Category Archives: Activists & Revolutionaries

Edith Picton-Turbervill

When I lived in Wellington Shropshire during the 90s I learnt that Edith Pargeter ( better known as Ellis Peters ), had lived in the area. But it was only by chance that I found out about another Edith – Edith Picton-Turbervill . I discovered that she was by far the most important Edith. However, there wasn’t one plaque or memorial to her and she seemed all but forgotten. I read about her in a biography of Jennie Lee. My Edith had been a very early Labour Member of Parliament for the area and as I was interested in politics, I became curious to discover her story. Continue reading Edith Picton-Turbervill

Freda White

For a short time in the sixties and early seventies I had two great female friends. I was in my twenties, Frances Gordon in her fifties and Freda White in her late seventies. I had recently graduated from Glasgow University and was accumulating educational qualifications; Frances had a degree from the LSE gained in the 1930s and was a linchpin in the political and cultural life of Edinburgh; Freda was among the first graduates from Somerville College, Oxford, an author, journalist, campaigner and lecturer of international renown. Continue reading Freda White

Jane Addams: Chicago’s Progressive Shero

Jane Addams was born in 1860–the daughter of a wealthy Illinois businessman. At the age of two, her mother died after falling on ice while pregnant. This left Jane empathetic to how fate could work against a person. Continue reading Jane Addams: Chicago’s Progressive Shero

Eleanor Marx: ‘Mother of socialist feminism’

Eleanor Marx has been called the ‘mother of socialist feminism’. She was a political agitator, literary translator, actress and campaigner for workers’ rights – deserving of accolades in her own right as more than just the daughter of her more well known father. Continue reading Eleanor Marx: ‘Mother of socialist feminism’

Margaret Haig Thomas, Lady Rhondda

Margaret, Lady Rhondda, lived a life of wealth and privilege but she was not afraid to stand up for her beliefs as well as support them financially.  An only child, she was strongly influenced by her parents Sybil Haig – an active suffragette and David Thomas a Welsh businessman and long standing liberal MP.  She was Secretary of the Newport branch of the Women’s Social & Political Union (WSPU) and she joined in with a number of militant and even violent actions, including protest marches and attempting to blow up a postbox.  She spent a brief spell in prison before being released after going on hunger strike. Continue reading Margaret Haig Thomas, Lady Rhondda

Lucinda Hinsdale Stone

Lucinda Hinsdale was born September 30, 1814 in Hinesburg, VT to Aaron & Lucinda (Mitchell) Hinsdale. Lucinda spent her early years attending the public school, briefly attending a female seminary before finding the academic rigor less than what she desired and at age 13 went to Hinesburg Academy, a boys’ high school. Though she surpassed her male counterparts in the curriculum of Greek, Latin, French, and literature, the gender biases of the time kept her from continuing on to college studies, so at age 15 she became a schoolteacher, which was a common occurrence during that time. Continue reading Lucinda Hinsdale Stone

Julia Varley: champion of the woman worker

In September 2016, as part of Birmingham Heritage Week, Sheroes of History organised an event about Birmingham Sheroes at The Library of Birmingham. It was a pleasure to hear Dr Cathy Hunt speak about Julia Varley. Below is a transcript of her talk. [Not to be cited without the author’s permission.]

The woman I am going to talk about this evening was not a native Brummie. She was born in Bradford in 1871, but I think that the fact that there is a blue plaque on the house in which she lived in Bournville for a large part of her adult life, highlighting the work that she did for women’s suffrage and for trade unionism gives her at least honorary Brummie status – and well deserved it is too. Continue reading Julia Varley: champion of the woman worker