NEW LIGHT ON RHONDDA POLL
Many thanks to the family of the late Vic Davies, Rhondda, for donating to Plaid History a truly inspirational collection of material concerning the Rhondda West by-election that took place over half a century ago.
The collection includes a scrapbook of press cuttings that recall the dramatic contest in 1967 when Vic Davies succeeded in slashing Labour’s towering majority from seventeen thousand to just 2,306 votes, a swing of 29 per cent to Plaid Cymru.
There are a number of valuable telegrams and letters, including congratulations from Plaid Cymru president Gwynfor Evans, who had been returned as MP for Carmarthen the previous year.
The collection also includes a letter from the SNP’s Dr Andrew Lees of Bearsden near Glasgow inviting Vic Davies to travel to Scotland to support Winifred Ewing’s campaign in the Hamilton by-election – in particular by accompanying her down a local coal mine. Winnie Ewing had met Vic a few weeks previously in the Plaid Conference in Dolgellau.
It is clear from the contents of the collection that Vic accepted the invitation, went down the coal mine and also addressed a by-election rally. A handwritten letter from Winnie Ewing dated 2 October 1967 expresses her gratitude for his support and for helping make the events successful. Four weeks later, Winnie Ewing went on to win Hamilton and join Gwynfor in Westminster.
After copying items for Plaid History purposes, the collection will be sent to the National Library in Aberystwyth to form an important part of the Plaid Cymru archive.