Torrington ’58: Liberal survival and revival, 1945-79

On 27 March 1958, Mark Bonham Carter, Asquith’s grandson, won the Parliamentary by-election in the Devon seat of Torrington by a margin of just 219 votes.

It was the first Liberal by-election gain since the 1920s. Although the seat was lost in the 1959 general election, it marked the beginning of the first major Liberal post-war revival, under the leadership of Jo Grimond.

To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Torrington by-election, the Archives of the London School of Economics, the Liberal Democrat History Group and the Richard Scurrah Wainwright Trust are holding a seminar to investigate the post-Second World War experience of the Liberal Party – from the defeats of the 1945 general election to the general election of 1979, when 13 Liberal MPs were elected.

The keynote address will be given by Lord Dholakia and Lord Wallace, on ‘Campaigning Liberals in the 1950s and 1960s’.

Other sessions during the day will include:

Liberal campaigning: elections and by-elections
Local government – grassroots survival
Leaders and leadership
Collaboration – pacts and other parties.

Speakers include Lord Kirkwood, Lord Greaves, Michael Meadowcroft and Martin Wainwright.

Cost: £10 (including refreshments)

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