Steven Thompson reviews William Hazell's Gleaming Vision by Alan Burge

New Welsh Short Stories

Y Lolfa, £9.95

Of all the coalfields in Britain, it is south Wales that has attracted most attention from historians. Countless studies have poured from the presses since the 1970s and we are fortunate to possess so many insightful accounts of the coalfield from a number of talented historians. And yet, vast swathes of the social, cultural, industrial and political history of the South Wales Coalfield continue to await their historians.

An important contribution to that historiography, and one that does far more than merely fill a gap in the field, is Alun Burge’s study of the co-operative movement activist, William Hazell. Hazell was largely forgotten after his death and did not take his place in the pantheon of labour leaders in south Wales mythology that consisted primarily of Members of Parliament, trade union leaders and socialists. Rather, Hazell occupied a rung below this exalted strata in the labour movement hierarchy and has not featured in any historical works to date.

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