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Innovative Teaching Practice academics take tour of Aneurin Bevan’s birthplace and other cultural highlights

14 January 2020

Aneurin Bevan memorial
Delegates attending tour of Tredegar, including the memorial bench and statue dedicated to Aneurin Bevan.

Chinese delegates arrived in Cardiff last week for the start of the Innovative Teaching Practice programme, led by the School of Social Sciences and supported by the CPD Unit. As part of the 3-month programme, delegates also take part in cultural and educational visits to supplement their learning experience.

This cohort of delegates are senior academics from Xuzhou Medical University, so one of their first scheduled trips was a tour of Tredegar to provide them with a background of Wales’ special history with the National Health Service and its links with Aneurin Bevan, Labour MP and architect of the NHS.

Delegates visited Tredegar Town Clock, which is surrounded by four plaques containing famous quotations by Aneurin Bevan, and the Homfray trail which features the Aneurin Bevan statue and bench. The artworks which mark The Homfray trail consist of 20 stainless steel figures which show how the men, women and children of Tredegar shaped the history of the town. The artworks were commissioned by Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council with help from European (Interreg), Welsh Government and Heritage Lottery Fund funding.

Delegates viewing memorial plaque dedicated to Aneurin Bevan
Delegates viewing memorial plaque dedicated to Aneurin Bevan.

The tour continued with a walk through the town to Tredegar Comprehensive School (a former industrial site), the Aneurin Bevan memorial stones and a drive through the village of Trefil (highest village in Wales) where Bevan loved to walk. The delegates were also introduced to some Welsh wildlife as cows blocked the road!

The memorial stones mark the spot where Bevan addressed his constituents and the world. The hillside location saw enormous gatherings eager to hear one of the greatest orators of the time. The central monolith represents Bevan and the 3 smaller ones represent Rhymney, Tredegar and Ebbw Vale, the 3 towns in his constituency.

Memorial stones at Tredegar
Memorial stones at Tredegar

Other highlights included a tour of Bedwellty House gardens and council chamber, and Tredegar Museum, which is now managed by the Tredegar History and Archive Society, and run by local people with a love of the town’s history. Delegates viewed artefacts including the original ledger books of the Tredegar medical aid society (the pre-cursor to the NHS).

Very special thanks go to Blaenau Gwent Council’s Alyson Tippings (Economic Development Unit) who organised and ran the tour. The delegates had a fantastic time and learned a great deal about Wales’ links to the origins of the National Health Service.

Delegates during tour of Tredegar
Delegates during tour of Tredegar.

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