Margaret Haig Thomas

Margaret Haig Thomas


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Margaret Haig Thomas was the only daughter of David Alfred Thomas and Sybil Haig, was born at Princes Square, Bayswater, on 12th June 1883. She was educated at Notting Hill High School and St Leonards School.

According to her biographer, Deirdre Beddoe: "She received a sound academic education, but there really never was any serious expectation that a girl of her class would work for a living. On leaving school she took the next logical step in the career progression of an upper-class girl and came out. Chaperoned by her long-suffering mother, she endured three successive London seasons. Paralysed by shyness and incapable of small talk, she found this an agonizing experience and she took herself off to Somerville College, Oxford, primarily to escape the horrors of a fourth London season, but gave that up and returned after less than a year."

Margaret married Humphrey Mackworth in 1908. Four months later she joined the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU). She became secretary of the Newport branch and invited speakers such as Emmeline Pankhurst and Annie Kenney to Wales. During the 1910 General Election she attacked the car of Herbert Asquith. A supporter of the WSPU's arson campaign, she was sent to prison for trying to destroy a post-box with a chemical bomb. However, a hunger-strike led to her early release.

On the outbreak of the First World War, Margaret accepted the decision by the WSPU leadership to abandon its militant campaign for the vote. For the next of couple of years she worked closely with her father, who was sent by David Lloyd George to the United States to arrange the supply of munitions for the British armed forces. In May 1915, Margaret was returning from the United States on the Lusitania when it was torpedoed by a German submarine. Although over a thousand passengers died, Margaret was one of those fortunate enough to be rescued.

Awarded the title Lord Rhondda, David Alfred Thomas was appointed Minister of Food in 1917. Margaret was also given a government post as Director of of Women's Department of the Ministry of National Service. Her report on the Women's Royal Airforce in 1918 led to the dismissal of its commander, Violet Douglas-Pennant and her replacement by Helen Gwynne-Vaughan.

On the death of her father David Alfred Thomas in July 1918. As Deirdre Beddoe points out: "Margaret inherited his property, his commercial interests, and his title. The Directory of Directors for 1919 listed Viscountess Rhondda, as she now was, as the director of thirty-three companies (twenty-eight of them inherited from her father) and chairman or vice-chairman of sixteen of these. Already a famous figure whose activities were widely reported in the London press on account of her business career and of her increasingly leading role as a spokeswoman for feminism, her campaign to take her seat in the House of Lords attracted a great deal more publicity.... But although in 1922 she seemed to have won, when the committee of privileges accepted her plea for admission, the decision was reversed in May 1922."

Lady Rhondda divorced her husband and set up home with Helen Archdale. According to Archdale's biographer, David Doughan: "Helen Archdale had an intense relationship with Lady Rhondda, which seems to have begun in committee work during the First World War, though they also shared a background in suffrage militancy. By the early 1920s, she was sharing an apartment, and, together with her family, a country house (Stonepits, Kent) with Lady Rhondda."

In 1920 Lady Rhondda founded the political magazine Time and Tide. It was initially edited by her lover, Helen Archdale. In 1921 she launched the Six Point Group of Great Britain, which focused on what she regarded as the six key issues for women: The six original specific aims were: (1) Satisfactory legislation on child assault; (2) Satisfactory legislation for the widowed mother; (3) Satisfactory legislation for the unmarried mother and her child; (4) Equal rights of guardianship for married parents; (5) Equal pay for teachers; (6) Equal opportunities for men and women in the civil service.

At first Time and Tide supported left-wing causes but over the years the magazine, like its owner, moved to the right. As David Doughan points out: "However, philosophical disagreements, as well as Lady Rhondda's increasing editorial interventions, resulted in her being effectively forced out of the editorship of Time and Tide in 1926. Although she remained a director of Time and Tide Publishing Company, after her resignation specifically feminist concerns were gradually marginalized in Time and Tide."

Lady Rhondda did not allow politics to get in the way of good writing and contributors to the magazine included D. H. Lawrence, Rebecca West, Vera Brittain, Winifred Holtby, Virginia Woolf, Crystal Eastman, Charlotte Haldane, Storm Jameson, Nancy Astor, Margaret Bondfield, Margery Corbett-Ashby, Charlotte Despard, Emmeline Pankhurst, Eleanor Rathbone, Olive Schreiner, Helena Swanwick, Margaret Winteringham, Ellen Wilkinson, Ethel Smyth, Emma Goldman, George Bernard Shaw, Ernst Toller, Robert Graves and George Orwell. However, it never sold well and it is estimated that during the thirty-eight years she lost over £500,000 on the magazine.

As well as editing Time and Tide, Lady Rhondda wrote a memoir of her father and an autobiography, This Was My World (1933). After breaking up with Helen Archdale she moved in with Theodora Bosanquet, the secretary of the International Federation of University Women.

Margaret Haig Thomas, Lady Rhondda, died in the Westminster Hospital on 20th July 1958.

Until I was thirteen I learnt what trifles I did learn from governesses, first French and later German, but at thirteen. I was sent to Notting Hill High School. It was my father who wanted this. I suppose he realised that there was no serious connection between the governesses and education.

The German governess, however, remained, and conducted me every morning in a four-wheeler from our flat in Westminster to Notting Hill. When school was over she called for me and walked me back through the parks.

Two years later I went to St. Leonards School, St. Andrews. This was at my own wish. I had discovered that at St. Leonards girls were allowed to go out for walks by themselves without attendant mistresses. This spelt freedom, and it was for freedom that I thirsted. I went to my father and told him what I wanted to do. Would he help? He was at first a shade doubtful. He knew little of girls' boarding schools, but his sister Mary had been to one, and he thought she had learnt to be silly there. The girls, he understood, used to flirt with the boys at an army crammer's next door.

I must have been about eleven or twelve when he first "talked business" to me: that is, poured out a stream of description of some deal he was engaged on at the time, without any explanations - he hated explaining anything; it bored him. He walked up and down the room as he talked, turning his coins over in his pocket, and I, seated in the big armchair, listened palpitating with pride at being treated in so grown-up a fashion, but terrified of saying the wrong thing, and so showing that I was only understanding about one quarter of what he was saying, which I well knew would have instantly stopped the flood. On that occasion my mother was up in town ill, and there was no one else at home for him to talk to. He always talked business at home a great deal; he would retail every evening all that had interested him in the day's events.

During the formative period of childhood and adolescence and and as a young woman one was treated quite differently, in a thousand different ways, from the way in which a boy would have been. One was more protected, less was expected of one in very many directions (although more, of course, in others). A girl in innumerable subtle indirect ways is taught to mistrust herself. Ambition is held up to her as a vice - to a boy it is held up as a virtue. She is taught docility, modesty and diffidence. Docility and diffidence are of uncommonly little use in the business or professional world. A girl, after all, is all the while being prepared for her own special profession; and the profession of a wife or of a daughter at home is best and most successfully carried out by those who are prepared to defer to the judgment of others before their own.

I was determined to join the Pankhursts' organisation, the Women's Social and Political Union, but was held up in this resolve for three months by the fact that my father, who had considerable foresight and realised pretty well what joining that body was likely to mean, was inclined to be opposed to the idea. However, I finally decided that he could be no judge of a matter which concerned one primarily as a woman. Prid meanwhile had, travelling by a slightly different road, arrived at the same conclusion. She and I met one autumn day in London, and, full of excitement, went off together to Clement's Inn and joined.

One of the first effects that joining the militant movement had on me, as perhaps on the majority of those of my generation who went into it, was that it forced me to educate myself. I read to begin with, of course, the whole literature of feminism: leaflets, pamphlets, books in favour and books against. Of books that mattered dealing directly with feminism there were curiously few. Only three now stay in my mind: John Stuart Mill's Subjection of Women, Olive Schreiner's Woman and Labour, Cicely Hamilton's Marriage as a Trade; and perhaps one should add a fourth, Shaw's Quintessence of Ibsenism. Of course, there were stray passages in others; one or two of Israel Zangwill's Essays, for example, I find unforgettable to this day.

Of the quantities of books on politics, economics, finance, the working of the Exchanges, sociology, anthropology and psychology which I read during the first few happy years of that new revelation, some few still remain fresh in my mind. I can still, for example, vividly remember reading Havelock Ellis's Psychology of Sex. It was the first thing of its kind I had found. Though I was far from accepting it all, it opened up a whole new world of thought to me. I discussed it at some length with my father, and he, much interested, went off to buy the set of volumes for himself; but in those days one could not walk into a shop and buy The Psychology of Sex; one had to produce some kind of signed certificate from a doctor or lawyer to the effect that one was a suitable person to read it. To his surprise he could not at first obtain it. I still remember his amused indignation that he was refused a book which his own daughter had already read. But the fact was that the Cavendish Bentinck Library, to which I, in common with many others, owe a deep debt of gratitude, was at that time supplying all the young women in the suffrage movement with the books they could not procure in the ordinary way.

It became impossible to lower any more from our side owing to the list on the ship. No one else except that white-faced stream seemed to lose control. A number of people were moving about the deck, gently and vaguely. They reminded one of a swarm of bees who do not know where the queen has gone.

I unhooked my skirt so that it should come straight off and not impede me in the water. The list on the ship soon got worse again, and, indeed, became very bad. Presently the doctor said he thought we had better jump into the sea. I followed him, feeling frightened at the idea of jumping so far (it was, I believe, some sixty feet normally from "A" deck to the sea), and telling myself how ridiculous I was to have physical fear of the jump when we stood in such grave danger as we did. I think others must have had the same fear, for a little crowd stood hesitating on the brink and kept me back. "And then, suddenly, I saw that the water had come over on to the deck. We were not, as I had thought, sixty feet above the sea; we were already under the sea. I saw the water green just about up to my knees. I do not remember its coming up further; that must all have happened in a second. The ship sank and I was sucked right down with her.

The next thing I can remember was being deep down under the water. It was very dark, nearly black. I fought to come up. I was terrified of being caught on some part of the ship and kept down. That was the worst moment of terror, the only moment of acute terror, that I knew. My wrist did catch on a rope. I was scarcely aware of it at the time, but I have the mark on me to this day. At first I swallowed a lot of water; then I remembered that I had read that one should not swallow water, so I shut my mouth. Something bothered me in my right hand and prevented me striking out with it; I discovered that it was the lifebelt I had been holding for my father. As I reached the surface I grasped a little bit of board, quite thin, a few inches wide and perhaps two or three feet long. I thought this was keeping me afloat. I was wrong. My most excellent lifebelt was doing that. But everything that happened after I had been submerged was a little misty and vague; I was slightly stupefied from then on.

When I came to the surface I found that I formed part of a large, round, floating island composed of people and debris of all sorts, lying so close together that at first there was not very much water noticeable in between. People, boats, hencoops, chairs, rafts, boards and goodness knows what besides, all floating cheek by jowl. A man with a white face and yellow moustache came and held on to the other end of my board. I did not quite like it, for I felt it was not large enough for two, but I did not feel justified in objecting. Every now and again he would try and move round towards my end of the board. This frightened me; I scarcely knew why at the time (I was probably quite right to be frightened; it is likely enough that he wanted to hold on to me). I summoned up my strength - to speak was an effort - and told him to go back to his own end, so that we might keep the board properly balanced. He said nothing and just meekly went back. After a while I noticed that he had disappeared.

Various small acts of militancy had been performed by our local branch, but we had not done anything very spectacular or been particularly successful. I decided that we had better try burning letters. As it happened, burning letters was the one piece of militancy of which, when it was first adopted, I had disapproved. I could not bear to think of people expecting letters and not getting them. I had come round to it very reluctantly, partly on "the end justifies the means" principle; but chiefly on the ground that everyone knew we were doing it and therefore knew that they ran the risk of not getting their letters; and that it was up to the public to stop us if they really objected, by forcing the Government to give us the vote.

However, when it came to the point it was obvious that in the case of a local district, at some distance from head-quarters, burning the contents of pillar boxes had, tactically, much to recommend it. Acts which shall damage property without risking life and which shall not involve the certain risk of being caught are, as anyone who has tried them knows, very much more difficult to perform than they sound.

Setting fire to letters in pillar boxes was amongst the easiest of the things we could find to do. So one summer's day I went off to Clement's Inn to get the necessary ingredients. I was given, packed in rather a flimsy covered basket, twelve long glass tubes, six of which contained one kind of material and the other six another. So long as they were separate all was well, but if one smashed one tube of each material and mixed the contents together, they broke, so it was explained to me, after a minute or two into flames. I carried the basket home close beside me on the seat in a crowded third-class railway carriage, and the lady next door to me leant her elbow from time to time upon it. I reflected that if she knew as much as I did about the contents she would not do that.

Having got the stuff home, I buried it in the vegetable garden under the black-currant bushes, and a week or so later, dug it up and took it one day into the Newport Suffragette Shop to explain to the other members of committee what an easy business setting fire to pillar boxes would be for us all to practise in our spare moments.

That the group behind this paper is composed entirely of women has already been frequently commented on. It would be possible to lay too much stress upon the fact. The binding link between these people is not primarily their common sex. On the other hand, this fact is not, without its significance. Amongst those to whom the need we have spoken of is apparent today are a very large number of women. Women have newly come into the larger world, and are indeed themselves to some extent answerable for that loosening of party and sectarian ties which is so marked a feature of the present day. It is therefore natural that just now many of them should tend to be especially conscious of the need for an independent press, owing allegiance to no sect or party. The war was responsible for breaking down the barriers which kept each individual or group of individuals in a watertight compartment. The past five years have taught the importance of that wider view which sees the part in relation to the whole.

There is another need in our press of which the average person of today is conscious, but which must specially weigh with women - the lack of a paper which shall treat men and women as equally part of the great human family, working side by side ultimately for the same great objects by ways equally valuable, equally interesting; a paper which is in fact concerned neither specially with men nor specially with women, but with human beings. It must be admitted that the press of today, although with self-conscious, painstaking care it now inserts "and women" every time it chances to use the word "men" scarcely succeeds in attaining to such an ideal.

Lady Rhondda is the most remarkable businesswoman in the world. She is a most feminine creature of the greatest outward simplicity, whose soft grey eyes and light brown hair were matched in their gentleness only by the charm of her low, even, and tranquil voice.

If she wins her battle for the right to take her seat in the House of Lords she will have created another record, and added another victory to her championship of women's equality.

The question "Is the Leisured Woman a Menace to Civilization?" the topic of the recent debate at Kingsway Hall between Viscountess Rhondda and G. K. Chesterton, with Bernard Shaw in the chair, had almost a Bolshevist flavor. Yet Lady Rhondda, who maintained the affirmative is a wealthy woman, owner of vast coal properties, with no Socialistic tendencies whatever; she is a peeress in her own right, only daughter of David Alfred Thomas, later Viscount Rhondda, who was given a peerage in recognition of his services as food controller during the war.

Viscount Rhondda left to his daughter not only his title but full possession, direction and control of his extensive properties, exactly as though she had been a son. She inherited not only his money but his directorships, his active place in the financial world. And she made a gallant and distinguished fight to take his seat in the House of Lords. Twice, however, it has been decided, after a long legal battle with counsel of the very highest rank on both sides, that no woman may sit in that august body.

"Lady Rhondda is the terror of the House of Lords," said Bernard Shaw, in introducing her on this occasion. "She is a peeress in her own right. She is also an extremely capable woman of business, and the House of Lords has risen up and said, 'If Lady Rhondda comes in here, we go away!' They feel there would be such a show-up of the general business ignorance and imbecility of the malesex as never was before."

No, it was not radicalism that led Lady Rhondda to attack the idle women of her own class, it was feminism. She is a feminist, heart and soul, consistent to the last degree. She owns and edits a weekly journal. Time and Tide, which in style and matter and in general interest holds its own with the other serious English weeklies. It is in no sense a propaganda organ, and yet it never misses a chance to set forth, explain and uphold the feminist position on every issue which arises.

Sinking of the Lusitania (Answer Commentary)

Walter Tull: Britain's First Black Officer (Answer Commentary)

Football and the First World War (Answer Commentary)

Football on the Western Front (Answer Commentary)

Käthe Kollwitz: German Artist in the First World War (Answer Commentary)

American Artists and the First World War (Answer Commentary)

Sinking of the Lusitania (Answer Commentary)


Rhondda, Margaret (1883–1958)

Welsh publisher. Name variations: Lady Margaret Rhondda Margaret Haig, Viscountess Rhondda Margaret Haig Thomas Margaret Mackworth. Born Margaret Haig Thomas in South Wales in 1883 died in 1958 only daughter of David Alfred Thomas (an industrialist) and Sybil (Haig) Thomas educated privately, then in London and at St. Andrews spent one year at Somerville College, Oxford married Humphrey Mackworth, in 1908 (divorced 1923).

Lady Margaret Rhondda was born Margaret Haig Thomas in South Wales in 1883, the only daughter of David Alfred Thomas, an industrialist, and Sybil Haig Thomas . Her early years were quite eventful. Joining the protests of the militant suffragists, she was imprisoned and went on a hunger strike. Then, as a business associate of her father's, she was sent to America on the Lusitania in 1916. Fortunately, she was rescued from the sinking ship and went on to a viscountcy in 1918. After becoming a successful businesswoman, at one time serving as director of 33 companies, she was granted royal permission to attend the House of Lords.

In 1920, Lady Rhondda founded the weekly Time and Tide. For the first six years, it was edited by Helen Archdale and closely associated with the feminist organization known as the Six Point Group. When Lady Rhondda became editor (1926–58), the journal's emphasis shifted to politics in general. A leading weekly for nearly 60 years (1920–79), it numbered among its contributors Winifred Holtby , Cicely Hamilton , Stella Benson , Edith Nesbit , Rebecca West , Viola Meynell , Katherine Mansfield , Sylvia Townsend Warner , Vita Sackville-West , Dorothy L. Sayers , George Bernard Shaw, G.K. Chesterton, Aldous Huxley, Bertrand Russell, Storm Jameson , Gertrude Stein , Pamela Hansford Johnson , Rumer Godden , Kathleen Raine , Stella Gibbons , Edith Sitwell , Stevie Smith , D.H. Lawrence, T.S. Eliot, W.H. Auden, and E.M. Forster. After Lady Rhondda died in 1958, it was learned that she had pumped in £250,000 to subsidize her journal. Though it continued publication for another 20 years, it became a news magazine on the order of America's Time and Newsweek. Lady Rhondda's memoirs were published as This Was My World (1933) and Notes on the Way (1937). The Time and Tide Album was edited by E.M. Delafield (Elizabeth Monica Dashwood ) in 1932.


Lady Rhondda (Margaret Haig Thomas)

Suffragette, Global Businesswoman, Editor and Lifelong Campaigner for Equality.

After the war as well as campaigning for the rights of women workers who did not want to be pushed back into the home, she also continued the fight for the final phase of women&rsquos suffrage which saw all women get the vote in 1928.

She was the greatest global businesswomen of her era. She sat on the board of 33 companies, chairing seven of them, and oversaw an industrial empire of mines, shipping and newspapers. She also became the first and to date only female to be President of the Institute of Directors.

As a journalist she created and edited a ground-breaking and hugely influential weekly paper called Time and Tide which featured some of the literary giants of the 20th century &ndash from George Orwell and Virginia Woolf to JRR Tolkien.

It had a ground-breaking all-female board but appealed to both men and women. Exploring Welsh, British and international politics as well as the arts, Time and Tide was one of the key journals of the interwar period. Lady Rhondda also used the paper to push her progressive programme called The Six Point Group. It made gender equality paramount.

Lady Rhondda argued that women&rsquos voting rights must be accompanied by social and economic legislation. Her programme sought legislation for mothers that would give children better protection. It was ahead of its time in demanding strict laws on child assault and it sought to protect widowed mothers with young children and the unmarried mother and child.

The other three points dealt with equal rights for men and women, demanding equal guardianship of children for married parents, equality of opportunity in the civil service and equal pay for teachers.

And Lady Rhondda is the reason women of today can sit in the House of Lords. She campaigned for female peers for 40 years &ndash though sadly she died before the law she fought for was changed, too late to take her own seat.

Any one of these individual achievements would have secured her place in history &ndash put them all together and Lady Rhondda remains one of the most remarkable figures Wales has ever known.


War service

In 1917, D. A. Thomas was appointed Minister of Food and given the title of Lord Rhondda. Margaret was not overlooked, and also given a position as Lady Rhondda she became the Director of Women’s Department of the Ministry of National Service. Her 1918 report on the Women’s Royal Air Force (WRAF) was highly critical of the WRAF commandant, Violet Douglas-Pennant, and led to Douglas-Pennant’s dismissal. She was replaced by Helen Gwynne-Vaughan.

Attempt to reform the House of Lords

The British government recognized the right of women over thirty to vote in 1918. That same year in June, David Alfred Thomas was named Viscount Rhondda. He passed away one month later.

When D. A. Thomas died, Margaret attempted to take her father’s seat in the House of Lords as Viscountess Rhondda, citing the 1919 Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act as her birthright. The act stated 𠇊 person shall not be disqualified by sex or marriage from the exercise of any public function.” The committee to which her petition was referred agreed that she had the right to sit in the House of Lords. This decision, however, alarmed many peers including Lord Chancellor Birkenhead. Birkenhead set up another committee to reconsider the petition, constituting of himself and thirty other concerned peers. Margaret’s claim was then swiftly rejected.

Quoting George Bernard Shaw, who highly respected Margaret, the House of Lords saw Lady Rhondda as a “terror.” Because of her political business acumen, “the House of Lords has risen up and said, ‘If Lady Rhondda comes in here, we go away!’ ” Shaw goes further to say that if she had gained entry, “there would be such a show-up of the general business ignorance and imbecility of the male sex as never was before.”

Margaret persisted to change the law to accommodate women. She had her lawyer draft a bill to remove the sex bar and had Viscount Astor propose to Parliament. Although Astor proposed the same bill almost annually from 1924 to 1930 with the bill at times coming within two votes of passing, Viscount Astor would not succeed.

The issue of women in the House of Lords was revived in the 1940s, and Margaret and others launched a petition to show there existed public support for women in the House of Lords. The first six months saw 50,000 signatures, including the principals of the women’s colleges of Oxford and Cambridge. The Lords themselves finally passed a motion for women’s admission in 1949, but the Labour government under Prime Minister Attlee refused to deliver the promised legislation.


Biography

She was born on 12 June 1883. In 1908 she married Sir Humphrey Mackworth, Bt (see Mackworth Baronets ). In the same year she also joined the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), and became secretary of the WSPU's Newport branch and a supporter of the WSPU's militant campaign. Between 1908 and 1914 she took the campaign for women's suffrage across South Wales, often to hostile and stormy meetings. She was involved in protest marches with the Pankhursts, jumping onto the running board of Liberal Prime Minister Herbert Asquith's car in St Andrews and attemptimg to destroy a post-box with a chemical bomb. [ 1 ] These activities resulted in a trial at the Sessions House, Usk and her serving a period of time in the prison there. She was released only after going on a hunger strike. [ 2 ]

On the outbreak of the First World War, she accepted the decision by the WSPU leadership to abandon its militant campaign for suffrage. She worked with her father, who was sent by David Lloyd George to the United States to arrange the supply of munitions for the British armed forces. In May 1915, she was returning from the United States on the RMS Lusitania with her father and his secretary Arnold Rhys-Evans, when it was torpedoed by a German submarine. The trio were among the lucky survivors.

After her father's death, Lady Rhondda tried to take his seat in the House of Lords, citing the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 which allowed women to exercise "any public office". The Committee of Privileges, after an initially warm reaction, eventually voted strongly against Lady Rhondda's plea. [ 3 ] She was supported for many years by Lord Astor, whose wife Nancy had been the first woman to take her seat in the House of Commons , but Lady Rhondda never entered the Lords. [ 4 ]

She succeeded her father as Chairman of the Sanatogen Company in February 1917. [ 5 ] In 1920 she founded Time and Tide magazine. A Canadian steamship, the Lady Mackworth, was named after her. [ 6 ]

Less than a month after Lady Rhondda's death in 1958, women entered the Lords for the first time thanks to the Life Peerages Act 1958 five years later, with the passage of the Peerage Act 1963, hereditary peeresses were also allowed to enter the Lords.


Biography

She was born on 12 June 1883. In 1908 she married Sir Humphrey Mackworth, Bt (see Mackworth Baronets ). In the same year she also joined the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), and became secretary of the WSPU's Newport branch and a supporter of the WSPU's militant campaign. Between 1908 and 1914 she took the campaign for women's suffrage across South Wales, often to hostile and stormy meetings. She was involved in protest marches with the Pankhursts, jumping onto the running board of Liberal Prime Minister Herbert Asquith's car in St Andrews and attemptimg to destroy a post-box with a chemical bomb. [ 1 ] These activities resulted in a trial at the Sessions House, Usk and her serving a period of time in the prison there. She was released only after going on a hunger strike. [ 2 ]

On the outbreak of the First World War, she accepted the decision by the WSPU leadership to abandon its militant campaign for suffrage. She worked with her father, who was sent by David Lloyd George to the United States to arrange the supply of munitions for the British armed forces. In May 1915, she was returning from the United States on the RMS Lusitania with her father and his secretary Arnold Rhys-Evans, when it was torpedoed by a German submarine. The trio were among the lucky survivors.

After her father's death, Lady Rhondda tried to take his seat in the House of Lords, citing the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 which allowed women to exercise "any public office". The Committee of Privileges, after an initially warm reaction, eventually voted strongly against Lady Rhondda's plea. [ 3 ] She was supported for many years by Lord Astor, whose wife Nancy had been the first woman to take her seat in the House of Commons , but Lady Rhondda never entered the Lords. [ 4 ]

She succeeded her father as Chairman of the Sanatogen Company in February 1917. [ 5 ] In 1920 she founded Time and Tide magazine. A Canadian steamship, the Lady Mackworth, was named after her. [ 6 ]

Less than a month after Lady Rhondda's death in 1958, women entered the Lords for the first time thanks to the Life Peerages Act 1958 five years later, with the passage of the Peerage Act 1963, hereditary peeresses were also allowed to enter the Lords.


Business empire

However Lord Birkenhead, Lord Chancellor at the time, opposed the idea and succeeded in getting the decision reversed.

Lady Rhondda is described as an active suffragette and a leading feminist in the inter-war years.

She founded the feminist weekly magazine, Time and Tide, and helped to set up the Six Point Group, one of the first to campaign on women's issues, including equal pay and equal opportunities.

She lived to see the passing of the Life Peerages Act in 1958, but died before the first women took their seats as life peers in the Lords in October the same year.

Baroness Gale, a member of the Lords Works of Art Committee and a former general secretary of the Wales Labour Party: "From taking over the reins of her father's business empire to petitioning the House for membership in her own right, Viscountess Rhondda was at the forefront of the women's rights movement all her life."

Baroness Gale said she and others on committee were delighted the public would "finally have a chance to see a portrait of this remarkable woman and learn more about her extraordinary life".

The painting is part of the permanent works of art collection which documents the history and activities of Parliament.


Tag: Margaret Haig

Day Two of the Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2015 show at Birmingham NEC is over, and the final day is coming!

If you’re yet to tread the halls of this year’s show, then here’s what you missed in Day Two.

AncestryDNA has been a heavily promoted product this year.

Right near the front of the entrance is the show’s main sponsor, in prime space – Ancestry. I’ve had my account with these guys (and FindMyPast) for some time, and this year the team are going all guns to promote their AncestryDNA product.

Essentially this consists of a kit, that you can buy and register on their site, and then use to take a swab sample of DNA. Post them off, and then your results are returned to you online about 6-8 weeks later, via your Ancestry account.

The results will then give you an ethnicity estimate (I’m hoping for Vikings and old Saxons), and then it will give you leads to other people who have taken the test on AncestryDNA, where they have found matching DNA.

Two AncestryDNA testing kits

I’ve picked up two kits, as I was curious, and my mother has been far more excitedly curious about her DNA for some years. I guess that with all the other kits around, and with the recent discovery, questioning and burial of Richard III, the DNA market is booming.

I’ll write more about the tests another time – so keep posted!

Day Two was definitely busier, and even though the aisles are wider between stands (most noticeably amongst the Society of Genealogists Family History stands) they were still thick with busy, eager, genealogists looking for the next clue.

The Home Team – the Birmingham & Midland Society for Genealogy & Heraldry was naturally a busy spot to be. I have only a couple of distant relative marriages in Birmingham, so I didn’t need to stop.. but the team certainly looked busy!

Birmingham & Midland Society for Genealogy & Heraldry stand

As with yesterday, where I was able to catch Alec Tritton talk about the many wonders of The Parish Chest, and caught some of Jayne Shrimpton talking about the dating of 80s and 90s photographs (1880s/1890s, okay!), today I was able to catch some more.

The first was from Dave Annal who gave a fascinating talk on the FindMyPast stand, on Death Duty Registers. I could tell that it was something to do with death and taxes, but beyond that I had no idea what they would contain. As a source, they look like the fantastically messiest, chaotic and cryptic set of possible information ever (beyond Doctor’s notes!).

Understanding the Death Duty Registers sign

Later, I briefly caught the team at FamilySearch, who gave me a lovely warm reminder about the years of research I’ve put in working my way through microfilm. They themselves are in the midst of a big project to digitise microfilm, and are looking for volunteers to process batches of transcripts so that everything can become much easier to search. I don’t think that this was new news, but it was good to hear what they are up to.

Margaret Haig (IPO) talks copyright and family history

Finally, I sat in on Copyright and Family History – a talk by Margaret Haig from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO). She gave a fascinating talk on the law and the minefield of copyright when it comes to family history. There were loads of questions after, but I poppe along to their stand to ask them my one: Who owns the copyright of a Will? The answer I was given was that they are not under copyright because they are not a creative piece, they’re a commissioned piece of work that follows a formulaic formal process. This wasn’t really the answer I was expecting.

I managed to meet Eric Knowles, and he was able to shed light on my mystery spoon… But I’ll write more about that soon too!

I ended my day by treating myself to two books from the team at Pen and Sword Books – one The Real Sherlock Holmes – The Hidden Story of Jerome Caminada by Angela Buckley, and the other one by Stephen Wade, titled Tracing Your Criminal Ancestors.

Some criminal reading to add to my reading pile.

I was flicking through the latter when the stall-holder asked me if I had criminal ancestors. I said ‘yes’, but reassured them it wasn’t for fraud as I handed my card over.

Anyway, more on DNA, the spoon and the criminals another day. Day Three is calling…


Arglwyddes Rhondda

Swffraget, Gwraig Fusnes Byd-Eang, Golygydd ac Ymgyrchydd Dros Gydraddoldeb.

Ar ôl y rhyfel yn ogystal ag ymgyrchu dros hawliau menywod oedd yn gweithio nad oedd am gael eu gwthio yn ôl i&rsquor cartref, fe wnaeth hi hefyd barhau â&rsquor frwydr ar gyfer cam olaf y bleidlais i ferched a arweiniodd at yr HOLL ferched yn cael pleidlais yn 1928

Hi oedd menyw fusnes fyd-eang fwyaf ei hoes - roedd hi'n eistedd ar fwrdd tri deg tri o gwmnïau, yn goruchwylio ymerodraeth ddiwydiannol o fwyngloddiau, cwmnïau llongau a phapurau newydd a hi oedd y fenyw gyntaf a, hyd yn hyn, yr unig fenyw i fod yn Llywydd Sefydliad y Cyfarwyddwyr.

Fel newyddiadurwraig, creodd bapur wythnosol arloesol a dylanwadol iawn o'r enw Time and Tide, a oedd yn cynnwys rhai o gewri llenyddol yr ugeinfed ganrif - o George Orwell a Virginia Woolf i JRR Tolkien.

Roedd ganddo fwrdd arloesol o ferched yn unig ond roedd yn apelio at ferched a dynion. Gan archwilio gwleidyddiaeth Cymru, Prydain a gwleidyddiaeth rhyngwladol yn ogystal â&rsquor celfyddydau, roedd Time and Tide yn un o&rsquor cyfnodolion allweddol o&rsquor cyfnod rhwng y rhyfeloedd. Hefyd, defnyddiodd Arglwyddes Rhondda y papur i wthio ei rhaglen flaengar o&rsquor enw The Six Point Group. Roedd yn gwneud cydraddoldeb rhwng y rhywiau o'r pwys mwyaf.

Roedd Arglwyddes Rhondda yn dadlau bod rhaid i ddeddfwriaeth gymdeithasol ac economaidd gyd-fynd â hawliau pleidleisio i fenywod. Roedd ei rhaglen yn ceisio deddfwriaeth i famau a fyddai&rsquon amddiffyn plant yn well. Roedd o flaen ei oes wrth fynnu cyfreithiau llym ar ymosodiadau ar blant ac roedd yn ceisio amddiffyn mamau gweddw â phlant ifanc a&rsquor fam ddi-briod a phlant.

Roedd y tri phwynt arall yn ymdrin â hawliau cyfartal i ddynion a merched, yn mynnu gwarchodaeth gyfartal plant ar gyfer rhieni priod, cydraddoldeb cyfle yn y gwasanaeth sifil a chyflog cyfartal i athrawon.

Ac Arglwyddes Rhondda yw'r rheswm y gall merched eistedd yn Nhŷ'r Arglwyddi heddiw. Ymladdodd am ddeugain mlynedd i gael arglwyddi benywaidd - ond yn anffodus bu farw ar ôl i&rsquor ddeddf yr ymladdodd drosti gael ei newid, yn rhy hwyr i dderbyn ei sedd ei hun.

Byddai unrhyw un o'r cyflawniadau unigol hyn wedi sicrhau ei lle mewn hanes - rhowch nhw i gyd at ei gilydd ac mae Arglwyddes Rhondda yn parhau i fod yn un o'r ffigurau mwyaf nodedig y mae Cymru wedi eu hadnabod erioed.


Sommaire

Margaret Haig Thomas naît à Londres, enfant unique de David Alfred Thomas, 1 er vicomte Rhondda, politicien et industriel gallois et de la suffragiste Sybil Thomas [ 1 ] . Elle est éduquée à domicile par des gouvernantes jusqu'à l'âge de 13 ans, puis est élève à la Notting Hill High School for Girls, l'une des premières écoles de filles créées par le Girls' Day School Trust. Elle est ensuite pensionnaire à la St Leonards School, à St Andrews. Elle passe une année au Somerville College d'Oxford (1904-1905) puis vit dans la maison de famille de Llanwern, en Galles du Sud. Elle se marie en 1908 avec Humphrey Mackworth, 7 e baronet, mais le couple est mal assorti et ils divorcent en 1922 [ 1 ] .

Margaret et sa mère, Sybil Thomas sont introduites à la cause suffragiste dès 1908, par Florence Haig, une cousine maternelle, qui a déjà été emprisonnée dans le cadre de son engagement féministe. Elles participent toutes deux à la procession suffragiste du 21 juillet 1908 à Hyde Park, puis Margaret Haig Thomas adhère au Women's Social and Political Union, et fonde un branche de l'Union à Newport [ 1 ] . Dans son autobiographie publiée en 1933, elle évoque ces années : « Pour moi et pour beaucoup d'autres jeunes femmes, le militantisme suffragiste était le sel de notre vie […] un courant d'air frais sur nos vies rembourrées et étouffées. Cela a représenté pour nous un apport d'énergie, ce sentiment d'être une certaine utilité dans l'ordre des choses » [ 1 ] . De 1908 à 1914, elle participe à l'organisation de réunions publiques, auxquelles elle invite des personnalités du WSPU, notamment Emmeline Pankhurst, prend elle-même la parole devant des auditoires parfois hostiles. Ainsi, lorsqu'elle s'adresse au club libéral de Merthyr, avec Annie Kenney, les deux femmes reçoivent des jets de harengs et de tomates [ 2 ] .

Elle monte sur la plateforme de l'automobile du Premier ministre Asquith durant la campagne législative de 1910, met le feu à une boîte aux lettres en 1913 à Newport, ce qui lui vaut d'être emprisonnée à la prison d'Usk, lorsqu'elle refuse de payer l'amende. Elle fait une grève de la faim, mais n'est pas alimentée de force et est libérée au bout de cinq jours en vertu du Cat and Mouse Act [ 1 ] .

Margaret Haig Thomas est progressivement associée à la direction des entreprises familiales, par son père, David Alfred Thomas, qui souhaite privilégier ses activités politiques. Dès 1914, elle est salariée du groupe familial, et gère les activités de presse, puis l'ensemble des sociétés à la fin de la guerre. Elle revient d'un voyage d'affaires aux États-Unis, à bord du Lusitania, lorsque celui-ci est torpillé par un sous-marin allemand en mai 1915 , au large des côtés irlandaises, et passe plusieurs heures dans l'eau avant d'être secourue [ 1 ] . Elle participe à l'effort de guerre au pays de Galles, au sein du Women's National Service for Wales and Monmouthshire qui recrute des femmes pour l'agriculture, et à partir de 1917, est membre des comités de recrutement pour le British Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps. Elle participe au Women's Advisory Council créé par le ministère de la Reconstruction, et en 1918, crée la Women's Political and Industrial League [ 3 ] .

Son père meurt en juillet 1918, et elle hérite de ses entreprises et de son titre nobiliaire, devenant vicomtesse Rhonda, en l'absence d'héritier mâle. Elle demande à siéger à la chambre des lords, en s'appuyant sur le Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 qui stipulait qu'une femme ne devait pas être empêchée d'exercer une fonction publique [ 3 ] . Elle obtient d'abord gain de cause, en 1922, puis la décision est cassée par Frederick Edwin Smith, alors président de la Chambre des lords qui organise une nouvelle délibération avec un comité élargi [ 1 ] .

Elle fonde en 1920 un hebdomadaire féministe, Time and Tide, dans lequel écrivent aussi bien des écrivains connus, Virginia Woolf, Vita Sackville-West, Rebecca West, H. G. Wells, T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound ou encore Aldous Huxley, et de jeunes auteurs, Vera Brittain, Winifred Holtby, W. H. Auden ou Christopher Isherwood. L'identité féministe du magazine s'estompe, particulièrement après l'obtention du droit universel de vote en 1928, mais il s'engage contre le fascisme, et Margaret Haig Thomas figure sur la liste noire établie par les Nazis (The Black Book) [ 1 ] . Le tirage durant la guerre atteint 30 000 exemplaires

Elle crée en 1921 le Six Point Group (en) , qui revendique une égalité entre femmes et hommes pour la garde des enfants lors d'un divorce, le salaire et les perspectives professionnelles, et participe en 1926 à la création du Open Door Council (en) .

Elle conserve des liens avec le pays de Galles et préside l'université de Cardiff, qui lui décerne un doctorat de droit (DLL) en 1955. Elle meurt à l'hôpital de Westminster le 20 juillet 1958 et ses cendres sont déposées à Llanwern [ 1 ] .


Watch the video: Lord u0026 Lady Rhondda At Outdoor Fete 1914-1918


Comments:

  1. Ruff

    In your place it would be the opposite.

  2. Vudolkree

    I will swing, about the quality then comment. Have a nice viewing!

  3. Arashilkree

    you can't name it anymore!

  4. Ogilhinn

    Super, took thanks !!!



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