Wales’ first female professor honoured with new park

Wales’ first female professor honoured with new park

Wales’ first female professor is to be honoured with a new park in Cardiff.

Born in 1863, Professor Millicent Mackenzie was a professor of education at the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire (now Cardiff University) from 1910-1915. She also campaigned for women’s rights, founding the Cardiff branch of the Suffragettes, and went on to become Wales’s first female parliamentary candidate, the only woman standing at the 1918 general election.

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A pioneering voice in the women’s rights movement, highlighting the importance of women’s participation in academic and political spheres, Professor Mackenzie was also a driving force in the early decades of the humanist movement and was one of the first vice-presidents of the Union of Ethical Societies (now Humanist’s UK).

Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Events, Cllr Jennifer Burke-Davies, said: “We’ve come a long way from the days when Millicent Mackenzie had to obtain special permission to continue working after she got married, but the achievements of women are still massively under-represented in our public spaces. Naming the park after Professor Mackenzie is another step towards redressing that historic imbalance. The new Parc Mackenzie is part of our ongoing £3.2 million programme of parks and play area investment and will revitalise this currently underused space.”

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Once completed the park will include a new natural play area featuring log trails and climbing nets beneath the tree canopy. An open lawn area with seating, new natural stone paths, lighting, sculptures, and a new entrance plaza and rain garden will also be created. All existing trees will be retained, and additional new trees will be planted. Outside of the council-funded improvements, the listed Victorian toilet block is also to be restored and converted to a café by a private developer at a later date.

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Construction work on Parc Mackenzie, which will be behind the National Museum of Cardiff, between Park Place and Museum Avenue, an area formerly known as University Lawns, started this week.