Following the articles I have written about Morgan Jones, the conscientious objector and Caerphilly MP, I was surprised how many people said to me “I always wondered why the Morgan Jones Park was given that name”.
There is of course the ‘Aneurin’ Club in Penyrheol, named after Nye Bevan, the founder of the NHS. But it is not widely known that many streets and even two housing estates in Caerphilly are named after prominent Labour politicians of their time. There is Bondfield Park, named after Margaret Bondfield, who rose from being a shopgirl in Brighton to become the first woman in a Labour Cabinet. There is also Lansbury Park, named after the leader of the Labour Party in the 1930s, George Lansbury.
In fact, in Lansbury Park, every street is named after a Labour politician of the past. Here we have Attlee Court, named after the former Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party, Hartshorn Court, after the MP for Ogmore and Postmaster General. Then there is Snowden Court, named after the Chancellor of the Exchequer who was expelled from the Labour Party after joining Ramsay MacDonald in the National Government of 1931, and Trevelyan Court, named after the former Liberal who was Education Secretary in the 1924 and 1929 Labour Governments. And so the list goes on. Indeed the street names of Lansbury Park are an essay in Labour’s history.
The fact that so many places are named after Labour politicians is of course a reflection of Caerphilly’s traditional political affinity. But in recent times Caerphilly has been more of a political mix and, again, this is reflected in the fact that the Playing Fields off Crescent Road are named after Owain Glyndwr, who many see as a great Welsh nationalist figure.
Of course the use of political names is not always popular and sometimes using certain individuals’ names falls out of fashion. Take the Caerphilly Business Park for example. When this was originally opened in the 1960s, it was called the Harold Wilson Industrial Estate, named after the Prime Minister of the day who actually came to Caerphilly to officially open it. And in today’s anti-politician climate it would be a brave councillor who suggested anything being named after a politician.
This article was written for Local View.