Emily Phipps and Avril Rolph

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Apart from Hendrefoelan House (former home of previous blog subject Amy Dillwyn), our closest neighbour in the Hendrefoelan Student Village is the Emily Phipps Building. It has been utilized by numerous departments over the years, but visitors are often unaware of the history and significance of the eponymous woman herself.

This blog explores her life and achievements and is also a tribute to Avril Rolph, an authority on Emily’s life. Avril was a founder member of Women’s Archive Wales, and a good friend to the Miners’ Library, and we were very sorry to hear of her passing earlier this year. Avril’s career as a librarian, archivist and researcher made her an authority on feminist history and a well-respected figure in her field. She became an honorary Vice President of the Women’s Archive Wales in 2011, a reflection of her pivotal role in the organisation.

Emily Frost Phipps was born in Devon in 1865. A career as an educator was marked from a young age when she became a pupil teacher in an  elementary infants school while still a student herself. Following her acceptance to Homerton Training College, Emily’s teaching career continued to flourish with increasing responsibilities and prestige. When she was appointed to Swansea’s Central Higher Grade School, the Board of Education inspectors praised it as one of the best schools in Wales, attributing its success largely to her.

Avril Rolph sourced an article in the South Wales Daily Post from 1897 which succinctly captured Emily’s impact on the school:

“Miss Phipps and her hardworking, able and conscientious staff continue to raise the character of the tone and instruction, which now reflect great credit upon all concerned.”

Teaching was not Emily’s only passion; she was also committed to political causes that furthered the rights of women. According to her biography, she joined the Women’s Freedom League in outrage at Lloyd George’s anti-suffrage behaviour at a Swansea meeting. As well as establishing a Swansea branch of the organisation, Emily gave speeches, participated in boycotts and supported numerous early feminist causes. As a member of the National Federation of Women Teachers – a pressure group within the National Union of Teachers – Emily campaigned for equal pay and became the president of the Swansea chapter in 1915. Eventually, due to a lack of support, she oversaw the separation of the NUFT as an independent union.

Emily’s life afterwards spans numerous roles and positions, all united by underlying feminist causes. She was the president of NUFT, editor of the journal Woman Teacher and, in 1925,  became a barrister and the standing counsel for the National Association of Women Teachers. In 2013, a blue plaque was placed on Orchard Street in Swansea to commemorate her achievements. Avril Rolph was the main speaker at the unveiling, a testament to her expertise.

Avril’s essay, ‘Definitely not a doormat: Emily Phipps, feminist, teacher and trade unionist’ appeared in Minerva:  The Swansea History Journal in 2014 and discussed key moments in Emily’s life. For instance, it reveals that she initially withdrew her application for the headteacher role in Swansea, seemingly only accepting again when her companion Clara Neal was offered a position. It also describes Emily’s census boycott in 1911, which was meant to demonstrate that if women were not considered citizens in terms of voting then they should not contribute to Government statistics. As well as providing more details about Emily’s bid to become an MP in 1918, it also contains quotations from newspaper articles and photographs of Emily throughout her life.

Such critical work has allowed Emily to be appreciated as an early feminist and, due to her relationship with Clare Neal, she is also occasionally included in histories of lesbian women. The Miners’ Library holds books about Emily (such as Deeds not Words by Hilda Kean) and books written by her: “A History of the National Union of Women Teachers“. For more information, please get in touch.

Sources

Rolph, Avril, ‘Definitely not a doorma: Emily Phipps, feminist, teacher and trade unionist’, Minerva (2014)

Kean, Hilda, ‘Emily Phipps’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2008)

The National Library of Wales holds a number of newspaper clippings, as part of Welsh Newspapers Online, detailing aspects of Emily’s time at Swansea.

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Emily Phipps ac Avril Rolph

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Ar wahân i Dŷ Hendrefoilan, (tŷ Amy Dillwyn o blog blaenorol), ein cymydog agosaf ym Mhentref Myfyrwyr Hendrefoilan yw Adeilad Emily Phipps. Mae nifer o adrannau wedi defnyddio’r adeilad dros y blynyddoedd, ond nid yw rhan fwyaf o ymwelwyr yn ymwybodol o’r fenyw eu hun.

Mae’r blog yma yn edrych ar fywyd a chyflawniadau Emily a hefyd yn deyrnged i Avril Rolph, awdurdod allweddol ar y pwnc. Roedd Avril yn aelod sylfaenol o Archif Menywod Cymru ac yn ffrind da i Lyfrgell y Glowyr ac roeddwn yn drist i glywed am ei farwolaeth. Fe wnaeth gyrfa Avril – fel llyfrgellydd, archifydd ac ymchwilydd – gwneud hi awdurdod ar hanes ffeministaidd ac yn bwysig iawn yn y maes. Fe ddaeth hi’n Is-lywydd Anrhydeddus o Archif Menywod Cymru yn 2011, sy’n adlewyrchu ei chyfraniad enfawr yn y sefydliad.

Ganwyd Emily Frost Phipps yn Nyfnaint yn 1865. Roedd gyrfa mewn addysg yn amlwg o oes gynnar pan ddaeth hi’n athro disgybl mewn ysgol elfennol babanod pan oedd hi dal yn astudio. Ar ôl cael ei derbyn i Goleg Hyfforddi Homerton, wnaeth gyrfa addysg Emily cynyddu gyda mwy o gyfrifoldeb a phwysigrwydd. Pan ddaeth hi fel pennaeth i Ysgol Ganolog Gradd Uwch Abertawe, wnaeth yr arolygwyr o’r Bwrdd Addysg yn ei ganmol fel un o’r ysgolion gorau yng Nghymru, yn esbonio llawr o’r llwyddiant fel gwaith caled Emily.

Wnaeth Avril Rolph dod o hyd i erthygl yn South Wales Daily Post yn 1897 sydd yn dangos effaith Emily ar yr ysgol:

“Miss Phipps and her hardworking, able and conscientious staff continue to raise the character of the tone and instruction, which now reflect great credit upon all concerned.”

Heb law am ddysgu, roedd Emily hefyd yn angerddol am achosion gwleidyddol i ymwneud a hawliau menywod. Mae ei bywgraffiad yn sôn fe wnaeth hi ymuno a’r ‘Women’s Freedom League’ ar ôl gweld Lloyd George yn dangos ymddygiad sarhaus tuag at Swffragetiaid mewn cyfarfod yn Abertawe. Ar ôl sefydlu cangen yn Abertawe, fe wnaeth Emily roi areithiau, cymryd rhan mewn protestiadau a rhoi ei chefnogaeth i nifer o achosion menywod cynnar. Fel aelod o Undeb Gwladol Athrawon Benywaidd – grŵp pwysedd yn Undeb Gwladol Athrawon – fe wnaeth Emily ymgyrch am daliadau cyfartal a ddaeth hi arlywydd adran Abertawe yn 1915. Ymhen, oherwydd diffyg cefnogaeth, wnaeth hi oruchwylio’r undeb menywod yn gwahanu.

Mae gyrfa Emily ar ôl hyn yn cynnwys nifer o swyddi, wedi’i uno gan achosion ffeministaidd. Fe ddaeth hi’n Arlywydd y NUFT, golygydd cylchgrawn Woman Teacher a, yn 1925, bargyfreithiwr ar gyfer Cymdeithas Wladol Athrawon Benywaidd. Yn 2013, osodwyd plac glas ar Orchard Street yn Abertawe yn coffáu ei chyflawniadau. Avril oedd prif siaradwr ar gyfer y dadorchuddio, ac roedd hwn yn cymwys oherwydd ei ymchwil arbennig ar fywyd Emily.

Fe gyhoeddwyd traethawd Avril, ‘Definitely not a doormat: Emily Phipps, feminist, teacher and trade unionist’ yn Minerva: The Swansea History Journal yn 2014 ac mae’n trafod nifer o ddigwyddiadau allweddol. Er enghraifft, fe wnaeth Emily ymneilltua ei chais am y swydd pennaeth yn Abertawe, ac yn derbyn eto pan wnaethon nhw hefyd cynnig swydd i’w chydymaith Clara Neal. Mae’r erthygl hefyd yn disgrifio ei phrotest y cyfrifiad yn 1911, a oedd yn dangos i bobl ni dyle menywod cyfrannu at ystadegau’r llywodraeth os nod oedd y wladwriaeth yn gweld nhw fel dinasyddion. Ar wahân i ddarparu mwy o wybodaeth am gais Emily i ddoed yn aelod o’r senedd yn 1918, mae’r erthygl hefyd yn cynnwys dyfyniadau o erthyglau papur newydd a lluniau o Emily.

Mae gwaith beirniadol fel hwn yn gadel i Emily cael ei gwerthfawrogi del ffeminist cynnar ac, oherwydd ei pherthynas gyda Clare Neal, mae rhai hanesion lesbiaidd yn cynnwys hi. Mae Llyfrgell y Glowyr yn cadw llyfrau am Emily (fel Deeds not Words gan Hilda Kean) a llyfrau ganddi hi: “A History of the National Union of Women Teachers“. Am fwy o wybodaeth, cysylltwch â ni.

Ffynonellau

Rolph, Avril, ‘Definitely not a doorma: Emily Phipps, feminist, teacher and trade unionist’, Minerva (2014)

Kean, Hilda, ‘Emily Phipps’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2008)

Mae Llyfrgell Wladol Cymru yn cadw nifer o bapurau newyddion, fel rhan o Bapurau Newyddion Ar-lein, sy’n darparu manylion o fywyd Emily yn Abertawe.

 

GIG @ 70

 

NHSat70

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.

 

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:

NHS

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.

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.

Orgreave17

 

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.

Orgreave17

 

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.