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Women’s campaign for world peace celebrated in new exhibition

07 Mar 2024 3 minute read
Annie Hughes-Griffiths holding the Welsh Women’s Peace Appeal in Washington DC, with Gladys Thomas, Mary Ellis and Elined Prys, 21 February 1924.

To mark International Women’s Day, a new exhibition at St Fagans National Museum of History is highlighting the stories of the women of Wales who demanded a future free from war. 

Petitioning for Peace opens to the public on 9 March 2024 and tells the story of women’s activism in Wales. 

After the First World War, nearly 400,000 women in Wales signed a peace petition and presented it to the women of the United States of America.

Seven mile long petition

The petition is said to be seven miles long and was presented to the women of America in 1923 by Annie Hughes-Griffiths, Mary Ellis, Elined Prys, and Gladys Thomas. A century later, the Women’s Peace Petition and the chest were rediscovered and gifted back to Wales. 

The petition and chest, on loan from the National Library of Wales, is among the highlight objects of this exhibition. 

Also on display are the iconic protest banners from the 1980s Greenham Common peace camp, which are part of Amgueddfa Cymru’s collection. 

Banner designed by Thalia and Ian Campbell depicting scenes from the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp, early 1980s. Sewn by Jan Higgs.

Greenham Common peace camp was a series of protest camps established to protest against nuclear weapons at RAF Greenham Common in Berkshire. The Welsh protest group, Women for Life on Earth, left Cardiff on 27 August 1981 to march to Greenham Common.

Welsh impact

Mared McAleavey, Principal Curator: Historic Interiors at Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales said: “Amgueddfa Cymru is honoured to be one of the venues displaying the Peace Petition as part of the Hawlio Heddwch Partnership.

“The story of the Petition, along with the Greenham Common campaign, some sixty years later, highlight the significant role played by the women of Wales in the international peace movement.

“Thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery for their support which allows us to create exhibitions that tell the story of the people of Wales.” 

Laura Chow, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said:  “I am delighted that our players are supporting the Petitioning for Peace exhibition.

“This opportunity allows us to learn, celebrate and be inspired by the heroism of the women in Wales, who dedicated their lives to protecting the peace and freedoms we currently enjoy.” 

This exhibition is part of the Women’s Peace Petition Partnership and is open from 9 March – 15 September 2024. Entry is free.

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