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-Like many Welsh people
-over the years...
-..I've mapped out
-a career in London.
-A century ago...
-..a woman in the world of business,
-arts or politics was a rare sight.
-Women didn't even have
-the right to vote.
-One Welsh lady
-wanted to change this.
-A prominent figure in the struggle
-for equality for women...
-..was Margaret Haig Thomas.
-She inherited the title
-of Viscountess Rhondda...
-..and fought to follow her father
-into the House of Lords.
-This remarkable woman
-made a massive impact...
-..to ensure women
-had the right to do everything...
-..that we take for granted.
-She paid a high price for it.
-She was the only woman
-who went to prison in Wales...
-..for her rebellious acts in Wales.
-She should be a familiar figure...
-..but she isn't,
-not even for historians.
-She had a prolific career
-as a pioneering journalist...
-..a powerful businesswoman
-and the Mrs Pankhurst of Wales.
-She survived the worst
-maritime disaster of the Great War.
-Her life was fascinating,
-fruitful and colourful.
-WITH FFION HAGUE
-I'm amazed by the lack of attention
-Margaret Haig Thomas has received.
-She fought relentlessly for equality
-for women, benefits for families...
-..and for women
-to sit the House of Lords.
-this portrait of her was unveiled.
-Finally, Margaret had made
-her mark at Westminster...
-..more than 50 years
-following her death.
-Margaret was raised in Llanwern
-on the edge of Newport.
-She was the only child
-of the industrialist, D A Thomas.
-Her father was the protege
-of Lloyd George.
-He owned coalmines in the Rhondda
-and was a Liberal MP in Merthyr.
-Her mother, Sybil, was a descendent
-of General Douglas Haig.
-Their home was nestled
-on this hillside.
-The building no longer exists, but
-this is where she spent her youth.
-She learnt noble customs
-from her mother...
-..and business skills
-from her father.
-Margaret was an only child.
-She kept herself amused
-by reading and writing.
-She enjoyed climbing trees
-and behaved like a tomboy.
-Margaret was also shy and insecure.
-As the result of being mentored
-by her father...
-..she gained confidence
-and was introduced to public life.
-At election time,
-she would be involved.
-She was taken along to encourage
-people to vote for her father.
-was also active in politics.
-She was president of the Aberdare
-Women's Liberal Association...
-quite an important role.
-Aged 15, Margaret was sent
-to St Leonard's School in Scotland.
-It was a key period in her life.
-It was an innovative school.
-There was an emphasis
-on how to shape an individual.
-They read extensively and covered
-a wide spectrum of subjects.
-More importantly for Margaret,
-she felt liberated.
-Margaret refers to it
-as the happiest time of her life.
-She learnt that being a girl
-wasn't an excuse to fail...
-..but there were expectations
-for a girl of Margaret's calibre.
-She would soon face the social whirl
-that was the London Season.
-It was three months
-of debutant balls and parties.
-Why was it important for Margaret
-to follow the Season?
-She was born into
-an upper middle class family...
-..and was expected to marry.
-He had to be a member of the
-aristocracy and be very wealthy.
-The best place to find him
-was at the Season.
-How did Margaret embrace
-the London Season?
-she showed great enthusiasm.
-She was excited about the attire,
-meeting a husband and new friends.
-However, she became disheartened
-because she was very shy...
-with the opposite sex.
-Margaret faced another problem.
-Fashion was changing.
-The portrayal of the perfect woman
-in the magazines was very specific.
-Women had to have a small silhouette
-and a tiny waist.
-Margaret didn't fit
-this image of an ideal body.
-She was a tall girl...
-..and the stays she wore
-were very uncomfortable.
-Did she find a husband?
-the Season three times.
-She was too embarrassed to go again
-as she failed in finding a husband.
-She was under pressure to marry,
-yet Margaret had her own ideas.
-Studying at Somerville College in
-Oxford left her feeling uninspired.
-I get the impression
-that Margaret was a little lost.
-She lacked any direction
-in her life.
-Several months later in 1901,
-everything changed for Margaret.
-On 10 July, the flags were flying...
-..there was a red carpet and ribbons
-leading to the church.
-Margaret had found a husband.
-She came to Christchurch to marry
-her neighbour, Humphrey Mackworth.
-They moved to a new home
-It was a wedding gift
-from her parents.
-"we were an oddly assorted couple."
-He was 20 years her senior and
-was leader of the hunt at Llangybi.
-She preferred to read and be quiet.
-He thought it was very rude to read
-whilst others were in the room.
-Despite their differences,
-marriage gave her some independence.
-Margaret was happy.
-This was primarily due to
-a new course in life...
-..that would give her a purpose.
-She campaigned for women's rights.
-Life was changing for women in terms
-of education and marital rights.
-However, women were still
-denied the right to vote.
-It sparked a national campaign.
-Margaret led a restrictive,
-middle class lifestyle...
-..which lacked any direction.
-She claimed that this campaign
-gave her life a direction.
-It inspired her
-and gave her life some purpose.
-The Pankhursts and the Women's
-Social and Political Union...
-..were gaining momentum.
-Margaret was instantly drawn
-to their message.
-Their slogan was Deeds Not Words.
-They had grown tired
-of all the discussions.
-It was time for them
-to take direct action.
-They interrupted public meetings,
-heckled at speakers...
-..intruded hustings at elections and
-the National Eisteddfod of Wales.
-These protests occurred in London,
-Wrexham and Abergavenny.
-It was publicity for their cause.
-Margaret protested around Britain
-from Scotland to Hyde Park.
-With Mrs Pankhurst at her side,
-she became a prominent campaigner.
-Margaret took it a step further and
-wanted to do something more extreme.
-She decided the best action
-to take was to make a bomb.
-She visited the WSPU headquarters
-She mixed chemicals in small vials
-in order to produce a bomb.
-She hid the bomb in the bushes
-for a week before the fateful day.
-She paced nervously
-up and down the street...
-..prior to planting the bomb
-inside a letterbox.
-Margaret was arrested
-and summoned to court at Usk...
-..where she was found guilty.
-She refused to pay bail
-but chose to make her stand.
-Margaret's husband pleaded with her
-to avoid prison...
-..but she refused and
-was thrown into this prison in Usk.
-Being sent to jail
-was a traumatic experience.
-They endured abhorrent conditions
-in dark, filthy cells.
-Many inmates took drastic action
-and went on a hunger strike.
-However, the prison officials
-..by inserting a thick rubber tube
-into their mouths or nostrils.
-these women fell seriously ill.
-The government promptly took action
-by passing the Cat and Mouse Act.
-Having almost starved to death, the
-women were released to recover...
-to complete the sentence.
-went on a hunger strike.
-She didn't eat or drink
-for three days.
-When her health started to fail,
-she was released.
-She was under the impression
-that she would return to jail.
-Before making a full recovery,
-her fine was paid anonymously.
-We believe her husband
-paid the fine.
-Margaret's prison sentence
-had angered her in-laws...
-..and Humphrey was incensed when
-she decided to work for her father.
-It was completely inappropriate
-for his wife to work.
-She learnt about business
-from her father.
-an unofficial apprenticeship.
-he'd talk to her about business.
-in the late 19th century...
-..to take their daughter
-as a confidante...
-..and discussing ideas
-about business is rather unusual.
-about her father's empire...
-..that extended to Mississippi,
-Pennsylvania and Canada.
-He showed his confidence
-..by taking her
-on a business trip in 1915.
-After the trip to New York, Margaret
-and her father returned to Wales...
-..on board the famous liner,
-They set sail for the most
-traumatic experience of their lives.
-"My father and I came from luncheon
-and strolled to the lift on D-deck.
-"He said we should stay up on deck
-to see if we get our thrill.
-"I had no time to answer."
-In May 1915, Margaret Haig Thomas
-and her father...
-..were travelling from America
-on the Lusitania.
-As the Irish coastline
-came into sight...
-..the cruise liner
-was torpedoed by a German submarine.
-"There was a dull thud.
-"Not very loud
-but unmistakeably an explosion.
-"My father walked over to look out
-of a porthole. I didn't wait."
-The liner was sinking fast.
-She removed her underskirts
-to jump overboard...
-..but the level of the water
-had reached her deck.
-and plunged into the sea.
-She rose to the surface
-and was surrounded by debris.
-"Something was in my right hand
-and prevented me striking out.
-"It was a lifebelt
-I had been holding for my father.
-"I let it go."
-At this point, the lifeboat
-was searching for passengers.
-She later said that she was
-very fortunate to be saved.
-"I was on a patrol steamer
-named the Bluebell...
-"..when a sailor asked
-if we lost anyone.
-"I remember the sudden sobering
-"I didn't know
-what had happened to my father.
-"We got into Queenstown Harbour
-"A man told me that my father
-had been rescued...
-"..and was waiting
-at the other end of the gangway."
-The business trip
-and trauma on board the Lusitania...
-..strengthened her character.
-Margaret didn't want to stay
-in an unhappy marriage.
-she divorced Humphrey Mackworth.
-Divorce was still very expensive,
-very unusual and quite shaming.
-She and Humphrey
-didn't have much in common.
-She told her friend and actress,
-.."He's a nice man
-but does nothing."
-It wasn't as shaming for Margaret
-as it might have been for others.
-She was in a position
-where she got on with her life.
-They went their separate ways.
-She didn't have another man
-in her life following her divorce...
-..but had close relationships
-with several women...
-..such as Helen Archdale
-from Time and Tide...
-..Winifred Holtby, the novelist,
-and Theodora Bosenkay.
-There wasn't another man.
-By 1923, Margaret felt
-even more liberated than ever.
-She was a divorcee with money
-and a profession...
-..but she was faced
-with a challenge...
-..as women only answered the phone
-at the company's Cardiff Bay office.
-Women were unofficially
-involved in business.
-Wives would be behind the scenes.
-On the whole...
-..it was unusual for women
-to have such a prominent role.
-she was chairing seven boards...
-..and sat on about
-33 different boards.
-She had more directorships than any
-other woman in the UK in the 1920s.
-Margaret was elected president of
-the Institute of Directors or IOD.
-This influential body...
-..continues to represent
-business directors today.
-Margaret was the first
-woman president and the only one.
-she was the only woman member.
-that by the time she died in 1958...
-..there were 600 women members
-in the Institute.
-Things really changed
-during her lifetime.
-If women were good enough
-to work during the war...
-..they could work
-after the war too.
-However, the press thought a woman
-should be in the home.
-Her plan was to run a newspaper
-that treated women equally.
-she launched Time and Tide.
-Time and Tide
-is one of her greatest achievements.
-What she wanted to do...
-..was give an opportunity
-for people to see...
-..what women had achieved
-and might achieve...
-..and to discuss
-the affairs of the day.
-When women won the right to vote
-..the newspaper changed tact and
-became a leading literary journal.
-By the 1940s,
-it sold 40,000 copies a week.
-D J Morgan was chess editor
-of Time and Tide in the 1950s.
-He visited the magazine
-with his son, Lord K O Morgan.
-I met Margaret once in the 1950s.
-I recall my father
-speaking with Lady Rhondda.
-She was a lovely, dignified lady.
-The French would refer to her
-as a "grande dame".
-She was an important lady.
-David received a phone call
-There was a problem
-with one of his articles.
-Time and Tide
-had become a right-winged paper.
-Some readers had complained
-during the Cold War...
-..that there were too many sportsmen
-and games from Russia...
-..in my father's articles.
-It was quite humorous.
-Lady Rhondda had a lovely chat
-with my father.
-He didn't have a problem
-with the Russians.
-I asked my father
-if he changed his articles...
-..but he wouldn't do that.
-Margaret was a sincere employer.
-She wanted her staff to work hard
-but was also happy to reward them.
-If Margaret liked
-reading your article...
-..she'd reward you with
-half a dozen eggs from Llanwern.
-If your article was fantastic,
-she'd give you a dozen eggs.
-This is how
-she showed her appreciation.
-During this period, with the help
-of other influential women...
-the Six Point Group.
-The Six Point Group
-was a pressure group...
-..that advocated social,
-economic, legal and equal rights...
-..whether it be
-legislating against child assault...
-equal pay for teachers.
-It was to make sure that
-now some women had the vote...
-..there would also be an opportunity
-to have social and economic rights.
-Another campaign was the right for
-women to sit in the House of Lords.
-Her inherited title
-of Viscountess Rhondda...
-..didn't give her the right
-to a seat because she was a woman.
-It was incredibly strange because
-Margaret fought for women's rights.
-It was a bizarre situation.
-She wouldn't have
-the right to vote...
-..because she was meant to be
-a member of the House of Lords.
-She wouldn't benefit from it
-so it was a problem for her.
-she campaigned for many years.
-Months before her death in 1958,
-the Life Peerages Act was passed.
-It permitted women
-to sit in the House of Lords.
-Women with inherited titles had
-to wait five years to follow suit.
-I, Baroness Morgan of Ely...
-It would have been interesting
-to be there 20 years ago.
-The House would have looked
-..full of old men
-and only a handful of women.
-It's gradually changing...
-..and this is partly due
-to Margaret's campaign.
-People are showing more interest...
-..in the woman
-who transformed the House of Lords.
-She never had the chance
-to take her seat.
-She died a few months earlier.
-Margaret died at the age of 75
-Tributes refer to her as one of
-Britain's most prominent women.
-She introduced women's rights
-..and ensured that Welsh women
-took an active role in the campaign.
-She was a symbol of someone
-who offered support...
-..and would make a sacrifice
-on behalf of the campaign.
-Many of the rights
-that we take for granted today...
-..she helped to make possible.
-Through her work in Time and Tide...
-..she publicized and advertised
-what women could achieve...
-to be better remembered.
-Her portrait now hangs
-in the House of Lords.
-Therefore, Margaret has got
-the recognition she deserves.
-She understood that women
-have just as much right...
-..as much experience
-and have as much to say as any man.
-Margaret was a unique person.
-She thrived in the business world,
-challenged social order...
-the House of Lords.
-It takes a special character
-to fight against the system.
-Margaret's story is incredibly
-inspiring and I admire her greatly.
-The inscription on her grave
-is wearing away...
-..but we cannot let her story
-wither and die.
-S4C Subtitles by Tinopolis