Founded 1946, by Geoffrey Beard

Stourbridge Historical Society

19/10/2017


The President Chris Glaze-Millis welcomed 65 members and 9 visitors to a presentation by David Howe on “Prime Ministers and the West Midlands”.

David reminded his audience of the quotation from Enoch Powell – “All political careers end in failure” and how this applied to prime ministers. Politicians were invariably judged by their failures but military success generally brought popularity. A comparison with football managers who were remembered more for the cause of their failure than their successes.  For example, Chamberlain, whose return from Munich – ‘peace in our time’-  was hailed as a hero and widely cheered but he had ‘got it wrong’.

Stanley Baldwin (born in Bewdley) knew the area well and was known in every hamlet. However, his grave in Worcester Cathedral was not prominent being covered in chairs but the meeting did hear from a member that there were plans for a statue in Bewdley to commemorate his connection to the town.

Anthony Eden was a brave good-looking man who achieved a first in Arabic languages at Oxford. He was MP for Warwick and Leamington for 34 years.  His premiership was marked by failure over the Suez Crisis and he retired through ill health in 1957. He had been President of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Chancellor of Birmingham University. 

Margaret Thatcher, particularly remembered for the successful Falklands campaign and surviving the Brighton bomb, which was said to be her finest hour, had links with Grantham.

Stretching the Midlands again to Oxfordshire, the birthplace and home of Winston Churchill who also stood for Parliament in Leicester (in 1923) and remained an MP into his 80’s.

Sir Robert Peel had been MP for Tamworth and is buried at Drayton Basset, his former home now known as Drayton Manor Park.

David’s presentation and his many anecdotes about the prime ministers was well received by members and the President thanked him for his extremely interesting talk.

The next meeting of the Society is in the Wollaston Room Stourbridge Town Hall on Thursday 16th November at 7.30 p.m. when Mary Bodfish will speak on “Edward and Mrs. Simpson”.