Forthcoming Events

All events held at the National Assembly for Wales, Ty Hywel, Cardiff Bay – Formal invitations will be circulated nearer the time

Gorwel 2017 Talks – advanced notice

The Autumn/Winter programme – advance notice

All events are held at the National Assembly for Wales – Ty Hywel Building, Tuesday evenings between 18.30-20.00 hours, unless otherwise stated


8th May 2018 – Prof Margaret MacMillan (Oxford University) – David Lloyd George. The Man Who Won the War and Lost the Peace?

5th June 2018 – Professor Colin Kidd (St Andrews University) 1707 and All That: Scotland and the British Constitution

12th June 2018 – Professor Fabio Vighi (Cardiff University) 200th Anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx


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Professor Margaret MacMillan CH

David Lloyd George. The Man Who Won the War and Lost the Peace?

One of Europe’s and North America’s most distinguished and prize winning, historians, also BBC Reith Lecturer for 2018

Talk to be held at the Reardon Smith lecture theatre, next to the National Museum of Wales, Cathays Park, 6.30 pm – 8 pm, 8th May 2018


As part of the commemorations of the end of the First World War Gorwel and the Lloyd George Society are delighted to host one of the most distinguished historians of the twentieth century. Professor Margaret Macmillan.

Professor Macmillan talk will examine David Lloyd George. He was known in his lifetime as The Man Who Won the War and sometimes as the man who lost the peace.  This lecture examines both those epithets and tries to assess whether they are a fair description.  Lloyd George had already made his mark in Henry Asquith’s peace time cabinet as a reforming and highly effective Chancellor of the Exchequer.  In 1915 he took on the key post of Minister of Munitions, helping Britain to meet the extraordinary demands of the Great War, and in 1916 after Lord Kitchener’s death he became Secretary of State for War.  Then, at the end of the year, he replaced Asquith as Prime Minister and brought new vigour and determination to the prosecution of the war and to strengthening Britain’s relations with its Allies and its Empire. It was an unexpected trajectory for someone who had been focused on domestic politics and policies and not on military or foreign affairs.

With the coming of the peace, Lloyd George led the British Empire Delegation to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and played a key role in shaping the peace treaties and bridging the differences between the Americans and the French.  Although his detractors accused him of a lack of knowledge and experience in foreign relations, he was quick to grasp the complex issues before him and showed good judgement and common sense.  The lecture will look at his achievements and also his failures in the negotiations at Paris and the conferences which followed it.

A century later it is time to re-evaluate Lloyd George’s contribution to the history of the 20th century.  

Speaker’s Biography – Professor Margaret MacMillan CH

MM hi-res 2Mb Photo Credit Rob Judges

Margaret MacMillan was educated at the University of Toronto and the University of Oxford.  She was a member of Ryerson University’s History Department for 25 years, Provost of Trinity College at the University of Toronto from 2002 to 2007 and Warden of St Antony’s College and Professor of International History, University of Oxford from 2007 to 2017.  She is a Professor of History, University of Toronto, the Xerox Foundation Distinguished Scholar at the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs at Johns Hopkins SAIS and a Distinguished Fellow of  the Munk School of Global Affairs.

Her research specializes in British imperial history and international history of the 19th and 20th centuries.  Her publications include Paris, 1919: Six Months that Changed the World, Nixon in China: the Week that Changed the World, The War that Ended Peace: The Road to 1914  and History’s People: Personalities and the Past.  She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a Companion of the Order of Canada and a Companion of Honour in the UK where she is the BBC Reith Lecturer for 2018. Professor MacMillan is also the great granddaughter of David Lloyd George

Talk supported by the Lloyd George Society, These Islands and the National Museum of Wales

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1707 and All That: Scotland and the British Constitution

Professor Colin Kidd, Wardlaw Professor of Modern History (University of St Andrews)

Talk to be held at the National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay, The Old Debating Chamber, 6.30 pm – 8 pm, 5thJune 2018

Professor Colin Kidd is Wardlaw Professor of Modern history  at one of Scotland’s oldest and finest academic institutions, the University of St Andrews. Widely acknowledged as one of the leading experts on Scottish history  he is coming to Wales to share some of this expertise with a Welsh audience.

The talk is entitled 1707 and All That: Scotland and the British Constitution. The background to this talk is that Union of 1707 was supposedly constitutive of a new British state. However, an Anglo-British interpretation of the constitution has since prevailed, centred on the idea of parliamentary sovereignty. The Union of 1707, a hasty measure devised to confront short-term problems, scarcely dented the well-established contours of the existing English constitution.

However, within Scotland there has been a growing awareness since Lord Cooper’s remarks in MacCormick versus Lord Advocate (1953) of a neglected Scottish strand in Britain’s multi-national constitution. Many Scottish intellectuals and politicians – Labour and Liberal, as well as SNP – believe that Scotland has a tradition of popular sovereignty which can be traced back to the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320.

Devolution has also brought into focus the incoherence at the heart of the constitution, one of whose most obvious current defects is popularly referred to as the West Lothian Question.

The British constitution is in a state of transition between an unwritten constitution – with a very wide measure of parliamentary discretion – and a more codified kind of constitution. The question of the Anglo-Scottish Union provides another critical wedge into this debate.

Professor Colin Kidd  – Biography

Colin Kidd is Wardlaw Professor of Modern history at the University of St Andrews and a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford.  He is the author of several books, including Subverting Scotland’s Past, The Forging of Races and the World of Mr Casaubon. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

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The talk is sponsored by the National Museum of Wales