Details of fascinating new book - War, Peace, and the Women's Institute

Details of fascinating new book - War, Peace, and the Women's Institute


The 'War' in the title relates to the Suffragists in North-East Wales who continued to meet throughout WW1, 'Peace' relates to the 1926 Peace Pilgrimage in Britain and the the ‘Women’s Institiute’ relates to the early years of the first WI in Britain at Llanfairpwll, Anglesey. 


Synopsis - 

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! 

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 Women’s 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 Women’s 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 Suffragist’s 1913 Pilgrimage) to London.

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!

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 - 

The book has just been published by a small, local company which needs all possible support at this difficult time and costs £9.50 plus £2.50 packing and postage. It is also available from:
Gwasg Carreg Gwalch. 12 Station Yard, LLANRWST, North Wales LL26 0EH or pop along to the Gwasg Carreg Gwalch website to order  -