ROBERT Owen has been named as one of the top 10 all-time heroes of Wales.
Owen, renowned for creating a workers' revolution in the 19th Century which laid the foundations for the Co-operative Movement, is placed at number nine in a list of 100 Welsh greats compiled by Culturenet Cymru ? a Welsh Assembly initiative.
He was born at Newtown in Montgomeryshire in 1771 and started work aged 9. After becoming an apprentice draper he stayed in Manchester, then moved on to Glasgow where in 1799 he purchased a textile mill in New Lanark.
There he shortened the working day, increased the minimum working age and set out to improve living conditions for workers. This included setting up a shop that reinvested its profits into itself.
Owen's ideas, described as "generations ahead of their time", created the idea of a stakeholder society, which was the starting point of the Co-operative Movement.
Over 40,000 votes were cast on the 100 Welsh Heroes website, of which Owen secured 1,621. He was also named the top "Welsh thinker".
The site, which can be viewed at www.100welshheroes.com, says: "Without him we would still be in the middle ages, both socially and economically. Robert Owen was not just a thinker, he put his ideas into practice."
It added: "Owen's ideas were many generations ahead of their time. They continue to inform the thinking of everyone who believes that people are more important than profit."
Culturenet Cymru, organisers of the vote, was formed in 2003 to showcase Wales on the Web. It is a not-for-profit organisation funded by the Welsh Assembly Government and based at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth.