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Lancaster LNU: ‘Big-name’ Speakers

Inviting famous speakers to Lancaster
Lord Cecil, a ‘big name’ who visited Lancaster, 1933

Lord Cecil, a ‘big name’ who visited Lancaster, 1933

On occasion the Lancaster branch of the League of Nations Union  invited ‘big names’ to its meetings. League of Nations  Headquarters in London was concerned that some branches only had these people to talk instead of having a balanced programme. (1) Lancaster, however, had a mix of meetings. A limiting factor might also be cost. ‘Big-name’ speakers might ask for expenses, or the branch could not afford to pay for publicity. In 1921, the Lancaster LNU Secretary wrote: ‘… the visit of Mr J. H. Harris (a Liberal party candidate) was much appreciated but the propaganda was restricted owing to lack of funds.’

The Lancaster branch invited several ‘big names’ to its meetings. On three occasions, London men were invited to speak at the AGMs. Frederick Whelen , ‘the LNU’s chief speaker’ came twice, in 1922 and 1924, while Alec Wilson, MRIA spoke in 1929. The branch invited two of the biggest names. Professor Gilbert Murray, LNU chairman, gave an address in March 1926 and Lord Cecil, LNU President, was the main speaker at the 1933 rally at Quernmore Park. Murray’s colleague, Professor Darnley-Naylor chaired a branch conference on disarmament in 1928. A number of politicians came to Lancaster, including Oswald Mosley (MP, Harrow) in 1920, Lord Henry Bentinck-Cavendish (MP, Nottingham South) in 1926/7, and Philip Oliver, ex-Manchester MP, who came twice in 1927. In 1929, the three local party politicians spoke at the Armistice evening. No doubt William Adamson, MP for Dumfermline was delighted to be asked to stay overnight at Quernmore Park in 1934. (2)

References/Further Reading:

(1) D. S. Birn, 1981. The League of Nations Union 1918-1945. Oxford: Clarendon Press, p.131.
(2) Archive ref: DDQ/ix/74/16, Lancashire Archives,

Lancaster Guardian, 19 Mar 1921, 22 Apr 1922, 22 Mar 1924, 27 Mar 1929, 20 Mar 1926, 25 Aug 1933, 23 Mar 1929, 9 Oct 1920, 9 Apr 1927, 21 Apr 1928 & 16 Nov 1929.