Hilda May Price had roots deep in the Cadoxton and Colcot working class areas of Barry and of
Her father, William Henry Harris, Welsh speaking and from
Her mother, Georgina Hay Davis was born in Gloucester and had been a dancer prior to motherhood; she was fond of telling her children how she had once seen the Russian ballet dancer Pavlova dance. Given Hilda’s first outside foray into the world of entertainment, no doubt her mother’s enthusiasm for dance was highly formative. But, in classic self-made family entertainment, the mother played the piano, the father the tin whistle, son George the mouth organ, whilst siblings Edna and Bill played the ukulele, Barry a little piano playing and singing. Hilda would operate their Decca gramophone “with small records”.
Alongside this idyll, bitter experiences of poverty, the Means Test and unemployment were endured by the family, and her own work experiences, shaped Hilda’s political thinking. In the very early 1930s, despite her extreme youth, she had been obliged to obtain work cleaning houses, which became her unhappiest working time. She recalled: “Dad was concerned and worried about my place of employment and the long hours I was working. Edna, my sister, came to this house, there she stood, the sun behind her, in a blue suit, tall and elegant, told me to get my coat and to come home. And this so-called lady said, ‘she must scrub the floor.’ Edna said pointing her finger at her ‘NO, you do it’. I was so proud of my sister.”
At the age of thirteen, Hilda became a juvenile dancer, travelling with the ‘
Hilda’s first political activities were in support of the anti-fascist struggle of the democratically elected
She also joined the Communist Party in 1941and remained a loyal and active member all her life. In 1944, she married fellow Communist and St Athan’s worker, Iorwerth (Lorrie) Badger Price. Hilda became a nurse in the early decades of the NHS, being proud to be part of the first day at St David’s Hospital where she was an active trade unionist. The couple went on to bring up a family, despite the pressures of the Cold War and her husband’s victimisation in that period.
The Barry feminist historian Deidre Beddoe, a friend of Hilda’s, recognised her special contribution to the women’s movement by writing about her, publishing her memoirs of war-time and arranging for television appearances on historical documentaries. It was Hilda’s voice-over that was used to promote a television programme on post-war
Hilda and Lorrie had a long and happy marriage celebrating their golden wedding anniversary in 1994. In retirement, the couple became active in the Pensioners’ Movement, attending the Pensioners’ Parliament, visiting the Humanité Fete in
In old age, Hilda spent her last years at Ty Maesmarchog in the
Source: funeral oration at Margam Crematorium by Hilda Price’s son-in-law, Hwyel Francis.
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