Elizabeth Amy Dillwyn (16 May 1845 - 13 December 1935) was a radical novelist, vanguard, feminist campaigner, social benefactor and importantly the daughter to Lewis Dillwyn (19 May 1814 - 19 June 1892).
Her father was a Welsh industrialist, Quaker and liberal politician who served as MP for Swansea for 37 years. A welsh industrial powerhouse, helping establish Landore Siemens Steel Co (one of the four biggest steel producers at the time) and director of the still important Great Western Railway, GWR.
After her father’s untimely death Amy and her family were left in financial ruin. Now running the Llansamlet Zinc factory. A company and industry that would not tolerate women. The work she did here would have Amy to now be named the world first female industrialist and one of the most important female figures of that generation.
Amy Dillwyn was born into wealth and riches. A powerful family that had friends of royalty and the political aristocracy. This would not affect her perspective on life. A famously cigar smoking, principled, aggressive campaigner for the acknowledgement of the working class. She fought for the right to vote, was a generous part of the Women’s Freedom League, a society who used passive forms of protest and where a less aggressive version of the Women’s Social and Political Union founded by Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst.
Long before Amy Dillwyn was part of such socio-economic and industrial movements, she was at heart a novelist, a writer. Her writings being forward thinking, modern and witty. Often rebellious, often exploring her political views, always exploring women’s roles as second class citizens.
Notable works include The Rebecca Rioter (1880), A Burglary; or, Unconscious Influence (1883), Jill (1884) and Maggie Steele’s Diary (1892).