Suffragette Viscountess Rhondda's Newport bomb attack remembered
A suffragette has been remembered at a ceremony at a Newport post box which she attempted to blow up with a home-made bomb almost 100 years ago.
Viscountess Rhondda went to Usk prison after refusing to pay a £10 fine for the attack at the height of the women's rights campaign in June 1913.
On Sunday the post box she targeted was garlanded in the suffragette colours of green, purple and white.
The ceremony took place 100 years after fellow campaigner Emily Davison died.
Jayne Bryant, the organiser of the event at Risca Road, Newport, said: "We all owe a debt of gratitude to those who were part of the struggle for democracy, from the Chartists to the suffragettes.
"Viscountess Rhondda was a remarkable woman. She was at the forefront of the suffrage movement, both locally in Newport and nationally, and spent her life campaigning for gender equality."
She was sent to prison after posting the incendiary device which damaged mail. She would not allow the £10 fine to be paid by her husband, went on hunger strike and was eventually released after five days without food.
Viscountess Rhondda (Margaret Haig Mackwiorth) ran the Newport branch of the suffragettes, was a leading feminist and also combined her activism with a career as a distinguished journalist and business woman.
ANALYSIS by Prof Debbie Epstein: 'She never stopped campaigning'
Viscountess Rhondda was responsible for organising the first major women's suffrage meeting in Wales, inviting Emmeline Pankhurst to speak at the Temperance Hall in Newport.
Her contribution to the struggle for women's suffrage was outstanding in Wales, but went beyond its boundaries as she became closely involved in the campaign across the UK.
She became secretary of the Newport branch of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), and wrote letters to editors of various newspapers, later moving at to writing columns in the Western Mail and various other newspapers.
Margaret went to prison in support of her cause, stopping her activities during World War I and returning later.
She never stopped campaigning. When her father, the first Viscount Rhondda died, she tried to take her sear in the House of Lords but was prevented from doing so by the Lords' Committee of Privileges and women were first allowed to participate in the Lords a month after her death in 1958.
Margaret joined her father in his business ventures, later becoming the managing director of the companies she inherited. She was always independent minded and in 1922 divorced her husband.
She subsequently set up home with Helen Archdale, the first editor of Time and Tide, whom she also met in the WSPU. When they separated she developed a relationship with Theodora Bosanquet, the secretary of the International Federation of University Women.
All in all, a remarkable woman, not afraid to flout the conventions of her time and willing to take risks for her beliefs and relationships. Wales should be proud of her.
Debbie Epstein is professor of education at the School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University.
She was born Margaret Haig Thomas in 1883, the daughter of a Liberal politician with coal, shipping and publishing interests.
When she inherited her title from her father, women were not allowed to sit and vote in the House of Lords. But after basing a claim on the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act of 1919, the Lords found in her favour.
However Lord Birkenhead, Lord Chancellor at the time, opposed the idea and succeeded in getting the decision reversed.
Lady Rhondda founded the feminist weekly magazine, Time and Tide, and helped to set up the Six Point Group, one of the first to campaign on women's issues, including equal pay and equal opportunities.
She lived to see the passing of the Life Peerages Act in 1958, but died before the first women took their seats as life peers in the Lords in October the same year.
In 2011 a portrait of the viscountess finally went on display in the House of Lords.
Newport West MP Paul Flynn, who was among those at Sunday's ceremony, said it was fitting that tribute should be paid to Lady Rhondda, "who has sadly been largely forgotten in south Wales",
He added: "I think it's a fabulous opportunity to commemorate 100 years of the part she played in the march for equality and the influence that has had throughout Britain."
This weekend also marks 100 years since suffragette Emily Wilding Davison ran onto the Epsom race course and was knocked to the ground by King George V's horse Anmer, and later died of her injuries in hospital.