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Bewdley Town Council

Happy Birthday to the 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley

By Town Clerk's Office Bewdley Town Council

Monday, 31 July 2017

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Bewdley's most famous son, Stanley Baldwin the 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, would have been 150 years old on the 3rd August 2017, being born in 1867 in Lower Park. A blue plaque marks his place of birth and can be seen easliy from the junction of Lax Lane and High Street.

From the BBC:

Baldwin was British prime minister three times in the 1920s and 1930s .

Stanley Baldwin was born on 3 August 1867 in Bewdley, Worcestershire, the only son of a wealthy industrialist and member of parliament. The author Rudyard Kipling was Baldwin's cousin on his mother's side of the family.

After graduating from Cambridge University, Baldwin joined the family iron-mongering business. He became Conservative MP for Bewdley in 1908, a seat his father had held. Following various ministerial appointments, in 1922 he was appointed chancellor of the exchequer. The following year he became prime minister when ill health forced Andrew Bonar Law to retire. He soon called a general election to seek approval for the government's plans to introduce protective tariffs, but failed to gain a majority. Ramsay MacDonald's first Labour government came to power, backed by Liberal support.

It was short-lived. By November 1924, the Conservatives were back in power with a landslide majority and Baldwin as prime minister. In the General Strike of 1926, Baldwin proclaimed a state of emergency and refused to negotiate further until the strike was over. The following year he passed the Trade Disputes Act, which declared general strikes to be revolutionary and illegal.

The Conservatives lost the general election of 1929 and Labour came back to power. Baldwin considered leaving politics, and spent much of the next two years fighting elements within his own party. But in 1931 he returned to government as a member of Ramsay MacDonald's National Coalition and in June 1935 he became prime minister again when MacDonald resigned.

This term of office was dominated by rising tension in Europe and the abdication crisis. Baldwin believed that Edward VIII's wish to marry the divorcee Wallis Simpson was unacceptable. The king was given the choice of renouncing her or abdicating, and chose to abdicate in December 1936. Baldwin resisted calls for re-armament and took a conciliatory approach towards Nazi Germany.

Baldwin retired in May 1937 and was made Earl Baldwin of Bewdley. He died on 14 September 1947.

Baldwin received the Freedom of the Borough of Bewdley in 1925 and his portrait hangs above the Mayor's chair in the Guildhall.

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