The Record Office on Victoria Dock in Caernarfon, the compact but busy county town
situated on the North West coast of Wales, was the venue for the second of the North
Wales Roadshows on 28 June. Victoria Dock is the part of the town which is at present
being developed with its new restaurants, housing and entertainment venue. The Roadshow
provided a drop-in experience between 11 am and 3pm, and attracted over 40 people
from the locality, and from as far as Pwllheli on the Llŷn Peninsula and Llanuwchllyn
Our experts were gratified by the range and historical significance of the items
that were brought before them, and also by the number of items deposited as part
of the WAW collection at the Record Office and Museum. Some of the highlights include:
A collection of Welsh language account books diligently kept by Angharad Tomos’s
mother from the year of her marriage in 1951 until today, detailing the price of
staple commodities such as bread, butter and her weekly grocery outlay. As she
had five daughters she also kept a record of the make and price of shoes, and the
uniform she had to buy the eldest when she started secondary school. There are notes
about her preferences in books with quatations from them, and notes from her evening
classes - all in all, a wonderful portrayal of life as a woman and as a mother
over the decades.
The Bangor branch Minute book of the Women’s International League for Peace and
Freedom between March 1955 and April 1957 and there’s also a photograph of the North
Wales Peacemaker’s Pilgrimage of 1926 (shown here). The League was founded in
1915 to work towards world disarmament and rights for women.
Silver attendance medals from Tywyn, Meirionnydd presented to schoolchildren per
complete year of attendance without any absences, and at the completion of 7 years,
pupils received a solid gold medal and a watch pendant and a photograph showing the
visitor’s aunts and uncles wearing these medals.
A series of letters from the famous Welsh author Marion Eames as a young woman in
the 1940’s to a friend, which reveal the seeds of her pacificm and Welsh Nationalism,
and the ups and downs of life for a young working woman in that period just after
the Second World War.
A large collection of documents relating to the life and work of Sister Katie Jones
(1885-c1975) from Bangor, who was a member of the Forward Movement of Calvinist Methodists,
including posters of a Sisterhood event in 1941, which she addressed (shown here),and
a Band of Hope Certificate awarded to her in 1898.
A line-up of some of the Roadshow workers - Luned Meredith, Sue Hamill, Deirdre Beddoe,
Annie Williams, Jenny Sabine, Rhiannon Gomer, Lindy Moore
Our specialists from WAW were Professor Deirdre Beddoe and Catrin Stevens, both experienced
and knowledgeable historians, ably assisted by our technical partners Culturenet
Cymru, and the archival and technical staff of the Record Office, including the Conservator
and his assistant. Annie Williams, historian and expert on women and the peace movement
gave our other specialists a welcome break.
As organiser, I was pleased to be given the support and backing of three volunteers
from amongst the WAW membership – Luned Meredith, Trish Reid and Lindy Moore. They
helped with meeting and greeting, and plying our guests with tea and conversation
while waiting their turn. Jenny Sabine, the WAW museums specialist was assisted
by Esther Roberts from the Museum at Bangor in examining and referencing items other
than documentation for deposit. Sue Hamill gave me invaluable help in keeping things
Caernarfon sometimes likes to style itself Royal Caernarfon, and we indeed had a
royal flush when the Women’s History Roadshow hit the town.
Account Book of Eryl Haf Tomos, 1951
'North Wales Peacemaker's Pilgrimage' by WILPF membership in 1926