Sunday, September 29, 2013

Great Men of Montgomeryshire.

Montgomeryshire is a quiet rural constituency, but she has an interesting history. Today, I spent a couple of hours at Llandinam Village Hall at a 'Presenting the Past' event. We do have castles, the gem which is Powis Castle,  and Montgomery Castle. Not sure if I should be counting Dolforwyn Castle. And there's Owain Glyndwr's Parliament Building in Machynlleth. Plus there's a lot of evidence of the Roman presence, particularly at Caersws. But its the Montgomeryshire people who have made our history that interest me most.

I suppose top billing must go Owain Glyndwr, who many Welsh people think is our greatest ever Welshman. But its too far back to count in this post. My nomination for that accolade goes to Robert Owen, a saddler's son born in Newtown who became one of the world's greatest (perhaps the greatest) business management expert. Normally he is thought of as a great 'socialist' (a breed who are making something of a comeback at present). But most of his great early and most important work was as a capitalist. He was the first to twig that the best way for an industrialist to make money was by taking good care of employees. Robert Owen also had the good sense to marry the daughter of a very wealthy industrialist, David Dale. Together they established not only successful businesses, but a whole new approach to industrial relations attitudes. This great Newtown man is probably better known in Scotland and the US. Best way to describe him is that he was a capitalist who became the first socialist. Like many innovative thinkers, he eventually went bust pursuing his dreams - and came home to Newtown to die.

And then there's the Davies family of Llandinam. David Davies of Llandinam was one of Britain's greatest entrepreneurs, building railways and Barry Docks. He made a lot of money. He was also elected Liberal MP for Montgomeryshire - one of several very impressive predecessors to the position which I now hold (but as a Conservative). His son Edward built the first Llandinam Village Hall, and his daughters, Margaret and Gwendoline built the still stunning hall at Gregynog to house their wonderful collection of art. Grandson, David Davies was elevated to the House of Lords as the first Baron Davies of Llandinam, and today's event was opened by his son, the second Lord Davies (and Lady Davies) who still live in Llandinam.

Probably leave it there - before I get carried away with Pryce Pryce Jones and the Owen Owens family from Machynlleth. Welcome any other nominations of Men of Montgomeryshire (and Women) who warrant inclusion in this company..


Anonymous said...

The David Davies that built Bary Docks and all the great railways was not a Lord he was a MP. His grandson David Davies was the first Lord (1st Baron Davies) born 1880 died 1944. The current Lord Davies is his son, again, David Davies who's the second Lord Davies and great grandson of the David Davies who made the money and statue stands by the bridge in Llandinam. And he is by far the greatest entrepreneur Mongomyshire has ever produced. And is probably in the top 5 businesspersons\Entrepreneurs ever to come from the UK. If he had started his business, The Ocean Coal Company, today in our time it would be worth billions and be one of , if not the most valubale company on the FTSE 100. Not bad for a lad from Llandinam.

Glyn Davies said...

Thanks anon. I will edit and correct errors. I guessed there might be a few, and blogged without any checking. So am grateful!

Donovan950 said...

All rich men! I'm not surprised

Peter Davies said...

The original "Top Sawyer" David Davies
started as a poor man.However he achieved wealth through Hard work. A course of action, espoused by the Conservative party.I wonder if today's Lord Davies has forsaken the Liberal Party for the Conservatives as have Dr Walter Davies' Family Formerly of Aberynant LLanidloes who was the first Lord Davies' Doctor for nearly 40 years. The comment about the original David Davies not being the first Lord is of course correct Though the first Lord was very generous including his contributions to building the Llanidloes Hospital and the University college Aberystwyth.