A Century of Speeches and Speech Makers; Robert Llewellyn Jones Reviews a New Book Charting the History of Cardiff Business Club

Article excerpt

WITH meticulous attention to detail and illustrated with press cuttings and pictures drawn from the Western Mail archive, Cardiff Business Club - The First 100 Years 1912-2012 traces the club's history.

The inter-war years are dealt with in detail as is the contribution to the club made by Sir Robert Webber, a leading figure in the newspaper industry of that time, By 1938 the club was able to attract a speaker of the stature of Anthony Eden - who would later become Foreign Secretary and then Prime Minister.

That memorable October evening is reported in detail with some of Mr Eden's words used to remind readers of the charged political atmosphere the evening created.

There is also a graphic account of the war years and the role the club played through hosting meetings at which Dr Edouard Benes, the exiled president of the Czechoslovakian Republic and Ernest Bevin, Minister of Labour were among the speakers.

The chapter entitled Post War Years begins with the controversial visit of Eamon de Valera, the former Taoiseach of the Irish Republic - who was "shouted down by a core of club members" for signing a book of condolence on Adolf Hitler's death at the German embassy in Dublin.

The aftermath of those war years is brought before the reader with references to the communist threat from some quarters and the need to focus on building the economy being advocated by others . With the arrival of the "Swinging Sixties" the political and economic landscape had economic changed.

Entry into the Common Market was the burning issue and the club played its part in acting as a forum for both sides in this debate.

The Seventies brought a glittering array of speakers dutifully listed to underline the Club's status.

Politicians Michael Foot, George Thomas and Enoch Powell, Saudi oil minister Sheikh Yamani, one-time sporting great and international businessman Tony O'Reilly and our own sporting legends Carwyn James and Cliff Morgan addressed the club's members. …