The Gladstone Monument, Hawarden

The Gladstone Monument, Hawarden

The monument that stands in front of Gladstone’s Library was commissioned in 1910 by the National Gladstone Memorial Committee for erection in Phoenix Park, Dublin. It depicts William Ewart Gladstone, who was Britain’s Prime Minister four times and died of cancer in 1898. It was created by Irish sculptor John Hughes.

The committee commissioned two other memorials to Gladstone, for London and Edinburgh. The First World War delayed this monument’s erection in Dublin. After the war, the political scene was very different. The British Army had clashed violently with Irish nationalists in the Easter Rising of April 1916.

In 1923, Dublin City Council refused to accept the Gladstone monument, which was erected here in 1925 instead. The figure of Gladstone is made of bronze. Around the pedestal are allegorical figures: Erin (symbolising Ireland), Classical Learning, Finance and Eloquence.

Gladstone was born in 1809 in Liverpool and became a Conservative MP in 1832. He switched to the Liberal Party in 1859 and was Prime Minister 1868-1874. He used his premiership to disestablish the Anglican church in Ireland (separating it from the state and Church of England) and introduced reforms to improve the rights of Irish tenants.

His second stint as PM was 1880-1885. In his third stint, in 1886, he introduced a Home Rule Bill which would have given Ireland a devolved government. MPs defeated the Bill and Gladstone resigned. During his final term as PM (1892-1894) he promoted another Home Rule Bill, in a different form. It passed through the House of Commons but was blocked by the House of Lords.

Gladstone lived in Hawarden Castle after marrying Catherine Glynne in 1839. Her brother was Sir Stephen Glynne, the 8th Baronet. He died childless and the estate passed to William Henry Gladstone, eldest son of WE and Catherine Gladstone.

There is a bust of WE Gladstone in the seaside town of Penmaenmawr, where he holidayed many times.

Postcode: CH5 3DF    View Location Map

Sources include: A History of St Deiniol's Library, by TW Pritchard, 1999.