Monday, 15 April 2013

Gladstone's memorial and funeral

Thatcher's expensive funeral-signed off it is suggested by the last government-seems inappropriate in today's environment. Other PM's with a claim to greatness like Atlee and Lloyd George seem to have got the tone better. Perhaps best of all there is Gladstone. His funeral is described in the Liberal History Journal is some detail and concludes:

 Gladstone’s funeral was, in retrospect, especially remarkable for its absence of bombast. Held at the very peak of Empire, it emphasised civic, non-military, and religious values. It was striking that the British could at that moment hold a state funeral which had no soldiers and no uniforms (save those of the Heralds and of the Speaker and Lord Chancellor). 

As to the Library many will have visited it at Harwarden. Their website tells us:

He (Gladstone) endowed the library with £40,000 indicating that this was more than a hobby or a sideline: this was his major bequest. Following his death 1898, a public appeal was launched for funds to provide a permanent building to house the collection and to replace the temporary structure. The £9,000 raised provided an imposing building, designed by John Douglas, which was officially opened by Earl Spencer on October 14th 1902 as the National Memorial to W. E. Gladstone. The Gladstone family were themselves to fulfill the founder's vision by funding the residential wing, which welcomed its first resident on June 29th, 1906.

It's magnificent gothic architecture should not hide the fact that it has kept itself up to date and relevant and even has a twitter account @

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