Home » The pioneering Swansea women remembered across the city
National News Politics Swansea

The pioneering Swansea women remembered across the city

Two pioneering Swansea women from different centuries are being celebrated as International Women’s Day is marked in the city.

On Wednesday councillors are being asked to formally name the new coastal park next to Swansea Arena in honour of the accomplished Victorian novelist, businesswomen and philanthropist Amy Dillwyn.

Born in Sketty in 1845 to the prominent Dillwyn family, she wrote six novels on themes including feminism and social reform and following her father’s death she personally managed the family’s spelter works in Llansamlet.

Amy Dillwyn

Subject to approval it will mean the park will be officially called the Amy Dillwyn Park in time for International Women’s Day two days later on Friday March 8.

At the following council meeting later in March a further proposal will go before councillors seeking their approval to re-name the Gloucester Room in the Guildhall after the distinguished long-serving councillor and first female Lord Mayor of Swansea, Lilian Hopkin MBE.

The late Mrs Hopkin served as a ward member in Fforestfach and then Cockett for over 30 years and was also a committed and tireless trade union official in the Garment Workers Union – a predominantly women’s union, which later became part of the GMB.

Lilian Hopkin

A new Naming Policy was approved by councillors earlier this year and sets out the circumstances in which council buildings, facilities and public internal and external spaces can be named to celebrate or commemorate local people for their outstanding achievements and to reflect significant events in the history and heritage of Swansea.

Nominations can be made by members of the public, groups or organisations and any final decision on proposals would need to be agreed at a meeting of Full Council

Council Leader Rob Stewart said: “This new policy clearly sets out how going forward we can recognise the huge contribution people have made to our city and with the scale of regeneration taking place in Swansea there will be some exciting opportunities in the future.

“Celebrating the achievement of Amy Dillwyn and Lilian Hopkin will be a fitting way to begin. I was fortunate to know Lilian and she was very helpful and encouraging to me when I was first elected as a councillor and I learned a lot from her.”

online casinos UK

Swansea Council Cabinet Member Louise Gibbard, who is also Councillor Champion for Women, said: “It will be very fitting if the park naming is approved just before International Women’s Day because Amy Dillwyn is among the most trailblazing and inspiring women in Swansea’s history.

“She was also a member of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies and her campaigning work with many other courageous women led to women being granted the right to vote, which is something that should never be forgotten.

“As well as her campaigning work for women’s suffrage, Amy Dillwyn was also a gifted novelist and an astute, successful businesswoman at a time when Swansea was at the heart of the world’s copper smelting industry.

“Naming the coastal park in her honour will ensure a long-term legacy for Amy Dillwyn’s life and considerable accomplishments.”

Cabinet member for Investment, Regeneration and Tourism, Robert Francis-Davies, said: “Lilian Hopkin was one of the most committed and effective councillors to serve the people of Swansea and in 1986 was the first female to hold the role of Lord Mayor of Swansea.

“Through her work with the trade union she helped improve the lives of thousands of women helping to unionise many of the garment factories in South Wales.

“She was the union’s National President in 1984/85, was also awarded the TUC Gold Badge for meritorious service and was made an Honorary Alderman of Swansea.

“Many of the council’s main committees sit in what is currently the Gloucester Room, and it would be a fitting tribute if this were to become the Lilian Hopkin Room should fellow councillors agree to the proposal when it comes before them in the next few weeks.”