Tonypandy Library Opening-10

Lady Rhondda is one of three influential female figures to be officially recognised with a Commemorative Panel in RCT. 

Speaking at the official re-opening ceremony of Tonypandy Library, Council Leader Andrew Morgan announced that the influential female role model, Lady Rhondda, was to be commemorated at the newly-refurbished Community Room.  

In addition, two other female figures - Elaine Morgan OBE and Morfydd Llwyn Owen will also have their stories told at the Mountain Ash Community Hub and at the new Llys Cadwyn Library in Pontypridd respectively. 

Lady Rhondda, or Margaret Haig Thomas (later Mackworth) was a prominent business owner, journalist and social campaigner who fought extensively for women’s rights and a fairer society throughout her life.  

Lady Rhondda has a strong connection with the Rhondda after taking control of her father’s - D.A. Thomas MP - businesses and title on his death, including the Cambrian Coal Combine.  

At the height of her business career, Lady Rhondda was the director of 40 companies, mostly in the coal and media sector.  

It was in the media that Lady Rhondda was able to arguably have the most influence, using her Time and Tide weekly publication to advance the aims of the Six Point Group and their programme of six points for a fairer society, including equality for men and women and improved political rights for women.   

Also responsible for bringing prominent suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst to Wales, Lady Rhondda set fire to pillar boxes in and around Cardiff, which led to her one-month imprisonment, where she was released after five days of a hunger strike. 

Now, future generations of local females can be inspired by Lady Rhondda’s story, following the installation of the commemorative board.  

These will be followed by further panels being displayed in the Mountain Ash Hub and Pontypridd Library, once they are completed - meaning that each principal area of the County Borough will house an inspirational panel. 

Speaking at the official re-opening of Tonypandy Library, Council Leader, Councillor Andrew Morgan, said: “I was pleased to announce that Lady Rhondda, Elaine Morgan OBE and Morfydd Llwyn Owen will all be rightfully recognised in our County for their valuable contributions to national and local society. 

“Unfortunately, none of these influential figures were selected to have a statue erected in Cardiff through the BBC’s Hidden Heroines campaign, so we have taken the decision to ensure that they have their stories told here in RCT, where each has a unique connection and has played a key role in society. 

“Lady Rhondda obviously has links to the coal industry here in the Rhondda, so we felt that Tonypandy Library was a fitting and prominent location for her story to be told.  

“Elaine Morgan, who was influential in both writing and science, spent a number of years living in Mountain Ash prior to her death in 2013; whilst Morfydd Llwyn Owen, who came from Treforest, was one of Wales’ great musicians and composers before her untimely death at the age of just 26. 

“The installation of these panels will ensure that their respective stories can be told and will hopefully inspire future generations of women in RCT to follow in their footsteps.” 

Tonypandy Library has recently re-opened following a significant £120,000 of funding from the Welsh Government, which has allowed a renovation of the building interior.  

This follows the additional £65,000 scheme in 2017/18 to improve the building’s exterior.

Posted on Tuesday 26th March 2019

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