A Purple Plaque is to be unveiled for one of the 20th Century’s greatest war reporters, Martha Gellhorn, at her former home near Devauden in Monmouthshire, tomorrow.

Described as a “trailblazer” for female journalists and a “role model” for women who pushed many boundaries, Martha Gellhorn’s connection with Wales - where she lived for 14 years - is little known.

The former wife of Ernest Hemingway lived in Kilgwrrwg in what is now Yew Tree House. At the time the house was named Catscradle.

The plaque has been funded by donations to Shirenewton Local History Society and will be part of the Purple Plaques Cymru series of monuments across Wales. It has been made by Chepstow-based potter Julia Land.

Martha Gellhorn’s becomes the sixth plaque unveiled under the Purple Plaques scheme which was the brainchild of Cardiff North MS Julie Morgan, supported by a cross-party group of women Senedd Members. The scheme was launched in 2018.

Purple Plaques are designed to mark the achievements of women from all walks of life across Wales to help tell their inspiring stories to the next generation.

READ MORE: Plaque scheme designed to address lack of diversity

The plaque on Martha Gellhorn’s former home will be accompanied by a History Points QR code to help passersby learn about her life.

While living in Wales Ms Gellhorn covered the Miners’ Strike in 1984, travelling to Newbridge and Ebbw Vale to talk to miners and their families and to report on the efforts of the mining communities to feed and clothe their own during an incredibly hard time. She revisited the communities in 1997 as one of her last journalistic assignments.

Dorothy Brabon, of Shirenewton Local History Society, said: “As a society we had always been aware of the fact that Martha Gellhorn had been living nearby in Kilgwrrwg and of her journalistic and literary life.

“After reading about English Heritage installing a Blue Plaque at her London flat, giving her life story with no mention of her home here in Monmouthshire, we decided to correct this oversight and apply to the Purple Plaque Committee for a plaque to be put on the entrance to her home here in Wales.”

The Welsh Government's minister for social justice, Jane Hutt, said: “Martha Gellhorn was a trailblazer who pushed boundaries as a war correspondent and writer. She was a role model for women and girls everywhere; demonstrating that no jobs were off limits, adventure was ours for the taking and that communities matter.

"I am delighted that she has been recognised with a Purple Plaque and look forward to seeing many more plaques for other remarkable women across every community in Wales.”

Sue Essex, chairwoman of Purple Plaques Cymru, said: “Purple Plaques is a small voluntary organisation which is dedicated to remembering and celebrating remarkable women who have lived in Wales.

“We so far have five plaques in different parts of Wales and will be adding three more this summer.”

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