Heritage: Some notable female Sotonians

Heritage: Some notable female Sotonians

By Martin Brisland.

Elsie Sandell (1891–1974) was a writer of local history books and Echo articles. Her books are very readable for young people. Elsie was key in getting the D Day memorial tapestry made. It is usually to be found outside the City Archives in the Civic Centre. Sometimes it is displayed at the Sea City Museum. Sandell Court in Bassett is named in her honour.

Kate Sclater (1863–1940) lived in Dock Street in the Chapel area. She became a leader of the 1888 Match Girls Strike at the Bryant and May factory in Bow, East London. Many of the female workforce suffered from terrible disease and disfigurement from their contact with the white phosphorus used in the match making process. The strike succeeded in gaining better pay and conditions. George Bernard Shaw is said to have based his Eliza Doolittle character in Pygmalion on Kate.

Miss Ethel Newman (1876–1940) lived all her life in Hawthorn Cottage on the Common, now the site of the Hawthorns Urban Wildlife Centre. Ethel administered the Titanic Relief Fund money to bereaved dependents. She rode her bicycle around Southampton to regularly visit the families.

Lucia Foster Welch (1864–1940) was a suffragist supporter and member of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies. Lucia hosted Emmeline Pankhurst at her house when she held a rally in Southampton in February 1911. Lucia was the first female to become a councillor, in 1918. As the first female mayor of Southampton in 1928 she greeted pioneering aviator Amelia Earhart after her transatlantic flight. Her painting is outside the mayor’s Parlour at the Civic Centre. Lucia then became an Alderman and was active in health issues. Her house still stands at 61, Oxford Street but does not have a blue plaque recognising her achievements. There is however a Solent University Hall of Residence that has her name. It was opened by her granddaughter.

In 2022, Jacqui Rayment became Southampton’s 800th mayor, the 31st female to hold the office and the first one to be a Lord Mayor.

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