Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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REES, DOROTHY MARY (1898-1987), Labour politician and alderman.

Dorothy Rees was born at Barry on 29 July 1898. She was educated at the Barry Grammar School, and the Barry Training College where she qualified as a teacher. She worked as a liaison officer to the Ministry of Food, south-western division, during the Second World War, at least from 1941. She was a member of the Barry Borough Council and of the Glamorgan County Council from 1934 and took an especially prominent role in local government circles over many years. She became an alderman of the council and was its chairman in 1964-65 (only the second woman to occupy that position). She served as the Labour MP for the highly marginal Barry constituency for one single parliament from 1950 until 1951, serving as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Shirley Summerskill, the Minister of National Insurance. She was the first woman to represent a south Wales constituency in parliament. In the general election of 1951 she was narrowly defeated by the Conservative candidate Sir Raymond Gower. She was again re-adopted as the Labour candidate for Barry in 1952. She was appointed a Freeman of Barry in 1956.

She was chairman of the Morgannwg Hospital Management Committee and of the Barry National Eisteddfod Committee in 1966-68. She was also a member of a large number of public bodies including the Welsh Joint Education Committee, the National Advisory Committee for Insurance from 1947 (the only Welsh representative on that committee), and the Welsh Teaching Hospitals Board. She was the chairman of the Dinas Powys bench of magistrates. Dorothy Rees was a long-term member of the board of governors of Howells School, Llandaff, and in 1960 she was appointed to the chair of the Further Education Sub-committee of the Glamorgan County Council. She remained a warm supporter of the right of women to a higher education. She was made a CBE in 1964 and a DBE in 1975.

She was married to David George Rees (the eldest son of David F. Rees of Barry) who died 8 November 1938. Their home was ‘Morhafren’, 341 Barry Road West, Barry. She died in August 1987. A plaque commemorating her life was unveiled on 6 Newland Street, Barry.


  • W. W. Price;
  • Who was who? ;
  • Etholiadau'r Ganrif / Welsh Elections 1885-1997 (Talybont, 1999);
  • Welsh Hustings - 1885-2004 (Ammanford, 2005);
  • Dod's Parliamentary Companion .


Dr John Graham Jones, Aberystwyth

Published date: 2011