“Father” of the Council”
No figure in the ranks of Aberdare’s Local Authority is more respected or held in greater personal esteem than the “Father of the Council,” Coun. William Lawrence. His 32 years of unbroken service have imbued him with a knowledge of local government which has given him immense value to the community, and the staunch moral principles of a working-class man have won for him the affections of the people.
Evidence of this is the fact that in all the years of his office, only on three occasions had been called upon to defend his seat on the Town Council.
When he was 74 years of age, Coun. Lawrence had lived all his life in Aberaman, where he was born in 1873. His father came from Neath, also he was known in bardic circles as “Gwilym Nedd.” Mr Lawrence received his education at the then newly-built Blaengwawr School, which he left at the age of twelve to take up employment underground.
As he became older, he became active in the Trades Union movement, during the difficult period at the end of the last century, and after Keir Hardie’s election in 1900, he became increasingly interested in politics.
In 1914 the Town Council was augmented, and he was nominated for one of the extra seats. On that occasion, he lost to the late Mr W.R. Morgan (afterwards clerk to the Council), the next year he was returned and has held the office ever since. He was chairman of the Council in 1926, and last year, in consideration of his unique service to the town, it was unanimously decided to appoint him chairman for a second time, the only person to be allowed this privilege.
After 41 years underground, Coun. Lawrence left the mines in 1926 and became an insurance agent. Nine years ago, he gave up this work and has since devoted himself entirely to local affairs. He has been chairman of the Finance Committee for six years, chairman of the Housing Committee since 1935, and is also chairman of the Health Committee.
Last year in addition to the Council, and these committee chairmanships, he held the chair of the Taf Fechan Water Board, Pontypridd Assessment Committee, and the Aberdare and Mountain Ash Executive which was formed under the Education Act of 1944.
Mr Lawrence was married with six children. One son, who served with the Welsh Guards, died of wounds received in Normandy in 1944.
Will Freedom Live? 28.12.1940
Emerging from this total hell of war
Will Freedom’s form arise anew?
Or will its figure broken, prostrate lie
Beneath the feet of Hitler and his crew?
Shall Europe from its travail and its pain
Bring forth a new unblemished peace?
Or shall the bully with his bloody sword
Decree for us that liberty shall cease?
The answer comes from men of freedom raised-
“No tyrant’s might shall bar our way,
Hardships our garment – sorrow, toil, and tears
Shall not deter us “Freedom’s cause will stay.”
But when the fight for freedom has been won
Mankind from bullies free again,
Then Freedom’s form more beautiful must rise,
Emerging for the travail and the pain.
No more shall men who Freedom fought to save,
Find Freedom’s form is but a ghost.
When they return to the former peaceful life,
They must not find that Freedom’s cause is lost.
Arise! Mankind, and build the world anew
Upon the rock of brotherhood
Raze to the ground the edifice of greed,
And raise a “Christian Temple” where it stood!
(Son of Coun. W. Lawrence)
3 Gadlys Uchaf, Trecynon
Despite attempts to change council policy on the matter, Aberdare Urban District Council has refused to compromise on the question of Welsh names for streets at their new Penywaun housing estate.
These names are Haulfryn, Awelfryn, Coed Glas, Danyrheol, Llwynderi, Bryn Rhos, Ger-Y-Bont, Heol Bryngwyn and Bryncoed. There is only one exception to the rule, Lawrence Avenue, in honour Mr William Lawrence, “father” of the council, who has been a member of the authority for more than thirty years. Mr Lawrence was defeated by the Communist candidate in the council election at Aberdare on Thursday.
On June 17, 1957, at 16 Sunny Bank Street. Aberaman, William Laurence. District Councillor at Aberdare for many years. Thursday at 2.30 from the house. Friends, please meet at Aberdare Old Cemetery Gates 2.40 p.m.
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