Ness Edwards

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 217 SWCC:MND/17
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      2 boxes

Scope and Content

Material relating to Ness Edwards' time as Secretary of Penallta Lodge and other items relating to the coal industry.

Administrative / Biographical History

Ness Edwards was born in Abertillery on 5th April 1897. On his13th birthday, he began work at the Penybont Pit, and later at the age of17, he became chairman of Arriel Griffin Lodge. He joined the George DaggerStudy group at Tillery Institute and as a result joined the AbertilleryPlebs League, with its beliefs of not wearing a military uniform and notfighting. He was a pacifist and against fighting in World War 1; he became aconscientious objector, with the result that he was sent to Dartmoor Prison,Wormwood Scrubs and Bridgend Slate Quarry.

After World War 1, Ness Edwards attended the Central Labour College inLondon with Aneurin Bevan. He took interest in people such as Marx andTrotsky although he was more concerned with people than ideologies. Hebecame chairman of Arriel Griffin Lodge again, and in September 1927, hebecame fulltime Lodge Secretary at Penallta Lodge. He was active in theGeneral Strike, being politically opposed to the colliery owners and holdingdemonstration meetings and arranging for the feeding of starving miners andtheir families. This helped him to become well thought of.

Ness Edwards became the Miners' Agent for Rhymney Valley, Aber Valley andBedwas, and became involved in the scab union dispute at Taffly and Bedwas.He became a member of the Miners' Federation of Great Britain, and in 1938helped to evacuate miner refuges and their families from Prague.

On the 4th July 1939, Ness Edwards became MP for Caerphilly, a position heheld until his death in May 1968. He became Parliamentary Secretary to theMinister of Labour and in 1947, became a member of the Privy Council. From1950-1951, he was Postmaster General. He was still very much interested intrade unions, and took part in delegations to the Soviet Union and Spain,which included looking at the democratisation of the Spanish Trade Unionmovement. From 1966-1968, he was chairman of Parliamentary Trade Union Groupof Sponsored Labour MPs, and at the time of his death, he was persuadingHarold Wilson on trade union involvement in proposals on wage policy. He wasalso interested in the issue of pensions, and helped to set up the WelshGrand Committee.

He died on 3rd May 1968.

Source: Rhys Edwards 'Brief History of Ness Edwards'


Divided into 2 subfonds; Ness Edwards and Penallta Lodge, and Miscellaneous items

Access Information

The collection was closed when it was deposited (1983) until 2002. Parts of the collection are still closed, please contact the repository for further information.


Finding aid encoded by Julie Anderson July 2003 with reference to A brief history of Ness Edwards by Rhys Edwards (1983).

Other Finding Aids

A paper list is available.

Conditions Governing Use

A photocopying service is available. Contact repository for details. No publication without written permission from the Archivist

Related Material

GB 217 SWCC : MNA/NUM/L/63 Penallta Lodge. A description of this collection is available on the Archives Hub.