William Abraham

William Abraham

William Abraham was born in Cwmavon, Glamorgan in 1842. Educated at the Cwmavon National School, he became a collier at the age of ten.

In 1873 he became a Miners Agent and in the 1885 General Election became the Lib-Lab MP for the Rhondda. Abraham was a marvellous public speaker and the miners gave him the nickname Mabon (the Bard). He also had a remarkable singing voice and would often entertain the miners at conferences and demonstrations.

Abraham remained active in the trade union movement and by 1907 was President of the South Wales Miners' Federation and Treasurer of the Miners Federation of Great Britain.

Abraham won Rhondda in seven successive parliamentary elections and remained an MP until he retired in 1920.

William Abraham died on 14th May, 1922.

Primary Sources

(1) In his book My Life for Labour, Robert Smillie described how William Abraham restored order at union meetings.

If any friction arose and pandemonium threatened - so easy to rouse, so difficult to quell - 'Mabon' never tried to restore order in any usual way. He promptly struck up a Welsh hymn, or that magical melody, "Land of my Father". Hardly had he reached the second line, when, with uplifted arms, as though drawing the whole multitude into the circle of his influence, he had the vast audience dropping into their respective "parts", and accompanying him like a trained choir. It was wonderful, almost magical and the effect was thrilling. When the hymn or song was finished he raised a hand, and instantly perfect silence fell. The storm had passed.