Jack Jones collection

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Dramatical productions and correspondence, 1937-1981 including letter to B.H. Thomas regarding the play `Land of My Fathers' dated 19th May 5 1937 and a typescript copy of `The Betrayal of Gwilym Richards' 1981. The latter is a history of the village of Hirwaun and the life and career of Gwilym Richards, concentrating on his role in labour disputes.

Administrative / Biographical History

JackJones was born in 1884 at Tai-Harri-Blawdd in Merthyr Tydfil, the son of a coal-miner. He joined his father to work in the mine aged 12. At the age of 17he joined the army and was posted to South Africa with his regiment the Militia Battalion of the Welch. However he was very unhappy there and ended up deserting. Once recaptured, he was transferred to India. When he eventually returned to Wales he went back to working in the coal-mines. He married Laura Grimes Evans in 1908.

In 1914 Jack Jones was summoned back to his regimentand sent to the front-lines in France and later on Belgium. After suffering shrapnel wounds he was invalided home and appointed as recruiting officer for Merthyr Tydfil.

After World War One Jack Jones became a member of the Communist Party and he attended a convention in Manchester with the purpose of establishing a British Communist Party on behalf of his local lodge. At this meeting he was chosen to be Corresponding Secretary for the South Wales Region. Jack Jones later founded a branch of the Communist Party at Merthyr Tydfil. In 1923 he was appointed as the full-time secretary-representative of the miners atBlaengarw, a position he held until his resignation in 1927.

During his 20s Jack Jones began to educate himself and develop his love of the theatre and writing, often taking part in local dramatic productions. In 1926 he successfully entered a short play he had written entitled Dad's Double into a competition in Manchester.

After clashes with the Communist Party Jack Jones left the party and joined the Labour Party in 1923. In 1927 he produced his first article for the press entitled The Need for a Lib-Lab Coalition. Hewas later asked by Lloyd George to join the Liberal's speaking staff and by 1929he was a member of the Liberal Party being adopted as the Liberal candidate for the Neath parliamentary division. However this constituency was lost to Labour. During the 1930s he made another political change and was a speaker for Mosley's New Party.

He began also at this time to write seriously and in 1934 his first novel Rhondda Roundabout was published. Later work included Black Parade in 1935 and the play Land of My Fathers in 1936. Jack Jones wrote novels, plays and autobiographical works which frequently used the people of the South Wales Valleys and the coalfield as inspiration. He lectured in America in 1941 and 1942 and during World War Two he spoke to troops on the battle-fronts. He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his services to the community and to literature. In February 1970 he won an award from the Welsh Arts Council for `his distinguished contribution to the literature of Wales'. Jack Jones died on the 7th of May 1970.

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