Author: South Wales Miners Library, Swansea University

Provider: South Wales Miners' Library

Rights: Copyrighted

Interview of Page Arnot, Robin and unknown, by Williams, Glanmor on 22nd October 1973.
The interview forms part of Swansea University’s South Wales Miners’ Library collection.

1 audio file (100 min.)



Williams, Glanmor: Well Doctor Page-Arnot and Mrs. Page-Arnot and ladies and gentlemen, I regard it as a double pleasure and a double privilege for me tonight to take the chair at this meeting. I’m very honoured and very pleased in the first instance because this is the first of the seminars, and a whole series of them have been arranged by the members of the SSRC project team; and it’s a great pleasure for me to be able to welcome a number of you here to this first of the seminars and to hope that this will be a very successful beginning to the series. I’m quite sure that as far as a speaker is concerned we couldn’t have started in any better way than by inviting Doctor Page-Arnot to start the series. And that is why I consider it a double pleasure and a double privilege to be here tonight to have the honour and the good fortune of introducing to you Doctor Robin Page-Arnot. He is justly famous and widely respected for the splendid volumes which he has already written on the history of the British miners. You will know his, by now, standard work on the British miners, and on the Scottish miners, the history of the Scottish miners; very appropriately, of course, because he is a Scot, proud of it. But not least he is known for his work on south Wales miners. Some years ago he published his first volume on the history of the south Wales miners from 1898 to 1914. And we all of us, I think, who read that thrilling volume, because it is a thrilling volume, in his preface to that volume he has some trenchant remarks about what he describes as passionless historiographers; well the very last thing you could say about Doctor Page-Arnot is that he is a passionless historiographer and he’s all the better for not being one in my view. And I hope that indeed there would be more historians who would honestly commit themselves to a particular point of view as he has done. When I read that book, I think that I was immediately captivated by the dedication of it, because it seemed to me that the dedication summed up Doctor Page-Arnot’s whole attitude towards the subject on which he was writing. And in case there are any of you who have not read the book or perhaps have forgotten what he says in that dedication I would like just to remind you of it; he wrote - to the mining community of south Wales, to whom the British people owe so much, on whom has fallen suffering and disaster beyond the normal danger of any coalfield, whose record of struggle and of courage in face of adversity ranks high amongst the miners of the world. It’s a very noble dedication to a very fine body of men and indeed of women in the mining community, and one should never forget the women of the mining community; certainly Doctor Page-Arnot didn’t in his memorable history of them. And we look forward with eager anticipation to his second volume which is soon to appear. I am sure it will take its place worthily side-by-side with the first volume and will again, I think, raise the pride and the passion of those of us who are connected with the mining industry in south Wales whose forebears or whose relatives or whose acquaintances and friends hewed the coal at such cost to themselves. And I’m sure that, as I say, this second volume will worthily appear alongside the first. But you haven’t come here to listen to me, you have come here to hear Doctor Page-Arnot; and now it is with very real pride and pleasure that I call upon him to open this seminar on the subject of 'The Years of Ordeal: The South Wales Miners, 1914 to 1926'. Doctor Page-Arnot.

Page Arnot, Robin: Professor Glanmor Williams, ladies and gentlemen. I will try tonight, very briefly, sketchily, to pick out some things out of those years that may interest you, probably less than one percent of what has been written and less than a tenth of one percent of what could be written about the Welsh miners in that dozen years. But I will try and pick out one or two things where it seems to me the miners of south Wales were distinctive in their approach or in their behaviour and different from the miners of other mining associations throughout Britain. Now first of all I shall begin with this war of empires of 1914 – 18, and the outbreak of that war and Britain taking part in it from the 4th of August 1914. At this moment, this month, we’ve seen the outbreak of not a small but quite a major war in the middle east. Not entirely unexpected, shocking but not entirely unexpected and very soon involving other states than the first four, and again spreading amongst the Arab countries and threatening to spread further. But not entirely unexpectedly, everyone has been living under the shadow of war for not one but for two generations. But it was completely and utterly different in 1914. It’s difficult to convey the general and complete unawareness of the possibility of war taking place, the belief that as far as Europe was concerned there would never be another war; it was sixty years since the outbreak of the Crimean War in 1854, it was 100 years, nearly, since the last great war and it was believed firmly that there wouldn’t be another great war in Europe and certainly that Britain would never be involved in one. There was no army, if something happened the Navy was there to defend them, they would sleep in their beds happily but this would never take place, civilisation in that 100 years had advanced to the point where wars were a thing of the past. This was the firm conviction in the minds of most people and it’s very difficult for anyone at the present day to recapture that feeling, that outlook, that atmosphere of 1914 Summer.

Page Arnot, Robin: Well, that’s the present day and nearly 60 years ago, a difference of more than two generations. Then the position was that when the one week before Britain declared war on Germany, on Tuesday August 4th 1914, a notice was issued by the Board of Admiralty in London (of which the First Lord of the Admiralty was Winston Spencer Churchill) that the grand fleet assembled at Spithead for the great review taking place only once in 10 years or so, to be reviewed by King George V, would not be dispersed but, or demobilised in any way, but would proceed to its war basis. This was a very significant statement, one week before the declaration of war. And then, in his book later Churchill recorded it very jubilantly, the king’s ships were at sea. Well, thereafter all went forward very smoothly according to the preparations for war laid down and worked out in the war book which Britain had as well as every other major European power. Everything went smoothly, the warning telegram before the warning telegram to all ships throughout the British Empire then painted red all over the world; you had a premonitory telegram warning them that there would be a warning telegram. In every sea, in every ocean of the world, all the ships got it. And all was ready, all was going, everyone was playing their assigned part in what was a very smooth working machine of war preparation except for one technical hitch; the south Wales miners would not play the part assigned to them by the British Admiralty. Now that was a very unexpected obstacle, and the roots of that obstacle lay in two things; one of course in the fact that you had had the, for many years, building up of a socialist international which throughout mainly in Europe but which comprised the large number of trade unions, including the miners unions, including the South Wales Miners’ Federation. And further, that one of the preoccupations of that socialist international had been the maintenance of peace and the fight against the danger of militarism in Europe, resulting in war. This had been its theme in congress after congress, happening every three years. And consequently, when there had grown up from 1904 onwards to 1914, the building of the one side of the two, the two contestant sides (on a small scale compared to NATO on the one hand or the Warsaw Pact on the other which we have today), but the Triple Alliance and the Triple Entente, ten years gradual building up of that; they were aware of it, they were aware of the danger of war, the leaders of the socialist parties of Europe, and so this was the basis for the attitude of the south Wales miners.

Page Arnot, Robin: Now of course all the unions were affected but the South Wales Miners’ Federation was the only union that was in a position of peculiar responsibility for the supply of the fuel needed for the Navy at war. The famous Welsh smokeless steam coal, very little for elsewhere here, this was the essential fuel for the British Navy at that time which of course relied solely on coal in August 1914. And Welsh smokeless steam coal, perhaps more than half of it from the Rhondda, from thirty different kinds, was all contracted soon as war began, no I’m wrong, was contracted on a very large scale as soon as war began to the Admiralty in addition to whatever had been contracted before. And so when the executive council of the South Wales Miners’ Federation came to a specially summoned meeting on Saturday 1st August 1914, they learned there that the Board of Admiralty had sent them a request that, I’m quoting, the miners employed at collieries supplying Admiralty contracts should work on Tuesday and Wednesday next, two of the three days arranged as holidays by the conciliation board. There was a long discussion and then a unanimous resolution refusing, saying we do not consider it necessary for defensive purposes to ask the miners to work on these two days and we decline to encourage or in any way countenance the policy of active intervention by this country in the present European conflict; and we are also strongly of the opinion that there is no necessity for Great Britain in any degree to become involved in the war between Austria and Serbia, and we call upon the government to continue its position of neutrality and to use all its power in the attempt to limit the area of the present conflict and to bring it to a speedy termination. They had a sequential resolution which said that it was the moment for the miners of Europe to enforce their views upon the governments implicated and instructions were given to the Secretary, if anyone is interested I can tell what he wrote to the various unions in Europe, miners unions. Well now, actually of course on the day that they took this decision it was not, did not seem to be a foregone conclusion (it was to Winston Churchill but it was not to everybody) that Britain would participate in the war. And actually a couple of days earlier Labour members in the House of Commons unanimously (there was only 40 of them) had resolved that, quote, all labour organisations of this country to watch vigilantly events so as to oppose if need be in the most effective way any action which may involve us in war; that was on the 30th July 1914. And both William Brace MP, the President of the South Wales Miners’ Federation, and Tom Richards MP, the Secretary, they were closely in touch in Westminster with the others of the parliamentary Labour party and closely in touch with their union and they certainly hoped that the terms of their resolution would be re-echoed throughout Europe and would be effective in Britain, and so they refused. Now that refusal was as I’ve said not any petulance but was the result of a mature conviction and a long established political conviction.

Page Arnot, Robin: The seventh International Socialist Congress met in August 1907 at Stuttgart and (beginning by proclaiming that the struggle against war in general cannot be separated from the class struggle in particular) it said that since the International Socialist Congress at Brussels in 1891 the proletariat has employed the most diverse forms of action with increasing emphasis and success in its indefatigable struggles against militarism by refusing the means for naval and military armaments and by its efforts to democratise the military organisation all for the purpose of preventing the outbreak of wars or of putting a stop to them, as well as for utilising the convulsions of society caused by war, for the emancipation of the working class, 1891 recalled 16 years later. Now four weeks after that in August 1907, in September 1907 in the third week, there met the eighteenth Miners International Congress attended by over a dozen representatives from the South Wales Miners’ Federation alone and many more from other parts of Britain. It was held at Salzburg, the gateway to the Austro-Hungarian Empire which was twice as large as the United Kingdom and which had just swallowed – no, a year later was to swallow Bosnia-Herzegovina in the Balkans, which was twice the size of Wales. And French miners there had tabled a resolution to this Miners Congress that they should define their attitude in case of war breaking out, that was 20th September 1907 closely in connection with the previous International Socialist Congress. And William Brace MP, Vice-President at that point of the South Wales Miners’ Federation, argued that the Congress should then and there instruct the committee that in the event of a threatened war they should meet immediately and if need be convene an international congress of miners. Well that had been the position seven years before. Two years before there had been a sudden emergency meeting of the International Socialist Congress because the war danger appeared to have come very near indeed. And in November 25th, I think it was, 1912 they met and passed a resolution at Basel in Switzerland, which I mention now because it’s sometimes and frequently referred to in throughout Europe thereafter as the Basel Resolution, but it simply repeated what had been said in the 1907 stressing that it was the duty of all working class organisations was, all members of parliament, all socialists, it was their duty to prevent war. This was argued in great detail beforehand, you know, the situation these were the sort of finer arguments were duty to prevent war, if war broke out to oppose their governments and thirdly and lastly, to utilise the convulsions (which was the 1890, 1907 one), the convulsions of society for the emancipation of the working class. Well it was the pursuance of that policy that the South Wales Miners’ Federation, as quite an active part of the Labour Party with several MPs in it, immediately took the decision that we shall not supply the coal and we will by this means do what we can to prevent the outbreak of war and we’re certainly opposed to our government going to war. Now I don’t think I need go into more detail about that because I think all of you know what did happen, namely that throughout the whole of Europe either in the trade union organisations or in the socialist organisations very few carried out this resolution; only in fact three parties, the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, the Hungarian Socialist Party (Social Democratic Party) and the Social Democratic Party of Serbia which afterwards became the nucleus of Yugoslavia. These were the only three, and of course in the case of Russia it was both the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks (the party was in two factions) they both took the same line as regards preventing war and as regards opposing the government.

Page Arnot, Robin: Now a few days later the council met in Cardiff once more and the proposal, there was a long telegram from Winston Churchill (which I can read later if anyone’s interested in it, as authentically as I can) and then came this protracted discussion on Monday 3rd August, and there the proposal was reaffirm our resolution, which had been unanimous. But there was an amendment and it was put to the vote, there were 12 voted for the proposition to reaffirm the resolution of Saturday and 6 voted in an amendment. It was clear that Winston Churchill’s telegram had broken up the front and then, but the majority were not prepared to give up the miners holidays for a purpose which they viewed not merely with disapproval but with complete abhorrence.

Page Arnot, Robin: Then the next day, at 11 o’clock in the evening of Tuesday, the ultimatum from Britain to Germany expired and from that moment Britain was at war with Germany, the British Empire was at war with the German Empire, and soon the Austro-Hungarian Empire and so on throughout. Well there was a rapid shift of opinion amongst the miners’ leaders and at a third specially summoned meeting on Thursday August 6th 1914 the executive council learned that the Admiralty had intimated the desire that (quote) in order to get immediate additional supplies of the best Welsh coal for the Navy (unquote) it was proposed that advantage be taken of the 60 hours clause in the 8 hours Act that all miners should work an additional hour per day when requested. And so by 18 votes to 1, the council recommended the miners (quote) to work an additional hour per day for the time the present emergency lasts at whatever colliery they were requested so to do. 18 votes to 1, the 1 was a recent amendment, that this council respectfully submit that the purposes of the Admiralty will be amply served if necessary by putting additional Steam Coal Collieries on the Admiralty list; that received the solitary vote of Noah Ablett who had been the leading figure in the miners’ unofficial reform committee movement of 1909-10 onwards. So there you had something where the south Wales miners had done their best to begin with, the same could not be said for any other association of miners in the country who had not, after all perhaps, been in a position to attempt to do what the south Wales miners did.

Page Arnot, Robin: And that was of course, thereafter there was no question the majority in Britain accepted the standpoint of the policy put forward by the Liberal government just as in every part of the British empire that policy was accepted (especially by the Maharajahs in India who contributed a great deal). And I think that it requires some research to discover, and not to discover in any of the reports of the time but afterwards, that in Quebec there were some murmuring of the thought of being linked up with the rest of Canada in support of a British war, that in India there was a little guarder party of Sikhs which endeavoured to head a rising immediately against the British government in order to take advantage of the opportunity of Britain being at war and a similar thing happened in South Africa with the famous Boer General De Wett and others. But generally speaking the picture given to everybody and in fact the picture in truth throughout most of the thing was of complete support for this policy and of complete very nearly complete support inside the labour movement. So that in fact, and of course that was the thing that was described afterwards as the collapse of the Socialist International. The change of opinion, the cleavage widened, between the small minority in each country and the majority. In the case of the British section of the Socialist International that was made up of the Labour Party on the one hand (which was not itself a socialist body at that time) and the three socialist organisations, the Fabian Society, the British Socialist Party and the Independent Labour Party; now a gulf widened, the Independent Labour Party set out their separate standpoint by one week later by 12th August in an anti-war manifesto, beginning out of the darkness and the depth we hail our working class comrades of every land, addressed to the German workers; and that was echoed to some extent in the Welsh valleys. But the majority in the South Wales Miners’ Federation as well as in every other union could, if they had read The Times, ruefully read and pondered its editorial saying: the class war of socialism and the international peace movement associated with it have evaporated into words and are in process of collapsing altogether.

Page Arnot, Robin: That Autumn, dealing in the Sociale Democrat with the what had happened, Lenin said that (with regard to the official representatives of European socialism and their papers), quote, with good reason the bourgeois press of all countries writes of them now with derision, now with condescending praise, terrible. But in the anti-war minority, very small, there were in the Welsh, around the Welsh mines a very few who adhered to a further standpoint, the standpoint put forward that mid-August by James Connolly in the Scottish paper. He wrote: if these men must die would it not be better to die in their own country fighting for freedom for their class and for the abolition of war rather than go forth to strange countries and be slaughtering and slaughtered by their brothers so that tyrants and profiteers may live? Well, a similar but rather less explicit standpoint was contained in a little pamphlet called War And The Welsh Miner, published in Tonypandy in the beginning of August under the name of W. F. Hay who was part author along with Ablett, Mainwaring and others of the Miners Next Step in the unofficial reform committee. Now perhaps afterwards, because I don’t want to take up too much time on this thing, if someone would like to hear it I can quote some of what it said. And leaving the subject now of the First World War so as not to enter into any statement now of what my view is of the subject, or was, I shall quote something written just thirty years afterwards by Cordell Howell who was Theodore Roosevelt’s Secretary of State in the second Roosevelt administration during the last war; He wrote in his memoirs the First World War (this was published immediately after this last war) the First World War was a culmination of years of intense bitter rivalry among a number of daring and desperate powers seeking territory, trade advantage, raw materials, control of trade routes and political, economic or military domination of small and helpless peoples. Not a socialist at all! Still less a communist!

Page Arnot, Robin: Well, I’d now like to turn to another thing. To go forward for 11 months to the, another event which I keep thinking of as the ides of July 1915, the 15th day of July. On that day there broke out a strike of the whole of the Welsh coalfield. There was no other strike of this size, there was no other strike officially proclaimed and carried through by any union or any union body during the war of empires 1914 to 1918. But that happened in south Wales and there the beginning of it was not any very great change in standpoint it was the attitude of the south Wales, Monmouthshire and South Wales Coal Owners Association which turned out to be as it had been years before rather diff - just the Welsh miners I’ve shown were slightly different from the others, so certainly the South, the Monmouth and South Wales Coal Owners were rather different. One, they were in a very much stronger position than anyone else, they had both very strong form of organisation which was originally devised purely to withstand, I think the phrase was, the encroachment of the workers (which meant raising wages); and the second was that they had particularly strong and effective binding national wages agreement. Now that was described years later by Vernon Hartshorn (years after it was settled in 1910), he said that actually the, yes after or just in the middle of this strike on the ides, that began on the ides of July 1915, he wrote: when the last agreement was entered into in 1910 it was literally forced down the throats of the men by the coal owners’ threat of a lockout, it was accepted by the men under bitter protest, it has probably been the most unpopular agreement ever entered into in the south Wales coalfield, throughout the five years that it ran the men longed for the day when its shackles would be thrown off. This was the 1910 agreement and the day it concluded was the Spring (or when the 3 months notice to conclude it), was the Spring of 1915. When in February 1915 it was mentioned by the miners’ representatives to the coal owners that they would be wanting to begin the talks preliminary to formal negotiations to open a new agreement, they said we will not agree to anything of the kind, there is a war on, you will continue working as before under the old agreement. They did not add the words that under the old agreement there was a maximum of 60 and that was reached (60% above the standard) and that was reached 18 months ago, and we’re getting higher prices and much higher profits than ever before and you will not get any more wages however the cost of living gets up; they didn’t add that, but that was also the case. So they were, compared to the other coal owners, they were quite exceptional. And they were obviously completely under the impression that there was no likelihood or possibility of the miners in any way objecting under war conditions or taking any steps that would be effective. Well, what did happen was that they did protest, the Welsh miners. They did raise the matter in various ways, they brought it before the Miners’ Federation of Great Britain at a conference and asked whether they would take it up and deal with it. But the Miners’ Federation of Great Britain did not at that point take it up. And later, when the strike took place, they did want to take it up and stop it but by that time they had contracted out of leadership, as it were, of the south Wales miners. And of course it must be remembered that most of the those who then made up the executive of the Miners’ Federation of Great Britain and indeed of the separate associations, were Liberals, very strong Liberals in the sense of opposed to Labour, right up till 2 years before when the votes of their members had driven them into the Labour party rather than them leading their members in. So that they were not inclined to agree that it was a case where they should take action against, of any kind, against the south Wales coal owners. Well now that resulted in the matter being remitted to the discussions with the government but it turned out that the government at that moment particularly was headed by Walter Runciman, the son of Sir Walter Runciman the millionaire ship owner, and described by Robert Smiley, the Chairman of the thing in an address to the miners, as the typical capitalist with a capitalist outlook and a capitalist partisan. And so he literally couldn’t understand the miners’ point of view, he didn’t see why they didn’t agree with the owners, and that was a little bit unfortunate for the Liberal cabinet, because, I won’t go into any of the long things that went on for, first of all before the thing expired, the old agreement on the 30th or 31st March, and thereafter, week after week and month after month, while the owners simply said they would not do anything. They even at a meeting said of course on paper you’ve a perfect right to ask for a revision of the, for a new agreement but I tell you frankly now that we shall not agree, you will go on working under the old agreement, there is a war.

Page Arnot, Robin: So then the government took a hand, the Board of Trade, about 10 weeks late. And then it dragged on and on, and on and on, remember all of them were now very strongly in support of the war with the exception of Ablett and a few others in the executive council including Hartshorn that I’ve just quoted. And then suddenly in the evening of Monday 12th July the newspaper, I won’t go into all the details partly because my lecture would become very dull indeed if I took it stage by stage the way the thing was dragged out, I’ve noticed before that if you deal with something where it’s been put off and put off and put off the details of it, then people get tired of hearing about that let alone tired of enduring it and suffering from it. I’ve jumped to the fact that on the evening of Monday 12th July the newspaper offices learned that an ultimatum had been delivered to the government by the sovereign body, and coal owners, by the sovereign body of the South Wales Miners’ Federation. Earlier that evening the delegate conference at Cardiff had given notice of a coalfield strike unless the interminable bickering and shuffling of the last 20 weeks were brought to an issue within 3 days, they had overruled the recommendations of their own executive committee. Well, in the special conference the executive recommendation was rejected by 1894 votes to 1037, that is a majority equivalent to nearly 43000 out of the 156000 workmen that had been represented at that conference by 203 delegates. And the special conference rejected the terms of settlement put forward by the government and which the executive council said only except only for a few days working on from day to day while we argue with them. And they said that we do not accept anything less than our original proposals and that we stop the collieries on Thursday next until these terms are conceded, 3 days before the wheels would cease to turn in the south Wales coalfield.

Page Arnot, Robin: Well the result was that the newspapers now took a hand, you might say. I’ll just quote one of them: a strike like an army needs supplies, if the funds are sequestrated and the shops closed the strike cannot proceed. If need be the whole of the mining district will have to be placed under military law and administered as a military area, the government have the necessary powers and the country, which has willingly surrendered all powers to the coalition (oh it was by this time a coalition government) will expect the coalition to do its duty. Details of how the each single collier was to be accompanied underground by 2 soldiers with fixed bayonets or what else I do not know, they were never worked out how they could be compelled. Well, that was what happened then. And The Times, of course, said that the one thing certain is that if there is to be trouble it must be resolutely met, the question is no longer one of wages but of governing the country (that was perhaps not the first time it was said, it was certainly not the last time). Any notion that concessions would put the matter right may be dismissed, they would only be the signal for further demands by the Welsh miners.

Page Arnot, Robin: So the next thing was that the next day a telegram, on Tuesday 13th July went to Tom Richards MP, from the Minister of Munitions as follows (that’s from Lloyd-George, the Minister of Munitions): in view of the seriousness of the situation created by the apprehended coal strike in south Wales, His Majesty the King approves the issue for proclamation under section1 of the Munitions of War Act 1915, declaring etc, etc. And of course the effect of this proclamation issued today is to make it an offence punishable under the Act to take part in a strike or lockout until etc. I think the penalty was £5 a day. There were not at that moment the full 250000 Welsh miners but a modest computation by anyone here will show that if they paid up their £5 a day all those who were on strike they might almost have met the cost of the war at that stage. Actually the matter never came near that, the Royal proclamation was pasted up on every pithead and some here may have met some of the miners, the rage that it caused in every mining village, to see this proclamation posted up, by the King a proclamation. You see in past times, especially during the what are called the Napoleonic Wars, it had been very impressive that with all the authority of His Britannic Majesty acting with the advice of the privy council something was proclaimed. Then it wasn’t every pit, it was at every parish church it was stuck up, it was also stuck up at every parish church in south Wales in 1915 July. But it didn’t have quite the effect.

Page Arnot, Robin: Well, that was happened then. So the Royal proclamation, and then came, I’m going as fast as I can, the actual Ides of July, the collieries stopped. And immediately the very worried executive council, who had been overruled by the delegate conference, called a further conference. What happened at that further conference was, against the recommendation of the council 180 votes, for the recommendation the new recommendation 113, they were defeated by 67 votes. Now Ness Edwards who was afterwards the administer of the crown and at the time, not at the time at the time was there and wrote about it afterwards, he said what I have said just now about the mining villages being plastered with these proclamations. At the same time the Miners Federation of Great Britain sent a frantic message to the S, South Wales Miners’ Federation, begging them to order the men to continue working, but these tactics had the opposite effect. Some of the miners, of the leaders, met, rose to meet the new situation with commendable courage, that I think was just one or two, Ablett and others. The Press continued its mad shrieking against the miners, the politicians breathe fires of vengeance, the men remained calm and determined. Then they said the Chairman James Winstone raised the point of whether the executive should go to London to continue the negotiations. The delegate who had moved the rejection of what he called the Runciman rubbish, arose and delivered a homily to the executive. Now, he said, you have been to London too often, to that city of the Philistines, until you have become as bad as them. Winstone interjected about care young man, if this resolution is passed it means the government has to bow the knee and they do not bow the knee to such as you. The delegate continued: you will put the resolution, Mr Chairman, as moved from the body of this conference we have stated our demand and if the government wants to negotiate let them come here to us in south Wales, if I had my way there would be no negotiations until the proclamation was repealed. These sentiments were accepted by the conference, it was understood no deputation would go to London, negotiations would have to take place in Cardiff. Session of the executive, of the coalfield conference overruling the executive.

Page Arnot, Robin: Well, I won’t, I think, when this book comes out that you will be very much amused, certainly not frightened, but amused to read what the papers then said. But I won’t trouble you with any of it now as it will take rather long. The only thing is a very fine thing in the New Statesmen, probably written by Sidney Webb, very nasty to the, very reasonable but rather nasty to the coal owners, saying that the south Wales miners have been told daily that they are grasping, unreasonable and unpatriotic. What’s the use of telling them they are unreasonable when they are pretty palpably neither knows nor cares anything about the actual merits of the dispute. If, as The Times declares, the actual point at issue is absurdly small, why is it the employers and government have thought it worthwhile to precipitate stoppage over it at so critical a moment? And what is the use of calling them grasping, when Mr Runciman has just had to introduce a bill to prevent mine owners asking prices more than from 25 to 75% in advance of those current laws? And as to being unpatriotic in view of the fact that a great many of those who are thus accused are actually having to be prevented by the government from enlisting in the Army, it’s only natural that the charges fall somewhat flat.

Page Arnot, Robin: Well, the occasionally you can meet somebody who was a boy in that that strike and they can tell you the sort of effect it had on the Welsh miners. It had one effect you see, it meant that their trust (because it was still the Liberals in the government who negotiated with Runciman and Lloyd-George and so on) that their trust which was still very strong in the valleys in Liberalism, was very much damaged by this event. And there was a perceptible shift of opinion quite apart from the small minority who at that moment had been very powerful in getting them to move into a strike but who were gradually gaining influence inside those who had been supporters of the Miners Unofficial Reform Committee and or of that pamphlet I’ve mentioned, issued in the first week of August. Then I may say it was rather an interesting task gathering at the British Museum the various records of what was said at the time either by the Fleet Street Press (there was no Labour paper at that moment in existence, daily Labour paper) and what was said by the weekly Labour papers. Except perhaps that the Labour Leader, with by far largest circulation, was edited by Fenner Brockway (now Lord Brockway, still alive) had been drawing the attention of all the socialists of Europe by printing E. D. Morel’s exposures of British diplomacy. A newly appointed trade union correspondent in the last week of July welcomed the strike and its outcome, arraigned the coal owners, the Press gang and the government whose quandary was described with relish, his conclusion was the miners have not been fighting for their own hand but carrying on double fight, the fight for their own demands and against compulsory arbitration in this, fighting for every trade union in the country. And then having put forward their farcical coal prices bill, and having issued their terrible proclamation of what the south Wales coalfield, the government stood still and declared who dares this pair of boots displace shall meet bombastees face to face, the miners were not terrified they went on their own way even though that meant displacing the government boots, they calmly met bombastees face to face and bombastees have given way; end of that section.

Page Arnot, Robin: May I move on now, to the end of that war? And to the fact that it ended in victory but very soon this tide of victory which swept Lloyd-George and the new coalition into office, the new coalition he had built into office for four years. That gave way to, effected by a tide of revolutionary spirit. Lloyd-George himself in memorandum printed long afterwards by him, addressed to the Allies at the Versailles Conference, peace conference then meeting, he said there’s a spirit of revolution abroad in the whole of Europe, the social systems are being questioned by workmen throughout the whole of Europe. And it was certainly the case in Britain. But it took place very quickly and suddenly after the first rejoicings that were widespread about the victory. And then, after the general election yielded an enormous majority for Lloyd-George, then came the sudden revulsion of feeling signalised, by the way, by 15 mutinies inside the British Army let alone what might happen in industry, in January 15 mutinies in January 1919. And they caused you may imagine some concern in Whitehall, especially in the War Office and in number 10 Downing Street. And there the minutes of the Cabinet (which now have been released) the minutes of the Cabinet, which had began really effectively with Lloyd-George’s Cabinet in December 1916, they show that there was a state of considerable hysteria in the British Cabinet in February 1919. Lloyd-George was right, there was a spirit of revolution abroad, there was a considerable spread of hysteria in the British Cabinet. Every strike meant there’d be a revolution this week. And there I don’t mean that either Lloyd-George or Churchill were hysterical, not a bit, they were as cool as could be. But the unfortunate Lawyer who had been made Home Secretary he was quite sure what had happened in St Petersburg was about to happen in London, and so on. And they hastily appointed all sorts of committees as well as beginning the process of enrolling middle class organisations to deal with the possibilities of strikes. That is another detailed story, in the case of the south Wales miners, in the case of the miners in general, they were going along quite calmly and slowly. I mean those who met in Russell Square, the old heads of the various miners associations, including William Brace MP and others from all throughout the country, about 24 of them. And they proposed there should be a great advance of 30% on wages, quite warranted by the rapid inflationary rise. And met a conference which said 30% has been moved by south Wales? 50%! And immediately! And supported by the others, but finally all the older members argued strongly in defence of their proposed 30%, it was agreed at 30%. But also, again on a proposal of south Wales, let us have at the same time the 7 hour day, and let us have nationalisation of the mines. So it was agreed, somewhat to their surprise, the old men, that should go forward at the next conference as the demand. Wages, a demobilisation demand for change did not, was emerged in that of other workers and, shorter hours and, at the same time nationalisation of mines. This was put forward in the February and a ballot vote was taken. It was overwhelmingly in favour of an immediate strike for the ends, without any further discussion. And Lloyd-George of course after Christmas had been in Paris all the time with the heads of the various states working out the peace conference, he had to be called back to try and deal with the situation. Inside the Cabinet, Churchill was solely busy with carrying on war against the new workers republic in Russia and was not concerned, and so they had to get, to call Lloyd-George back. And he met the leaders of the miners and proposed that there should be (I should say, by the way, that the Cabinet meeting had said offer them a shilling, that was actually the offer made) and a and a and a full enquiry later, which meant that you might have hysteria but you wouldn’t know the way out of it. And so he proposed a full Royal Commission staffed by half of it nominated or agreed to by the Miners Federation, yes, and with only 3 coal owners on it and some quite respectable other capitalists on it. Well this was objected too very strongly by the south Wales miners, now we have the reason why I’ve brought this episode in as, not to tell you all the story of that revolutionary year, 1919, or of the Sankey Commission which I think everyone knows, more or less, but that in the conference, when it was proposed by Smiley (who had enormous authority at that time) that this is what they should do was to accept this Royal Commission. S. O. Davies, who had become agent from the Dowlais Valley in December 1918, he got up and spoke very strongly against it. He said he didn’t trust Lloyd-George, he didn’t trust in any way, and wanted them to carry out the resolution which was for an immediate strike. And so this resulted in, sorry, looking for just an interesting little bit that happened then, this resulted in a very full discussion, Ablett supported S. O. Davies, but Smiley finally made a speech which convinced them they could get all they needed through this Royal Commission. The Royal Commission was set up and I think you know the story of it because that’s I think in every school book, I should think, that Royal Commission. And the only thing that perhaps may be mentioned, that that same year, 1919, Vernon Hartshorn was, certainly was within a year of two, was to become President of the South Wales Miners’ Federation, and he was one of the very ablest that the industry ever had. He was also a remarkably telling writer, and he submitted the passage on wages to the Sankey Commission in a passage describing the life of a miner which I think whoever, and I am told that these things, I see there’s been someone, an anthology of strikes recently, should certainly be quoted. He was, again, there it is, I’m afraid I’m running out of time but it’s absolute description of what a miners life was like.

Page Arnot, Robin: And not only did Vernon Hartshorn come much more strongly to the fore, to the front than before, but there came these new men; S. O. Davies, very young, very good speaker and a new agent; Ablett from the old extreme left wing and in the Summer of that year, an attempt by these new men to upset some of the older men. For instance there was a ballot at the annual conference of the South Wales Miners’ Federation in July at which the Right Honourable William Brace MP was challenged for the Presidency but got 177 votes against W. H. (is it Mainwaring or Mannering)

Williams, Glanmor: Mainwaring

Page Arnot, Robin: Mainwaring of the Rhondda, who got 61 votes, one of the Labour college people. Next Alderman J. Winstone JP, supporter of Smiley and member of the Independent Labour Party, had 227 votes against Mr A. J., Arthur J Cook, 24 votes. And General Treasurer Alderman Onions MP received 173 votes and Noah Tromans received 71, meaning that the new men that were coming forward were not yet accepted generally but they were, changes were taking place. It was not very long before they began to come farther and farther up, and at the end of that year, 1919, there was a contest and the beginning of 1920 Arthur James Cook became the agent of the Rhondda, of the Rhondda miners of the Rhondda valley, which at that point had 40000 miners in the Rhondda valley alone. And that determined the future, there was no rivalry of that kind between S. O. Davies and A. J. Cook, but someone who’s agent of the Dowlais valley was not likely, it’s rather like the famous favourite sons of the 52 American states for the presidency, the favourite son of the Rhondda tended to be the agent, the favourite son of the Dowlais the agent also but the one was a tiny valley compared to the massive Rhondda valley and that must be borne in mind in considering how the various leaders of the federation as a whole reached their posts.

Page Arnot, Robin: Now that was just I thought was worthwhile to notice that little sidelight. Now in the election of Cook to the Rhondda there was a further distinction arose. It turned out that the what I may call the Tonypandy men, namely the leaders of the Cambrian strike, who were and had been for some years dominant inside the district committee of the Rhondda miners, they were very much against Cook, who was much too new for them. For they had been the new miners as it were of 1908, 9, 10. And so they proposed that the elections to the post of agent should be limited, nominations should be limited strictly to Number 1 Rhondda, Number 1 District Rhondda. This caused a very considerable row at the district meeting, it was overturned it was decided to throw the nominations open to the whole of south Wales. When the nominations, now what was the matter? Cook you see was not one of the steam coal men, he was not one of the great Rhondda valley, he was a member of the relatively small (not as small as Dowlais but relatively small) district of Pontypridd and Rhondda. And so he was thus excluded but he was now included along with all the others. Then they took following decision, the committee, they revoke all the others from the other valleys but except from the Number 1 and have a manageable vote because the numbers were so many. The supporters as A. J. Cook did not raise any objection to this somewhat peculiar democratic proceeding to rescind the thing, rescind part of it and the election went forward and Cook defeated one of the very well-known old Check Weighman who had been in the fight in the Cambria mines. I mention this because the sort of idea is that Cook was immediately accepted, by no means.

Williams, Glanmor: {unclear}

Page Arnot, Robin: His attitude was very favourable, put it that way, without being prepared to join the Communist Party, but it was very favourable towards Marxism and he caused a certain amount of trouble in Fleet Street amongst the proprietors of the newspapers because when this said minority movement held its second conference (the first was 1924, it held a second conference in 1925) and to this Cook was supposed to have attended, he was a member of the miners minority movement, but he wasn’t able to attend and instead he sent a message saying he only claimed to be a humble, I’m looking for the actual words but they were roughly to this effect, that I claim to be only a humble follower of Karl Marx and a close disciple of Lenin. Well it was good enough, it was, for it was good enough for his critics in certain newspapers, that what they had been dreading for years.

Williams, Glanmor: I notice you were saying, Doctor Page-Arnot, in your previous volume on the history of the South Wales Miners’ Federation that you found the material for that volume quite extraordinarily scanty, it was very difficult to get hold of material. On the other hand you indicated I think in your talk tonight that you thought the material was infinitely richer for the volume that is shortly to appear. What would you say were the richest and most rewarding records that you have used for this period?

Page Arnot, Robin: I would say that because of the events and because of some of the people like A. J. Cook, there were more discussions nationally, more national discussions, heated discussions, in the case of the Miners’ Federation of Great Britain, all taken down verbatim, the full conferences. This gives much more of an insight than to things than the district records which are rather dry, formal minutes. And this I think is the reason that there were many more conferences at that time than ever before. And I should also say that for this there are no verbatim records there were more coalfield conferences in south Wales. For example where they had all agreed with the government in 1914, one conference was held in September to accept and approve of all the executive committee had done, the executive council had done about the war and everything connected with it, and they did not hold another conference for 6 months, until the Spring of 1915. And then of course the conferences followed rather thick and fast until in the Summer of that year and the conference met more often than the executive council and rightly and because it was conducting the struggle having taken it out of the hands of the executive council. And but still the actual record of it is still very meagre, but in the case of the Miners’ Federation of Great Britain, really the volumes get thicker and thicker, they’re skips.

unknown, : Can I take you back to the strike of 1915, can we hear much about the end of it, of course you have so much ground to cover, was that the strike which was ended by Lloyd-George getting the miners to sing in a speech in which he, got them to sign a hymn, what was that story?

Page Arnot, Robin: That maybe so. But I have put it in the book as Mohammed comes to the mountain, because that decision of the coalfield conference that there would be no further negotiations by representatives in London, but that the governments representatives (which they called a deputation from the government) should come to Cardiff and discuss it with the conference. This is what happened, it was Lloyd-George and Arthur Henderson, a new Labour member of the government, and the unfortunate Runciman.

unknown, : Is there no truth then in the story that he made a speech which sort of ended up with getting them to sing a hymn?

Page Arnot, Robin: I have no doubt whatever because after all the demands of the south Wales miners had been conceded by these 3 meeting, to begin with, the executive council who had their own instruction from the conference, had been conceded meeting in the Park Hotel in Cardiff amid its faded Victorian splendours or Edwardian splendours. Then the next day they had the whole 3 of them to conference and said you can make speeches now and we will chivalrously cheer you for granting all our demands. I am quite sure that Lloyd-George might take the occasion to call the thing, but its part in the Press Bureau work of Lloyd-George that that was what was talked about and not the fact that he and the other 2 ministers had to swallow their whole policy, go humbly down to Cardiff and concede all the demands that had been put forward by the coalfield conference which, not being at all a gruff body of people, very kindly cheered them to the echo.

unknown, : Was that at the same time as the strikes on the Clyde?

Page Arnot, Robin: It was 6 months later.

unknown, : {unclear} did you think of the influence that the south Wales Miners had on the other organisations in south Wales? For example the labour colleges and the Co-operative movement. I’m looking at the old minutes {unclear} Seeing the inter-relationship between the lodge and the co-op {unclear} any difficulties the co-operative movement would be allied to the {unclear} And certainly with the labour colleges {unclear} Dozens of classes throughout the whole of Welsh Wales. And I remember Ianto Evans, 6 foot 6, going to the National Railways Union conference, coming to my house knocking my door {unclear} that sort of thing which energised and revitalised the miners movement. And I think that much more needs to be known about the relationship of the miners with the trades {unclear} There is a tendency to be completely isolationist treating the trades unionists on one side when the reality {unclear}

Page Arnot, Robin: Well thank you very much I can only say that I entirely agree with you, but I unfortunately just through lack of space and time have only been able to try to indicate it without giving details. One of the details I gave was to draw up a table of the representatives of the Rhondda both on local government bodies, on co-operatives, and so on to try and convey this. But there would need to be another volume to dealt with some of the things I would’ve liked to dealt with.

Williams, Glanmor: Any other questions or any comments?

unknown, : Are you going on to 1926 as well?

Page Arnot, Robin: Yes.

Williams, Glanmor: But not tonight! Now is there anyone else who would like to make a contribution?

unknown, : Could you tell us something about the, what were going on conference reports, etc, {unclear} ?

Page Arnot, Robin: Well it doesn’t appear in the miners conferences.

unknown, : It doesn’t?

Page Arnot, Robin: No.

unknown, : {unclear} ?

Page Arnot, Robin: The, as a matter of fact the Russian Revolution doesn’t appear in any of the miners conferences. It didn’t mean we know that separately from that, miners were taking a very active part one way or another. But it was the business of the union they were discussing. And the other business would go through the Labour Party which they were the, thing, and so on. So it wasn’t, it wasn’t a rapid public meeting on some topic that had arisen recently that everybody was interested in, that they would find some other means for doing. It didn’t mean they were quiet but there were members of this organisation for its particular purposes.

unknown, : {unclear} ?

Page Arnot, Robin: Yes there were, yes there were. But, the politics, perhaps {unclear}

Williams, Glanmor: Hmm, yes, yes.

Page Arnot, Robin: Yes of course there were many political resolutions. But you understand political resolution as put, in my meaning of the word politics, was the whole of the conference of the South Wales Miners’ Federation, the annual conference of 1924. The Labour government has been in office for 5 months, they drew up at that conference of the Rhondda district to begin with and then the south Wales miners conference, they drew up a complete program of what had to be done inside the mining industry which included a drive towards nationalisation on such a scale as not before and so on and so on. Now that was political, it was, it didn’t mean they took up what some Member of Parliament had said and discuss that solemnly, or arduously, or anxiously. Or that they took up still less what the, the topics that had been put before them by the genius reporters and correspondents of the newspapers. It arose from their own experience and their own idea of what should be done. Now I mention this conference and I can’t go in, I’ll give some details of it, it was a complete strategy for a coming conflict. In the Spring of 1924 they had secured, in the beginning of 1924, they had secured the ending, south Wales and Lancashire fighting for years against the others, the others (being headed by Frank Hodges and Herbert Smith) had secured the ending of the agreement of 1921 which bore particularly hardly on the coalfields on the west side of the island. And then they went forward after they’d secured a new agreement which was to last for one year only, they were very well aware it was for one year only, and so they worked out the strategy for the conflict that would arise in one years time. And a series of resolutions, beginning with lodge resolutions, then adopted and passed on from one to another, and these were very, very effective indeed. Now there was one unfortunate thing which was that the conference of the South Wales Miners’ Federation used to occur in June, and the conference of the Miners Federation of Great Britain (of which they were one fifth, and a very important one fifth, let me put it that way) they, these took place in July. But you had to give 6 weeks notice of any conferences so all the resolutions of June, South Wales Miners’ Federation, could only be discussed the next year, 13 months later, at the Miners Federation of Great Britain. The same applied to the other districts, it was one of the peculiarities of the federal nature of the Miners’ Federation of Great Britain. And so the conferences, the first class sort of well worked out, whether you agreed with it or not, a magnificent sort of strategy worked out to deal with what would happen in a years time when the new agreement, 1924 Summer, early Summer, came to an end in early Summer 1925. Well now, I said in a fortnight there was the national conference. And so the south Wales program could only be discussed the next Summer. Although the various miners associations continue to act as though they’d not been federated nationally, the south Wales program nevertheless on this occasion, Summer 1924, had a remarkable effect. Its effect was on A. J. Cook, the new secretary, who in 1924 and for some years afterwards, for months, many months afterwards, still looked to the miners of south Wales and particularly to the miners of the Rhondda valley to give him guidance as well as backing. Perhaps I could go on, would you like to hear something about Cook? The views that I had from…

Williams, Glanmor: Yes, we might very well wind up on that note.

Page Arnot, Robin: Well now the next thing that I’ve headed in the book is Cook’s Campaign. Now Cook held it in his duty as national secretary of the miners to carry on a wide campaign of agitation within the miners’ federation. And Cook was first and foremost an agitator. He relied on agitation as did his predecessors of half a century earlier, Alexander MacDonald and Tom Halliday. Every weekend Cook was up and down the coalfields of Britain delivering speeches. His speeches were not so much programmatic as revivalist. He put forward not so much policy as a recital of grievances, he could tell of the hard lot of the colliers as he himself had suffered it during 20 years underground and had suffered the more because of his protests. And in the telling of it he roused his hearers to end it.

Page Arnot, Robin: He very often used to tell the story both of his own imprisonment in war time for strike activities and also of his imprisonment during the 1921 lockout under the police state regulations of the Emergency Powers Act. Quote, I was taken in chains to my place of trial. And I was seen by everybody in the Railway Station in Porth, standing there in chains! To such a man and such a story as his the miners responded as never before to any of their famous speakers. Cook came to be a mirror of the coalfield, to reflect the mood of the miners, to voice what had been felt, what had been brooded over underground for generation after generation. Cook’s campaign, which brought him a greater trust than had ever been accorded to any miners’ leader, was not the product of an individual. Cook was representative of a point of view that was widely held throughout the Miners’ Federation of Great Britain and held most intensely and focussed within the South Wales Miners’ Federation. The policies that Cook put forward, the aims he set before the miners, the types of argument he used were common to him and to the foremost representatives in the Cardiff conferences. In lodges, valle meetings, coalfield conferences, matters were hammered out, policies shaped and definite proposals put forward. This was the powerhouse of industrial democracy with which A. J. Cook’s apparently inexhaustible supply of energy was connected, the democracy of the South Wales Miners’ Federation.

Page Arnot, Robin: Cook kept very closely in touch with those who had been responsible within the coalfield for his election as the south Wales candidate. Namely with the old reform committee members insofar as their standpoint was embodied and revitalised in the miners minority movement. From them he frequently took counsel, in particular from Nat Watkins of the Forest of Dean and from Arthur Horner of the, Check Weighman at Maerdy Colliery, who so often carried advance propositions within the Cory Hall conferences in Cardiff. On matters of statistical and other information, and on questions that lay outside the sphere of his previous experience, Cook turned with increasing frequency with the staff and executive members of the Labour Research Department. To them he’d turned in his need to get all ready for the Buckmaster Court of Enquiry in April 1924, this he had done with the full assent and backing of the MFGB executive committee who had reason to recall the work done for them by the Labour Research Department during the war in particularly in 1920. The resources of the Research Department from 1924 onwards, April 1924 onwards, were open to the miners organisations and of this Cook took advantage in weekly and often twice weekly consultations. There were others consulted for Cook was, as Bernard Shaw said of himself, a crow that followed many ploughs. But these mentioned were perhaps the most significant.

Page Arnot, Robin: Within the miners federation executive, Cook found he had the aid of the representatives of south Wales other than Tom Richards, but Tom did not actively oppose him but took a kindly neutral position and a pleasure at the same time that one of the boys from the Rhondda was playing such an active part in all these contests. Cook however had a firm backing through the election in the Spring of 1924 to the Miners Federation of Great Britain executive committee, not only of Preston Enoch Morrell but of Noah Ablett, always esteemed, the keenest intellect within the executive council. And of S. O. Davies, agent from the Dowlais and Vice-President since 1924 of the South Wales Miners’ Federation. These together made a pair of keen and quick witted debaters, clear headed, logical, persuasive a pair that couldn’t be matched from Yorkshire, or Durham, or Midlands, or Scotland. In the executive council also he had the constant support of Jack Williams, formerly of the Garw valley, and chosen to be secretary of the Forest of Dean Miners’ Association. The Miners Minority Movement there was also Edmund Collins of Yorkshire, Harry Hicken of Derbyshire and others throughout the coalfields. But when all is said and done, the outstanding feature of what has been called Cook’s Campaign that went on for 13 months, punctuated by illnesses, breakdowns and conferences, was the innumerable meetings at which he spoke and put forward the policy that would maintain if not increase the miners standard of living. In the first year naturally the audiences were mainly of miners in every coalfield. Cook had ceased to be the man from south Wales and in their minds was the representative the whole of the British mining community. No record, apart from meagre reports in the newspapers, has been kept of these immense gatherings which startled the inhabitants of each coalfield as the effect of them was communicated throughout the organised workers in each county and locality. To hear A. J. Cook speak there travelled miners on foot, on bicycle, by rail and in busloads. Within the county palatine of Durham only the famous annual gala surpassed these meetings in size. Moreover there were few ceremonial banners, no jollification, the meetings were strictly confined to colliers minding their own business. And although no verbatim records were taken it might be thought that detailed notes could be found in contemporary newspapers, but by some apparent magic, like the spell cast upon the sleeping beauty and all her family and attendants at the castle, the newspapers as though in a trance ignored these unprecedentedly large gatherings except insofar for some phrase taken out of context from a 50 minute speech would appear good material for a paragraph and in hostile newspapers for horrific headlines.

Page Arnot, Robin: Now Cook had an undoubted flair for publicity. He could coin a phrase that was bound to hit the headlines, and that left his fellow agitators toiling far behind. Himself a fellow traveller of the communists he was far ahead of any of them, alike in his popular appeal and in drawing the fire of the class enemy, to use one of their phrases. In the call for unity and vigilance sent to the conference of the national minority movement, here it is, Cook turned on his detractors and made the declaration that I am proud to be a disciple of Karl Marx and a humble follower of Lenin. That drew the fire of the enemy with a vengeance. And not only in Fleet Street but all over Europe and North America, the phrase became almost a theme song of the opponents of the miners in the capitalist press, and the opponents of Labour. Of all this Cook was very well aware, he used eagerly to scan the newspaper columns and read aloud with relish their attacks upon him. Well to anyone present he would recall what Kier Hardie had said in Merthyr, so long as the newspapers attack me I know I am on the right track. Correspondingly he would exhibit considerable chagrin if on any day there had been no editorial or news item about himself.

Williams, Glanmor: Well I don’t think we can cap that, I’m sure that was a very stirring note on which to bring this most absorbingly interesting evening to an end. I’m sure that I express the feelings of you all when I thank Doctor Page-Arnot most warmly for this remarkably rich series of extracts from his forthcoming book. He has given us a remarkable kaleidoscope I think of the highlights of this book which will make us all the more eager to read it and study it when it is eventually published. And just to say Doctor Page-Arnot, that I was and have been most impressed by your alertness and resilience through 2 hours of quite unflagging energy and you are not one of these lecturers who reads dry as dust from his script but he puts real passion real feeling, I can’t pay you a higher tribute, you put real hwyl into your lecturing. And we’re all I’m sure extremely grateful to you for the patient, careful and courteous way that he’s dealt with comments and answered questions and drawn on this immense rich store of knowledge that he has, and not only of knowledge of the Welsh miners but also quite unmistakable affection and admiration for them.

Williams, Glanmor: We really had a splendid start to this series I think, the only slight misgiving I have is that the rest of them cannot possibly come up to the standard of tonight perhaps. But still it’s been a magnificent start we’re tremendously grateful to you for coming down on this auspicious weekend and we can only hope that you have enjoyed being with us half as much as we’ve enjoyed having you. Thank you again, diolch yn fawr iawn Doctor Page-Arnot.