Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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b. in London , 11 Apr. 1885 , son of George Ralph Charles Ormsby-Gore (who became 3rd Baron Harlech in 1904 ) and Lady Margaret Ethel (née Gordon ) . The family home was Brogyntyn , near Oswestry , Salop . He was educated at Eton and Oxford and in 1913 he m. Lady Beatrice Cecil , a member of a prominent Conservative family.

In 1910 he was elected M.P. for the Borough of Denbigh by only eight votes but in 1918 he moved to a safer seat in Stafford and was a M.P. there until 1938 when he succeeded his father to the House of Lords . He became an expert on the Empire colonies and was Colonial Under-Secretary from 1922 until 1929 apart from the short period when Labour was in power in 1924 . In that year he headed the Commission that visited East and Central Africa . He was a member of the Cabinet , 1931-38 , and in 1936 he was appointed Colonial Secretary , for which post his extensive experience in the field was invaluable. However, one of his chief political enemies, Neville Chamberlain , became Prime Minister in 1937 and the following year he resigned in bitter circumstances. He opposed the foreign policies of Chamberlain and he was a constant critic of the Nazis . In brief, he was a sincere and prominent politician although occasionally impulsive.

After retiring from political life he turned his attention to banking and to his interests in the arts . He had already published Florentine sculptors of the fifteenth century ( 1930 ), A guide to the Mantegna cartoons at Hampton Court ( 1935 ), and Guides to the ancient monuments of England (3 volumes). He and his father deposited a valuable collection of Brogyntyn manuscripts at the National Library of Wales and he was the President of the Library , 1950-58 . He was also Pro-Chancellor of the University of Wales and Constable of Harlech and Caernarfon castles. He d. 14 Feb. 1964 .


  • Obituaries from 'The Times', 1961-1970; Including an index to all obituaries and tributes appearing in 'The Times' during the years 1961-1970 (1975) , 350;
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ;
  • John Harvey (ed.), The diplomatic diaries of Oliver Harvey 1937-40 (London, 1970) (1970) .


Gwyn Jenkins, Aberystwyth

Published date: 2001