Women’s History in Wales

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Use the lists below to discover stories about women’s lives in Wales. You can also access the stories at each featured location, by using your mobile to scan our QR codes there.

Some of the stories relate to pioneering women who challenged societal norms, helping to shape current opportunities and expectations. Other stories provide an insight into the work done by women in peacetime and in wartime, or celebrate achievements in areas such as the creative arts and business. You’ll also find places in Wales which are linked to women who lived long ago and became objects of veneration and myth.

NORTH-WEST WALES

Anglesey
Llanfairpwll - the first Women’s Institute branch in Britain
Menai Bridge - Gracie Davies was Mentioned in Dispatches for her Red Cross hospital work in First World War
Menai Bridge - Edna Pritchard inherited a fortune but died in Snowdonia while walking with Oxford University friends

Gwynedd
Llanberis – nurse Jennie Williams died in 1919 at the French hospital where she’d tended wounded soldiers
Criccieth - suffragettes smashed windows in 1914 as David Lloyd George gave a speech
Llanbedr - the Gamwell sisters worked in both world wars, trained as pilots and did botanical research

Conwy county borough
Llandudno - childhood home of the USA’s first female state senator, Martha Hughes Cannon
Llandudno - founding place of first women’s suffrage society in Wales
Conwy - former office of Agnes Hughes, the first female solicitor in Wales 

NORTH-EAST WALES

Denbighshire
Rhyl - birthplace of Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in Britain

Flintshire
Whitford - first Welsh woman transported to Australia was sentenced by Thomas Pennant in 1783

Wrexham
Wrexham town - suffragettes attacked by crowd for heckling Lloyd George at the National Eisteddfod

MID WALES

Powys
Machynlleth - first shop of self-taught textile designer Laura Ashley
Brecon – Eileen Talmage of the Women’s Land Army represented Breconshire at a London rally in 1919

SOUTH-WEST WALES

Pembrokeshire
Fishguard - in 1797 Jemima Nicholas arrested 12 French soldiers the during last invasion of Britain

Carmarthenshire
Hendy – toll-keeper Sarah Williams, 75, was killed by Rebecca Rioters while trying to save her possessions

Swansea
Swansea city - poet and novelist Ann Hatton ran a bathing house where the Civic Centre stands

SOUTH-EAST WALES

Cardiff
Cathays – memorial to victims of Thalidomide, recommended for pregnant women in the 1950s and 1960s
City centre – Glamorganshire Canal was a magnet for suicidal young women, including one holding a baby in 1907