Although he is remembered as one of the great political speakers of the 20th century, Nye Bevan worked hard to overcome a stammer. He used a dictionary and thesaurus to find alternatives to the words he found difficult to pronounce, becoming an eloquent spokesman for socialist ideas, and quick to defend the weak and defenceless.
‘We shall lead our people to where they deserve to be led’, he said, and lead them he did, believing that the state should guarantee a free health service for all from birth to death. His vision of free medical diagnosis and treatment for everyone became a reality on 5th July 1948 when the National Health Service was established.
Nye took inspiration for the NHS from his home town of Tredegar. In 1890 local miners and steelworkers had set up the Tredegar Medical Aid Society, clubbing together to employ a doctor. The Society flourished, eventually employing many doctors and nurses in surgeries and a hospital in Tredegar, and providing the town’s residents with comprehensive medical care. Weekly subscriptions entitled members and their families to health and dental care. When he became Health Minister Nye based the NHS on Tredegar’s community health scheme.
Where to Visit?
Visit Tredegar the birthplace of the NHS and follow the Aneurin Bevan Heritage Trail.
The Nye Stones Memorial, on the hills above Tredegar.
‘It was fitting that his ashes should be scattered high on the mountain above the Duffryn valley underneath the mountain ash and where the bluebells grew’ said Michael Foot. ’That was the wild place which, from his youth, he had loved most of all’. The Bevan Stones now stand here.
Aneurin Bevan trail
Explore sites that were important to Aneurin Bevan in and around Tredegar
15 November 1897
06 July 1960