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Sunday 15 Sep

Amy Dillwyn was a remarkable Swansea woman who lived with passion and purpose. She was not only one of the first female British industrialists and a novelist, but also a fierce advocate for social justice. In this blog we take a brief look into her life…

If you look closely at the ground near the West Cross Inn, you will find a commemorative blue plaque dedicated to the nineteenth-century female industrialist, Amy Dillwyn.

Amy Dillwyn was born in 1845 into one of Swansea’s leading families, but her life was not an easy one. Upon her father’s death she inherited the family’s debt-ridden business, the Llansamlet Spelter Works.

Shunning bankruptcy, Amy took on the job, unusually for a woman, of managing the works herself, using the profits that would normally have been paid to herself to pay off creditors. She fared well as the works became one of the largest producers of zinc in Britain.

Amy Dillwyn was pennywise and lived a modest life in nearby Ty Glyn. She became active in politics, campaigning for social justice, and a published author. She died in 1935, her ashes are scattered at the grave of her parents and brother in St Paul’s Church, Sketty.

On International Women’s Day 2024, Friday 8th March, Swansea’s newest park was officially named Amy Dillwyn Park celebrating Amy’s extraordinary life and her contribution to the economic wellbeing and civic life of city.

Find out more…

  • Amy Dillwyn by David Painting
    In his biography, David Painting sheds light on this extraordinary woman of exceptional spirit and personality, revealing her to be not just a pioneering female British industrialist and novelist but also an ardent proponent of social justice. Click & Collect with Swansea Libraries
  • Swansea University (research project with links to works written by Professor Kirsti Bohata)
  • Companies House (blog published by Companies House where she registered her Spelter Works, Dillwyn & Co, in 1902)
  • Literary Atlas Wales (featuring her novel The Rebecca Rioter)