The King Makes a Famous Remark
Thursday 19th November 1936
The King made a tour of the areas of South Wales still ravaged by the great slump. Their staple industries of coal-mining and steel making were still hugely depressed. As well as weak demand, the exhaustion of the region’s iron ore deposits fatally undermined steel production as ore had now to be transported from a sea-port.
This had spelled the end for the once great Dowlais steel works, now an abandoned ruin. As the King looked down on it from the top of a hill., it was explained to him that it had once employed 9,000 men. His distress at the sight of Dowlais was unmistakable and it sparked his famous remark, usually given as “Something must be done”. In some versions it continues “for these men” and thus with less directly political undertones, but there is no definitive record. The Times quoted him as saying "These people were brought here by these works. Some kind of employment must be found for them", but it is a fair chance that decorum would have trumped liternalness had he come even vaguely close to controversy.