Friday 14th May 2021 marks the 250th birthday of Robert Owen, born in Newtown in 1771 and returning before his death in 1858. Born to a saddler and ironmonger in Newtown Robert Owen was the sixth of seven children. At the age of 10 he was sent to work in the textiles industry. Borrowing £100 at the age of 19, Robert started his own business and began his life as an entrepreneur and social reformer, eventually becoming known as the ‘Father of British Socialism’.
In many ways Robert was centuries ahead of his time with his ideas of a workers’ utopia, socialist reform, and universal charity. Robert was the father of the worldwide co-operative movement and pioneered free education and better working conditions for all.
To celebrate the life of Robert Owen there had been plans to organise large events to celebrate his life and significance to Newtown; but unfortunately, due to the pandemic and Government lockdown restrictions many of these are unable to go ahead. However, Newtown & Llanllwchaiarn Town Council along with the Robert Owen Memorial Museum and various Cooperative Groups have nonetheless planned alternative events to signify the date.
Cllr David Selby, Mayor of Newtown, says “If we were still not under lockdown constraints we would be having a big birthday party for Robert Owen, but clearly this is not now possible. The Town Council is arranging for both his memorial near St Mary’s Church and his statue in town to be lit up. In addition, an extra interpretation board erected in the gardens near his statue giving more information about his life and his contribution to the world and to the birth and development of the Co-Operative movement. People from all around the world will be taking part in an online event on 14th May discussing his legacy, and I am
honoured, as the Town Mayor, to be able to welcome people to this event. Newtown should never forget that he was born here and passed away here, and the important work that he did. Happy Birthday Robert!”
Newtown & Llanllwchaiarn Town Council will be lighting Robert Owen’s memorial near St Mary’s Church and his statue in town from Friday 14th May 2021 – Monday 31st May 2021. The council have also supported the filming of the events to celebrate Robert’s birthday and significance of his lifelong legacy. For further information regarding these events that will be taking place please follow the link 250th events – Robert Owen Museum