New mural to honour maritime teacher Ellen Edwards

Date: 08/03/2023

On International Women's Day, Cyngor Gwynedd is pleased to announce that work is underway on a new mural to celebrate the life and legacy of maritime teacher Ellen Edwards. 


This is the first of several art installations to be developed in the town as part of the new and exciting Canfas project by Galeri Caernarfon. 


This artwork was created by Welsh artist Teresa Jenellen. It will be displayed on the wall of Cyngor Gwynedd’s Doc Fictoria car park in Caernarfon with work starting on the mural over the next few weeks. 


Canfas is a pilot project by Galeri Caernarfon, aiming to incorporate the identity of the people of Caernarfon into empty and forgotten places around the town. These spaces will become canvases, interpreting stories, memories and legends in a creative way. This will lead to a series of art activities on these canvases throughout Caernarfon. The project is funded by Galeri Caernarfon and Arloesi Gwynedd Wledig. 


Ellen Edwards was a pioneering figure in the maritime industry, having taught over 1,000 sailors how to sail during the 19th century at her maritime school in Caernarfon. 


The decision to place a mural of a woman as influential as Ellen Edwards on one of the walls of the Council's staff car park is very appropriate as the authority is committed to supporting more women to be applying for and holding leadership and management roles within the organisation. Indeed, this is a priority that has been set out in the Council's Plan, which was approved at the Full Council meeting on 2 March. 


As part of this work, a Women in Leadership Development Programme has been introduced, with the emphasis on transferring skills, developing confidence and building a professional network. To date, 22 members of staff have completed and benefitted from the programme, with another 12 started today, on International Women’s Day.  


Gwyn Roberts, Chief Executive of Galeri Caernarfon said: “We are grateful to Cyngor Gwynedd for their help and willing cooperation to deliver the first work of art to be placed in the centre of the town as part of the Canfas project.  


“Being able to record Ellen Edwards' contribution with artwork of this quality is a fitting way to start the project in Doc Fictoria. 


"We are also grateful to the relevant officers at Ffiwsar and Menter Môn for their work over the past year, and also to the staff at Adra for their help with the ongoing project at Bro Seiont to be completed at the same time as this project. 


Mural Artist Teresa Jenellen said: “Ellen Edwards was a pioneer. Not only did she succeed in the world of seafaring, which was dominated by men, but she excelled. She was recognized and respected, with many of her students achieving distinguished careers of their own. 


“Rather than a portrait, this work is a celebration of Ellen Edwards' success and the inspiration given, not only to the men who were taught to sail at the time, but also, and perhaps more importantly, to the women who he watched and learned about her through the decades. I tried to convey the feeling of looking, to the horizon and beyond, with purpose and hope.” 


Councillor Menna Jones, the Cyngor Gwynedd Cabinet Member for Corporate Support, said: “I am looking forward to seeing the new mural and am proud of the Women in Leadership project we have within the Council.  


“It is a project that seeks to remove any obstacles that may be preventing women from reaching leading positions within the Council. I think we still have work to do and I'm really looking forward to seeing how the project will develop.” 


Photo – An artist’s impression of the mural to commemorate Ellen Edwards to be installed at the Doc Fictoria carpark, Caernarfon.