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James Childs Gould

(1882-1944), Conservative politician; MP for Cardiff Central

Sitter in 1 portrait

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Gerard Gould

28 October 2016, 14:38

Yes, he is my Great-Granfather. This portrait would have been most likely taken in the years 1918-24 when James Childs (JC) was a serving member of parliament. He was a travelling Devonshire Stone Masons son, born in Penarth, Wales, in 1880, who at the age of 18 travelled on a ship, that first ventured to South Africa, then onto New York where JC disembarked. He initially worked as a labourer but then a Wall St runner, where his talents for quick arithmetic were spotted and he was offered a job by a Marine Assurance Co, as a Clerk> Fast forward 15 years and he had amassed a fortune of $10 million, with the New York Times referring to him as the 'most romantic figure in world shipping' due to his rapid rise and humble beginnings. Returning from New York with his now family, and a fleet of mid sized ships, in 1915 to assist with the world effort and the German blockade and in the process losing most of the fleet, 4 ships in as many months in 1917 alone, with the tragic loss of 700 merchant seamen, he entered parliament as the inaugural MP for the new constituency of Cardiff Central, a post he held until 1924, when he had to stand down due to financial difficulties that stemmed from a combination of not recovering from the loss of his ships and the great economic slumps of the 1920's. He was made bankrupt in 1925. A kind man by all accounts held with great fondness by the people of Cardiff, and maybe worth noting that Cardiff Central has not been a Conversative seat since his predecessor took over.

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