The Lady of Llanwern comes home with new book
3:02pm Tuesday 22nd October 2013 in News
A NEW auto-biography about one of Gwent's and Wales' most famous suffragettes was brought home to where her life began in Llanwern village.
Margaret Haig Mackworth second Viscountess of Rhondda, the feminist who blew up a Newport post box and was subsequently imprisoned, is the subject for Angela V. John's latest auto-biography, Turning the Tide.
Speaking at Llanwern Village Hall last week, the author admitted she was anxious to be talking to the people who were ‘more familiar with the terrain’ than her.
Ms John, who is travelling across the country to promote the book, said: “This event is especially important. It’s important because it’s where Margaret grew up. There are lots of people who have local stories.”
This year is the centenary of Margaret’s stint in Usk jail, where she was sent after blowing up a post-box in Risca Road, Newport and refusing to pay the fine imposed on her. There, she went on hunger strike before being released.
Ms John said: “She was leading support in this part of Wales. She was one of the leading figures in the final phase of British sufferage.”
Pictured in the book, is Margaret with her aunties on Newport high street with big placards advertising votes for women.
Among her achievements was the feminist weekly magazine, Time and Tide, which she funded and founded in 1920, as well as the Six Point Group, one of the first to campaign on women's issues, including equal pay and equal opportunities. She also became the first female president of what is now Cardiff University.
Jessica Morden, MP for Newport West, was also at the talk and said: "When I was elected in 2005, I was the first female MP for Newport. It's staggering really and it all started with this story we heard tonight."
Ms John said: “As a suffragette she was someone who was prepared to speak out, so Wales like everywhere else got the vote. Despite being based in London, through Tide and Times, she drew attention to Wales.”
Throughout the research of her book, Ms John made several trips to Llanwern and got to know surviving members of Margaret’s family well. She also trawled through old editions of the South Wales Argus which she references in numerous accounts in the book.
The autobiography, published by Parthian, is available to buy in hardback now.
Comments are closed on this article.