Bevan Way, RM12

Place Name

Like Clement Way, this road is situated in the middle of the Racecourse estate, which began to be laid out by the council in the 1930s. This was part of the renewed building works following the end of the Second World War and celebrates the founder of the NHS, Aneurin Bevan (November 15, 1897 – July 6, 1960). Often known as Nye Bevan, this Welsh Labour Party politician led the push for the establishment of the National Health Service. A working-class firebrand he fought the owners of the various coal mines that he worked at to provide safe and legal conditions for the miners. After joining the Labour Party and attending college he struggled to find work before becoming a union official, which led to him becoming a leading figure in the 1926 general strike. Two years later he won a seat on Monmouthshire County Council and was elected as the MP for Ebbw Vale the following year. In Parliament, he became a vocal critic of politicians from other parties, including Winston Churchill and David Lloyd George. After the war, he was chosen as the Minister of Health in Clement Attlee’s new Labour government. Inspired by the Tredegar Medical Aid Society in his hometown, Bevan fought to provide medical care free at the point-of-need to all. Despite objections from within his own party and the opposition as well as the British Medical Association, the National Health Service Act 1946 was passed, nationalising more than 2,500 hospitals. He was named Minister of Labour in 1951, but resigned two months later, when the Attlee government proposed the introduction of prescription charges for dental and vision care and decided to transfer funds from the National Insurance Fund to pay for rearmament. His influence waned after his departure, although a left-wing group (not under his control) within the party became known as “Bevanites”. When Attlee retired in 1955, Bevan unsuccessfully contested the party leadership with Hugh Gaitskell, but was appointed Shadow Colonial Secretary and later Shadow Foreign Secretary. In 1959, he was elected Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and held the post for a year until his death from stomach cancer at the age of 62. His death led to “an outpouring of national mourning”. In 2004, more than 44 years after his death, he was voted first in a list of 100 Welsh Heroes, having been credited for his contribution to the founding of the welfare state.

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