GEORGE, WILLIAM (1865 - 1967), solicitor and public figure

Name: William George
Date of birth: 1865
Date of death: 1967
Spouse: Anita George (née Williams)
Parent: Elisabeth George (née Lloyd)
Parent: William George
Gender: Male
Occupation: solicitor and public figure
Area of activity: Law; Public and Social Service, Civil Administration
Author: William Richard Philip George

Born at Highgate, Llanystumdwy, Caernarfonshire, 23 February 1865, the youngest child of William George, schoolmaster (he died 7 June 1864) and Elisabeth his wife (née Lloyd, 1828 - 1896), and a brother to David Lloyd George (see LLOYD GEORGE, David below), and Mary Elin. His father died before he was born and his uncle, Richard Lloyd, his mother's brother (1834 - 1917) had a profound influence on the formation of his character and on his attitude towards the world and its events. He was educated at the National School, Llanystumdwy, but his uncle and his mother refused to let him train as a pupil-teacher. The family moved to Cricieth in 1880. William George took articles in 1882 and succeeded in his final examination with honours and was fourth in the first class, a considerable achievement for one who had not received a college or high school education. He joined his brother in practice in the business that he established in Cricieth in 1885 and the partnership of Lloyd George & George became well known when they won the 'Llanfrothen Cemetery' case in the Appeal Court on 15 December 1888. When David Lloyd George was elected to Parliament in 1890 members were not paid a salary and William agreed that his brother should give most of his time to his political activities and he drew an income from the partnership for many years. It was William also who set up a home for his mother, Uncle Richard, his sister and himself, setting aside for the time any idea of marrying in order to fulfil these responsibilities. David's reliance on the partnership came to an end when he was appointed President of the Board of Trade in December 1905 and William was then able to give more of his time to public affairs.

He was first elected to Caernarfon County Council in 1907 and he remained a member until 1967 and was chairman in 1911. He chaired the county education committee from 1916 to 1948 and as the chairman of the Central Welsh Board and a leader in educational circles in Wales he was able to implement some of the policies that he believed would protect the Welsh language and religion in Wales. He was ahead of his time in securing the status of Welsh in legislation and public administration; he translated the Insurance Act of 1911 into Welsh and published it as a booklet with a list of legal terms in Welsh as an appendix. He chaired the National Union of Welsh Societies that was set up in 1913 and during his period in office a national petition was arranged (1938) to try to obtain appropriate status for the Welsh language in the country, a campaign that led to the Welsh Courts Act 1942. He did much to encourage co-operation between county councils in Wales, particularly in education, and he was a firm believer in setting up a national educational council for Wales. He was a member of the deputation to the Minister of Education in 1920 to seek support for this policy. As Chairman of the Central Welsh Board, he made the suggestion that two pupils from secondary schools in every county should spend a week at the National Eisteddfod as guests of a fund that was set up with the proceeds from selling the offices of the Central Welsh Board in 1944.

He was the honorary solicitor of the court and council of the National Eisteddfod from 1937 to 1956 and he made every effort to unite the Gorsedd of Bards and the National Eisteddfod Society and he was elected a Fellow of the Eisteddfod in 1956. He also published material for children, Llyfr y cyfarfod plant (1908). He received an honorary LL.D. from the University of Wales in 1947 and the National Eisteddfod presented him with an address on vellum to mark his hundredth birthday. He was a member of Penymaes Chapel (Scottish Baptists, Disciples of Christ) and Berea (B) Cricieth and he received the Gee medal.

He was very able intellectually and he had the ability to express himself concisely and confidently. Without his self-sacrifice it is difficult to see how David Lloyd George could have developed into a professional politician so early in his career. The letters between them show that David placed great importance on William's judgement on current topics and that impression is reflected in his speeches. He published My Brother and I (1958), Atgoff a Myfyr (1948) and Richard Lloyd (1934). He married Anita Williams from Fishguard in 1910; she died 1943. They had twin sons but one died in infancy. He died at Cricieth 25 January 1967 and he was buried at Cricieth public cemetery.


Published date: 2001

Article Copyright:

The Dictionary of Welsh Biography is provided by The National Library of Wales and the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies. It is free to use and does not receive grant support. A donation would help us maintain and improve the site so that we can continue to acknowledge Welsh men and women who have made notable contributions to life in Wales and beyond.

Find out more on our sponsorship page.