Aneurin Bevan

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Aneurin "Nye" Bevan (15 November 1897 – 6 July 1960) was a Welsh Labour Party politician of the first half of the 20th century.

The son of coal miners, Bevan was a lifelong champion of social justice and the rights of working people. He was a long-time Member of Parliament (MP) and became recognised as one of the leaders of the party’s left wing, and of left-wing British thought generally. His most famous accomplishment came when, as Minister of Health in the post-war Attlee government, he spearheaded the establishment of the National Health Service, which provides free medical care to all Britons. His first name is pronounced [aˈnəɨrɪn] in Welsh, typically /əˈnaɪrɪn/ in English.

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Youth

Bevan was born in Tredegar, Monmouthshire, in the South Wales Valleys and on the northern edge of the South Wales coalfield, the son of miner David Bevan. Both Bevan's parents were Nonconformists; his father was a Baptist and his mother a Methodist. One of ten children, David Bevan did poorly at school and his academic performance was so bad that his headmaster made him repeat a year. At age 13, Bevan left school and began working in the local Tytryst Colliery. David Bevan had been a supporter of the Liberal Party in his youth, but was converted to socialism by the writings of Robert Blatchford in the Clarion and joined the Independent Labour Party.

His son (Aneurin Bevan) also joined the Tredegar branch of the South Wales Miners' Federation and became a trade union activist: he was head of his local Miners' Lodge at only 19. Bevan became a well-known local orator and was seen by his employers, the Tredegar Iron & Coal Company, as a revolutionary. The manager of the colliery found an excuse to get him sacked. But, with the support of the Miners' Federation, the case was judged as one of victimisation and the company was forced to re-employ him.

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