December 2018




978 1 86057 120 6





The Life and Work of James Griffiths

D. Ben Rees


The remarkable story of James Griffiths takes us all the way from the origins of British Labour to the origins of devolved Wales. Ben Rees has crafted a highly-readable and authoritative account of the life and times of one of Wales's greatest statesmen
Huw Edwards
from the Introduction

This is a substantial, authoritative and comprehensive biography of one of Wales
's leading and most prominent twentieth century politicians.
Dr J. Graham Jones
former Head of the Welsh Political Archive


A significant figure in post-war British politics, as Minister for National Insurance in the Atlee government, James Griffiths introduced the   Family Allowance in 1946, became Secretary of State for the Colonies in 1950, Chairman and then Deputy Leader of the Labour Party before becoming the first Secretary of State for Wales in 1964.

A product of the Welsh radical tradition - forged in the coalfields and nonconformist chapels - James Griffiths became a miner at 13 and was a conscientious objector during the First World War. A talented, hard-working and charismatic leader, he become President of the South Wales Miner’s Federation before being elected the Labour MP for Llanelli in 1936, a seat he held for 34 years.

In this, the first full-length biography of James Griffiths in English, the respected historian Dr D. Ben Rees provides a comprehensive yet very accessible and personal study of one of the towering figures of twentieth-century Welsh and British politics.


Dr D. Ben Rees is a native of Llanddewi Brefi and has been a   Presbyterian  Minister in South Wales and Liverpool for over 50 years. A well-known writer, lecturer and broadcaster, Dr Rees was a personal acquaintance of James Griffiths and has authored over 70 publications in Welsh and English.


1            The Roots of the Politician
2            Life at the Coalface
3            A Religious Revival and Political Conversion
4            Pioneering in the name of Labour
5            War and Marriage
6            College Days
7            Labour Party Agent
8            Miners' Agent and Miners' Leader
9            The new MP for Llanelli (1936-1939)
10          An MP in the Perilous Second World War
11          Labour's Success in Wales

12          One of the Architects of the Welfare State

13          The Colonies
14          Reconciler and Socialist Revisionist
15          Deputy Leader of the Labour Party
16          The Years of the Stormy Petrel (1959-1964)
17          The First Secretary of State for Wales
18          Farewell to the House of Commons
19          Peace Mission to Biafra and Nigeria
20          End of the pilgrimage
21          An appraisal of the Politician

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