Study Morning and AGM  Saturday 25th November 2023 10.00 – 12.00 held on Zoom

 End of an Era? Working-Class Women’s Political Activism in South Wales, c.1945-1970.

Micaela Panes (Cardiff University)

The experience of working-class women activists in post-war Wales is a particularly neglectedarea in British political history. Scholarship has predominantly focused on what has been considered the ‘golden era’ of women’s labour activism – the interwar years. In Wales, the end of the ‘golden era’ of women’s activism has been marked by Elizabeth Andrews retiring from her role as Women’s Labour Organiser in 1948, leaving the grassroots movement in south Wales weakened due to a lack of focus and unity in constituencies. More broadly, scholarship on women’s labour activism in the post-war Britain has focused on theinstitutional barriers women faced in parliamentary politics or the specific successes of individual women and campaigns.

The focus on institutional barriers and success has resulted in post-war local women’s politics largely being overlooked. This paper explores the different spaces and environments working-class women participated in local labour politics in south Wales, 1945 – 1970. Considering the societal and cultural changes following the end of the Second World War, this paper demonstrates how local contexts informed women’s political activism. While historians have focused on the decline of women’s labour activism in post-war south Wales, this paper highlights how women continued to take an active role in neighbourhood politics. This is achieved by focusing on the local community and the home, demonstrating women’s agency in using and reconstructing gendered space to experience politics. This will highlight how ‘political environments’, and the forms of activism developed within them is both fluid and subjective. Exploring these themes in a local framework creates greater depth for wider understandings of women and national politics in post-war Britain.


West of England and South Wales Women’s History Network
Work in Progress Study Morning and AGM: Women, Health and Well-being

Saturday December 4th, 2021   10am to 12.30pm

This event was free of charge and held on Zoom



West of England and South Wales Women’s History Network and Devon History Society: 

A Symposium on Women in the 1920s   Saturday 18 September 2021, 10.30 to 15.30
Keynote speaker Professor Maggie Andrews
This event was held  on Zoom


The 2020 AGM was held on Saturday 12th December 2020  at a ZOOM workshop 10am to 1 pm.


Linda Henderson:  The clothing of poor, rural women in the inter-war period: challenging the stereotype through the material culture of the Workhouse

This presentation examines a unique set of records from Torrington Poor Law Institutions to analyse the variety of clothing owned by poor, rural women on admittance to the workhouse.  The commentaries about the clothing reflected changing attitudes to the poor, the types of work they did and the realisation of the physical and mental importance of clothing.
June Hannam: Helen Cordiner: Bath Labour Party activist and social reformer between the wars.
Helen Cordiner, the wife of a cabinet maker, was active in the Bath Labour Party and in the Women’s Co-operative Guild in the 1920s and 1930s and campaigned for better housing, education and welfare services for working class people in the city. She stood many times for election to the Bath City Council without success but that did not mean that she was left without a voice. At various times she was a member of the Board of Guardians, a co-opted member of the Education Committee and the Maternity and Child Welfare Committee and a member of the Bath Infant Welfare Association. This talk explores the importance of one woman’s political activism in a small provincial city in a period in which the electorate had increased significantly both at a national and at a local level.


Friday February 28th, 2020 

Professor Penny Summerfield gave an illustrated talk:
‘Self and Society on the British Home Front:  some women’s diaries of the Second World War’
at 6.30 pm at The Museum of Bath at Work

Monday November 18th  2019
Sources for Women’s History
Visit to Bath Record Office, Guildhall Bath. 10.00 to 12.00


STUDY DAY, Bridport Museum,
Sun18 November 2018 More information and booking form

‘Votes for Women’ and Women’s Work during the First World War in Bath and Bristol’

Talks and Exhibition to celebrate the centennial of the Women’s vote, Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, Wed 28 November 7pm. Booking details          More information

The Votes for Women event at the MSHED was held on Sat 30th June 2018. Information about the exhibition and how you can borrow the banners for your institution can be accessed here

Bristol Radical History Festival Mshed, 17 September 2017

Bristol Radical History Festival brings together historians, history groups, publishers and the public for a day of talks, walks, puppet shows and readings, films, bookstalls and displays uncovering radical histories in Bristol, the South West and beyond. Women’s History Network has a stall at this event.

During the day there will be talks about women’s history.

10.30-11.30       Women Against World War One

June Hannam   ‘Bristol women campaigning for peace’.

Bernadette Hyland  ‘Trade Unions and Manchester’s  Working women’


Sheila Rowbotham  ‘Three Bristol anarchists in America’, including Miriam Daniell

Wednesday 8 March 2017 

International Women’s Day: Intrepid Women Travellers
Bristol Museum and Arts Gallery, Queens Road, Bristol BS8 1RL

Celebrate and be inspired by amazing women travellers including Elizabeth Fox Tuckett, Ellen Tanner and Adela Breton. See original objects and talk to our team of curators and experts. Ticket includes a glass of wine and exclusive viewings of the Adela Breton exhibition and Egypt Gallery. This is an event organised in partnership with Bristol Museum and Art Gallery.

Booking details on the BMAG website

Saturday March 11th 2017 10.00-15.00 

Women and Conscientious Objection to Military Service
Friends’ Meeting House, 126 Hampton Road, Redland, Bristol BS6 6JE

A workshop with talks on how COs were viewed in the context of traditional gender identities and roles (Professor Lois Bibbings, University of Bristol); Mabel Tothill (Emerita Professor June Hannam, University of the West of England); women’s resistance to compulsory war work (Lucienne Boyce); and women and objection to military service in the First (speaker to be confirmed) and Second (Susan Gregory) World Wars. Bring your own lunch.

This is a free event but please book your place.

Saturday 13 May 2017

Women in Monmouthshire
Abergavenny Museum, WESWWHN with Abergavenny Museum and Women’s Archive of Wales.

Details to follow.

Study Days in 2016


Wednesday 20 April 2016
The West of England and South Wales Women’s History Network is pleased to present a free showing of Make More Noise! Suffragettes in Silent Film.

Make More Noise is a selection of silent films from the British Film Institute National Archive exploring the representation of suffragettes in the early 20th century. From footage of suffrage demonstrations to anarchic women’s comedy, the collection was brought out to complement the release of Suffragette.
The film will be shown at the Salt Café Deli, 120 St George’s Road, Bristol BS1 5UJ on Wednesday 20 April 2016. Doors open at 6.30 pm and the film starts at 7pm. The film will be followed by a discussion, and the event will end at around 9pm.

Light snacks and refreshments will be available to purchase.

For more information and map of Salt Café Deli see

All welcome. The event is free but booking is essential. To book visit Eventbrite at

Study Days in 2015

Study Morning Saturday November 21st 2015

10am to 1pm
University of the West of England, Frenchay Campus Coldharbour Lane, Bristol BS16 1QY
S Block Room 2S601

Alan Freke from Frenchay Museum and Kate Newnham from Bristol Museum will be taking about the Travels, Collections, Art and Writings of Elizabeth Fox Tuckett and Ellen Tanner.

» Study day Schedule

SPRING Study Day: Saturday 21 March 2015

10am – 1pm
Saturday 21 March 2015 10 am – 1 pm at
Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre, Cocklebury Road, Chippenham SN15 3QN

» Study day Schedule

For further information email Jane Howells:

Meetings in 2014

Autumn Study Day and AGM: Saturday 15 November 2014 “Writing women’s lives: historians and autobiography”

Wendy Cooper, ‘Annie Kenney and her book Memories of a Militant – “simply an account of events that are engraved on my heart“‘
Ruth Skrine, ‘Fertility and sexuality in the 20th century … snapshots from the life of a medical woman‘.
Katherine Holden, ‘Finding the nanny in autobiographical narratives and childhood memoirs

Saturday 29th March 2014. Interdisciplinary workshop: ‘Emotion and the Researcher‘, Cardiff University, jointly hosted by WE/SW Women History Network and the Families, Identities and Gender Research Network (FIG). The workshop will consider the role of emotions in research, and the ways in which disciplinary conventions work to disguise the importance of emotion. It will focus on the on the research process rather than the outcomes of research. For further information, contact

Meetings in 2012-13 were:

Saturday 7th December 2013: Women in Bristol, 1400-2000: Making the City.
Madge Dresser, Peter Fleming, June Hannam and Moira Martin presented work in progress for a book to published in 2014.

Saturday 23rd February 2013: Making Spaces, Finding Voices: Women’s Words and Worlds

Saturday 1st December 2012: Women and the Poor Law.
The speakers: Jan Chivers, Moira Martin and Megan Doolittle.

Meetings in 2011 were:

Saturday 3rd December 2011: Women and Work
Diana Russell (Bath Spa University):  ‘Businesswomen in nineteenth century Cheltenham’Thomas George (Cardiff University): ‘Merched Cymru: female munitions workers in Wales during the Great War’Caroline Barker Bennett : Women Workers on Tyneside

Meetings in 2010-11 were:

Saturday 4th December 2010: Whose history? Women’s political activism in the 20th century

Saturday 19th March 2011Women’s Worlds: Homes, Families and Networks

Meetings in 2009-10 were:

Saturday 5th December 2009: Nursing, Childcare and Professional status in 19th and 20th century England

Saturday 13th March 2010:   Women and Refugees

Meetings in 2008-9 were:

Saturday 29th November 2008: Women’s and Gender History Research

Saturday 21st February 2009: Gender and House History in South West England ; Gender, Death and Dying

Saturday April 25th 2009: In Response to War: Women, Work, and Memory in the Twentieth Century

Saturday 9th May: Current Research on Women’s History

Meetings in 2007-8 were :

Saturday 1st December 2007: Writing History

Saturday 8th March 2008: International Women’s Day Event

Meetings in 2006-7 were:

Saturday 11th November 2006: Women and Politics in 20th century Wales

Saturday 21st April 2007: Women on the Margins in 19th Century Bristol

Saturday 5th May 2007: Gender / Women’s History Study Day

Meetings in 2005-6 were:

Saturday 26th November 2005: 1939-64: A new era for women?

Saturday 11th February 2006: Women, Journalism and Popular Culture

Saturday 6th May 2006: Gender / Women’s History Study Day

Meetings in 2004-5 were:

Saturday 11th December 2004: Catrin Collier talks about researching and writing historical novels in South Wales

Saturday 12th February 2005: Research in women’s history in the south west

Saturday  7th May 2005: Work-in-Progress Day On Women’s and Gender History

If you are interested in knowing any other details about the network, please contact: Kath Holden, Email: