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National Botanic Garden of Wales

Event Date:24th November - 25th November

National Botanic Garden of Wales

Report on the National Botanic Garden of Wales’ Conference: November 24th and 25th.


Photo: Jenny Sabine and Margaret Vaughan, Alice Abadam’r great-great niece with the plaque to her on Middleton Hall, in the National Botanic Garden


Women’s Archive Wales was a partner  in this event an we would like to thank Angharad phillips and the officers of the Botanic Garden for shouldering much of the organisation. We contributed an exhibition on our early projects: The Roadshows and the Women and the First World War. On the Saturday we had several interesting talks on the Women of Middleton, among them one by Mary Thorley, one of WAW’s members, about Alice Abadam, who lived at Middleton and who became an eminent suffragist who toured much of England and Scotland championing equal rights. Hannah Jones traced some of the problems faced by the women of Middleton from the standpoint of inheritance and Penny David discussed the career of Annie Gulvin who was the head-gardener on Iscoed estate near Ferryside for a few years. It was interesting too to hear about the Young Archaeologists’ Club and the work ongoing to restore the lakes and original landscape of the garden. Jenny Sabine and Catrin Stevens explained the importance of Women’s Archive Wales’ contribution to raising the profile of women in Welsh History and of safeguarding the sources of that history. They talked about our successful projects funded by Heritage Lottery Wales: the Roadshows, Women during the Frist World War, ‘Voices from the Factory Floor’ and our current project ‘Century of Hope’.  

The highlight of the day, however, was the unveiling of the blue plaque on Middleton Hall itself, to Alice Abadam, by her great great niece, Margaret Vaughan. 

The Sunday had been co-organised with Bangor Iniversity and the theme was ‘Patriarchal Paradigms: The Roles and Experiences of Women on the Landed Esatates of Wales’. Professor Kirsty Bohata and Mary Chadwick spoke about ‘Gender, Literature and Identity’ and then we were introduced to the Dillwyn Llewelyn gardens in Penllergare (by Jennie Eyers); to Highmead estate to learn about the labours of Anne Evans (from Jean Reader) and to understand the contribution the Ladies of Anglesey made to collecting specimens (Ffion Mair Jones). In the afternoon the Rhug and Bachymbyd estates were the focus of Sadie Jarrett’s talk and Helen Williams-Ellis traced the fascinating story of Catrin of Berian during the sixteenth century. The Conference ended with a celebration of the history of the women of Llanerchaeron mansion, Ceredigion’s history.















For full details, programme and booking information, please visit the National Botanice Gardens pf Wales  Website: