Born In: Tredegar, Wales
Aneurin Bevan was a British Labour Party politician who took up the portfolio of Health and Housing during Clement Attlee’s government from 1945 to 1951. His contribution to the Welfare State has been immense. Born in a modest family, Bevan’s exposure to poverty and deprivation gave him a first-hand experience of unfortunate condition of the working class. As such, since young he became a passionate defender of social justice and rights of working class. He was an ardent advocator of socialism and served as a member of the parliament from Ebbw Vale in South Wales for 31 years. It was during Clement Attlee’s governance that Bevan came into prominence as the Minister of Health. During his stint as minister, he not just established National Health Service, which provided free medical aid but centralized nearly 2688 hospitals in England and Wales. Following the downfall of Attlee’s governance, the Labour Party divided into right and left wing. Subsequently, Bevan took up leadership of the left wing of Labour Party, a group which was commonly referred to as Bevanite. Right before his death, he was appointed as the Deputy leader of the Labour Party
Also Known As: Nye Bevan
Died At Age: 62
Spouse/Ex-: Baroness Lee of Asheridge, Jennie Lee
father: David Bevan
mother: Phoebe Prothero
Born Country: Wales
political ideology: Political party - Labour
place of death: Chesham, England
Founder/Co-Founder: National Health Service
Aneurin Bevan was born on November 15, 1897, in Tredegar, Monmouthshire, to David Bevan and Phoebe nee Prothero. His father was a coal miner and his mother worked as a seamstress. His parents had ten children together—four died in infancy and one died at the age of eight.
Bevan’s excellent oratory skills made him a highly influential figure in the Tredegar Iron Company. His rising popularity became a matter of concern for his employers who sacked him. However, gaining support from the Miner’s Federation, he forced the company to re-employ him.
In 1919, seeking a sponsorship from the South Wales Miner’s Federation, he gained admission at the Central Labour College in London. He studied economics, politics and history. It was in London that the seed for his left-wing political approach was first sowed.
In 1921, Aneurin Bevan returned from London. With Tredegar Iron & Coal Company refusing to re-employ him, Bevan searched for work but in vain. He spent three years in idleness before being employed by Bedwellty Colliery. However, with the closure of the company, he was yet again unemployed.
In 1926, Bevan finally found work again, as a paid union official. He became a head of the local miners against the colliery companies during the General Strike.
In 1928, Aneurin Bevan served as the member of the Cottage Hospital management Committee. The following year, he was made the chairman of the committee, a position he held for a year.
Aneurin Bevan became an early supporter of the socialists. In 1936, he joined the board of the new socialist newspaper Tribune.
During World War II, he was one of the leaders of the House of Commons. Following the Labour Party’s landslide victory in the 1945 General Election, he was appointed as Minister of Health & Housing by Prime Minister Clement Attlee. With this, he became the youngest member in the Attlee cabinet to serve in the ministerial position.
As a housing sector minister, Aneurin Bevan worked for establishing a society in which people had the choice to live in owner occupation or private sector. He envisioned a society wherein people from various walks of life and professions lived together on the same street.
In 1951, Aneurin Bevan was appointed as the Minister of Labour. Under the new portfolio, he successfully defended railway men to secure a deal that would provide them increased pay. However, he resigned from his post, after Hugh Gaitskell's introduction of prescription charges for dental care and spectacles. Later in the year, the Labour Party lost the General Election.
In 1952, Aneurin Bevan came up with his work, ‘In Place of Fear’ which went on to become one of the most widely read socialist book. Same year, he not just lost a debate on health to Conservative backbencher Iain Macleod but with it, his seat as the Minister of Health as well.
After 1955 General Election, Aneurin Bevan contested against Morrison and Labour right-winger Hugh Gaitskell for the leadership of Labour Party. Gaitskell was chosen as the leader of the Labour Party and under his leadership Bevan served as the Shadow Colonial Secretary, and later as Shadow Foreign Secretary. Eventually, he was elected as Labour Party Treasurer, defeating George Brown
As the Minister of Health, Aneurin Bevan achieved his most famous accomplishment of establishment of National Health Service that guaranteed free medical aid to all the citizens. Furthermore, he centralized nearly 2688 hospitals in England and Wales.
During the end of 1959, Aneurin Bevan suffered from severe pain. As a result, he was admitted in a hospital for ulcer surgery. However, examination confirmed presence of malignant stomach cancer.
Aneurin Bevan breathed his last on July 6, 1960, at his home, Asheridge Farm, Chesham, Buckinghamshire.
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