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Ernest Bevin: working-class hero

In an era obsessed with social mobility, Britain has somehow forgotten about the trade union titan who rose from 11-year-old orphan farm labourer to become a world-shaping statesman

Photo: Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin stands behind Clement Attlee at a meeting of the Big Three (UK, US and USSR) in Potsdam, Germany, in 1945

Winston Churchill and Clement Attlee are rightly recognised as giants of 20th-century British politics. Nye Bevan, too, gets a look-in for his role in founding the NHS. One name, however, is often overlooked: Ernest Bevin. In some respects, he was the most remarkable of them all. 

To the extent he is remembered now, it is for having been foreign secretary at…

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