Dictionary of Welsh Biography



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PEARSON, ARTHUR (1897-1980), Labour politician. Arthur Pearson was born at Pontypridd on 31 January 1897, the son of William Pearson. He received his education at local elementary and central schools. At just twelve years of age he began working as an errand boy. He worked as a chainworker at the Pontypridd Chainworks of Brown, Lennox and Co. for twenty-five years from 1913 until 1938. He was elected treasurer of the local branch of the Chainworkers Association in 1920 and in 1934 he came second in the ballot for the position of national secretary of the association. He also served with the Welsh Guards, 1916-19. In 1924 he was elected secretary of the Pontypridd UDC Labour group even before his election as a member of the council.

Pearson was a member of the Pontypridd UDC, 1926-38, representing the Trallwn ward. He was its chairman in 1937-38 and he also served as a member of the Glamorgan County Council, 1928-45. In 1933-34 he was chairman of the Pontypridd Education Committee, and he became a JP in 1939.

He was elected the Labour MP for the Pontypridd constituency in a by-election in 1938 in succession to D. L. Davies, and continued to represent the constituency until he resolved to retire from parliament in June 1970. His initial selection following a closely contested process at a selection conference at Pontyclun occurred only after several rounds of voting, and he was finally chosen against the prominent local miners' agent W. H. May on 15 January 1938. He also served for many years as secretary of the Pontypridd Trades and Labour Council. He was a Labour whip, 1939-45, and Comptroller of the Household, 1945-46. He was also Treasurer of the Household, 1945-51. He was awarded the CBE in 1949. Having held the position of Labour whip continuously for twenty years - in government and opposition - he resolved to stand down in October 1959 in order to make way for a younger man in the person of Arthur Probert, the Labour MP for the neighbouring coalfield division of Aberdare. On resuming his place on the backbenches, on 4 November 1959 he was immediately elected to the chair of the Welsh Parliamentary Party. In November 1960 he voted against the Conservative government's Licensing Bill to hold local polls on the opening of public houses on Sundays. He encouraged and supported the introduction of new industries into the south Wales valleys in the 1950s and 1960s. He remained unmarried.

His home address was 24 The Avenue, Pontypridd. Pearson died 14 October 1980.

Bibliography:

  • The Biographical Index of W.W. Price, Aberdâr (at the National Library of Wales and Aberdare Public Library);
  • Who was who? ;
  • Etholiadau'r Ganrif / Welsh Elections 1885-1997 , Y Lolfa, 1999;
  • Welsh Hustings - 1885-2004 , Dinefwr Publishers Ltd, 2005;
  • Dod's Parliamentary Companion .

Author:

Dr John Graham Jones, Aberystwyth