Workers' Educational Association (South Wales District)

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Constitution 1950; Annual Reports and Statements of Accounts 1958-1974; Circulars 1971; Course and lecture programme 1959-1974; 'Jubilee Year' Commemorative Pamphlet 1957; Handbill 1963.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Workers' Educational Association (WEA) is a national voluntary organisation which was formed in 1903. It provides for the educational needs of working class adults by holding over 10,000 courses throughout the United Kingdom. The WEA prides itself on having no political or religious affiliations to enable it to provide educational classes for the widest possible number of students. Presently, the WEA is organised into 13 administrative Districts in England and Wales and the Scottish Association. Within these districts there are over 650 individual local branches of the WEA.

The first WEA class to be held in Wales was formed at Barry in the Autumn of 1906. This proved to be a success and soon led to the formation of the Barry branch of the WEA. Demand for the classes was high and in 1907, the South Wales and Monmouthshire District was established to ensure that education was available for everyone who wanted it. By 1909, the WEA had founded a large number of branches in the district and had won the support and affiliation of many local organisations. The latter included the Abertillery Urban District Council and the Pontypridd Education Committee.

In 1910, the WEA reorganised some of its Districts and created separate Districts for Monmouthshire and the whole of Wales. This new Wales District meant that resources were stretched thinly and led to the the appointment of the District's first full-time organising secretary, Mr John Thomas. The District was divided again in 1925 when it was split into the North Wales District and the South Wales and Monmouthshire District.

Source: 'WEA Overview', WEA Website, http://www.wea.org.uk/new/over.htm; WEA (South Wales District) Jubilee Year Pamphlet (1957), SWCC : MNB/TUG/6/20

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