the Sudan and Egypt was a 'mistake'.
Anyway, I'm off to the wreath laying ceremony in Liverpool in my lunch hour. The invitation reads:
International statesmen, political reformer, 3 times Chancellor of the Exchequer and 4 times British Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone was born in Rodney Street, Liverpool on 29th December 1809. Liverpool City Council, the Gladstone family, local historians Steve Binns, Brenda Murray and Frank Carlyle, plus St Deiniol's Library and the Flintshire Record Office have all contributed to help us celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the “Grand Old Man’s” birth. Please join the city’s celebrations at St George’s Hall on 29th December 2009 from 12pm to 3.30.
Please come to all 3 of the events below or whichever ones suit your busy diaries.

29th December 2009: -

12pm – 1pm : Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Gladstone Memorial at St John’s Gardens at St John’s Gardens, St Georges Hall
This hour includes teas & coffee in St Georges Hall

1pm : Gladstone Exhibition
Launch of Gladstone Exhibition, Concert Hall
The Gladstone Exhibition is in the Gladstone Gallery, St Georges Hall from 29th Dec – 7th March 2009

Gladstone Lectures
Concert Hall

1.30 – 3.30pm
* Brenda Murray
* Steve Binns
* Frank Carlyle

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