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Lewis Jones 1897-1939

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Lewis Jones is regarded as one of the finest of modern British novelists. He wrote two working class novels Cwmardy (1937) and We Live (1939), which are generally recognised as being outstanding depictions of life in the South Wales mining valleys during the first part of the twentieth century.

Lewis Jones was born in Clydach Vale on 28 December 1897. He attended the Central Labour College in London from 1923-25, where he joined the Communist Party. During the 1926 General Strike he was imprisoned for three months in Swansea jail for his trade union activities in the Nottinghamshire coalfield. Once back at the pits, he became Chairman and then checkweigher at Cambrian Lodge of the South Wales Miners’ Federation

In 1929, he resigned, refusing to work with scab labour. He remained unemployed for the rest of his life. As the Welsh organiser for the National Unemployed Worker’ Movement, he led the 1932, 1934 and 1936 Hunger Marches to London. Also in 1936, he was elected as one of the two Communist members on to the Glamorgan County Council.

Lewis Jones died on 27 January 1939 at the end of a day in which he addressed over 30 meetings in support of the Spanish Republic’s struggle against fascism. 



Smith, Dai. Lewis Jones (Cardiff, 1982)


Jones, Lewis. Cwmardy: the story of a welsh mining valley (London, 1978)

Jones, Lewis. We live: the story of a welsh mining valley (London, 1978)

All items listed in the further reading are available for consultation in either the South Wales Miners’ Library or the Library and Information Centre, University of Wales Swansea. Click here to link to the library catalogue. 



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