George Henry Hall 1881 – 1965

First Viscount Hall of Cynon Valley

George Henry Hall

George Henry Hall was born the 31st December at  Harris View Penrhiwceiber Mountain Ash, His father George was a miner from Marshfield in the county of Gloucester his mother Ann who came from Midsomer Norton near Radstock Somerset. He was educated at Penrhiwceiber elementary school but on attaining his twelfth birthday he was compelled to leave to take up work at Penrhiwceiber Colliery, so that he could assist his widowed mother, who had been left with a large family to support.

This was all the formal education he received but a prolonged absence from work following an accident in the colliery gave him an opportunity for self-education and extensive reading. He worked as the coal face until 1911 when he was appointed colliery checkweigh man and local agent of the S.W.M.F. in 1908 he won a seat on the Mountain Ash U.D.C, as the first Labour member for the Penrhiwceiber ward. He remained a member of this body for 18 years, during which he became chairman of both the U.D.C .and of the Education Committee. In the general election of 1922 he was returned as Labour member for the Aberdare division of the Merthyr Borough, defeating the sitting member C.B. Stanton and retained his seat with largemajorities (twice unopposed) until he was elevated to the peerage in 1946.

In the 1929 Labour Government he was given office as Civil Lord of the Admiralty, during 1931-35 he matured greatly as a parliamentarian. Hitherto he had concentrated mainly on the affairs of the coalmining industry of which he had an expert knowledge, but now, owing to the depleted ranks of his party, he was frequently called upon to speak from the front bench in debates on a variety of topics outside his previous range on interest.

He was also a powerful propagandist for his party outside Parliament; he waged a vigorous campaign in South Wales in the years 1934-35 against the Means Test Regulations. In 1940 he was elected leader of the Welsh Parliamentary Party, but resigned when in May 1940 he took office in the wartime coalition as Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the Colonial Office. He was made a P.C. in 1942 and became successively Financial Secretary of the Admiralty, 1942-43 and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs under Anthony Eden, 1943-45. On the formation of the Labour Government in July 1945 he became Secretary of State for the Colonies and continued in this post until October 1946, when he was made First Lord of the Admiralty. He acquired a deep and abiding interest in the navy and was very happy in this office but owing to advancing years and indifferent health he decided to retire in May 1951.

He was Deputy Leader of the House of Lords from 1947-51 and continued as Deputy Leader of the Labour peers till the end of 1953, when his active office involvement in politics virtual ceased. He was a first class constituency M.P. always courteous and approachable he was ever ready to take up the grievances of his constituents. Aberdare owed a great deal to him for his efforts to attract new industries into the own during the dark days of the depression. In 1927 he was able to persuade a new company Aberdare Cables to establish their factory in Aberdare and he was eventually invited to join the directors, thanks largely to his efforts Royal Ordnance Factories were establishes in Robertstown and Rhigos in 1940 and in 1945 the Hirwaun Trading estate was founded. These developments helped to establish Aberdare as a centre of light industry, which was an inestimable boon for a town which had become too heavily dependent on coal.

He was awarded honorary LL.D degrees by the University of Birmingham 1945 “of which Anthony Eden was chancellor” and the University of Wales in 1946. Always a faithful member of the Church in Wales he was elected member of it Representative Body, he died on the 8th Nov 1965.

He was created Viscount Hall of the Cynon Valley in 1946

St Winifreds Church

Note: The Panelling and alter rail are to the glory of god and in Memory of George Henry Hall
Viscount Hall of Cynon Valley B C: who was born and worked in Penrhiwceiber and who died in November 1965 and to is beloved wife Margret who died 24th July 1941

Viscount Hall Gravestone Mountain Ash Cemetery
Viscount Hall Gravestone Mountain Ash Cemetery