Margaret Hills

Margaret Hills was an organiser for the NUWSS in the Manchester area from around 1909 to 1914 and a national speaker.

Margaret Hills was an organiser for the NUWSS in the Manchester area from around 1909 to 1914 and a national speaker. She was active in campaigning for improved maternity services during the and one of the “Dangerous Women” who tried to stop the Great War and ran the Stroud UNA and the previous League of Nations Association.

Margaret’s father and sister, Janette were artists and her brother, Donald, was Professor of Greek at Cambridge. In 1913, Janette exhibited a painting of Margaret at the Royal Academy in London. Margaret held a degree from Dublin University and attended Oxford University. She had no “formal” profession but appears to have been a very active organiser over a long period of time.

Shortly after going to live in Stroud, she appears to have formed a branch of the Women’s Citizen Association and from 1928 to her death was first an urban district councillor then a county councillor. She was the first woman elected to Stroud Urban District Council in 1928 and during her eight years on the Council served as Chairman of Housing as well as Vice Chairman.

Margaret Hills appears to be a very underrated member of the NUWSS leadership even though she featured quite prominently in activities at the time. For example, she was a member of the delegation from NUWSS that was seen grudgingly by Asquith in August 1913 at No. 10 Downing Street. She appears from newspaper reports to have been the main contributor apart from Millicent Fawcett.  She also appears to have been responsible for developing local NUWSS branches, for example, at Sherbourne in Somerset where she spoke at its first meeting.

Newspapers of the time record Margaret intervening to raise issues to try and create a better community for all whether it was libraries, child welfare, education, employment or her longstanding interest in the avoidance of war.

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