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—Baron Grenfell of Kilvey—

June 22, 2020

You bear a gentle mind, and heavenly blessings follow”

William Shakespeare from ‘Henry VIII’ Act II, Scene 3

My book set entitled “Behind the Streets of Adelaide : A Pantheon of Dissent” was published by in 2016. I was indeed privileged to have Baron Grenfell of Kilvey, who has recently retired from the House of Lords in Britain, to write the following ‘foreword’ to the 1100 pages of text which follows. Herewith are his most flattering words.

A Foreword

My dear friend Dr. Jeff Nicholas does me great honour in inviting me to write a Foreword to this remarkable set of books. Thanks to his profound research, scholarly analysis, originality of concept and manifest love of his subject, Dr. Nicholas has made a priceless contribution to our understanding of the forces at work during that bleak period in English history, following the defeat of Napoleon, which brought forth the radical-thinking, liberal-minded men and women, many very strong in their Christian faith, who people these pages. Through the prism of their tireless efforts to devise, obtain parliamentary approval for, and then finally implement, often against dispiriting political and financial odds, a more humane and enlightened form of colonization, the author allows us to see why and how the founding of South Australia came to be such a significant milestone in Britain’s colonial history and its gradual creation of a democratic Commonwealth of free nations. 

As a Grenfell I am both proud and flattered that my revered great-grandfather, Pascoe St. Leger Grenfell (1798-1879) is included in Jeff’s “Pantheon of Dissent”. Though not as outstanding a figure in this story as the likes of Edward Gibbon Wakefield, Robert Gouger, Colonel William Light, Colonel Robert Torrens, George Fife Angas and others, he played a useful role. The Committee of Twelve, when it came to distributing honours, paired him with his friend Raikes Currie, rating them two of the most valuable young churchmen who had more than generously committed monies to the establishment of the Anglican Church in the colony. A highly successful copper smelter in Wales’s Swansea Valley, Pascoe Grenfell proved himself a particularly enlightened and public-spirited businessman and employer. A man of staunch Christian faith, he devoted much of his wealth to the improvement of housing and living conditions for his employees and their families and building a church, All Saints, in the company’s and his hometown of Kilvey. It is a great sadness for me as for many others that the Anglican Church in Wales recently announced the closure of ‘All Saints’ due to economies that the Church in Wales was forced to make.  It is, however, a comfort to know that in Adelaide, on the corner of North Terrace and Morphett Street, Holy Trinity still thrives on land purchased by my great-grandfather for the purpose of building there Adelaide’s first Anglican Church. His generous spirit thus still lives on in a city in which, to his known regret, he was never to set foot. 

I have learned so much from Dr. Nicholas’s hugely informative and elegantly written book. I knew nothing of E.G. Wakefield’s theory of systematic colonization. Nor had I much knowledge of the heroic determination of its practitioners to harness it to a project to create South Australia as a province for free immigrants promised civil liberties and religious tolerance. It is a stirring and heartening story of the creation of a civilized society. But that is not all I have learned from it. In the telling of the many achievements and occasional failures of those bringing their dream to fruition in South Australia, I have also acquired a deeper understanding my own country’s depressing condition in the early decades of the 19th century which led enlightened minds to see in civilized non-penal colonization a potentially crucial contribution to tackling Britain’s appalling levels of poverty. Dr. Nicholas’s book should occupy an important place in the bibliography of political and social history of the times and places he has described. The street signs in the great city of Adelaide which bear the names of this remarkable band of men and women serve as a daily reminder of the power of enlightened determination in the face of so many obstacles to create a free, humane and prosperous society where no such state existed before. These are names to honour, and Jeff Nicholas has done just that.        Lord Grenfell of Kilvey

Lord Grenfell, his wife Dagmar and Mrs Marlene Nicholas at the Louvre in 2017

Wikipedia reveals a much loved and highly respected man in Lord Julian Grenfell (born 23 May 1935).  He is a Labour hereditary peer and former member of the House of Lords known for his strong Europhile views. Grenfell is the son of Pascoe Grenfell, 2nd Baron Grenfell, by his first wife Elizabeth Sarah Polk Shaughnessy, daughter of Captain the Honourable Alfred Thomas Shaughnessy, second son of Thomas Shaughnessy, 1st Baron Shaughnessy. He was educated at Eton and King’s College, Cambridge, where he was President of the Cambridge Union. He was commissioned in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps (60th Rifles) in 1954 and became a Captain in the Queen’s Royal Rifles (TA) in 1962. Grenfell was a programme presenter at Associated Television from 1960 to 1963 and worked as a free-lance journalist from 1963 to 1964. He was with the World Bank between 1965 and 1995, serving in Washington D.C.New York City (where he was Special Representative to the United Nations from 1974 to 1981) and Paris. Lord Grenfell first entered the House of Lords on his father’s death in 1976. He was a member of the UK Delegation to Parliamentary Assemblies of the Council of Europe and Western European Union from 1997 to 1999. He lost his seat in Parliament after the House of Lords Act 1999 removed the automatic right of hereditary peers to sit in that body. However, in 2000 he was created a life peer as Baron Grenfell of Kilvey, of Kilvey in the County of Swansea, which allowed him to return to the House of Lords. He was Principal Deputy Chairman of Committees from 2002 to 2008, a Deputy Speaker from 2002 to 2008, Chairman of the Select Committee on the European Union from 2002 to 2008 and a member of the Procedure Committee from 2003 to 2007. Lord Grenfell took formal voluntary retirement from the House of Lords on 31 March 2014, under a procedure laid down in a Resolution of the House of 27 June 2011. In addition, on 1 October 2014 he became the first peer to retire permanently under the statutory provisions of the House of Lords Reform Act 2014. He retired to Paris.

Lord Grenfell was President of the Anglo-Belgian Society of the UK, 2006–2014. His honours and awards include



  •  Medal of Honour of the Senate of France
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Dr Jeff Nicholas

This site is about both History & Biography

The Victorian Commons

Researching the House of Commons, 1832-1868

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