Thursday, December 21, 2006

Communist Cremation in Pontypridd

Today is the 75th anniversary of Britain's first communist cremation. Naturally enough it took place in the Valleys, at Pontypridd Crematorium in 1931.

The dead communist in question was one David Evans - manager of the Porth branch of the Mid-Rhondda co-operative society.

Left-wing mourners followed the funeral procession from Porth to Pontypridd. It was a good turn out - over 200 communists from all over the Rhondda wearing red rossettes. As for the coffin itself it was draped with a red flag, a gift from the women of Karkov in Russia bearing the inscription: "Presented to the fighting British miners and their wives".

At the church adjacent to the crematorium, in accordance with Evans' wishes, a non-religious service was conducted. Instead of a clergyman or minister invoking God, leading communists took turns to make speeches in memory of Mr Evans. It was an historic occasion.

Pontypridd, as it happens, was a fitting location for Britain's first ever communist cremation, for it was here also that cremation pioneer and all round eccentric Dr William Price for many years lived.