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WHATEVER HAPPENED TO YOUNG WILLIAM? THE SHORT POLITICAL CAREER OF W. H. MEREDYTH by Ivor Thomas Rees In 1885 a young man paid his first visit to Swansea. The arrival of this outsider together with the purpose of his coming was met with a storm of protest and indignation from the Liberal elite and its followers. William Herbert Meredyth was just 22 and being launched into politics in an important year! Reform and Redistribution An argument can be made for saying that in domestic British politics, the twentieth century began with the General Election of 1885. The third Reform Act of the previous year extended the franchise to all male householders in county seats, thus bringing them into line with borough householders, who were enfranchised in 1867. The vote was also given to lodgers paying more than £ 10 a year in rent. The accompanying Redistribution Act created three parliamentary seats for roughly the area of Greater Swansea. The three new seats were Swansea Town, which included most of the borough, Swansea District. Which included most of the remainder of the borough and centred on Morriston, together with the boroughs of Loughor, Neath, Aberavon and Kenfig. The third seat was Gower or West Glamorgan. Insights W H Meredyth was Conservative candidate for Swansea Town in 1885 and West Monmouthshire in 1892 and then vanished from the political scene. However his brief foray into South Wales politics provides insights into the contemporary scene and the opportunity of comparison and contrast with our own day. Social and Political Power Meredyth was brought to Swansea to oppose the Liberal establishment in the person of Lewis Llewelyn Dillwyn', candidate for Swansea Town. After the Vivian family, represented by Sir Hussey Vivian2, who was returned unopposed for Swansea District, the Dillwyns were the most important industrial and political dynasty in Swansea. The power, wealth and status of these families appeared to give them the right to be elected to Parliament by their employees. It was offensive to them that a young and unimportant outsider should be drafted in to fight Dillwyn. This young Tory belonged to a leading Anglo-Irish family and it was from the aristocracy too that he drew his two chief visiting speakers in the persons of the Earl of Dunraven and Mount Earl and the Duke of Norfolk. In his speech at Dillwyn's