Swansea student helping to celebrate the life of Vernon Hartshorn OBE in special commemorative exhibition

A Swansea University student is working alongside the South Wales Miners’ Museum to produce a special exhibition on the life of the late Vernon Hartshorn OBE.

Harri Rogers – who is studying a Masters in Public History and Heritage – is playing a key role in helping to put together the exhibition, the first of its kind, composed of Hartshorn artefacts and set in the context of the evolution of working class politics in the early 20th century.

Born in 1872, Hartshorn was an advocate of the working classes and his desire to represent workers set him on a journey that would see him hold power at the highest levels of government.

He was an influential leader during the 1912 strike for a minimum wage and in 1924 he became the first ever coal miner to rise to the position of a Cabinet Minister as part of the first Labour government.

Vernon Hartshorn

Hartshorn was elected as a labour MP for Ogmore in 1918, a position that he held until his death in 1931.

The exhibition is set to launch at the South Wales Miners’ Museum in February 2019 with the aim of then taking it to locations across the region, including Risca, Aberaman, Maesteg, Rhondda and Cardiff before culminating in an exhibition at the Houses of Parliament.

“The project is an exciting experience for me,” said Harri. “It will produce insights into the life of a man who has been forgotten by many people and will provide visitors with a view of a period of history which is quite often underexplored but is an important period in the development of working-class history.”

William Sims, South Wales Miners’ Museum Collections Officer said:

“Everyone here at the Miners’ Museum is hugely excited about creating this exhibition. The end result will be an innovative and informative experience, telling the story of one of Wales’ most important, yet largely forgotten, political figures.”