Elizabeth Andrews – Pioneering Welsh Social Activist

E Andrews
Elizabeth Andrews

Elizabeth Andrews was undoubtedly a woman before her time. From the opening years of the 20th century, she worked as an untiring advocate for miners, their wives and children. She played a key role in ensuring that pithead baths were introduced for miners.

She was born in Penderyn (of Welsh whisky fame) in south Wales in 1882 to a Welsh-speaking household, and was the eldest of 11 children. Forced to leave school at the age of 13 to help at home, at age 17, her parents sent her to learn a craft and she spent a year learning needlework and she soon had her own workshop.

Elizabeth and husband Tom
Elizabeth and husband Tom

Over the next 15 years, she married Thomas T. Andrews, a founder of the Rhondda Independent Labour Party and became active in politics. She started a branch of the Cooperative Women’s Guild; became a suffragette and was elected to the Rhondda Labour Party executive.

In 1919 she, together with two miners’ wives, presented evidence about the lives of women in mining communities to the Sankey Commission established to investigate wages, working hours and conditions in the pits. She cared passionately about the suffering she saw around her and vowed to change the lot of miners’ wives in the South Wales valleys. Her evidence made a compelling case of the importance of having pithead baths to reduce the pressure on women and the mortality rate among children. The families were living in overcrowded houses, with poor sanitation and a high death rate among their children. The women had to boil water to wash clothes and for their husbands to bathe, because the houses had no boilers. The strain of lifting heavy bowls of water resulted in many premature births and serious illnesses among the women. Many children were scalded by the boiling water carried by their mothers. In addition, drying clothes in small kitchens was having a seriously detrimental effect on the health of the children.

Following women’s suffrage granted in 1918, the Labour Party appointed their three first women organisers. Elizabeth Andrews took up one of the posts and an early task was translating leaflets from English to Welsh encouraging women to use their newly-won vote. She remained in this post to 1947.


She worked tirelessly to improve health and education services for Welsh, opening the first nursery school in the Rhondda in 1938 and was elected a member of Glamorgan executive health committee by Aneurin Bevan in 1948.

Glenys Kinnock unveils Blue Plaque
Glenys Kinnock unveils Blue Plaque

She was awarded an OBE in 1949 for her public service and died in 1960 aged 77. A Blue Plaque commemorating her achievements was unveiled by Glenys Kinnock at her former home in Bailey Street, Ton Pentre on 24 April 2009. Glenys Kinnock paid a moving tribute: 

“One personal motto of Elizabeth Andrews was ‘education, aggravation, organisation’, something that I’ve tried to emulate when seeking to get things changed,” explained Mrs Kinnock MEP.

“She tried to teach women not to be afraid of freedom at a time when women’s voice in politics and life was heard much less frequently. Elizabeth Andrews’s life and work is deserving of such recognition and personally I’ve found her to be inspirational.”

 

15,344 comments on “Elizabeth Andrews – Pioneering Welsh Social Activist

  1. I needed to compose you the very little note to finally say thank you again for these spectacular pointers you have documented here. This has been incredibly generous with you to grant freely just what numerous people would’ve sold as an e book to help with making some cash for themselves, principally considering the fact that you might well have tried it if you ever decided. The tricks also served to provide a easy way to recognize that other people online have a similar passion much like my own to see a whole lot more with reference to this matter. Certainly there are some more pleasant times ahead for many who look into your site.

  2. An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a colleague who has been conducting a little homework on this.
    And he in fact bought me lunch due to the fact that I
    discovered it for him… lol. So allow me to reword this….
    Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending time to discuss
    this topic here on your blog.

  3. The other day, while I was at work, my sister stole my apple
    ipad and tested to see if it can survive a thirty foot drop,
    just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now broken and
    she has 83 views. I know this is totally off topic but
    I had to share it with someone!

  4. It’s the best time to make some plans for the
    longer term and it’s time to be happy. I have learn this publish
    and if I could I desire to suggest you some attention-grabbing issues or suggestions.

    Maybe you can write subsequent articles regarding this article.

    I desire to learn more issues about it!

  5. I do accept as true with all of the concepts you’ve offered in your post.
    They are really convincing and will certainly work.
    Still, the posts are very quick for starters. May just you please
    extend them a little from subsequent time?
    Thanks for the post.

  6. Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It will always be exciting to read content from other authors and practice a little something from their websites.

  7. You may be within the misconception that Dragon Ball Super Super Hero box office are only for the kids.
    This can be not at all the reality. There
    are plenty of Dragon Ball Super Super Hero 2022 offered that adults
    and kids can enjoy, from Dragon Ball Super Super Hero film to
    enhance your focus to simulation Dragon Ball
    Super Super Hero 2022 that set the creative thinking on flame.
    This post will assist help you with the amazing world of popular Dragon Ball Super Super Hero review advice and suggestions.

  8. Unquestionably consider that which you stated. Your favourite justification seemed to be at the internet the easiest thing to be mindful of.
    I say to you, I certainly get annoyed at the same time as other
    people consider concerns that they plainly do not recognize about.
    You controlled to hit the nail upon the highest and also outlined out the entire thing
    with no need side-effects , other people could take a signal.
    Will probably be back to get more. Thank you

  9. You have made some good points there. I looked on the internet for more information about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *