Edith Annie Williams (b. Nov. 1899): Biographical Entry

832 WILLIAMS, Edith A., Untitled, TS, pp.39 + 3pp. chapter summary (c.11,700 words). BruneI University Library.

Born Nov 1899 in Merthyr Tydfil. Father left the land and Shropshire to become a South Wales coal miner. Eldest of 8 children (5 boys, 3 girls). Started school at age 4; left Pantglas School at age 12 after passing the Labour Exam, owing to family circumstances. The headmistress of the grammar school intervened and privately coached the author through the entrance exam; she then attended Cyfarthfa Castle Municipal Secondary School for 12 months, but was then forced to leave as her parents could not afford to buy essential text books. Later attended Adult Education classes and achieved a Certificate in Public and Social Administration from Oxford. Married in 1923. Family moved to Aberfan when author still a child; ‘lived-in’ in homes in Radnorshire and Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire; returned to Aberfan after the war; moved to London in 1940 but almost immediately evacuated to Oxford; later returned to London; moved to Devon in 1959; living in Solihull in 1983.

Apprentice dressmaker (1913); nursemaid (1914-16); young ladies’ maid (1916-c.1918); employed in the wartime Ministry of Fuel and Power; resigned her Civil Service post in 1945 to take up social welfare work. Member of the Labour Party; co-opted member of the Higher Education Committee and the Court of Referees. Brief mention is made of the author’s early life in a South Wales mining community, commenting on the influence of the chapel in community life and the dominance of non-conformist religious ideas at home and school; wavering educational fortunes; the temperance movement; home life and responsibilities; the aftermath of war; courtship; electioneering; Citizens Advice Bureaus and social work.

 

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