Dick Beamish

Scope and Content

National Union of Mineworkers' (NUM) Annual Conference programmes, speech drafts and papers 1961-1963 and undated (c1964); copy of speech to conference on disarmament, undated (c1961); National Coal Board (NCB) report on the Anthracite Colliery (No. 9 Area) 1961; NCB report on Abercrave Colliery output 1961; NCB Safety Department reports on incidents at Six Bells, Marine, National and Ogilvie Collieries 1960; material relating to the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation 1962-1963; notebooks containing miscellaneous jottings 1959-1963; typescripts and manuscript of lectures, undated (c1961-c1965); programme of the International Colloquy on Human Rights 1968; press-cutting regarding Divisional Labour Party meeting, with covering letter 1963; catalogue of exhibition of paintings 1978.

Administrative / Biographical History

Dick Beamish was born c1900. His father who had been a mariner most of his life moved to Abercrave with the family in 1913, finding employment at Abercrave Colliery. Dick left Abercrave Elementary School aged 13 to follow his father into the mines. Dick was to work in the mines for around 50 years. He volunteered underage to fight in World War One and served in the 1st Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers in the trenches of France and Italy. In January of 1919 he returned to work in Abercrave Colliery and shortly after his return, Dick joined the local branch of the Independent Labour Party, later becoming its secretary. In 1922 he joined the Labour Party, although he was also closely associated with the Communist Party during the period. He held several positions within the Labour Party and in 1927 was elected the secretary of Abercrave and Penycae Divisional Labour Party. He was on the executive of the Brecon and Radnor Divisional Labour Party almost continually from 1924 onwards and was chairman for a while. Dick served on the Welsh Council of Labour 1950-1953 and 1968-1970. However he was expelled form the Labour Party twice, once in 1939 for supporting the Popular Front and secondly in 1953 for attending a Peace Conference in Budapest.

Dick Beamish attended National Council of Labour Colleges and WEA classes over many years. He played a leading local role in the 1925 anthracite miners' strike and was a member of the Swansea Valley Strike Committee during the 1926 General Strike and Lockout. He was given charge of the strike sub-committee at Bedlinog during the campaign against the scab union at Taff Merthyr Colliery in 1934.

Dick was chairman of Abercrave Lodge for 36 years until he retired in 1963. He also served on the executive committee and was chairman for a while of the Amalgamated Anthracite Combine Committee. He was a founder member of the Swansea Valley Trades Council, previously having served as Vice-Chairman of the Abercrave and Ystradgynlais Trades and Labour Council. He was a Swansea District member of the South Wales Area Executive Council to the NUM for 10 years.

Dick Beamish was a founder of the West Wales Anti-Fascist League in 1923 and was active in the support of Republican Spain in the late 1930s. He was one of the leaders of the campaign against German Panziers in Pembrokeshire in the early 1930s and in 1967 was decorated as an 'anti-fascist fighter' by the Ex-Servicemen's Movement for Peace (of which he was a vice-president) in East Berlin in 1967. Dick also had an interest in welfare and was a member of the Abercrave and District Welfare Committee since 1927 and later it's secretary.

He continued to be active after retirement in the 1960s and was National Chairman of the Welsh Association of Old Age Pensioners.

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