My greatest debt has to be to my grandfather, the Rev. J.T. Rhys, who I never met, for keeping the printed Guest List of this remarkable dinner amongst the archive of memorabilia he left behind from his most varied career. Amongst his legacy is a wealth of material from his time when at 10, Downing Street, serving Mrs Lloyd George as her Private Secretary. Working through that archive is keeping me busy and we have been pleased to provide copies of more than thirty speeches of Mrs Lloyd George to the National Library of Wales, a fresh contribution to their extensive Lloyd George collections.
The bulk of my research has been on the internet – what would he have made of that – and as I began to work out who all these people were (only a handful I recognised) I was well informed by Wikipedia, by The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, by the Dictionary of Welsh National Biography, by the online newspaper archives such as the British Newspaper Archive (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk), by the resources of Ancestry.com (which has also enabled me to discover so much about my own family too), the picture archives such as the Mary Evans Picture Library and Mirrorpix and of course all the websites and blogs that makes up the World Wide Web. For pictures the National Portrait Gallery has been a superb source for the more notable guests, while for some we are still hunting for likenesses. I have been made very welcome at the LSE Women’s Library and by the British Library. I have been helped by members of Lady Rhondda’s family, by the archivists at King’s College London, at Queen’s College, Kensington and at Lady Margaret School, Parsons Green, and by all of those, acknowledged in this website, who have allowed me to use their interesting material.
Second only to my grandfather J.T. Rhys, I am indebted to Professor Angela V. John, biographer of Lady Rhondda, (Turning the Tide, Parthian, 2013), not only for making introductions and suggestions for content, but simply for her warm welcoming encouragement to this neophyte in the world of historical biography. One of her best leads of course was in introducing me to Liz Smith who has built this whole website – architect and builder rolled into one. And of course I am eternally grateful for the loving support and critical insights of my wife Christine.
As always any errors are my responsibility and I hope you will point them out. Liz and I would like this to be an active, website, with a growing list of contributors who know far more that I do about these 130 pioneering, campaigning, passionately articulate people who sat down for dinner in the Rembrandt Rooms, Knightsbridge, on Thursday, 23rd March 1933. The more prominent guests of course have multiple biographies, even multiple autobiographies by some. But I have probably been even more inspired by those I have tagged as My Favourite Finds, the less well-known heroines of the time whose stories should be told.
I do love puzzles, which helps.