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War, Peace and the Women's Institute

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  • War, Peace and the Women's Institute
  • ISBN: 9781845277321
  • Barbara Lawson-Reay
  • Publication July 2020
  • Format: Paperback, 215x138 mm, 274 pages

In the early 1900's north-east Wales was a dangerous place for women - Suffragist's meetings descended into near riot, or in some cases were banned by police before they even started! One man and his dog, Colonel Stapleton Cotton and Tinker were responsible for the foundation of the first WI in Britain at Llanfairpwll, Anglesey, in 1915.

Author Biography: Barbara Lawson-Reay was brought up on The Wirral and has lived in north Wales for nearly forty years. During her working life she had several different jobs ranging from warden of a half-way house for recovering psychiatric patients, to social secretary at a Methodist hotel taking parties up Snowdon (climbing not on the train!) once each fortnight during the season. Since she retired twelve years ago, she has been able to pursue her interest in modern social history. She is particularly interested in the lives of ordinary people which often turn out to be extraordinary! She is also the author of Votes for Women, published in 2015.

Further Information: Against this background, Llangollen Suffragists continued to meet throughout WW1. As well as working for votes for women, they actively supported two war charities: The Welsh Hospital, Netley, Southampton and Scottish Womens Hospitals. The Welsh Hospital, funded entirely by the Welsh people for the duration of WW1. SWH, founded by Suffragist, Dr Elsie Inglis, sent nurses abroad including Nurse Goodwin, a Llangollen Suffragist, particularly to Serbia where they endured truly horrifying conditions. Once the vote was won, many Suffragists supported the Womens Institute and the Peace Movement. One man and his dog, Colonel Stapleton Cotton and Tinker were responsible for the foundation of the first WI in Britain at Llanfairpwll, Anglesey, in 1915 which still meets on the third Tuesday afternoon of each month.

In 1926 2,000 women, their blue peace flags flying, descended on the little market town of Pen-y-groes near Caernarfon, at the beginning of the Peace Pilgrimage (based on the Suffragists 1913 Pilgrimage) to London.

Finally the appendices for each section include fascinating minibiographies of personalities mentioned in the chapters. Some of the Anglesey WI members lives are nothing short of amazing manning soup kitchens one day and attending Balls at Buckingham Palace the next!