The100 pioneer names

The Women’s Local Government Society set out in March 2017 ‘to identify and celebrate the lives of 100 women and men who were active in the campaign for extending the vote to all women and who went on to use their extended rights of citizenship in a positive way in their local areas’.

Less than a year later, we have succeeded in collecting well over a hundred names, most of them rarely heard of outside their home towns. As those nominating stress, many of these names don’t get the recognition they deserve. Some went on to play national and international roles, helping establish the WI, becoming MPs, or continuing the fight for the vote and equal representation well into the 1920s and 1930s. Others contributed so much to local improvements that were in such high demand after the end of the Great War: better housing, welfare facilities, family planning, better working conditions and equal pay. Women were councillors, from Parish to County level, magistrates and JPs and served on endless committees.

As WLGS founder and Chair Cllr Lesley Clarke OBE said. ‘We know the hundred or so local pioneers we have identified so far represent so many more activists in this period. Women who fought for the vote didn’t just fade away in 1918. Many were already actively involved in improving their local communities alongside their work to win the vote. They had more opportunities to do so after 1918, and more to do. They were suffragists, suffragettes, and so much more’.

Celebrating suffrage is now underway in many towns and cities, but working with the LGA and other partners, the Women’s Local Government Society wants to ensure every one of the hundred or so pioneers identified will inspire the next generation of young activists.

WLGS Vice-chair Cllr Marianne Overton MBE added: too few of our present day representatives, including in local government, are female and more needs to be done at a faster pace to address this. The Fawcett Society has rightly pointed out this gender imbalance and identified some of the steps which could help to remedy this, but national recognition of the issues needs to be combined with local action. The LGA’s ‘Be a Councillor’ campaign is encouraging women and under-represented groups to engage with and enter politics, and will include female mentors and greater support for young women considering running for public office."

THE 100 SUFFRAGE PIONEERS

1 Alice

Abadam

London/Carmarthen

President of Feminist League. Prolific writer and speaker

2 Bertha

Agnew

Bolton

Suffrage worker, housing campaigner, Councillor

3 Catharine Buchanan

Alderton

Colchester

Liberal Suffragist who became the town’s first Lady Mayor

4 Janie

Allan

Glasgow

Suffragette, Socialist, Women’s Watch Committee chair

5 Elizabeth Ann

Anderson

Bolton

Suffragist and specialist in education for handicapped children

6 Margaret

Ashton

Manchester

Committed suffragist , Councillor, peace campaigner

7 Mary ‘Ma’

Bamber

Liverpool

Renowned suffragist speaker who fought for the poor

8 Annie

Barnes

Stepney

East London Federation of Suffragettes, Stepney Councillor

9 Mary

Barnes

Farnworth/Bolton Lancashire

Local NUWSS president, Board of Guardians, Councillor, JP

10 Margaret

Beavan

Liverpool

Campaigned for maternity services, became magistrate and mayor

11 Ethel

Bentham

Newcastle/London

Newcastle GP, NUWSS and ILP, Kensington Councillor, MP

12 Theresa

Billington-Greig

Manchester/London

WFL founder member, activist, director ‘Women for Westminster’

13 Florence

Blincoe

Bolton

1911 Census suffragette, campaigned on housing and for peace

14 Margaret

Bondfield

Hove, London, Wallsend, Northampton

Adult Suffrage Society, Trade Unionist, first woman Cabinet Minister

15 Sarah

Bonwick

London

Suffrage speaker, Temperance campaigner, Free Church activist

16 Ada

Broughton

Northumberland/Bermondsey

Suffrage and Temperance worker, Bermondsey councillor, Alderman

17 Nannie

Brown

Edinburgh

WFL, ‘Brown women’ march, established Scottish WIs

18 Etheldred

Browning

London

Suffragist who set up the first Housing Association for women

19 Mabel Henrietta

Capper

Dublin, Manchester, London, Birmingham, Bath

Suffragette, VAD nurse, journalist, playwright

20 Thelma

Cazalet-Keir

London/Kent

WSPU supporter, LCC member and Conservative MP

21 Hannah

Clark

Doncaster

Suffragist, Quaker, first woman Councillor in Doncaster

22 Marion

Coates-Hansen

Middlesbrough

WSPU activist, Census boycott, Councillor, public health campaigner

23 Jane

Cobden

West Sussex

Suffragist, Liberal activist, elected to LCC, internationalist

24 Alice

Collinge

Bolton

Socialist, Suffragist, council candidate, organist, poet

25 Selina

Cooper

Nelson

Mill worker, pacifist, campaigner who presented case to Asquith

26 Catherine

Courtauld

London/Essex

Artist of the Suffrage Atelier, radical campaigner

27 Katherine Mina

Courtauld

Braintree, Essex

NUWSS local secretary, Parish Councillor and County Councillor

28 Helen

Crawfurd

Glasgow

Militant suffragette, leading campaigner on housing and rents

29 Nellie

Cressall

Poplar

Suffragette, Socialist, Councillor, Mayor

30 Phoebe

Cusden

Reading

Councillor, Mayor, Socialist, developed town twinning

31 Agnes

Dawson

London

Suffragist, Trade Unionist, LCC, campaigned for women teachers

32 Gertrude

Denman

Balcombe, Sussex

Liberal Suffrage lobbyist, First president of NFWI and FPA

33 Charlotte

Despard

Battersea

Suffragette, pacifist, internationalist, Parliamentary candidate

34 Frances

Dove

High Wycombe

NUWSS member, Councillor, JP, promoted women’s education

35 Beatrice

Drapper

Deptford

Socialist, Suffragist, Guardian, JP, Councillor and Mayor

36 Kate

Edmunds

Portsmouth

WCA, first woman Councillor elected in 1918

37 Florence Eliza

Feek

Wanstead/West Ham

Suffragette, became Quaker, developed settlement and holiday home

38 Isabella

Ford

Leeds

Socialist, NUWSS, campaigned on pay and for peace

39 Kate

Fowler-Tutt

Lewes, East Sussex

Suffrage speaker, Councillor, housing committee chair

40 Hugh

Franklin

Harrow/London/Bucks

Imprisoned for suffrage work, became County Councillor

41 Helen

Fraser

Glasgow/London

Suffragist, legal expert, Kensington Councillor, Parliamentary candidate

42 Elizabeth

Freeman

London/Texas

WSPU militant, pacifist, welfare worker

43 Grace

Hadow

Cirencester, Oxford and national

Set up local NUWSS branch, vice-chair of WI

44 Florence

Harrison-Bell

Newcastle/London

ILP, co-operator, NUWSS, Parliamentary candidate

45 Ethel

Haslam

Ilford

WSPU activist, wartime nurse, Women’s Party candidate

46 Mary

Haslam

Bolton

President of local Suffragists, Guardian, Welfare activist

47 Alice

Hawkins

Leicester

Working class suffragette, Trade Unionist for shoe workers

48 Eleanor Beatrice

Higginson

Preston

WSPU militant, magistrate and town councillor

49 Margaret

Hills

Manchester and Stroud

Suffrage speaker, maternity campaigner, councillor

50 Emily

Hobhouse

Cornwall, London, USA and South Africa

Adult Suffrage Society, Internationalist, brilliant speaker

51 Dame Catherine

Hunt

Colchester

Suffragist, wartime organiser, Town Councillor, Mayor

52 Margaret

Irwin

Glasgow

Trade Unionist and Suffragist, influential housing activist

53 Dorothy

Jewson

Norwich and London

MP in 1923, Councillor, campaigned for votes for young women

54 Violet

Key-Jones

Doncaster

Suffragette campaigner and speaker

55 Rose

Lamartine-Yates

Wimbledon

Imprisoned for suffrage work, became County Councillor

56 Minnie

Lansbury

Poplar

Suffrage worker, teacher, Poplar Councillor

57 Marjory

Lees

Oldham

Part of suffrage pilgrimage, established council of social services

58 Sarah

Lees

Oldham

NUWSS activist, Mayor, Freeman of borough

59 Constance

Lewcock

Co Durham/Newcastle

Suffrage supporter from 14, WSPU worker, Newcastle Councillor

60 Victoria Simmons

Lidard

Bristol and High Wycombe

WSPU militant, campaigned for animal rights and for women priests

61 Phyllis Mary

Lovell

Lancashire/Liverpool/overseas

WSPU, founded Home Service Corps, journalist

62 Constance

Lytton

London and Liverpool

WSPU, prison reformer, birth control campaigner

63 Hesther Millicent

MacKenzie

Monmouthshire/Cardiff University

Co-founded local suffrage society, first woman Professor, Parliamentary candidate

64 Mary

Maclagen

Rotherham

WSPU campaigner, first woman member of Rotherham Council

65 Leah

Manning

Cambridge

NUT president, anti-fascist, education and welfare campaigner, JP and MP

66 Constance

Markievicz

London/Dublin

Revolutionary Irish nationalist, suffragette, held cabinet post in Dail Eirann

67 Catherine

Marshall

Keswick/Cumberland

NUWSS leading member, local campaigner and peace worker

68 Muriel

Matters

London and Hastings

WFL activist, peace campaigner, Parliamentary candidate

69 Juanita

Maxwell Philips

Honiton/Devon

WSPU. WFL, Councillor campaigning on women’s employment

70 Hannah

Mitchell

Manchester

WSPU and WFL prolific activist, Manchester Councillor

71 Sarojini

Naidu

London and India

Suffrage campaigner in London and India. Provincial governor

72 Edith Bessie

New

Swindon

Suffragette, campaign organiser, fought for teachers’ equality

73 Helena Florence

Normanton

London

WFL editor, NWCA president, first woman to be admitted as a student to the Bar

74 Emmeline

Pethwick Lawrence

London

Key member of WSPU leadership. Later worked for equality and peace

75 Frederick

Pethwisk Lawrence

London

Key member of WSPU leadership. Became a Labour MP

76 Emily

Phipps

Swansea/London

WFL activist, Parliamentary candidate, teacher, Trade Unionist

77 Susan

Power

Tunbridge Wells

Suffragist, Poor Law Guardian, Town Councillor

78 Gertrude

Powicke

Bar le Duc, France and Zawiercie, Poland

Local suffrage activist, wartime refugee worker

79 Clara

Rackham

Cambridge

Local NUWSS president, City councillor, Poor Law Guardian

80 Jane

Rae

Clydebank

Factory campaigner, co-operator, Suffragette, councillor

81 Dr Mabel

Ramsay

Plymouth

Suffragist, took part in pilgrimage, and Fellow of Royal College of Surgeons

82 Eleanor

Rathbone

Liverpool

Suffrage campaigner, Councillor, MP. Fought for family allowances

83 Sarah

Reddish

Bolton

Trade Unionist, suffrage worker, Guardian, Co-operative Guild

84 Margaret (Lady)

Rhondda

Newport, Wales

WSPU activist, equality campaigner, fought to sit in House of Lords

85 Maude

Royden

Rutland/London

NUWSS and Church League for Women’s Suffrage. Peace worker

86 Ada

Salter

Bermondsey

Settlement worker, ILP activist, suffragist, Councillor and mayor

87 Alice

Schofield-Coates

Middlesbrough

WSPU activist, Census boycott, Councillor, public health campaigner

88 Amelia

Scott

Tunbridge Wells

NUWSS local vice-president, NCW advocate, became councillor

89 Julia

Scurr

Poplar

East London Federation of Suffragettes, Poplar Councillor

90 Lucy Edith

Sewell

Norwich

Norwich suffrage society treasurer, anti-vivisection and animal rights campaigner

91 Thorley

Smith

Wigan

First Women’s suffrage Parliamentary candidate, Labour activist and Trade Unionist

92 Emma

Sproson

Wolverhampton

Socialist, WSPU, WFL, councillor, prolific life-long campaigner

93 Jessie

Stephen

Galsgow/Bristol

Working class Trade Unionist, WSPU, pacifist, Councillor

94 Winifred Margaret

Tennant

Neath, Glamorgan

Suffrage supporter, magistrate, delegate to League of Nations

95 Mabel

Tothill

Bristol

ILP, settlement worker, NUWSS, pacifist, Councillor

96 Florence

Underwood

London

WFL activist, tax resister, equality campaigner

97 Madge

Watt

Llanfair

Founded first WI’s, encouraging women’s leadership

98 Charlotte Price

White

Bangor, Caernarfonshire (Gwynedd)

NUWSS, took part in pilgrimage, County Councillor, peace worker

99 Ethel

Williams

Newcastle Upon Tyne

NUWSS local president, doctor and health and social reform campaigner, JP

100 Margaret

Wintringham

Lincolnshire

NFWI campaigner, magistrate, Member of Parliament

 KEY

WSPU - Women’s Social and Political Union (often know as Suffragettes) 

NUWSS - National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (usually described as Suffragist)

WFL - Women’s Freedom League

NCW - National Council of Women

WCA - Women Citizens Association

ILP - Independent Labour Party

NFWI - National Federation of Women’s Institutes

20 extra: special recognition for some outstanding activists 

Hertha

Ayrton

Lydia 

Becker

Barbara 

Bodichon

Jessie

Boucherett

Grace 

Cadell

Emily

Davison

Caprina 

Fahey

Millicent 

Fawcett

Elizabeth

Garrett Anderson

Elsie 

Inglis

Annie 

Kenney

Louisa

Martindale

Caroline

Martyn

Mary 

Murdoch

Ada

Neild Chew

Mary Anne

Rawson

Sophia Duleep

Singh

Charlotte Carmichael

Stopes

Mary

Ward

Elizabeth 

Wolstenholme

 

 

A NUMBR OF PIONEER STORIES IN MORE DEPTH BELOW:

Winifred Coombe Tennant

Winifred Coombe Tennant became a suffragist before the First World War. She was a leading figure in the campaign for women's suffrage in South Wales and became president of Neath Women's Suffrage Society.

Read more

Emmeline and Frederick Pethick-Lawrence

Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence is credited as the originator in 1908, of the WSPU campaign colours, purple, white and green, that she described as ‘purple for dignity, white for purity and green for hope’. Emmeline and her husband, Frederick, were joint editors of the ‘Votes for Women’ periodical.

Read more

Phoebe Cusden

Pheobe Cusden was a socialist, educator, peace campaigner and councillor in Reading, Berkshire. She worked in the post office before getting involved in local politics and was a Labour Party Parliamentary candidate in Berkshire in 1923. She remained active until the 1970s including being elected to the council and serving twice as Mayor.

Read more

Muriel Lilah Matters

Muriel Lilah Matters was born in the working class suburb of Bowden, Adelaide, Australia. She studied piano and elocution at Adelaide University and pursued an acting career in Australia and then in London after moving there in 1905. She later became actively involved in the Women’s Freedom League (WFL) and agitated for women’s suffrage in ‘militant but not violent’ways as was WFL policy.

Read more

Mary Sargant Florence

Mary Sargant was born in 1857, the third of eight children born into an upper middle-class, artistic family and studied at the Slade School of Art, London. She was a member of the New English Art Club and the Society of Painters in Tempera, specialising in fresco murals. In the first decade of the twentieth century, she joined the main women's suffrage societies, both law-abiding and militant, and was a founder of the women's Tax Resistance League.

Read more

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