‘Inspirational figure’: Plaque unveiled to mark achievements of influential Welsh suffragist
Gareth Williams, local democracy reporter
A plaque had been unveiled to mark the extraordinary achievements of an influential suffragist and the first woman ever elected to Caernarfonshire council.
Also an original WI member and peace campaigner, a ceremony was held on Friday to mark the life of Charlotte Price White at her former home on Upper Garth Road, Bangor.
She was known as a driving force of the city’s branch of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, which campaigned peacefully for women to be allowed to vote in Parliamentary elections.
Price White was also one of only two women from the area – the other being Mildred Spencer from Colwyn Bay – who made the whole journey to London on the Suffrage Pilgrimage of 1913.
Going on to also play a prominent part in the Great Peace Pilgrimage of 1926, she was also among the first members of the Women’s Institute – established at Llanfairpwll in 1915.
Friday’s unveiling ceremony was organised by Women’s Archive Wales, which nominated Charlotte for a Purple Plaque, and Bangor University.
Unveiled by her grandson, Christopher Price White, it is part of the Purple Plaques Cymru family of plaques across Wales, designed by Chepstow-based potter Julia Land.
Professor Andrew Edwards, the University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor, said: “Bangor University is delighted that the life of Charlotte Price White is being recognised by the award of a Purple Plaque.
“A former student of the University, Charlotte was, and remains, an inspirational figure who made an immense contribution not only to the suffrage movement, but a range of other progressive social and political issues.
“She was, in the truest sense, a ground-breaker. Through her vision, bravery and dogged determination, she paved the way for successive generations of women to play a prominent role in political life.”
Born Charlotte Bell in 1873 at Briggart near Dumfries, she was of Scottish origin but had been a student at the training college in Bangor .
In 1902 she married Price Ffoulkes White, the engineer of the Bangor Electrical Company and one-time Wales international footballer, going on to have two children.
They had a daughter Margaret and a son David Archibald, who was the Conservative MP for Caernarvon Boroughs between 1945 and 1950.
The Minister for Social Justice, Jane Hutt, added: “In recognising Charlotte Price White, we recognise the power of every woman to create change, to be a leader and to command attention.
“We all benefit so much from her legacy as we continue to diversify our democracy and increase women in leadership.”
Described by Wales’ Social Justice Minister as a leading figure in the North Wales’ Suffragist movement, multi-talented Charlotte was also an early female science student at the University College of North Wales, Bangor, graduating in the 1890s.
The first woman to be elected to the former Caernarvonshire County Council , she served from 1926 until her untimely death in 1932.
Sue Essex, the chair of Purple Plaques Cymru, said: “We so far have six plaques in different parts of Wales and will be adding more this summer including the plaque for Charlotte Price White in Bangor.
“Our aim is to have purple plaques for women from all walks of life across the country.”
Historian Neil Evans, concluded: “There is still much to be learned about Charlotte’s life.
“But we know she devoted herself to women’s rights, to world peace and to promoting education and the wellbeing of children.
“She was devoted to her family and to her community.”