Monday, 17 November 2014

Wives' Club opened in Swansea

From the Cambria Daily Leader, 17th November 1914.



On Monday afternoon a new venture was started in Swansea.  The occasion was that of the opening of a club at the Central Hall for the wives and mothers of our soldiers and sailors, where they can go in and have light refreshments at a very moderate cost, such as tea, coffee, or cocoa at ½d. per cup,  see all the latest papers, have a little music, and also have a little chat, to try and forget their troubles for a while.

The room to be given over for the use of the club has been comfortably furnished; a nice piano has been placed there, and the place made bright with the Allies’ flags and flowers.  The prime mover in this new venture is Mrs. Watkin Williams, aided by her husband, the Rev. W. Watkin Williams and a committee consisting of [several] ladies...

The club was formally declared open on Monday afternoon.  The Mayoress (Mrs. Dan Jones) presided, being supported by Mrs. Corker (ex-Mayoress), Mrs. Morgan B. Williams, Mrs. Watkin Williams...   Others present included ….

Mrs. Watkin Williams explained the objects of the club, stating that though a great deal had been done for our brave soldiers and sailors, and rightly so, nothing had been done in Swansea for their wives and mothers. She hoped that the club would be a place of cheer for them.

The Mayoress (Mrs. Dan Jones), in formally declaring the club open, said she sincerely hoped that good use would be made of it, and felt that it would certainly cheer the wives, sweethearts, and mothers of those who were fighting for us.

Mrs. Morgan B. Williams said she thought the club would be a great boon for those who would use it, and speaking on behalf of Lady Mond, she could assure them that it had her full sympathy and support.  Mrs. Williams also promised to help in any way possible.  Miss Llewelyn spoke on behalf of Lady Llewelyn, who was not well enough to appear upon the platform, saying that Lady Llewelyn was very glad to hear of the club being opened, wished them all success, and assured them of her full sympathy.  Among others who spoke were ... Mrs. Walter Watkins (president of the British Women's Temperance Association)....

During the afternoon solos were sung by Miss Hetty Davies and Miss Williams (Dulais House), and a pianoforte solo was given by Mrs. Jones.  The accompanist was Miss F. Jones Sketty. Afterwards tea was served to all present.

[Of all the ladies mentioned, and several others whose names I have omitted, there is no suggestion that any of them will use the club themselves - it is clearly intended for other women.  There is no hint, either, that anyone has asked the other women whether they want a social club, and if so, what it should offer.  

The mention of the British Women's Temperance Association makes me wonder whether the hidden agenda is to keep working class wives of soldiers out of the pub - there was a concern at the time that some wives were spending some of their separation allowance on drink, and this was considered immoral and unpatriotic.] 

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