Richards, Robert, MP

Welsh historian, economist and politician, born on 7 May 1884 at Llangynog, Montgomeryshire. The village remained the lifelong home of himself and his wife, who was herself a native of the village. He was educated at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth and St. John's College, Cambridge. After a short period lecturing at Glasgow University, he returned to Wales to the Department of Extra-Mural Studies in Bangor. In 1922, shortly after being appointed Head of the Economics Department at Bangor, he was elected as Labour MP for Wrexham. In 1924 he was appointed Under-Secretary of State for India, but lost office when he failed to be re-elected to Parliament a few months later. He was re-elected from 1929 to 1931 and from 1935 until his death in 1954. In 1946 he led a parliamentary deputation to India in preparation for the country's independence. A man of great humility, he refused an invitation to become Governor of Malta and also offers of a peerage. Throughout his life he continued his academic interests, publishing books and articles in Welsh and English, and maintained his passionate concern for adult education. Until his death he remained a class leader and teacher in the adult class of the Sunday School in the Welsh Wesleyan chapel in Llangynog. He died on 22 December 1954.

  • Dictionary of Welsh Biography
  • Lionel Madden (ed.), Methodism in Wales (2003) pp.125-7

Entry written by: LM
Category: Person
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