THIS week, historian Mark Muller sheds new light on Haverfordwest's Liberal Chambers.

From time to time a previous article of mine is further researched by myself or others, and some unanswered questions are resolved.

In May 2014 the focus of the piece was on the Liberal Chambers in St Mary’s Street. Haverfordwest.

As ever, the history behind this property as with all of them in this short row is fascinating and far from straight forward.

After the Second World War the upstairs was used alternately as the art room for Taskers School for Girls, or a snooker room, (I’m not sure if those two uses complement each other) and in even more recent times had become a combination of offices and the ‘studio’ for the late and much-missed Joe Masters.

But the original article was going back a little further than this and the photograph used then, supplied by Brenda Munt, prompted discussion on whether the figures on the balcony included David Lloyd George who Professor Russell Deacon (expert on Lloyd George) tells me spoke frequently in the town and very possibly from this balcony.

This was discounted, largely due to the expert opinion of fashion and costume historians, Sophie Dobson and Judy Pilawa (plus the fairly pertinent fact that none of them looked like Lloyd George).

Well, the conundrum has been solved.

In searching for a new use for the building, county councillor Bob Kilmister, who represents the Dinas ward, has, with others, been researching further into the building’s past and uncovered not only further detail but a further photo which must have been taken minutes before the one used in 2014.

The additional detail comes from a Telegraph article dated November 6, 1913, in which further fascinating tangents are revealed which make it (as ever) difficult to stay focused.

The article opens with the words: ‘Haverfordwest Liberals are again in possession of a Clubhouse.

'Their former venture at the old Baptist College died a natural death, probably because of its inconvenient situation.

'They are now in possession of a brand new building, chiefly through the munificence of Mr H Seymour Allen, a Liberal stalwart who has been kinder to his party than his party has been to him.

'The new club is very centrally situated having on the one side the Temperance Hall and on the other the Assembly Rooms with St Mary’s Church casting its shadow in the foreground, which we hope is not a bad omen...’

The article goes on to say that there was a large attendance on the afternoon of October 31, when the building was opened by Mrs Dawkins with Major Henry Guest MP and Mr Seymour Allen in attendance.

Mrs Dawkins was the wife of the original owner of Commerce House the huge department store at the bottom of Market Street considered to be the finest in west Wales.

Henry Guest was the MP for Haverfordwest, enfranchised as a separate constituency in 1545 and which had been merged with the Pembroke Boroughs constituency in 1885.

It was still separate however (and still considered inferior) from the Pembrokeshire constituency and remained so until 1918 when it was finally abolished and the constituency became solely that of Pembrokeshire.

Major Henry Guest was MP for Haverfordwest and Pembroke Boroughs between 1910 and 1918.

After ceremoniously unlocking the door, Mrs Dawkins led the group up to the balcony from where brief speeches were made by several of those present including Major Guest MP and Mr Seymour Allen who described the premises as, ‘a nursery for Liberalism’.

To celebrate their new premises, the huge audience then made their way next door to the Temperance Hall which had been ‘tastefully decorated for the occasion’ and ‘partook of an excellent tea’.

So now we come to the ‘fascinating tangent’ that I mentioned; the former venue for the Liberals to meet had been the, ‘old Baptist College’.

This collection of fine buildings still stands (or some of them) in Hill Street as residential properties, one of which was my family home for the first 17 years of my life.

Retired Baptist Minister Patrick Baker has been researching the history of the Baptist College so no doubt, if I lean on him heavily, I may be able to offer a piece on that before too long.