Llanelli Community Heritage timed the unveiling of the plaque commemorating Emmeline Pankhurst to coincide with a lecture on her life organised last week by the Llanelli WEA.The plaque is one of some 46 that the group has found sponsors for, commemorating the association of well-known men, women and events with Llanelli.
The ceremony was introduced by John Wynne Hopkins, who chairs the Llanelli Community Heritage Group; he quoted from a press article of the time which told of the suffragette’s visit to Llanelli to address a public meeting in the Parish Hall on Saturday 20th January 1912.
The plaque which commemorates Mrs Pankhurst’s visit to Llanelli in 1912 has been sponsored by Catherine Thomas, former AM for Llanelli. Explaining why she sponsored this plaque, Catherine said, “Emmeline Pankhurst has been one of my heroes since my mother, Audrey, taught me about the suffragette movement as a child. My interest continued at college when the focus of my dissertation was the suffragette movement in Llanelli and surrounding district.”
The plaque was then officially unveiled by Nia Griffith MP, Llanelli’s first female MP. Speaking before she unveiled the plaque, Nia explained that
“ Emmeline Pankhurst’s determination to see women get the vote spanned her lifetime, from attending a meeting at the age of eight to her death aged 69 in 1928, the very year in which women finally achieved the right to vote from the age of 21, as men could do. As a young woman, her visits to the poorhouses, where she saw women and children suffering, made her all the more determined in her fight. She wanted votes for women, not just because it was right in itself to be fair to women, but because she felt certain that women having the vote would change the agenda of politics. That is reflected today: the increase in the number of women elected to public office has brought to the fore issues like childcare and violence against women. I am privileged to be one of those women making a difference in Parliament, but with women still only making up 22% of MPs, we still have a considerable way to go.”