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Elsie Chamberlain (née Cooil)
Place of birth: Liverpool
Service: Teacher, mother, local politician
Notes: Elsie with her family moved from Liverpool to Bangor when she was five. After finishing school, she became a teacher in local schools. Charlotte Price White [qv], the well-known local suffragist, told her ‘You have the ability to do public work and it is your duty to serve the citizens of Bangor’. She became involved in many war-time committees, and stood, unsuccessfully, in the municipal elections of 1919, finally becoming a councillor in 1930 and the first woman mayor of Bangor between 1941 and 1943. Elsie was the mother of the artist and writer Brenda Chamberlain, and died in 1972.
Sources: Jill Percy: Brenda Chamberlain, Artist and Writer (Parthian Books 2013)
Report of a housing exhibition organised by the Bangor branch of the National Council of Women, including Mrs Chamberlain. North Wales Chronicle 15th August 1919
Report of the municipal elections in Bangor. North Wales Chronicle 24th October 1919
Place of birth: Belgium
Service: Teacher, refugee
Notes: Marie Becker was one of the Belgian refugees hosted in Holywell, and seems to have been a spokeswomen for the group. Her appointment to teach the Belgian children at Holywell County School was reported in the English and Welsh press.
Report of Marie Becker’s appointment at Holywell County School. Flintshire Observer 21st January 1915.
Report of Marie Beckers's appointment at Holywell County School. Y Brython 21st January 1915.
Place of birth: Pontycymer ?
Service: Teacher, Suffragette, Councillor
Notes: Fannie Thomas was a teacher and suffragette, and rnHeadmistress of Ffaldau Schools Pontycymer. The Girls School was separated in 1908, and she remained Head there. A strong supporter of suffrage, she invited Sylvia Pankhurst to speak at Pontycymer (in support of the NSPCC) in April 1907, and herself spoke on suffrage on numerous occasion, being described by the Glamorgan Gazette as ‘a doughty warrior in the women’s cause’. She was also a significant supporter of the National Union of Women Teachers, serving as President in 1912. Very aware of the poverty in the area, she stood unsuccessfully fir the Board of Guardians (being beaten by another women, Mrs Edmund Evans, by 32 votes.) Fannie did however stand successfully as a Labour candidate for Ogmore and Garw Urban District Council in 1919 and later became leader of the council. Fannie Thomas is said to be the first woman in the Garw Valley to wear breeches and the first to ride a motor-bike.
Report of Sylvia Pankhurst’s talk in aid of the NSPCC organised by Fannie Thomas. Glamorgan Gazette 19th April 1907
Report of a debate on women’s suffrage at the Ffaldau Institute; Fannie Thomas proposed the motion ‘should women have the vote’. Glamorgan Gazette 22nd January 1909
Report of the contest for a seat on the Board of Guardians. Fannie Thomas lost. Glamorgan Gazette 13th November 1914
Comment on Miss F M Thomas’s election to Ogmore and Garw Urban District Council. Glamorgan Gazette 11th April 1919.
Charlotte Price White (née Bell)
Place of birth: Scotland
Service: Teacher, suffragist, councillor
Death: 1932, Bangor, Cause not known
Notes: A former teacher who had studied science at university College, Bangor, Charlotte was a founder member of the Bangor Women’s Suffrage Society, and was one of only two women from North Wales (the other being Mildred Spencer from Colwyn Bay) to walk the whole NUWSS Great Pilgrimage to London in 1913. During the war she was extremely active in all kinds of support, raising money for the Welsh Women’s Hospital Unit in Serbia , the Patriotic Guild War Savings, the National Union of Women Workers, the Women’s Institute and many others. In 1926 she became the first woman member of Caernarvonshire County Council and was very active in the International League for Peace and Freedom.
Report of the work of the Bangor Medical Aid Committee, of which Charlotte was Hon Secretary. North Wales Chronicle 18th December 1914
Report of a meeting of the War Savings Committee. North Wales Chronicle 19th October 1917
Part of a report on fundraising for a North Wales Women’s Hospital Unit in Serbia. Charlotte was Hon Secretary (again). North Wales Chronicle 23rd April 1915
Report of difficulties arising between the Women’s Institutes of North Wales and the Board of Agriculture. Charlotte Price White chaired the meeting. North Wales Chronicle 21st December 1917.
Margaret Sara Meggitt (née ?)
Place of birth: Grantham
Service: Teacher, trade unionist
Notes: Margaret Meggitt moved to Newport, Mon, in 1906 with her husband. They had previously lived in Mansfield, where she had been involved in the Suffrage movement. She joined the Labour Party in 1913, and formed the Newport Branch of the National Federation of Women Workers, serving as secretary for four years. She was the first woman to sit on the Newport Trades and Labour Council, and was an assessor on the Munitions tribunal of Monmouthshire, with particular emphasis on the working conditions of girls and women. She was also an executive member of the Monmouthshire Committee of the National Council for the Unmarried Mother and her Child, and supported the defence appeal for Gladys May Snell [qv].
Sources: Who’s Who in Newport 1920
National Union of Women Workers badge
Badge of the National Federation of Women Workers, possibly from Monmouthshire. Thanks to Pete Strong.
Place of birth: Swansea
Service: Teacher, Volunteer police woman, Swansea Women’s Patrols, February / Chwefror 1916-1917
Notes: Janet Gulliver, a mathematics teacher educated at Somerville College, Oxford, joined the Womens Patrol in Swansea early in 1916. Possibly she is the same Janet Gulliver who hurt her leg falling off a wall in May 1917
Place of birth: Llangammarch Wells
Death: August / 1918 / Awst, Llangammarch Wells, Influenza / y ffliw
Notes: Ida Williams was a graduate of University College, Aberystwyth. She taught at intermediate schools in Aberystwyth, Cardiff, Bargoed and finally London, where her health broke down about a year before her death. She seems to have been musical, and to have written for publications including Y Cymro.
Report of the death and funeral of Miss Ida Williams BA. Brecon County Times 8th August 1918.
Violet Annie Davies
Place of birth: Llanelli
Notes: Aged 15. Received the Medal of the Order of the British Empire 'For courage in remaining at her post at the telephone during a severe explosion'.
Sources: The Carmarthen Journal and South Wales Weekly Advertiser;
report of presentation in The Carmarthen Journal and South Wales Weekly Advertiser 19th April 1918
Violet Annie Davies
Violet was 15-year-old telephonist at a munitions factory, awarded the MOBE for staying at her post during an explosion
Beatrice [B] Picton Turbervill (Picton Warlow)
Place of birth: Fownhope, Herefordshire
Service: Temperance and welfare worker, munitions hostel warden, H M Factories, before/cyn 1916 - 1918
Death: 1958, Cause not known
Memorial: Ewenny Priory, Ewenny, Vale of Glamorgan
Notes: Beatrice was the twin sister of Edith Turbervill [qv]. As a young woman she kept to her original surname of Picton-Warlow; her father changed the name when he inherited Ewenny Priory in 1891. Before the war she was a keen promoter of temperance, and was the Chair of the Cardiff branch of the British Women’s Temperance Association. In 1916 she was appointed head of one of the new munitions workers’ hostels in Woolwich. A year later she moved to Coventry as Warden of the Housing Colony for Women Munitions Workers, a large undertaking with a staff of 200, and some very unruly young workers. The ‘wild Irish-Welsh inmates … flung food and china and table furnishings at the waitresses, at each other, and through the windows’. However the Welsh Miss Picton Turbervill and her colleague the Irish Miss MacNaughton sorted the establishment out. At the end of the war she was on a lecture tour in the united states, speaking about Welfare Work in Britain. For many years after the war she was involved with Dr Barnardos.
Sources: Monthly Labor Review Volume 7 Issue 6 [US]
Report of the AGM of the Cardiff branch of the British Women’s Temperance Association, Beatrice Picton Warlow in the chair. Evening Express 18th January 1901.
Monthly Labor Review
A report of the work of Beatrice Picton Turbervill (and her colleague Miss MacNaughton) appeared in the American journal the Monthly Labor Review.
Elisabeth De Saedeleer
Place of birth: Sint-Martens-Latem, Belgium
Service: Textile artist, painter
Death: 1972, Belgium, Cause not known
Notes: Elisabeth, born 1902, was the second of five daughters of the Belgian artist Valerius de Saedeleer. He was among a group of artists encouraged by Gwendoline and Margaret Davies [qv] to come to Wales as refugees in 1914. The family settled in Aberystwyth, with strong ties to University College, Aberystwyth. Elisabeth and her older sister Marie became interested in weaving and tapestries (encouraged by a meeting with William Morris’s daughter May); both taught in the newly formed Arts and Crafts department of the college, together with their father. On her return to Belgium in 1921 Elisabeth became noted as a designer and weaver of textiles and tapestries. She set up a workshop, besides writing several books on the craft and undertaking many public commissions.
Sources: https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1177&context=tsaconf\r\nhttps://www.aber.ac.uk/en/media/departmental/informationservices/pdf/specialcollections/the-davies-family-and-belgian-refugee-artists-and-musicians-in-wales.pdf\r\nArt in Exile: Flanders, Wales and the First World War. 2002\r\n
Report of an exhibition fundraising for a students’ union building, a memorial to the war dead of University College, Aberystwyth. Cambrian News 25th April 1919