Reeves, Robin, 1941-2001

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Reeves, Robin, 1941-2001

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Robin Reeves (1941-2001) was a journalist and Plaid Cymru local activist who came to prominence primarily as the highly successful editor of the New Welsh Review from 1991 until 2001.

Robin Reeves was brought up at Manchester and London and received his education at the Leys School, Cambridge, although his family roots were at Harlech, North Wales. As an undergraduate at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth in the early 1960s he studied geology and was a notably active member of the university's thriving mountaineering club, developing an intense interest in the mountains and natural habitat of Wales. His first professional appointment was as a member of staff of the Financial Times Library during the second half of the 1960s where he became commodities editor prior to being posted as one of the newspaper's Brussels correspondents. By this time he had married Rosanne Lloyd, who hailed from a farming background in southern Cardiganshire. The marriage consolidated his Welshness immeasurably and encouraged him to achieve a mastery of the Welsh language. His fluency in the language, achieved extraordinarily quickly, was striking.

As a journalist he became responsible for charting and reporting Britain's entry into the European Economic Community (the Common Market) during the 1970s. The result was a powerful European sensibility that led to a strong attachment to Plaid Cymru. He was, in essence, a Welsh European, and he was one of the foremost founders of the Bureau of Unrepresented Nations which gave him access to people from a wide range of minority European nationalities. Towards the end of the decade Robin and Rosanne's heartfelt desire that their three children - Rhydian, Sioned and Mathonwy - receive a Welsh medium education prompted a return to Cardiff where Robin became based as the first Welsh correspondent to the Financial Times. A short stint followed as assistant editor of the Western Mail before he was appointed the energetic and hugely successful editor of the New Welsh Review.

Throughout these years Robin Reeves combined an interest in national politics and activities with a strong, active involvement in his local community as a community and county councillor for the village of Dinas Powys near Cardiff. Contemptuously dismissing the vastly disappointing outcome of the March 1979 devolution referendum, he consistently pressed the demand that Wales should develop her unique civic identity and establish national institutions. He developed an uncanny knack of mobilising small groups of activists to further an array of cultural and quasi-political causes.

The papers in this archive reflect the wide range of his activities and interests. These included serving as co-editor of the ground-breaking cultural magazine Arcade in the early 1980s, establishing and nurturing the Welsh Union of Writers and the enterprising St Davids Forum and continuing as an energetic Plaid Cymru councillor in Glamorgan, a necessarily uphill task, and being a leading light in the Parliament for Wales campaign.

When Robin Reeves became editor of the struggling New Welsh Review in 1991, its circulation was very small, it was run on a shoestring basis and made little impact. He turned this situation around quite dramatically, attracting high quality contributions which rapidly increased the journal's circulation and readership. It soon achieved a presence through much of Europe. Robin's journalistic background gave him a taste for the unexpected and sensational. He remained in the post almost until his untimely death during November 2001.


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