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Blue Plaque for Ceridwen Brown

A blue plaque for Ceridwen Brown (née Thomas) will be unveiled at St Elvan’s Church, Aberdare on 8th March at 2pm.  Members of the public are invited to attend. 

Ceridwen Thomas was born in Aberaman in 1896, the daughter of Morgan and Rachel Thomas of 27 Regent Street Aberdare.

 An active campaigner from the early 1920s, Ceridwen Brown was involved in the Women's Co-operative Guild, the anti-war and pro-peace movements, anti-austerity and anti-poverty action, and other forms of grassroots community organisation.  

In 1929, she was put forward by the Communist Party as the first woman ever to be nominated as a parliamentary candidate for the Aberdare Constituency. As the Western Mail noted at the time, this was an important moment: "the lion's share of interest centres on the candidature of Mrs Ceridwen Brown." In the event, poverty intervened, and she was compelled to withdraw for personal reasons, as also happened in 1931, when she was again nominated. 

During the 1930s, she stood multiple times for election onto Aberdare Urban District Council. In 1935 she led the attack on Iscoed House in Merthyr Tydfil in protest at the Means Test. In this period, she also took part in the Hunger Marches and raised money to support the Republican Government during the Spanish Civil War. 

After the Second World War, Ceridwen Brown moved into peace campaigning and fundraising for the fight against cancer - a disease which claimed two of her three children. Ceridwen Brown died in 1976, a few months shy of her eightieth birthday - a remarkable age for someone who had spent almost her entire adult life at or below the poverty line. Her legacy remains that of encouraging women, in particular, into public life, and providing the tools for them to do so. For example, how to speak to an audience, how to produce campaign literature, how to fashion a message. As she put it in 1950, in a speech captured by the Aberdare Leader "there needs to be more support [given] to women to take a more active interest in public affairs." Despite many tragedies, it was to this purpose that she devoted her life. 

Councillor Ann Crimmings, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council Cabinet Member For Environment and Leisure, said: "Ceridwen Brown was a trailblazer who forged the path for women to enter the political arena.  She is a worthy recipient of a blue plaque, not only for her support for women but for her fundraising. "

The Blue Plaque scheme is one of many ways in which the rich heritage of our county borough is kept alive.  Our heritage team receive nominations for blue plaques all year round and can be contacted at for information on the scheme and how to make a nomination.  Free heritage events are currently being held across the county borough which will help to inform the 10 year heritage strategy that is currently being shaped.  Information on these can be found here


Posted on 16/02/2024