Aubrey Hames is a former leader of the old Newport Borough Council, and was Major of the Borough in the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Year of 1977/78. First elected to Newport Borough Council in 1954, he remained a councillor continuously apart from an eight year break until his retirement from politics in 1987.
During his time as a councillor, he established a reputation as a forthright, honest and hardworking politician not afraid of upsetting those in the fight for the best deal for his constituents and the people of Newport.This often included National Government, particularly when the Conservative Party were in power. However, despite his often aggressive approach to a political fight, he gradually earned the growing respect of both his political allies and opponents who admired his unquestioned integrity and honesty.This also applied to the people of Newport whom he served. By the time of his retirement from politics, Aubrey had established unusual fame for a local politician (probably helped by his “famous” moustache), and few if many people did not know who he was.
On leaving politics, the council recognized his achievements as a councillor by offering him the Freedom of the Borough of Newport, which he refused. However, undeterred, they gave him the honorary title of Alderman. He also had a road named after him in Newport, Aubrey Hames Close. At the time, Aubrey was the only politician to have a road named after them in Gwent whilst still alive.
Post his political career, Aubrey threw himself into local charities. He was involved in almost 30 charities, including the largest, Newport Action for the Single Homeless (now Solas). At the time of his death, the local charities that he was instrumental in founding or involved with were responsible for approximately 60% of the charitable income that came into Newport. Finally in February 1998 the council succeeded in awarding Aubrey the Freedom of the Borough of Newport, this time for both his political and charity work. He was at the time only the thirteenth individual in its history to be given this award, and the third since the Second World War. This he accepted with reluctant grace, his fight seriously weakened by cancer that would take his life 4 months later.
Aubrey Hames died on 8th June 1998. The death of arguably the best known and most respected Newportonian was greeted with great sadness throughout the town. Making the front page for possibly the last time, the South Wales Argus referred to him as a “legend” as well as “the citizen who perhaps above all others, etched his name upon the town’s heart”.
Aim of this Website
At the time of his death in 1998, Aubrey Hames was arguably the best known person among the residents of Newport, and arguably one of the greatest individuals to be associated with this now city. However, despite his local fame and the respect and affection that was held for him in Newport during his lifetime, the absence of the computer age of today and a career confined to local rather than national politics means that his life and contribution to the people of Newport is poorly documented. The aim of this website therefore is to accumulate and document as much information about his life as possible so that this important historical figure is not lost in the passage of time.
To achieve this, several web pages have been set up highlighting what are believed to be the key stages of his life, links to which are given at the top of each page. Visiting these links will highlight what has currently been documented about these aspects of his life. As this website has initially been set-up as an information gathering exercise, little information is currently given, but these will be expanded with time. The key requirement to gather details of his life before 1950 has also dictated that this website is up and running sooner rather than later when key facts may not be available.
If anybody has any details, or anecdotes regarding Aubrey, they can either contact us, or alternatively post a comment on the forum page, a link to which is given at the top of each page. You can also start a new topic in the forum if any of the current topics are not suitable. Details sent in will be documented, and will be combined with other contributions to build as accurate a picture as possible of his life, which will then be posted on this website.
As this website aims to build an accurate life story for Aubrey, all contributions however large or small are considered important. In particular, any details about his life, before the 1960s are sought, as this part of his life is not well documented. It is also important that information that is published on this website is accurate. Key details will be checked, or highlighted if little or no information is available to corroborate any facts.
Research and Book on his life
A book on Aubrey’s life is currently being written, which is anticipated to take several years to complete. Current progress is outlined below, and this will be updated periodically:
- Chapter on his court case in the 1970s and 1980s against the British Transport Docks Board. 1st draft chapter complete August 2012.
- Chapter on his early life 1923-1939. First draft finished Spring 2013, second draft finished December 2014.
- Chapter on his time in the army and his life with Connie Williams 1939-1950. 1st draft finished June 2014.
- Life in Newport before entering politics, currently being written. First draft.
To aid this research, a PhD studentship at the University of South Wales in Newport is being sponsored to look at the history of local politics in Newport over the period 1945-1977. This research, which started in 2013 is anticipated to be completed in 2018.
If you would like to help in investigating Aubrey’s life, please let us know by contacting us here contact us. Most of the research for this website is being carried out some distance from Newport in the course of a normal family and working life, meaning that opportunities and time to access the various archives in the Newport and South Wales area is limited. Therefore, any help with this process would be appreciated. In addition, any help on setting up, or suggestions on improving this website would also be appreciated.