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Greenham Common Protest - Carole Stuart McIvor

Lowri Jenkins, Assistant Archivist, 25 August 2023

On 27 August 1981, 36 women from Wales left Cardiff and marched to RAF Greenham Common in Berkshire to begin their battle to stop United States nuclear armaments from being kept on British soil. The group named themselves ‘Women for Life on Earth’. ⁣

In recognition of these courageous women, I’d like to mark this anniversary by focusing on a collection I’ve been currently cataloguing which gives a valuable insight into the Greenham Common protest. The collection was donated by Carole Stuart McIvor, a leading peace activist heavily involved in the protests at Greenham Common and the later protests at the Royal Ordnance Factory (ROF) base in Llanishen, Cardiff. ⁣

This collection documents the sacrifices and continuous resilience shown by Carole and her fellow protesters. From numerous newspaper cuttings showing the prejudice they encountered and judgement by the mainstream media of the day to images of the arrests made by police and records of Carole’s time spent incarcerated as one of the many women who received prison sentences for their actions. ⁣

The collection also includes the court action submitted by Greenham Women Against Cruise Missiles against President Ronald Reagan and US Secretary of Defence Caspar Weinberger. Carole Harwood (later Carole Stuart McIvor) gives her reasoning for supporting nuclear disarmament and the women’s peace movement in her statement:⁣

“I finally became involved in the women’s peace movement after taking my family to the sea in Tenby in West Wales. The realisation that the sound of children’s laughter, which had been heard along these beaches for centuries could be silenced by men who chose never to hear it was simply too painful… I had been stunned to learn that if we continued to play with nuclear materials (not just bombs) the average lifespan of children being born now could be 18 years.”⁣

At its heart, this was a protest for peace by Welsh women, and others from across the UK, and this collection encapsulates that struggle.

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