Great Lives: spotlight on Lady Rhondda

BBC Radio 4 turned its attentions to the suffragette and pioneering journalist Lady Rhondda, as former President of the Supreme Court Baroness Hale got the opportunity to nominate a new member of the programme’s pantheon.

Book cover: Turning the Tide

Professor Angela V John, a Vice-President of the Society for the Study of Labour History and President of Llafur, provided expert testimony and commentary on the life of Lady Rhondda for the programme. Professor John is the author of a well-received biography, Turning the Tide. The Life of Lady Rhondda (Parthian, 2013, ISBN 978-1-90894-610-2).

The programme was first broadcast on Tuesday 11 January 2022 and is now available online.

Born in 1883, Lady Rhondda was brought up in South Wales as an only child in affluent circumstances by her feminist parents. As a suffragette, she gained fame when she confronted the anti-suffrage Prime Minister H.H. Asquith by jumping on his car. She set fire to a post box and was sent to prison, where she went on hunger strike. 

After the war, she campaigned for the rights of women workers who did not want to be forced out of the workplace and back into the home. She launched and edited the influential magazine Time and Tide, which published the work of George Orwell, Virginia Woolf and others.