NHS @ 70

NHSat70

The birth of the National Health Service on July 5th 1948 is a landmark moment in British history. Its creation would have ramifications for the entire country and impact society at every level. The concept of a free, comprehensive health service was of particular significance to industrial, working-class communities that had long struggled to afford insurance and medical fees. For those that lived through it, the contrast was tangible. The number of pamphlets, documents and books on the NHS that have been collected by, or donated to, the Miners’ Library over the years is a testament to its significance among the industrial communities of South Wales.

As the country approached nationalisation, a number of guides were produced that attempted to explain these complex changes to a public still adjusting to post-war life. They briefly documented the history of the upcoming Act, usually mentioning the recommendations of the Beveridge Report in 1942 as key moment in the journey towards universal healthcare. Foreseeing potential complications, The Socialist Medical Association published ‘Control of the Health Services‘ in 1945. They, unsurprisingly, welcomed the possibility of a national health service but argued for the proper consultation of health workers during the implementation process.

The News Chronicle published their ‘Guide to The National Health Service Act‘, by barrister T.S. Newman, which helpfully summarised the provisions, services and timeline of the new system. Another helpful pamphlet, A Guide to the National Health Service Act 1946, had its foreword written by the architect of the NHS himself, Aneurin Bevan. He writes:

We have just passed through Parliament the greatest single health-service measure of our history. We are facing, at this moment, the monumental task of putting it into operation.

The message is clear: this is a watershed moment that has huge practical, as well as ideological, implications. The pamphlet, by Hilde Fitzgerald, goes on to describe the present situation for healthcare: a mish-mash of charitable and paid services with the level of quality measured by the affluence of the local community. The guide describes the new structure, which involves the Minister of Health appointing Regional Boards who will set up Management Committees to run the individual hospitals. A diagram at the back of the pamphlet outlines the desired structure:

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Following the implementation of the NHS, our holdings chart its development and the moments of progress and tension as it continued throughout the twentieth century. The introduction of prescription charges in the 1950s caused particular consternation, and the Socialist Medical Association’s pamphlet, arguing against it and asking for a petition signature, demonstrates the battles that have been fought since the very beginning. Similarly, our pamphlets from the 1970s, 1980s and onward (such as Defending the NHShighlight that, as the NHS become entrenched as an institution, it was utilised as a political tool by subsequent governments.

The NHS is often recognised as one of Britain’s greatest achievements. Its impact and significance cannot be understated, but that is especially true for the working-class communities that, often for the first time in their lives, did not have to worry about paying for their healthcare. This sense of a genuine democratic service is reflected in Stephen Taylor’s ‘Labour Discussion Series’ pamphlet entitled National Health Service. The physician and MP introduced his work by writing:

The Labour Government’s National Health Service Bill is neither the beginning nor the end of the job of building a real national health service for Britain. But in this job it is the most important step we have taken so far. It is a step which will only be successful if it is backed up everywhere by a well-informed and enthusiastic public. This is going to be our health service. Each one of us will at some time make use of it. Each of us will be able to have our say in how it is run. For this service will be made and moulded by public opinion.

For more information about our NHS related holdings, or the biographies in our main collection on Aneurin Bevan, please get in touch.

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GIG @ 70

 

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Mae genedigaeth y Gwasanaeth Iechyd Gwladol ar Orffennaf 5ed 1948 yn hollbwysig i hanes Prydain. Fe wnaeth creu’r gwasanaeth gweld goblygiadau dros yr holl wlad a newid ein cymdeithas ar bob lefel. Roedd syniad o wasanaeth iechyd cyfun ac am ddim yn enwedig yn bwysig i gymunedau  diwydiannol a dosbarth-gweithio a oedd, yn y gorffennol, wedi gweld e’n anodd talu ffioedd yswiriant a meddygol. I’r bobl a wnaeth byw trwy’r newid, roedd y cyferbyniad yn amlwg. Mae nifer y pamffledi, dogfennau a llyfrau ar y GIG sydd gennym yn Llyfrgell y Glowyr yn dangos ei arwyddocâd i gymunedau diwydiannol De Cymru.

Wrth i’r wlad dod yn agos at wladoli, roedd nifer o ganllawiau i drio esbonio’r newidiadau cymhleth i gyhoedd a oedd dal yn delio gyda bywyd ar ôl y rhyfel. Roedd llawer yn esbonio hanes y Ddeddf i ddod, fel arfer yn sôn am argymhellion yr Adroddiad Beveridge yn 1942 fel digwyddiad allweddol hyd at ofal iechyd cyfun. Yn rhagweld cymhlethdodau posibl, fe wnaeth y Cymdeithas Feddygol Sosialaidd ysgrifennu  ‘Control of the Health Services‘ yn 1945. Fe wnaethon nhw croesawai syniad o wasanaeth iechyd gwladol ond yn dadlau dros ymgynghori gweithwyr iechyd yn ystod y proses weithredu.

Fe wnaeth y News Chronicle cyhoeddi’r ‘Guide to The National Health Service Act‘ gan bargyfreithiwr T.S. Newhman, a oedd yn ddefnyddiol yn crynhoi darpariaethau, gwasanaethau a llinell amser y system newydd. Roedd pamffled arall, ‘A Guide to the National Health Service Act 1946‘ yn cynnwys rhagair gan Aneurin Bevan, pensaer y GIG newydd:

We have just passed through Parliament the greatest single health-service measure of our history. We are facing, at this moment, the monumental task of putting it into operation.

Mae’r neges yn glir: hwn yw foment hanesyddol sydd â goblygiadau ymarferol ac yn ddelfrydol. Mae’r pamffled, gan Hilde Fitzgerald, yn sôn am y sefyllfa bresennol am ofal iechyd: cymysgedd o wasanaethau elusen a thaliadau gyda safon yr ansawdd yn ddibynnol ar gymeriad y gymuned leol. Mae’r canllaw yn disgrifio’r strwythur newydd: Gweinidog Iechyd yn penodi Byrddau Rhanbarthol sy’n sefydlu Pwyllgorau Rheoli i redeg yr ysbytai unigol. Mae diagram ar gefn y pamffled yn amlinellu’r strwythur delfrydol:

NHS

Yn dilyn gweithredu’r GIG, mae ein casgliadau yn dangos datblygiad y gwasanaeth dros yr ugeinfed ganrif, yn cynnwys y cynnydd a thensiwn. Fe wnaeth cyflwyno taliadau ar gyfer presgripsiynau yn y 1950au achosi dicter ac mae pamffled y Gymdeithas Feddygol Sosialaidd, sy’n dadlau bod e’n anghywir ac yn gofyn am lofnod ddeiseb, yn dangos y brwydrau o’r dechrau. Hefyd, mae’r pamffledi i’r 1970au, 80au ac ymlaen (fel Defending the NHS) yn dangos bod, wrth i’r GIG dod yn sefydliad, roedd llywodraethau yn defnyddio fe fel offeryn gwleidyddol.

Mae creu GIG yn aml yn cael ei chydnabod fel un o gyflawniadau fwyaf Prydain. Mae arwyddocâd y gwasanaeth yn hollbwysig, ond mae hwn yn enwedig yn wir i gymunedau pobl gweithio. Am y tro cyntaf yn ei bywydau, nid oedd angen poeni am dalu am ofal iechyd. Mae’r synnwyr hwn o wasanaeth yn wirioneddol ddemocrataidd yn cael ei adlewyrchu yn eiriau Stephen Taylor. Yn bamffled, ‘National Health Service‘, rhan o Gyfres Trafodaeth Llafur, mae’r aelod llywodraeth a meddyg yn dweud:

The Labour Government’s National Health Service Bill is neither the beginning nor the end of the job of building a real national health service for Britain. But in this job it is the most important step we have taken so far. It is a step which will only be successful if it is backed up everywhere by a well-informed and enthusiastic public. This is going to be our health service. Each one of us will at some time make use of it. Each of us will be able to have our say in how it is run. For this service will be made and moulded by public opinion.

Am fwy o wybodaeth am ein heitemau i ymwneud a CIG, neu am bywgraffiadau Aneurin Bevan yn ein prif gasgliad, cysylltwch â ni.

 

Orgreave

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The violent clash that occurred between police offers and pickets at Orgreave Coking Plant on the 18th of June 1984 was a key political moment of the strike and continues to resonate over thirty years later. While the authorities and mainstream media were quick to depict the event as unruly picketers reigned in by a desperate police force, subsequent evidence and accounts from those involved implicated the officers themselves in choreographing and instigating the violence. What was initially painted as mob violence is increasingly seen as a miscarriage of justice and the news, in 2016, that there would be no independent review into the ‘Battle of Orgreave’ was greeted with anger and disbelief.

The Welsh Campaign for Civil and Political Liberties (WCCPL)  collated information relating to the strike, particularly with regards to striking miners and their communities in South Wales. These formed the basis of the book Striking Back (available at the Library) and the interviews/transcripts have been deposited here at the SWML. While they mostly focus on the situation at home, several interviews discuss Orgreave – with both first and second hand accounts. This includes what they experienced, what they’ve heard and their opinions on the structure and intentions of the day.

A number of interviewees describe the apparent ease with which they found their way to Orgreave that day and the uncharacteristic assistance received from police officers. Accustomed to hostility, one comments:

You could have driven a double decker bus there.

Another describes the sense of entrapment:

There was no problem getting to Orgreave. On the way up all we saw was convoys of police. A general feeling among the boys was that it was like the Belgrano. We were there to be sunk.

This perspective is reflected in a discussion with Oakdale Women’s Support Committee. The interviewer notes:

Women took the view that the confrontation here was a ‘set-up’: the police passive and unusually helpful to those going to the picket, showing them parking spaces and waving them on with few stoppages.

Interviewees often express the opinion that items pelted towards the police from the back of the picket line were not thrown by miners. While possible suspects are suggested, the repeated claim across different lodges is worth noting.

Stones were thrown from behind us. They were hitting us. I am a miner and I am strong. If I threw a stone I would be able to hit a copper

The pickets started the push. Somebody behind threw bricks. I am convinced they were thrown by people put there by the police.

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Once the clash begun, reports of violence and brutality remain consistent. The testimony below describes the experience of a Maesteg miner and his friend:

[They] initially saw a police officer on horseback hitting a picket twice on the back of the head with a ‘billy club’, knocking him out. While he lay on the ground, a woman came to him and lifted his head. She then went on to the road from the pavement and tried to indicate to the riders of the charging police horses (by raising her arm) to slow down to avoid the unconscious picket. [He] then saw her clubbed once by a police rider across the side of the head and she fell to the ground. [They] then had to run to avoid the charging horses. [He] has indicated that he is prepared to act as a witness in the action that it is believed the woman intends to take.

Another witness describes his experience directly:

I was buying an ice cream in the village square. It was very hot. About 30 horses came into the square and I ran away. I saw a picket lying on the ground with blood pumping out of his head. He was semi-conscious. I called to 2 riot police to get an ambulance. They said ‘you’ll need an ambulance’. They hit me across the shoulders 3 times with big truncheons. They told me to ‘run’.

The records of the WCCPL offer a fascinating insight into a political event very much of its time. Without technology to capture the incident more objectively, a police-favoured narrative prevailed which, over several decades, has been weakened by contradictory reports, protests and campaigns. It is unlikely an event like Orgreave could unfold in the same manner now, making the injustice of the event even greater. If you would like to know more about the WCCPL, or to view the transcripts, then please do get in touch.

 

Orgreave (Cymraeg)

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Roedd y gwrthdaro treisgar rhwng yr heddlu a phobl yn bicedi yn Ffatri Côc Orgreave ar 18fed o Fehefin 1984 yn ddigwyddiad allweddol o streic y glowyr a dal yn bwysig ar ôl trideg mlynedd. Fe wnaeth yr awdurdodau a’r cyfryngau darlun y dydd fel picedwyr yn ymosod ar heddlu anobeithiol, ond mae tystiolaeth a straeon o’r bobl a oedd yn bresennol yn awgrymu bod yr heddlu wedi cynllunio ac ysgogi’r trais. Beth oedd yn wreiddiol, yn stori’r awdurdodau, yn ‘mob violence’, nawr i’w weld fel anghyfiawnder ac roedd pobl yn grac a digalon yn 2016 pan wnaeth y llywodraeth cyhoeddi na fyddan yn  dechrau adolygiad annibynnol mewn i ‘Brwydr Orgreave’.

Fe wnaeth y ‘Welsh Campaign for Civil and Political Liberties’ (WCCPL) casglu gwybodaeth i ymwneud a glowyr ar streic a’u cymunedau yn De Cymru. Fe wnaeth y rhain ffurfiwyd llyfr Striking Back   (ar gael yn y Llyfrgell)  ac fe wnaethon nhw storio’r cyfweliadau a thrawsgrifiadau yn LGDC. Er bod llawer yn sôn am y sefyllfa yng Nghymru, mae rhan yn siarad am Orgreave – gyda thystiolaeth llaw gyntaf ac ail. Mae hyn yn cynnwys beth wnaeth pobl gweld, beth wnaethon nhw glywed a barnau am strwythur a bwriadau’r dydd.

Mae llawer o gyfweleion yn disgrifio’r rhwyddineb pan trio cyrraedd Orgreave ar ddydd y frwydr a’r cymorth anarferol o’r heddlu. Yn gyfarwydd â gelyniaeth, fe wnaeth un person dweud:

You could have driven a double decker bus there.

Fe wnaeth un arall disgrifio awyrgylch o ymyrraeth:

There was no problem getting to Orgreave. On the way up all we saw was convoys of police. A general feeling among the boys was that it was like the Belgrano. We were there to be sunk.

Mae’r safbwynt hwn yn adlewyrchu yn sgwrs gyda Phwyllgor Cefnogaeth Menywod Oakdale. Mae’r cyfwelydd yn nodi:

Women took the view that the confrontation here was a ‘set-up’: the police passive and unusually helpful to those going to the picket, showing them parking spaces and waving them on with few stoppages.

Mae cyfweleion gwastad yn mynegi’r farn ni ddaeth yr eitemau a thaflwyd o gefn y llinell piced o lowyr. Er bod nhw’n amheus o nifer o bobl posibl, mae’n werth nodi bod yr un dyfal dros lawer o letyau:

Stones were thrown from behind us. They were hitting us. I am a miner and I am strong. If I threw a stone I would be able to hit a copper

The pickets started the push. Somebody behind threw bricks. I am convinced they were thrown by people put there by the police.

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Ar ôl i’r gwrthdaro dechrau, mae’r adroddiadau am drais a brwdfrydedd yn parhau. Mae’r dystiolaeth isod yn disgrifio profiad glöwr o Faesteg a’i ffrind:

[They] initially saw a police officer on horseback hitting a picket twice on the back of the head with a ‘billy club’, knocking him out. While he lay on the ground, a woman came to him and lifted his head. She then went on to the road from the pavement and tried to indicate to the riders of the charging police horses (by raising her arm) to slow down to avoid the unconscious picket. [He] then saw her clubbed once by a police rider across the side of the head and she fell to the ground. [They] then had to run to avoid the charging horses. [He] has indicated that he is prepared to act as a witness in the action that it is believed the woman intends to take.

Mae cyfrif tyst llygaid arall yn dweud:

I was buying an ice cream in the village square. It was very hot. About 30 horses came into the square and I ran away. I saw a picket lying on the ground with blood pumping out of his head. He was semi-conscious. I called to 2 riot police to get an ambulance. They said ‘you’ll need an ambulance’. They hit me across the shoulders 3 times with big truncheons. They told me to ‘run’.

Mae cofnodion o’r WCCPL yn cynnig mewnwelediad diddorol tu fewn i ddigwyddiad gwleidyddol o’i amser. Heb dechnoleg i recordio’r digwydd yn wrthrychol, fe wnaeth stori’r heddlu bodoli. Ond, wrth i’r degawdau newid, mae adroddiadau, protestiadau ac ymgyrchoedd wedi tanseilio’r stori yna. Mae’n annhebygol gall rhywbeth fel Orgreave digwydd eto yn yr un modd, sy’n gwneud yr anghyfiawnder hyd yn oed  yn fwy. Os yr ydych eisiau mwy o wybodaeth am y WCCPL, neu i weld y trawsgrifiadau, cysylltwch â ni trwy e-bost, ffon, Facebook neu Twitter.

 

 

Twm Brinley Thomas & Cyril Ifold

 

Across our Facebook and Twitter profiles, and on this very blog, you may have noticed a familiar face. Twm Brinley Thomas, has become something of a mascot for us here at the Miners’ Library. Although he’s now commonly seen on our social media profiles, Twm originates in a portrait that hangs over our Issue Desk . Twm is an emblem for us because he represents the human face of industry, mining and the social history of the South Wales coalfields. The purpose of this blog is to shed some light on this figure and the artist that drew him: Cyril Ifold.

(Many thanks to Caryl Roese for providing the information included in the biography below)

Cyril was born in Ystradgynlais in 1922 to a family with an artistic pedigree. His grandfather, Frederick, studied at the Royal Academy in London and was a regular at the Summer Exhibitions. His father, a miner, passed away when he was only eight years old, forcing Cyril provide for the family with jobs like newspaper boy and tinplate factory worker.

As a teenager, he began taking lessons from local retired art teacher Arthur Pawson. Over the next eight years, Ifold trained with Pawson, using anatomical books as instruction. Afterwards, he became a pit-boy at Yniscedwyn Colliery, Ystradgynlais.

During the Second World War, Ifold was still working underground whilst attending evening classes at the Swansea College of Art. He worked under the tuition of portrait painter Alfred Janes but, after leaving, worked only in isolation.  Although he was acquainted with Josef Herman, and sought advice, he did not take lessons nor imitate his style. Although disappointed by rejection from the National Eisteddfod and the Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions, Ifold was supported by his family, including his wife Agnella, and David Bell, curator of the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery.

He would often come home from a long shift down the mine and work through the evening. This hard work paid off in the 1950s and 60s; he begun winning awards and regularly taking part in exhibitions. He continued to paint into the 1970s, using a lean-to on his house in Seven Sisters as a studio. He passed away in 1986, aged 64.

Twm Brinley Thomas a Cyril Ifold

 

Ar draws ein cyfrifau Facebook a Twitter, ac ar y blog yma, efallai rydych wedi sylwi wyneb cyfarwydd. Mae Twm Brinley Thomas wedi datblygu i fod rhyw fath o masgot ar gyfer Llyfrgell y Glowyr. Er bod e nawr i’w weld ar ein cyfrifau ar-lein, mae Tom yn dod yn wreiddiol o bortread sy’n hongian dros y Ddesg Benthyg yn Llyfrgell y Glowyr. Mae Twm fel arwyddlun i ni oherwydd bod e’n cynrychioli’r wyneb dynol o ddiwydiant, cloddio a hanes cymdeithasol o’r meysydd glo De Cymru. Pwrpas y blog hwn yw goleuo ffeithiau am y ffigwr yma a’r celfydd a wnaeth paentio ef: Cyril Ifold.

(Diolch o galon i Caryl Roese am darpaur’r gwybodaeth yn y bywgraffiad isod)

Ganwyd Cyril yn Ystradgynlais yn 1922 i deulu gyda hanes artistig. Astudiodd ei dad-cu, Frederick, yn yr Academi Frenhinol yn Llundain a ddangosodd ei gwaith yn yr Arddangosfeydd Haf. Fe wnaeth tad Cyril marw pan oedd e’n 8 mlwydd oed; roedd rhaid i Cyril gweithio i gefnogi’r teulu – gyda swyddi fel bachgen papur newydd neu weithiwr ffatri plât tun.

Yn ei arddegau, dechreuodd Cyril gwersi o’r athro celf leol a oedd wedi ymddeol, Arthur Pawson. Dros yr wyth blwyddyn nesaf, wnaeth Pawson hyfforddi Cyril, trwy ddefnyddio llyfrau anatomeg er mwyn cyfarwyddo. Ar ôl hyn, ddaeth yn bachgen-pwll yn Faes Glo Yniscedwyn yn Ystradgynlais.

Yn ystod yr Ail Ryfel Byd, roedd Ifold yn gweithio dan ddaear a hefyd yn mynd i ddosbarthau nos yng Ngholeg Celf Abertawe. Fe wnaeth e weithio o dan peintiwr portreadau Alfred Janes ond, ar ôl gadael, weithiodd ar ei ben ei hun. Er bod e’n nabod Josef Herman, ac weithiau yn gofyn am gyngor, ni wnaeth Ifold cymryd gwersi o Herman neu gopïo ei arddull. Er cafodd e siom i gael gwrthod o’r Eisteddfod Genedlaethol ac Arddangosfeydd Haf yr Academi Frenhinol, cafodd Ifold cefnogaeth o’i theulu, gan gynnwys ei gwraig Agnella, a hefyd David Bell, curadur yr oriel celf Glynn Vivian.

Yn aml, wnaeth Cyril gweithio shifft hir yn y pwll glo ac wedyn gweithio ar ei gelf yn y nos. Fe wnaeth y gwaith caled llwyddi yn y 1950au a 60au, fe ddechreuodd e ennill gwobrau a chymryd rhan mewn llawer o arddangosfeydd. Parhaodd i beintio tan y 1970au, trwy ddefnyddio pentis ar ei thŷ yn Blaendulais fel stiwdio. Bu farw yn 1986, yn 64 mlwydd oed.

Ymwelwch â Llyfrgell y Glowyr i weld rhai o luniau Cyril! Rydym hefyd yn cynllunio i ofyn Caryl Roese am sgwrs yn y Llyfrgell bydd yn sôn am ei pherthynas gyda Cyril yn y dyfodol.

International Women’s Day: “Educate, Agitate, Organise” – Elizabeth Andrews

 

In her foreword to A Woman’s Work is Never Done, Glenys Kinnock reflects on the lack of recognition afforded to its author, Elizabeth Andrews. Her autobiography, published by Honno, is still the primary source for Elizabeth’s life and writings. Edited by Ursula Masson, the book contains an introduction that provides contextual information, several of her newspaper articles and a section on the key dates and events of her life.

Born into a mining family near Aberdare in 1885, Elizabeth married Thomas Andrews in 1910. She became increasingly involved with politics after moving to the Rhondda, becoming the first woman elected to the Executive of the Rhondda Borough Labour Party in 1916. In 1919, as a member of the Ministry of Health Welsh Consultative Council, Elizabeth gave evidence to the Sankey Committee on pit head baths and hygiene.

Elizabeth was a vehement socialist and supported various causes throughout her life, but it is perhaps her campaigning for the rights of working class women that deserves particular attention. During an era when, even in fledgling labour movements, the needs of women were often subjugated to those of men, Elizabeth frequently fought for improved maternity standards, childcare and universal suffrage.

Throughout the twenties and thirties, Elizabeth contributed to ‘The Women’s Page’ in the Colliery Workers Magazine. She wrote about strikes and food shortages, highlighted political hypocrisies and usefully explained to ordinary families how broader political changes would impact upon them. Ostensibly called ‘The Women’s Page’, her writings engaged with national and international issues. This was perhaps her way of indicating that the ‘women’s page’ would not box her in; her opinions both encompassed and extended the issues commonly viewed as relevant for working-class women.

For example, in the October 1926 edition of CWM Elizabeth focuses on the lockout. She addresses a section specifically ‘To The Women Folk”, arguing that “it is they who have to bear the biggest brunt of the fight, with its poverty and worries, but they are facing it with that spirit of determination which makes for the true spirit of heroism”. This acknowledgement of the impact of the strike on women and the domestic space was rare. It highlighted the role played by working-class women in the management and survival of their households, rejecting dominant notions that their domestic concerns could be separated from the world of industry. Elizabeth ends that same paragraph on a particularly celebratory note: “The children of to-day, who will be the men and women of to-morrow, will have cause to be justly proud of their mothers who helped so nobly in this fight”.

The Miners’ Library holds copies of Masson’s edition of A Woman’s Work is Never Done, as well as bound volumes of the Colliery Workers Magazines that contain Elizabeth’s writings. She demonstrates the contribution made by working-class women in fighting for the political changes that we now take for granted, as well as a reminder that histories of working-class life should not focus solely on male industries and activism. Glenys Kinnock’s forward aptly sums up Elizabeth’s ability to both effect change in her contemporary surroundings and look to the future:

In all things she was a woman of her times, and a  woman ahead of her times.