On the 8th October 2011, a grey Saturday morning with a hint of rain in the air, a group of twenty or so people thronged the narrow pavement outside 40 Thomas Street, Llanelli for the unveiling of a blue plaque to the memory of Eleanor Daniels – until now, a forgotten Bard and star of Broadway and silent film.
The proceedings were opened by Stephen Lyons, member of LCH's advisory panel and official biographer of Llanelli's Gareth Hughes, who welcomed the Lady Mayor (Councillor Linda Steadman) and her consort. Also Ann Dorsett (Carmarthenshire County Museums and Heritage Officer), members of LCH and Eleanor's relatives, who had sponsored the plaque. He paid tribute to the support of all parties in making the event possible, including a thank you to Steve Jacob of Manhattan Marketing for permission to place the plaque on his building. Special mention was made of the importance of LCH's work in physically and visually documenting Llanelli's rich history.
In 1901, when 13 year old Eleanor lived at the address with her family, it was No. 36 Thomas Street and The Fountain Inn, of which her father was the publican.
Eleanor had acted with Gareth Hughes as a member of the Welsh Players in 1914 and it was Stephen's research into Gareth which had led to his interest in Eleanor. He explained how, in 1990, he had arranged for Eleanor to be interviewed at the age of 103 at her home by representatives of Ninnau, a Welsh newspaper in America. The recording of that interview revealed a vibrant and strong personality who, at the drop of a hat, began to recite her winning recitation from the 1909 National Eisteddfod held in London in honour of Lloyd George in an emotional and dramatic way. He also described how Eleanor had attended Beerbohm Tree's Acting Academy, later the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), where she was held up as a role model to the other students. He explained that Eleanor had become an actress because, in her own words, it was the only way to get out of her (to express) what she had inside.
Following his introduction, Stephen invited Eleanor's niece, Gwyneth Phillips, to unveil the plaque. Mrs Phillips was joined by her daughter and two grandchildren for the unveiling, which was watched by many other relatives.
John Hopkins, LCH Chairman, brought the proceedings to a close by thanking Stephen Lyons for organising the event and all concerned for their efforts. He also spoke briefly about the work of LCH.