International Women’s Day – 2017

C6aU6gDXQAEYVNOA tweet from Nottingham Library Services to tell us of Nottingham City’s first woman Councillor – Caroline Harper, whose obituary in the Nottingham Evening Post has been found from the online newspaper archive.
The tweet – ‘“Nottingham’s Pioneer Woman” who died in 1937: first female City Cllr, first female , first female Magistrate
I know the current residents of the house in Lucknow Avenue and they report –
“Surprisingly, we had not heard of the lady.
“An earlier resident here was the popular Town Clerk from 1912 to 1937 Sir William John Board OBE and his family; and

I have some info on him (was he known as Bill Board?).
“He died in 1946 and Lady Board in 1947, both aged 77.
“The City Engineer Brown, whose works included the Victoria Embankment and Wilford Bridge, lived next door.”
More anon.

Meanwhile, should not leave this topic without mentioning the first woman leader of the city council – Betty Higgins.

The Dilettante Society published an article on Nottingham suffragette Helen Watts via Left Lion.

17202721_954766740280_5698338505358977230_nMeanwhile, Gedling Borough Councillor Roxanne Ellis was part of a launch of a quilt commemorating the 598 women killed between 2009 and 2015, which was unveiled at the Houses of Parliament.
(From memory), one of the victims was from my home village, Hanwoodbank (in Salop).

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One thought on “International Women’s Day – 2017

  1. Dear Mike,

    I have now found out more about Mrs. Harper, nee Caroline Margaret Lennox. The Record Office had only the attached photo of her in Sheriff’s gear (her milliner had to make a more suitable feminine headgear) but the Library had three press stories, one from 1931 when she became Sheriff for a year and the other two (very similar) when she died. I have sent you paper copies of these in the post. The internet yielded little except the date of her burial.

    She died here on Saturday 30th January, 1937 having suffered a heart attack at a local government meeting the previous day, and on 4th February was buried half a mile from here in the big Rock (Church) Cemetery. I do not know when she was born but her husband, Dr. Henry Harper, died in 1923 and I don’t know if she had any children.

    Moreover I don’t know who owned this house in the years prior to 1936,and it may have laid empty in those tough times. However it was radically altered in 1936 when part of the structure was removed and the separate dwelling (1a) was built on part of its land on the north side. Hence either Mrs. Harper had taken residence before 1936 and had initiated the change (she would certainly have had to move out until the builders had finished) or she was the first resident after the alterations. The latter seems the more likely which means she would have only lived here for a few months or weeks. By the way, Town Clerk William Board and his family had moved some years earlier.

    You will gather from the press accounts that Mrs. Harper was astoundingly proactive and much respected in public service. As well as being the first female Sheriff she was the first female Nottingham councillor and magistrate. She was voted head of countless local government committees as well as being captain of local cricket and golf clubs and chair of the Ladies Swimming Club.

    I don’t know if much has been written about Mrs. Harper but, if not, Nottingham’s women’s groups may be interested in initiating more publicity for such a remarkable lady which she richly merits. Similar service in a man would have raised a statue.

    Very best regards,
    Geoff.
    Current owner of 1a Lucknow Avenue.

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