Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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ROBERTS , ARTHUR BRYN ( 1897 - 1964 ), trade unionist ;

b. 7 Apr. 1897 , the son of William and Mary Roberts , Abertillery, Mon . He went to work as a collier at thirteen years of age. He won a scholarship to Ruskin College , Oxford , and in 1919 to the Central Labour College , London . He was appointed a checkweigher for Rhymney colliers in 1921 and five years later was appointed the representative of the colliers in the Rhymney Valley . He was general secretary of the National Union of Social Workers from 1934 to 1962 when he retired due to ill-health. The union grew considerably under his leadership. He was a representative at the American Labour Federation in 1942 and was one of the deputation of Labour unionists to China in 1954 . For a period he was a member of a committee on social workers in the Mental Health Service and was prominent as a local government councillor in Wales . Although he was a very able man he did not rise to prominence amongst the Labour leaders as one might have expected. He published a number of pamphlets and books such as At the TUC ( 1947 ), As I see it ( 1957 ) and The price of TUC leadership ( 1961 ) in which he did not hesitate to criticise the organisation of the Labour movement .

He m. Violet Mary Sheenan in 1922 , they had one son and two daughters. He d. 26 Aug. 1964 at his home in White Cottage , 11 Scotts Lane , Shortlands , Kent , after a long illness.


  • Who was who? ;
  • The Times , 27 Aug. 1964 .


Evan David Jones, F.S.A., (1903-87), Aberystwyth

Published date: 2001