The Daily Mail entitled their piece 'Wish you weren't here'. Yet they are so wrong as North Wales is just about the best place any Prime Minister can visit for some well-deserved rest. And the weather only adds to the beauty of the place. The beer is good too. There is quite a tradition of Prime Ministers visiting North Wales on holiday. The great 19th century Prime Minister W.E.Gladstone visited Penmaenmawr on a dozen different occasions and brought welcome publicity to that town. Of course Gladstone himself lived in North Wales, so a journey to Penmaenmawr was relatively easy, even in the 19th century.
|Gladstone's holidays are still remembered in Penmaenmawr.|
I will mention Lloyd George shortly. My favourite Prime Minister and North Wales story involves H.H.Asquith. He was Prime Minister from 1908 to 1916. During that time he fell in love with a girl 40 years younger than himself, Venetia Stanley. Her family owned a large house in Penrhos, near Holyhead. Asquith wrote hundreds of letters to Venetia (sometimes even while Cabinet was in session) and he managed to get invited to Stanley family holidays in Penrhos. Asquith was married to Margot (who was 12 years his junior); they had numerous children from other marriages. Nevertheless Asquith's infatuation with Venetia was to last for many years and their holidays in North Wales were an important opportunity for them to meet socially. Venentia would eventually break Asquith's heart, but that is another story.
|A poor quality image, but Venetia and the prime Minister in Holyhead.|
|Even Winston Churchill got an invite to the Stanley North Wales holiday retreat, although this was at least three decades before he would become PM.|
So there is quite a tradition of Prime Ministers visiting North Wales to find peace and beautiful scenery. The Daily Mail, as so often is the case, got it completely wrong and did this part of the world no favours as the vital tourist season approaches.