Margaret Mackworth, 2nd Viscountess Rhondda

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The Viscountess Rhondda
Lady Margaret Mackworth.jpg
Margaret Mackworth
Born Margaret Haig Thomas
(1883-06-12)12 June 1883
Died 20 July 1958(1958-07-20) (aged 75)
London, England, U.K.
Spouse(s) Sir Humphrey Mackworth (1908-1922) (divorced)
Parents Sybil Margaret Haig
David Alfred Thomas

Margaret Haig Mackworth, Viscountess Rhondda (12 June 1883 – 20 July 1958) was a Welsh peeress and active suffragette. She was the daughter of David Alfred Thomas, first Viscount Rhondda and Sybil Haig.

Biography[edit]

She was born on 12 June 1883. In 1908 she married Sir Humphrey Mackworth, Bt (see Mackworth Baronets). In the same year she also joined the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), and became secretary of the WSPU's Newport branch and a supporter of the WSPU's militant campaign. Between 1908 and 1914 she took the campaign for women's suffrage across South Wales, often to hostile and stormy meetings. She was involved in protest marches with the Pankhursts, jumping onto the running board of Liberal Prime Minister H. H. Asquith's car in St Andrews and attempting to destroy a post-box with a chemical bomb. [1] These activities resulted in a trial at the Sessions House, Usk and her serving a period of time in the prison there. She was released only after going on a hunger strike.[2]

On the outbreak of the First World War, she accepted the decision by the WSPU leadership to abandon its militant campaign for suffrage. She worked with her father, who was sent by David Lloyd George to the United States to arrange the supply of munitions for the British armed forces. In May 1915, she was returning from the United States on the RMS Lusitania with her father and his secretary Arnold Rhys-Evans, when it was torpedoed by a German submarine. The trio were among the lucky survivors.

After her father's death, Lady Rhondda tried to take his seat in the House of Lords, citing the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 which allowed women to exercise "any public office". The Committee of Privileges, after an initially warm reaction, eventually voted strongly against Lady Rhondda's plea.[3] She was supported for many years by Lord Astor, whose wife Nancy had been the first woman to take her seat in the House of Commons, but Lady Rhondda never entered the Lords.[4]

She succeeded her father as Chairman of the Sanatogen Company in February 1917.[5] In 1920 she founded Time and Tide magazine. A Canadian steamship, the Lady Mackworth, was named after her.[6]

Less than a month after Lady Rhondda's death in 1958, women entered the Lords for the first time thanks to the Life Peerages Act 1958; five years later, with the passage of the Peerage Act 1963, hereditary peeresses were also allowed to enter the Lords.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Sources[edit]

Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
David Alfred Thomas
Viscountess Rhondda
1919–1958
Succeeded by
Title extinct