Bertrand Russell

(18 May 1872 – 2 February 1970)


Bertrand Russell

Betrand Russell was foremost a philosopher and mathematician, but also subscribed to many causes throughout his long life. He lived for most of his life in England, with brief interludes in the United States and China

Russell was born in Cleddon Hall, Trellech, Monmouthshire and studied at Trinity College, Cambridge.

Throughout his long career he was an advocate of social reform, socialism, atheism, non-conscription, nuclear disarmament and a critic of totalitarian Russia but also some of the actions of the USA. He wrote throughout most of his life on all these subjects and more and amongst the many places he spoke about them were the House of Lords (he was the 3rd Earl Russell), the London School of Economics and Methodist Central Hall, London.

His analytical mind was contrasted with at sometimes a very tempestuous personal life; married four times with many more mistresses – Russell was never one to be beholden to conventional societal rules. Not only did he travel to Russia, China all over Europe and America, he came into contact with the most powerful and popular political figures, writers and academics such as Lenin, T.S. Eliot and Albert Einstein.

For much of his life he was the radical outsider, often heavily criticized for his views on sex and marriage, but also many times finding his political opinions the opposite of the government. In 1961 Russell was imprisoned in Brixton Prison for his part in a Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament demonstration in London.

In his later years his views, once radical, became more central. His long and distinguished career held many awards and prizes including a Nobel Prize for his contribution to Literature and the Order of Merit.

Russell died at his home, Plas Penrhyn, in Merionethshire, Wales and was cremated in Colwyn Bay on 5 February 1970. In accordance with his will there was no religious ceremony; his ashes were scattered over the Welsh mountains.

There is a memorial to Russell in Red Lion Square, London and a Blue Plaque at 34 Russell Chambers in Holburn London where he lived 1911-1916.

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