Plaque remembers city MP who helped to found health service

unveiling of a blue plaue to commemorate former city MP Arthur Greenwood, one of the pioneers of the health service.'Pictured: Mary Creagh and Kevin Trickett
unveiling of a blue plaue to commemorate former city MP Arthur Greenwood, one of the pioneers of the health service.'Pictured: Mary Creagh and Kevin Trickett
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A former city MP who laid the foundations of the National Health Service has been commemorated with the unveiling of a new plaque.

Arthur Greenwood was MP for Wakefield from 1932 until his death in 1954.

Wakefield Civic Society have chosen to honour his contribution to local and national affairs with a new plaque which will be put up on George Street.

It is the 36th of 50 plaques that Wakefield Civic Society is aiming to unveil before it celebrates its 50th anniversary next year.

Chairman of the society Kevin Trickett said Wakefield and District Housing (WDH) would install the plaque at Greenwood House, which is named after the MP.

He said: “Because of his involvement in national politics and his work to set up the NHS, he ought to be remembered.

“He was also someone who campaigned against the appeasement policy before the start of World War Two. When Germany first went to war with the rest of Europe, Arthur Greenwood said ‘we need to fight back’.”

Mr Greenwood, who became deputy leader of the Labour party, commissioned the Beveridge Report, which proposed a national health insurance scheme that led to the ‘welfare state’.

When the wartime coalition government was formed, Winston Churchill appointed him to the War Cabinet as Minister without Portfolio.

He emerged as Churchill’s most vocal supporter in the lengthy debates on whether to accept or reject a peace offer from Germany.

Mr Trickett said the civic society plaques, which have honoured other local figures including sculptor Dame Barbara Hepworth and novelist George Gissing, had encouraged people to take an interest in local history.

He added: “A lot of people think there’s nothing worth knowing about Wakefield, but they are generally very interested once they can appreciate the stories behind the plaques.”

Mary Creagh MP, former MP David Hinchliffe and the local Labour Party contributed to costs for Mr Greenwood’s plaque.