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Visitors flock to the town where the NHS started 75 years ago


Politicians came together to celebrate Wales Tourism Week and hear first-hand from businesses in a small Welsh town where the NHS was dreamed up 75 years ago. Nick Smith MP, Alun Davies MS and Cllr John Morgan, Cabinet member for Place and Regeneration met with managers of Bedwellty House and Park, The Tredegar Workmen’s Medical Aid Society Heritage Centre and the Tredegar Arms to explore what is available to visitors unearthing NHS history.

Bevan was a miner enjoying the comfort of what the local medical aid society offered its members. The society had Walter Conway as its secretary who in turn was a mentor for Bevan and was a fellow member of the local ‘Query Club’, a radical debating society in the town. This is where Aneurin Bevan sharpened his debating skills growing his intellect and shaping his principles that led to the formation of a health service, free at the point of need for everyone in the UK.

Nick Smith MP said, “It is great to be here on The Circle in Tredegar for Wales Tourism Week 2023. It was lovely to have a taste of being behind the bar of the Tredegar Arms under the tuition of Abby Fleet and it is so much different from when I was here as a lad. It is a wonderful transformation and am particularly impressed with the sports bar and outdoor area. Local hospitality businesses play such an important part in welcoming visitors.’

I loved visiting the Tredegar Workmen’s Medical Aid Society Heritage Centre with Kevin and Jay. especially all the artefacts and films. I was reminded of the Central Surgery of my childhood. The reference of Nye Bevan ‘Tredegarising’ the whole of the country is spectacular, here in Blaenau Gwent we really are standing on the shoulders of Giants.”

Kevin Phillips,TWMASHC*, Nick Smith, MP and Jay Sweeny, TWMASHC* – at the *Tredegar Workmen’s Medical Aid Society Heritage Centre, The Circle, Tredegar.

Alun Davies added, “We are rightly proud of being the birthplace of Nye Bevans NHS and Wales Tourism Week is a great opportunity to showcase some of the work that is being undertaken in the tourism sector locally to build on that heritage.

I was delighted to again visit the Tredegar Workmen’s Medical Aid Society Heritage Centre and celebrate Aneurin Bevan with a stroll along the beautiful Aneurin Bevan trail culminating with a visit to Bedwellty Park.

As well as playing an important role in preserving our heritage, the tourism sector in Blaenau Gwent is a key part of delivering economic growth so it was great to meet with local tourism businesses to hear about their work and future plans and how we can continue to work together to ensure a strong tourism sector across our borough.”

Councillor John Morgan, Cabinet Member for Place and Regeneration, said, “We have a proud heritage here in our communities and a history of standing up for those in need. The NHS is carved on our hearts and we want to use this its 75th anniversary to invite visitors to come and see where it all started. There is so much to see and do whether it is visiting heritage centres and museums, walking trails, listening to films, reading and learning about its roots. You can stay in friendly hotels with comfy beds, enjoy tasty food in our cosy restaurants or toast the NHS in our welcoming bars. You really should make 2023 the year to visit Blaenau Gwent.”

Wales Tourism Week is an opportunity for tourism sites across Wales to raise awareness of the sector and showcase the quality of Wales’ tourism offer to both UK domestic and international tourists. Wales Tourism Week took place from 15 May to 21 May 2023.