Amy Dillwyn Mamwlad


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Amy Dillwyn

Stori ryfeddol Amy Dillwyn Abertawe a ddaeth yn un o ddiwydianwyr mwyaf llwyddiannus Cymru. Amy Dillwyn - the Swansea debutante who became one of Wales' most successful industri...


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-The city of Swansea.

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-It was home to one of Wales's most

-influential families of the 1800s.

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-The Dillwyn Llewelyns pioneered

-in industry, politics and science.

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-Amy Dillwyn was one of

-the family's high achievers.

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-The giddy debutante grew into

-a successful British industrialist.

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-When I inherited

-the Llansamlet Spelter Works...

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-..they were 100,000 in debt.

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-She overcame

-19th century constraints...

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-..and challenged conventions.

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-Having studied

-the novels of that era...

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-..few speak as openly about feelings

-between women as she did.

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-She didn't care about

-other people's opinions of her.

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-"Will anyone have a cigar?"

-she'd say.

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-The women would cringe...

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-..as the notion of a woman

-smoking a cigar was despicable.

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-Hendrefoilan House in Swansea...

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-..was home to Amy Dillwyn

-for the first 40 years of her life.

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-She grew up here and witnessed

-her father's political affairs.

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-She nursed her terminally-ill mother

-and mourned her passing.

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-This was Amy's world.

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-However, she had to leave

-because she was a woman.

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-Amy's grandfather

-was Lewis Weston Dillwyn.

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-The industrialist owned the Cambrian

-Pottery and lived at Sketty Hall.

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-He fathered John Dillwyn Llewelyn,

-the botanist and photographer...

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-..and Lewis Llewelyn Dillwyn,

-Amy's father...

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-..an industrialist

-and Member of Parliament.

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-Amy Dillwyn is a remarkable figure

-in the history of Welsh women...

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-..but has gained little recognition.

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-Professor Prys Morgan

-is fascinated by her.

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-His Bishopston home

-is steeped in her legacy.

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-It's also a former haunt of Amy's.

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-Hello.

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-Hello.

-

-Come in. Welcome to you.

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-What is the connection

-between this house and Amy?

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-Amy was close friends with

-the three sisters who lived here.

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-They were all spinsters.

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-The ladies organized parties

-where they would play card games.

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-This is the very table where Amy

-and the three sisters played bridge.

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-The maid would greet her

-in the hallway.

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-The maid would ask...

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-.."Miss Dillwyn,

-don't you want to go upstairs...

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-"..to take your shoes off

-and tidy yourself?"

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-Amy would reply,

-"No, of course I don't."

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-She would simply

-fling her shoes off...

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-..into the corner of the hallway.

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-Amy never used the mirror.

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-"I don't need a mirror,"

-she'd exclaim.

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-She'd run her fingers through her

-hair and walk into the parlour.

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-Amy and her siblings

-were raised in a lap of luxury.

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-Amy's father owned the Llansamlet

-Spelter Works and was a Liberal MP.

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-Her mother, Elizabeth de la Beche,

-was from the Penllergaer Estate.

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-She designed the company's Etruscan

-ware pottery from local red clay.

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-Amy's story has enchanted

-the actress, Debra John.

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-She enjoys introducing her

-to local societies and schools.

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-I've been playing the role

-of Amy Dillwyn for five years.

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-There's something special about her

-and she stands out from the crowd.

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-Amy contributed immensely

-to the city of Swansea...

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-..and is an inspiration to women.

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-From an early age, Amy was a tomboy.

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-She enjoyed climbing trees

-with her brother, Harry...

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-..and playing in the mud.

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-She was also interested in nature.

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-While exploring the countryside

-with her brother, Harry...

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-..Amy smoked her first cigarette.

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-This habit became part

-of her eccentric image.

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-She was forced to leave

-her childhood in Swansea...

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-..and was sent to

-a London school for girls...

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-..to become a debutante

-and find a husband.

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-Amy wrote about the excitement

-of visiting St James's Palace.

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-The maids admired her hair.

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-"It had been beautifully done

-by Roland," she said.

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-She didn't wear her glasses either.

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-She was one of 250 girls who flocked

-to the ball in search of a husband.

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-"There was a sea of ladies...

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-"..in magnificent dresses

-and jewellery sitting down...

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-"..and a surf of gentlemen in

-handsome uniforms standing around."

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-In the splendour of the ball...

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-..Amy met a childhood friend,

-Llewellyn Thomas from Llwynmadog.

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-They spent a lot of time together.

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-A few months later, when Amy

-turned 18, she agreed to marry him.

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-Llewellyn was a family friend.

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-Amy and Llewellyn were picked out

-as children of being a likely match.

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-The emotions seemed genuine

-on Llewellyn's side...

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-..but she was extremely

-distressed in secret...

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-..about the pending marriage.

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-She was upset about leaving home,

-her beloved Hendrefoilan.

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-A few months later,

-Amy suffered a blow...

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-..when Llewellyn suddenly died

-from smallpox in Paris.

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-The day before the funeral...

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-..Amy collected snowdrops for her

-father to lay on the coffin.

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-Historians have always claimed that

-Amy was heartbroken after her loss.

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-However, new research

-from Swansea University...

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-..makes me question Amy's

-state of mind and her sexuality.

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-It is not a story

-that has been told before...

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-..but in her diaries...

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-..she admits how much it cost her

-to agree to the marriage.

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-"Last night, I read all the letters

-I received from Llewellyn Thomas...

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-"..and then burnt them.

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-"It was sad and frightening

-to read the letters...

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-"..and see how much...

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-"..and how true a love was centred

-on so unworthy focus as myself.

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-"If he had but known the doubts and

-struggles of my mind at that time.

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-"My miserable state of doubting what

-course to pursue had lasted longer.

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-"I must have gone mad.

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-"It's horrible to think of even now.

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-"Poor Llewellyn!

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-"I wonder if he will ever know

-what injustice I did him."

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-It's difficult to interpret

-Amy's thoughts on marriage.

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-She says, "If I have to be

-a lone woman, so be it."

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-She was very jealous

-of her younger sister.

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-When Essie got married,

-Amy said, "Why isn't my turn?"

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-"Why don't I deserve to love

-or to be loved?"

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-Amy's life changed overnight

-when her mother died in late 1866.

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-She was expected to run the home...

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-..and live her life around

-her father's political work.

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-She was now

-the mistress of Hendrefoilan.

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-However, Amy felt restless.

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-She wanted to make her mark

-like some other ladies of her day.

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-She did something different

-and wrote a novel.

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-Prior to publishing novels...

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-..Amy had looked after

-her father's home for over a decade.

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-She fell into depression

-and suffered a mental decline.

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-She states in her diaries...

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-..that she didn't have

-a strong desire to be an author...

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-..but used writing as her only means

-of escapism.

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-It was an act of retaliation

-against the role of a woman.

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-Her novels also enabled her to

-discuss her emotions and sexuality.

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-Amy was 30 years old...

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-..and was traditionally

-deemed too old for marriage.

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-Henry Hussey Vivian

-came to the house.

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-He said quite pointedly...

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-.."A woman who doesn't marry goes

-contrary to the laws of the world."

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-Well, I beg to differ,

-Mr Henry Hussey Vivian.

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-I may be on the shelf...

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-..but all the best China

-stays on the shelf.

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-Mugs get taken down first.

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-The real love of her life

-was Olive Talbot.

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-Her diaries show that Amy

-loved Olive from the age of 15.

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-This was the passion of her life.

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-By 1872, she's describing Olive

-in her diaries as a her wife.

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-"I'm a fool

-to care as I do for Olive.

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-"My own belief

-is that I'm half a man.

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-"The male half of my nature

-fell in love with her years ago...

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-"..and can't fall out of it.

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-"I care for her romantically,

-passionately, foolishly...

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-"..and try as I may,

-I cannot get over it.

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-"I wish I could,

-for it's more pain than pleasure."

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-Did women from this period have

-to conceal these type of emotions?

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-It's very difficult for us to know

-how they perceived lesbianism...

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-..because male homosexuality

-was illegal.

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-They didn't acknowledge

-the existence of homosexual women.

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-Queen Victoria

-refused to accept the notion of it.

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-It didn't exist

-and it didn't have a title.

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-The Ladies of Llangollen were seen

-as close friends and this was fine.

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-What happened between Amy and Olive?

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-What happened between Amy and Olive?

-

-We don't know what happened.

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-We know that this love affair, the

-one-sided, unrequited love affair...

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-..is written and rewritten

-in her novels in disguise...

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-..of a man loving an out-of-reach

-woman or between two women.

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-Having studied

-the novels of that era...

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-..few speak as openly about feelings

-between women as she did.

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-Her novels certainly change

-our conventional notion...

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-..of the domestic lives

-among Victorian ladies.

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-She was unconventional, unique...

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-..and challenged

-19th century conventions.

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-Amy would walk into this room

-to play cards with the ladies...

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-..and would come through the door

-saying...

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-.."Will anyone have a cigar?"

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-The ladies would cringe

-and sink into their shawls...

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-..as the notion of ladies

-smoking a cigar was despicable.

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-Emma Morgan was the oldest sister

-and five years older than Amy.

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-She'd say, "I will not be put out

-of continence by you, Amy Dillwyn."

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-"I will have a cigar, so there!"

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-Amy was quite practical.

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-She looked like a man

-and wore masculine clothing.

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-There's a lovely story

-about her father's funeral.

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-Amy wore a heliotrope skirt

-with a yellow rose in the middle.

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-She also donned a hat

-decorated with flowers.

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-She was simply making a statement.

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-Amy's outfit branded her

-as unusual and unconventional.

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-Some would even say odd,

-but she was an audacious character.

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-Little did Amy know

-that when she buried her father...

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-..she would face

-her biggest challenge yet...

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-..and would be pushed to her limits.

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-In the coming years,

-Amy would prove to the world...

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-..that she could match any man

-in the world of industry.

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-.

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-Following a privileged upbringing

-at Hendrefoilan...

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-..Amy Dillwyn's life changed

-overnight after her father's death.

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-She couldn't stay

-at her family home.

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-It was left to a male relative,

-so Amy had to move into lodgings.

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-Lewis Llewellyn Dillwyn

-stated in his will...

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-..that his daughter would inherit

-Llansamlet Spelter Works.

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-I know what you're thinking.

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-"I didn't know your father

-had a business, Amy."

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-I don't think he did either.

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-When I inherited

-the Llansamlet Spelter Works...

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-..they were 100,000 in debt.

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-That debt equated to 10 million

-in today's terms.

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-Her father's assets

-weren't going to clear it.

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-How did the business

-fall into arrears?

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-There was a massive rise

-in global investment.

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-This instigated a huge growth

-in the 1880s.

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-By 1890, Argentina failed to pay

-its debts to this country...

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-..therefore the banks crashed.

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-It's a similar scenario

-to our recent recession.

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-It was a severe blow for Swansea...

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-..and it created

-problems for the works.

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-Everyone expected Amy to go bankrupt

-after her father's death.

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-She couldn't get any money

-from the estate...

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-..until the creditors were paid.

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-Amy refused to give up so easily...

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-..and decided

-to run the business herself.

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-Selling the contents of

-Hendrefoilan House was difficult.

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-An auction across three days.

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-I don't just mean

-the furniture and paintings.

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-I'm talking about the little things.

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-The inkwell and the pen...

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-..and the brush and the dustpan.

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-Everything had to go.

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-She was responsible for clearing

-thousands of pounds worth of debt.

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-Amy was determined to do it.

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-It was shocking to hear that a woman

-who was raised in a stately home....

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-..like Hendrefoilan

-in the west of Swansea...

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-..had to travel daily to the smoke

-and stench at Llansamlet.

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-Bankruptcy carried a stigma

-during this period.

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-It's believed that in the wake

-of the Industrial Revolution...

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-..many businesses suffered

-for no apparent reason...

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-..but the economy in general.

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-This is what happened here.

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-Every morning, Amy caught the train

-to the offices at Cambrian Place.

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-She invited her nephew,

-Rice Nicholl, to join the company...

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-..but he would become Rice Dillwyn

-to continue her father's legacy.

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-In this building behind me,

-Amy managed the accounts...

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-..and overlooked the company's work.

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-She was definitely the boss.

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-Amy had to work relentlessly

-in the first three years...

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-..to reduce costs

-and find new markets.

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-She also spoke other languages

-and wrote her own correspondence.

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-Amy lived in

-a male-dominated world...

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-..where women

-weren't taken seriously.

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-She had no option

-but to transform the factory.

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-She succeeded in doing this

-by turning losses into a profit.

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-"The chief change in my existence...

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-"..is that in 1896, I found money

-to satisfy Papa's creditors...

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-"..and got out of chancery

-the estate he left to me.

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-"I purchased my own estate -

-in this way became Dillwyn and Co."

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-The next ten years

-were incredibly tough for Amy.

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-She worked hard and lived frugally.

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-However, it paid off as Amy could

-afford to buy a house once again.

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-Her business was thriving.

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-One of her most significant trips

-was to Algeria in 1905...

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-..to the Atlas Mountains...

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-..leading a group of people

-looking for high quality zinc ore.

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-There were women explorers...

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-..but to be exploring

-and on a business trip...

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-..and leading a business trip

-for her own company was unusual.

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-The firm is now

-turning over a good profit.

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-We've just returned

-from the zinc mines in Algeria...

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-..and I find there is an offer from

-the German firm, Metallgesellschaft.

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-They wish to buy Dillwyn and Co.

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-When Amy sold the factory to

-Metallgesellschaft in Frankfurt...

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-..one of the world's

-largest metal companies...

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-..it was worth over 100,000.

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-She was far more successful

-than the men in her family.

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-Amy saved the business but she

-didn't enter into full retirement.

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-She was quite active in Swansea...

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-..and founded a convalescent home

-in Mount Pleasant...

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-..and the Ragged School.

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-She also showed an interest

-in the Suffragettes.

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-Amy wasn't a militant

-but did support the Women's Vote.

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-She also knew how to enjoy herself.

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-Amy took up hockey in her fifties

-and also enjoyed playing water polo.

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-At the age of 75,

-Amy was spotted in Monaco...

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-..playing poker against

-Lily Langtree's husband.

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-She wanted to enjoy her wealth.

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-Amy didn't care

-what people said about her.

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-She refused to be confined

-by the Victorian ideals...

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-..that women should never gamble.

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-Today, Amy and her family's legacy

-is evident in the city of Swansea.

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-However, this influential family

-is set to disappear.

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-Amy's nephew, Rice Dillwyn,

-inherited her estate.

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-His granddaughter, Susan, is aware

-of her forefathers's exploits.

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-It's one to be proud of

-but it's coming to an end.

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-There are no Dillwyns left, only

-the Dillwyn-Venables-Llewelyns.

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-They've only got daughters

-so that's the end of the family.

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-How important is it for you

-to keep Amy's memory alive?

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-It's very important...

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-..because she was an interesting

-and complex character.

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-We have her diaries which reveal

-strange things about her...

0:21:170:21:22

-..and how she very nearly

-went into a nunnery...

0:21:220:21:25

-..and also her journals

-which she wrote in South Africa.

0:21:260:21:31

-She went to chase up

-her sister, Essie...

0:21:310:21:35

-..who had left her husband

-and run away with another man.

0:21:360:21:41

-Amy died at her home aged 90

-just before Christmas 1935.

0:21:460:21:52

-It was her wish to be cremated

-at an unceremonial service.

0:21:530:21:57

-Her ashes were buried

-with her parents and brother...

0:21:580:22:01

-..at a Sketty church.

0:22:020:22:03

-Her father looked upon her

-as a child rather than a girl.

0:22:070:22:11

-The confidence she nurtured

-enabled her to tackle problems.

0:22:110:22:16

-Being a women didn't restrict her.

0:22:160:22:19

-She was able to progress...

0:22:190:22:21

-..secure jobs

-and the future of her business.

0:22:220:22:25

-Her voice in the novels

-are truly unconventional.

0:22:270:22:32

-She pushed the boundaries...

0:22:320:22:34

-..in terms of being open

-about a woman's train of thought.

0:22:340:22:39

-She was an eccentric

-and unconventional lady...

0:22:410:22:45

-..but she was unconventional

-and eccentric...

0:22:450:22:48

-..as this is how she could retaliate

-and do whatever she wanted to do.

0:22:480:22:54

-Therefore, I think she was

-a lady of great importance.

0:22:550:22:59

-It's difficult to summarize

-the life of Amy Dillwyn...

0:23:040:23:08

-..or pay a fitting tribute

-to her contribution to this area.

0:23:090:23:13

-Her name is on this city's streets

-and squares...

0:23:130:23:16

-..and reminds us of an eccentric,

-determined lady...

0:23:170:23:21

-..who left her mark on Swansea.

0:23:210:23:23

-S4C Subtitles by Tinopolis

0:23:450:23:47

-.

0:23:470:23:47

Stori ryfeddol Amy Dillwyn Abertawe a ddaeth yn un o ddiwydianwyr mwyaf llwyddiannus Cymru. Amy Dillwyn - the Swansea debutante who became one of Wales' most successful industrialists.