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Plan for statue honouring Welsh suffragette moves a step closer

26 Apr 2024 2 minute read
Lady Rhondda. Credit: Photographer unknown but image is from collection of AV Morgan via Wiki Commons under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Nicholas Thomas Local Democracy Reporter

Plans to install a statue honouring a Welsh suffragette have moved a step closer.

Margaret Haig Thomas, known as Lady Rhondda, grew up in Llanwern, and went on to play a prominent role in the campaign in Newport for women’s rights.

As part of her campaigning, she took part in protests with leading suffragettes the Pankhursts, reportedly jumped on the car of prime minister Herbert Asquith, and was imprisoned for trying to set a post box on fire.

Achievements

Lady Rhondda, who also led efforts to involve women in the British war effort during World War I, was a successful businesswoman and magazine editor, and campaigned for decades for female peers to sit in the House of Lords.

Those achievements led to a local campaign to erect a statue in her honour, initially as part of a Wales-wide competition, which led to members of the public voting for a sculpture of pioneering teacher Betty Campbell being installed in central Cardiff.

Despite being unsuccessful in that contest, the campaign for a statue of Lady Rhondda continued to gather momentum, and in 2022 sculptor Jane Robbins was commissioned to produce the artwork.

Now, following the statue’s completion, the campaigners have applied for planning permission to install it at the eastern side of the Millennium Footbridge, which spans the River Usk in central Newport.

Cast in bronze, the statue and its plinth reportedly stands eight feet tall (243cm) and the finished artwork, when installed, will include a “descriptive text etched into existing” paving.

The application is currently out for consultation, and can be viewed on the Newport City Council website under reference 24/0331.


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Eva Schenkel Arnott
Eva Schenkel Arnott
26 days ago

Miss Agnes Evans, who taught history at Cardiff High School for Girls and retired in the early fifties, told us students about marching as a suffragette. I don’t think she ever jumped on a car, though

karl
karl
26 days ago

Suffragettes gave rich women the vote. Not quite the heroes we needed.

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