The Epperstone, 15 Abbey Road, Llandudno

button-theme-womenThe Epperstone, 15 Abbey Road, Llandudno

This building, now a guesthouse, is named after the home village of two sisters who lived here in the early 20th century. Some period fittings survive, including stained glass interior windows.

Lucy Dorothea Champneys and her younger sister Susan Edith were daughters of Rev Maximillian Hugh Stanley Champneys, rector of Epperstone, Nottinghamshire. He was Oxford-educated and farmed 258 acres. He died, leaving a large sum of money, in 1891, when the sisters and their sibiling Mary still lived at the rectory. They had five servants and were unmarried.

Edith, born in 1863, had moved to North Wales by 1903, when she was elected to the Board of Guardians (overseeing the workhouse where poor people lived and worked). In 1907 she became secretary of the first Welsh branch of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies. You can read about this aspect of her life on our page about the society’s office in Madoc Street.

By 1911 Edith and Lucy were living in this nine-roomed house, which they had already named Epperstone. They had a cook and a housemaid, Holyhead-born Annie Grace Hughes.

Edith was in her 50s when she joined the Women’s Police Service in 1916. This later became the Women’s Auxiliary Service. Women in the police force had only recently been granted the power to make arrests, in 1915, and were generally not welcomed by the male police officers.

Female police were mainly used as escorts for the wives of important officers or in police matters involving children and women. They were paid significantly less than their male counterparts, and were offered no pension. Mothers were barred from joining.

There was no established police uniform for women. In the 1920s Edith was fined £5 for wearing a police uniform – despite being a member of the auxiliary police force! UK police forces continued to be gender-segregated until the 1970s.

Edith died in Sutton, Surrey, in 1928. Her will included £100 for Annie Hughes, then aged 44, in gratitude “for all she has done for me and mine”.

With thanks to DeAnn Bell, of Women’s Archive Wales and Llandudno Museum and Gallery, and to Dr Hazel Pierce, of The History House

Postcode: LL30 2EE    View Location Map

Women’s Archive Wales website - download the Llandudno Women’s Heritage Walk leaflet

Website of The Epperstone guesthouse

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