Wednesday, June 18, 2014
David Davies' institutes in Llanfair Caereinion and Montgomery
David Davies - the 1st Baron Davies - was Liberal MP for Montgomeryshire between 1906 and 1929. As an article in the Journal of Liberal History (Issue 29, Winter 2000–01) by J. Graham Jones showed, he was a trusted lieutenant of Lloyd George and an influential adviser on foreign affairs.
As well as being a politician, Davies was a public benefactor. And among his good works were institutes, built to spread learning and keep men out of the pub, in several of the small towns in his constituency. I came across a couple of them during my recent holiday.
The one above is in Llanfair Caereinion and was opened in 1913 - it is an interesting building to find in such a remote location and the tower is reminiscent of Lutyens.
The one below was opened in Montgomery after the end of the First World War. It is striking how much more backward-looking its architecture is - as well as how much better the weather was on the day I visited it.
The style of this later building may have been an attempt to fit in with the more picturesque setting Montgomery provides, but it may also tell us something important about the effect of that war on British life.