Neville Masterman’s centenary celebrations

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Neville Masterman, who taught in the History Department at Swansea University from the 1940s to the 1970s, has celebrated his 100th birthday at an event at the University attended by more than 60 people.

Neville MastermanNeville was born on 28 November 1912 in London. His father Charles Frederick Gurney Masterman (1873 – 1927) was a British Liberal Party politician and journalist who served under Prime Minister Asquith as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster between 1914 -1915.

Interested in nineteenth-century British and European politics – Christian Socialism, the Liberal Party and national aspirations among much else, Neville taught in Budapest before the Second World War, learnt Hungarian and wrote extensively on Hungarian literature, history and politics; Neville now resides in Swansea.

The celebrations took place in the Council Chamber, Singleton Abbey.  Professor Kenneth O. Morgan introduced events, recalling the years he himself spent as a colleague of Neville Masterman – including sharing a room with him in the Abbey. Kenneth Morgan then reminded those present of some of the important contributions Neville Masterman has made to the study of History.

Professor Morgan was followed by Professor Chris Williams who gave a lecture which skilfully knitted together aspects of Neville’s own career with his academic interests in British and Hungarian history. A presentation was also made by the Swansea Branch of the Historical Association of which Neville was once secretary.

To conclude the evening, the University presented Neville with an updated bibliography of his own writings and broadcasts, made possible by donations from friends and well-wishers; the remaining funds will be used to establish an award for a student working in nineteenth century British and European History.

‎Neville’s achievements were also recognised by the Ambassador of Hungary, who sent a formal letter of greeting and congratulations, and Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest where he began his scholarly career. The connection has also prompted a visit from the Hungarian Cultural Institute, London who will be visiting Swansea soon to meet with Dr Law to discuss future cultural collaborations.

Neville Masterman

The evening was organized by Dr John Easton Law, Reader in the Department of History and Classics at Swansea University, and a colleague of Neville in the 1970s. He ended the formalities by congratulating Neville on his centenary and by rehearsing some of the tributes paid to him from Britain and Hungary.

The Neville Masterman fund remains open, and those wishing to contribute should contact Dr John Law, Department of History and Classics: ‎

Professor Chris Williams, Professor Kenneth O. Morgan, Dr John Law and Neville Masterman