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100+ Derbyshire Women: Change-Making Movers, Shakers and Groundbeaking Pioneers 

2018 marks the 100 year anniversary of the first real gains in the Votes For Women Campaign and the 90th anniversary of Universal Suffrage championed by both Suffragettes and Suffragists. To celebrate the Centenary we are compiling a list and associated biographies of 100+ Inspirational Derby & Derbyshire women and girls: Movers, Shakers and Groundbreaking Pioneers. We need you to nominate your inspirational woman or girl, past or present who was born, lived or worked in Derbyshire. Please tell us about the women of all ages and from all walks of life, family, friends or strangers, who have inspired you. Please complete and send in your nomination by email at  So come on everyone, get nominating, we want to hear all about the women and girls who inspire you. You can also call us on 01332 347066.


   Women Nominated so far ...

  • Marion Elizabeth Adnams 1898–1995 - Marion Adnams was a versatile artist and teacher, who was born and lived in Derby. Notable for her Surrealist works she was influenced by René Magritte and Paul Nash.  

  • Parkash Ahluwalia, MBE - Derbyshire's first Asian Woman Police Officer.

  • Norah Aiton -  (1903–1988) was a British architect who was an early proponent of the modernist style. British architect Norah Aiton founded the architectural practice of Aiton & Scott in conjunction with her business partner Betty Scott in 1930. Norah and Betty designed the building for the Aiton & Company manufacturing business. It was one of the first to exhibit modernist industrial architecture. Scott had a more eclectic style and let Aiton function as the sole pioneer for modernism. Since only a few females worked as architects at the time, this effort still counts as an impressive feat. 

  • Sue Arguile - NUT, Community Organiser Activist for Socialist Worlers Party and Stand Up To Racism  

  • Mary Winifred Attenborough -  April 1897 -  August 11961 Sawley Derbyshire.  Mary Attenborough (née Clegg), a linguist, suffragette and founder member of the National Marriage Guidance Council was a writer and founding member of Marriage Guidance Council        ​Children: Richard Samuel Attenborough (1923–2014), Lord Attenborough, the actor and director; David Frederick Attenborough (born 1926), now Sir David, the TV naturalist; John Michael Attenborough (1928–2012), Executive at Alfa Romeo

  • Marilyn Baldwin, OBE - Marilyn Baldwin campaigned for change following the contribution of 'postal scammers' to the death of her elderly mother who was conned out of £50,000. She set up the charity 'Think Jessica' in her mother's name.

  • Mary Barber - (3 April 1911 – 11 September 1965) was a British pathologist and bacteriologist who studied antibiotic resistance in bacteria. She was one of the pioneers in this field, documenting the phenomenon of penicillin resistance early on.

  • Marjorie Christine Bates R.A.  - (1882–1962) was born in Kings Newton, near Melbourne, Derbyshire. She was a painter who exhibited at the Royal Academy in London and Paris and achieved a moderate living from her paintings.

  • Dame Margaret Beckett - Longstanding Member of Parliament; First woman to both lead the Parliamentary Labour Party and serve as Foreign Secretary. Margaret Beckett has been MP for Derby South since 1983. On March 24th 2017 she became longest serving woman MP of all time.

  • Freda Bedi - (1911–1977) social worker, writer and Gelongma (Pioneer Western Buddhist Monk)

  • Mrs Mary Shuttleworth Boden  - 25 March 1840 – 21 July 1922  She was born at Aston Hall, Aston-on-Trent.was an activist in the British temperance movement and noted philanthropist.

  • Catherine Booth - nee Mumford, a founder member of the Salvation Army

  • Emilie Dorothea Bounds  born in Staffordshire but lived and educated in Derbyshire. Educated at Irving House School Derby, Derby Technical College and University of London. Former Governor Cavendish High School for Girls Buxton Member of Buxton Borough Council, 1934; Mmeber of Convocation, University of London (Convocation ceased to exist on 1 September 2003). Who's Who in Derbyshire, 1934 Bales, Ebeneer & Sons Ltd

  • Vera Mary Brittain (29 December 1893 – 29 March 1970) was an English Voluntary Aid Detachment (V.A.D.) nurse, writer, feminist, and pacifist. Vera was born in Newcastle Under Lyme Staffordshire but moved to Buxton Derbyshire with her family. 

  • Sandra Brookes - consumer rights activist and co-founder of the National Housewives Association in Derby in 1973 

  • Deborah Bull CBE -  is an English dancer, writer, and broadcaster and former creative director of the Royal Opera House.

  • Katharine Burdekin nee Cade -  Feminist. Writer.  Sister of Rowena Cade

  • Mavis Burton - Mavis Burton championed the cause of hikers to have the right to roam the countryside and inspired hundreds of people to lace up their boots and take to the hills.

  • Frances Bush -  Pioneering Industrialist, Entrepreneur

  • Rowena Cade - Architect Designed The Minack Theatre Cornwall Sister of Katharine Burdekin

  • Carole Susan Cains - born in Derby on 29 November 1943 is an Australian former politician.  In 1992, she was elected to the Tasmanian House of Assemblyrepresenting Braddon for the Liberal Party. She was defeated in 1996, but in 1997 was elected in a countback to replace Roger Groom, who had retired. Cains was again defeated in 1998 after the size of the Assembly was reduced

  • Caroline Cattle  nee Shipstone - b. between 4 April 1864 and 3 April 1865, d. 13 June 1946  in Nottingham  lived at Smalley Hall, Nr Derby. Caroline Shipstone was also known as Caroline Shipstone Cattle and Carrie Shipstone. Educated at Cambridge, she, among her many accolades was the former president Women's Conservative  Association, Ilkeston;  President St Lawrence Scouts, Heanor. Hon Secretary, Ladies Committee of the N.S.P.C.C. Heanor, for over twenty years and was instrumental in raising large sums for War Charities and Concerts. Who's Who in Derbyshire, 1934 Bales, Ebeneer & Sons Ltd

  • Barbara Castle - This late Labour MP was one of the party's most important figures in the last century. Her many accolades include introducing family planning clinics and free contraception, ensuring child benefits were paid directly to mothers and waging a fierce battle for the Equal Pay Act

  • Georgiana Cavendish Duchess of Devonshire -  English socialite, style icon, author and activist.

  • Catherine Cooke (Cook) - (born 1872 Derby) was a Magistrate (JP) and Derby's second woman Labour Councillor. Catherine started work aged 11 in The Silk Mill and rose the Co-op and Poor Law Service. She was returned in Rowditch in 1928 and 1931 and is described as a leading light in the Cooperative Movement. Source: Derby Daily Telegraph 26 Oct 1928 and Davies, Sam and Morley Bob (1999) County Borough Elections in England and Wales, 1919–1938: A Comparative Analysis, Volume 2 Chester to East Ham. Routledge. Who's Who in Derbyshire, 1934 Bales, Ebeneer & Sons Ltd

  • Eileen Cooper - Major British Figurative Artist (painter and print-maker). First Woman to be appointed Keeper of the Royal Academy in 2011.

  • Florence Hilda Cross - (19/10/1888 - 13/10/1928) Educator Suffragette, Belper and Derby. Florence  was a Derby Suffragette suspected of being involved in the fire at All Saints Church Breadsal on June 4th 1914. She is also listed as Hilda Cross in The Roll of Honour of Suffragette Prisoners 1905-1914. Florence died aged 36 in the The Charfield railway disaster on 13 October 1928

  • Joanna Czechowska - Anglo-Polish author historical fiction. Chief sub editor and book review editor for Woman Magazine

  • Derby Duckies' -  In 1915 6 women, including Grace Lloyd, Gertrude Harris and Florence Dawson became the very first woment bus conductors 'Duckies' in Derby Transport Services. 

  • Mrs Olive Eden (nee Lax) OBE  - Born (Approx 1908)  Formerly of No 44 Rupert Road gave many years’ service to the local community and generally helping the people of Chaddesden. Service for which she received her OBE in 1967. Chaddesden County Secondary School, opened in 1955 was renamed The Olive Eden Secondary School (now Lees Brook) in her honour.  Olive died in June of 1997 at 89.

  • Monica Edwards  -  (née Monica le Doux Newton; 8 November 1912 – 18 January 1998) Born in Bleper she was children's writer  and wrote more than 35 novels and countless short stories

  •  Delia El-Hosayny - Believed to be Britain's first woman bouncer from Derby who became a pub door woman in 1985 aged 18. 

  • Janice Elliott - Janice Elliott (13 October 1931 – 25 July 1995) was born in Derby.  was a prolific English fiction writer, journalist and children's writer. Her novels were critically successful in their time, but are not currently in print.

  • Kathy Ellis  - was the first woman engineer to join the reactor core design team at Rolls-Royce. In 2013 she was shortlisted in the category of engineering  in the First Women Awards. 

  • Joanna Ewing, 63 - named in a roll of honour of 500 people to make a Living kidney donation since changes to the law.

  • Squash Louise Falconer - Adventurer, Mountaineer, Motivational Speaker First British woman to climb and para-glide from the summit of Everest

  • Beth Mary Fender - poet and community 'organiser'

  • Angela Margaret Flanders  - was a renown perfumer born in Buxton, Derbyshire, on December 4 1927 and died on April 27 2016 aged 88.

  • Constance Fox Talbot - Constance Talbot (née Mundy, 30 January 1811 – 9 September 1880) married William Henry Fox Talbot, one of the key players in the development of photography in the 1830s and 1840s, in 1832. She briefly experimented with the process, herself, as early as 1839 and has been credited as the first woman ever to take a photograph (although she is hardly given much recognition) – a hazy image of a short verse by the Irish poet Thomas Moore.

  • Florence French - leading campaigner for women's suffrage in Glossop and one of the founders of Glossop Labour Club

  • Elisabeth Freeman -born Chesterfield, Derbyshire, Sept 12, 1876 (d. 1942). Anglo-American militant suffragist and pacifist who opposed World War I; organised suffrage protests including leading a yellow gypsy wagon in DC; NAACP Anti-Lynching Campaign in Texas 1916; first women’s train on presidential campaign 1916.

  • Jane Freeman - (1871 – September 23, 1963) was an English portrait painter who painted a portrait of Albert Schweitzer. Her art is part of the collection of the University of Pennsylvania. She was born in Chesterfield, England. She was the older sister of suffragist Elisabeth Freeman. She died at the Meyer's Sanitarium in Park Ridge, New Jersey aged 92.

  • Rhoda Garrett 1841- 1882 - born in Derbyshire was a English Suffragists and Interior Designer. Along with her cousin Agnes Garrett she opened the first Interior design company, Agnes and Rhoda, run by women in Britain in 1875. She decorated the home of her fellow Suffragist and cousin Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (the first woman to qualify as a Dr and a surgeon and first elected woman mayor) and leader of the NUWSS Millicent Garrett Fawcett published several books on interior design. She was member of the Royal Archaeological Society and from its foundations a member of the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings. She was at odds with her cousin Elizabeth Garrett Anderson as she favoured the repeal of the Contagious Diseases Act. With Agnes he spoke at several suffrage meetings including with her cousin Agnes in Ipswich,  Leeds and Newark in June 1871. She was an executive member of the Central Committee of the National Society for Women's Suffrage when it formed in 1872. She gave a lecture on 'The Electoral Disabilities of Women' in 1872 at Cheltenham Corn Exchange in April 1872. She was also a main speaker at  a meeting organised by the Central Committee on 29th May 1875 in St Georges Hall. She was much admired by composer Ethel Smythe. She died of Typhoid 1882. (Source: The Women's Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide, 1999 by Elizabeth Crawford, pp 239-240)

  • Garrett, Elsie 1869 - 1959  Elsie Garrett, she was born at The Rectory, Church Street, Elton, Derbyshire on 25 April 1869, twin with John Herbert Garrett, of Revd John Fisher Garrett, rector of Elton, who was born at Bramfield, Suffolk, and his wife Mary née Gray, who was born at Grantham, Lincolnshire. Elsie studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, London and in Florence, before teaching at Bedales, which was founded by her brother-in-law John Badley (1865-1967). Like her Garrett relations, Elsie was active in the suffragete movement. A landscape and portrait painter in oil and watercolour, and a member of the Ipswich Fine Art Club 1895-1896 and exhibited a total of nine works from Ipswich. The subjects included local views such as a watercolour in 1895 ‘On the Gipping’ and in 1896 an oil ‘Willie Lott’s Cottage’. Elsie, estranged from her husband, emigrated to South Africa in 1933  emigrating to the Cape in 1934. Elsie died at Cape Town, South Africa on 2 July 1959. She illustrated 'Wild Flowers of The Cape of Good Hope' (1951). 

  • Sunita Gamblin - Highest ranking woman Officer in Derbyshire and first Asian Woman Chief Supt,  Derbyshire Police . Departed Derbyshire Police July 2017

  • Moz Greenshields - UNISON, Community Organiser Activist

  • Marjorie Hamilton - Suffragette, artist later a Matron of a girls home in Canada she was born in Derbyshire in 1882 'Unknown' Suffrage Artist whose designs graced many bills and the front cover of the Suffragette member of the WSPU. We have no record of her death

  • Jean Emmeline Hanson - 14 November 1919 – 10 August 1973 was born in Newhall Derbyshire. While working at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she, with Hugh Huxley, discovered the mechanism of movement of muscle fibre in 1954, which came to known as "sliding filament theory". This was a groundbreaking research in muscle physiology, and for this BBC nicknamed her "Mrs Muscle" on the 50th anniversary of the discovery. She died in London on 10 August 1973 from a rare brain infection, meningococcal septicaemia. Her biography on the King's College London website lists  Jean as a Bio-medical Hero

  • Bella Hardy  - 24 May 1984 is a contemporary folk musician, singer and songwriter from Edale in Derbyshire, UK, who performs a combination of traditional and self-penned material. She was named Folk Singer of the Year at the 2014 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, having previously won the award for Best Original Song in 2012 for "The Herring Girl".

  • Alison Hargreaves - First woman to scale Mount Everest unassisted. First climber to scale all the great north  faces of the Alps in a single season.

  • Helen Kathleen Hawkins  OBE- Born in India. M.A. (London Univesity) succeeded Canon Bater to be appointed The first woman principal of the Lichfield and Southwell Diocesan Training College, Derby (later Derby Teacher Training College Uttoxeter New Rd, Derby) Period of tenure 1927-1952. Co-opted member Derby Education Committee 1932 She was later awarded an OBE and was appointed by the government to develop the education system in the West Indies. She died on May 1985, aged 96.

  • Betty Heathfield -  Born in Chesterfield  March 30 1927 (died February 16 2006) Miners strike organiser and HERo. She was) leading figure in the Miners' Wives Support Groups during the UK miners' strike (1984–1985).During the strike itself, Betty and Anne Scargill, Arthur's then wife, led the national campaign to help feed, clothe and sustain a lifeline of hope for miners' families in every pit village in the country. 

  • Teresa Hooley -  Born in Risley Derbyshire in 1888 (died in 1973) known mostly for a war poem A War Film about World War I, was a pseudonym of Mrs. F. H. Butler.

  • Rachel Hopkins  the first woman to captain a men's team in the Derbyshire County League

  • Mrs Hilda Hulse - Derby's First woman Conservative Councillor in 1918. She was a Former Commandant at Haye Leigh Auxilliary Hospital. She won Derwent Ward but she retired before the  local elections in 1921. She stood again in 1924 but lost.

  • Winifred Jones - Winifred was a militant suffragette. In October 1909 she threw a stone through a window at the Palace Theatre, Newcastle on the occasion of a visit by Lloyd George. Winifred, her sister Gladys, together with Millicent Fawcett and her sister Agnes Garrett financed the restoration of Statue of Queen Elizabeth I at St Dunstan’s in the West in 1828. Winifred's association with the Garrett-Fawcett's  suggests a move towards less militant politics. She died in 1955. 

    •  “We appeal to the Government to yield, not to the violence of our protest, but the reasonableness of our demand.” Winifred Jones, with her ten co-arrested, in a letter to the Times in October 1909.

  • Gladys Jones aka 'Gwen John' - (1878-1953) Actress, playwright and biographer. Plays include Gloriana and A Land of Lost Roads  (ar) Colour Oct 1921 and she also wrote a biography of Queen Elizabeth. See also (her sister) Winifred Jones.

  • Mrs Emma Jones  JP, CC - (1871-1941) born and educated in Derby, was the first woman councillor for the Labours Party. She was returned in Pear Tree in 1924 and 1927 and won two further elections for Osmaston Ward. Jones was also elected Labours first woman 'alderman' on Nov 9th 1935.She was nominated as mayor in 1941 but died on 28th October 1941, 12 days before taking office. 

  • Gurmit Kaur MBE  - of Derby, first Safer Schools officers in Nottingham. In 2006, she became the first Asian woman police inspector in Nottinghamshire.

  • Dame Laura Knight DBE, RA RWS  - (4 August 1877 – 7 July 1970) Born in Long Eaton in 1877. Artist working  in oils, watercolours, etching, engraving and drypoint. In 1929 she was created a Dame, and in 1936 became the first woman elected to the Royal Academy since its foundation in 1768.

  • Donna Victoria Kellogg MBE  - (born 20 January 1978 in Spondon Derbyshire) is a Gold Medal  English badminton player. 

  • Libby Lane - Born Elizabeth Jane Holden in Buckinghamshire, raised in Derbyshire  is the first woman CoE Bishop in England

  • Elizabeth Lane - Born 9 August 1905 in Bowden, Cheshire. She was the first woman to be appointed Recorder of Derby in 1961, the first woman to be appointed a County Court judge in 1962, and the first woman to be appointed a judge of the High Court in 1965;when she became a Bencher of Inner Temple in 1965, she was the first female Bencher of any Inn.  

  • Marie Litton  - (1847 – 1 April 1884) born in Hartington in Derbyshire, was the stage name of Mary Jessie Lowe, an English actress and theatre manager. After beginning a stage career in 1868, Litton became an actor-manager in 1871, producing plays for four years at the Court Theatre, including several by W. S. Gilbert.

  • Fleur Lombard Queens Gallantry Medal QGM - HERo,  First woman firefighter to die on duty in peacetime Britain

  • Anne Longden -  a milliner from Alfreton and mother of early suffragist, Educator and artist Barbara Bodichon, nee Leigh Smith,1827-1891. Barbara Bodichon is founder member of pioneer women's Organisation The Langham Group. See listing for Florence Nightingale

  •  Hon Edith Lyttelton Gell -  1860 -  17th April 1944 Edith was an indefatigable writer of devotional poems, hymns, and moralistic tracts; Her book The Happy Warrior, sold over 400,000 copies between 1914 and 1918. she was president of the local Soldiers & Sailors Families Association and engineered a campaign to get women to work on farms. A set of stained glass windows at at St Margaret’s Church Carsington Derbyshire were presented by Edith Lyttleton Gell in 1929, in memory of her husband Philip. They were crafted by Wippell of Exeter. Philip Gell is presented as Philip the apostle, carrying loaves and fish. John the Divine on the left. The Good Centurion in the middle – the Gells believed they were descended from Romans

  • Fleur Lombard Queens Gallantry Medal QGM - HERo,  First woman firefighter to die on duty in peacetime Britain

  • Anne Longden -  a milliner from Alfreton and mother of early suffragist, Educator and artist Barbara Bodichon, nee Leigh Smith,1827-1891. Barbara Bodichon is founder member of pioneer women's Organisation The Langham Group. See listing for Florence Nightingale. 

  • Lady Grace Manners -  an English noblewoman who lived at Haddon Hall near Bakewell, Derbyshire. She founded Lady Manners School in 1636

  • Dame Hilary Mary Mantel - First woman to be awarded the Booker Prize Twice

  • Violet Markham - First Woman Councillor 1924 and Mayor of Chesterfield 1927. Having been a vocal opponent of women's suffrage and a strong supporter of Women's National Anti-Suffrage League, she stood as an Independent Liberal for the Mansfield Division of Nottinghamshire in the 1918 general election. Violet Markham was the 4th woman to receive the Order of The Champions of Honour in 1917.

  • Tina Martin -  Derbyshire Constabulary. Catalyst, founder member and former Chairperson British Association Women Police (BAWP) Tina was also awarded the International Association of Women Police (IAWP) honour of International Officer of the Year for 1987 in recognition of her work to develop membership of the IAWP.

  • Fiona May - Olympian Silver Medalist

  • Helen McArthur - Sports Woman/Adventurer. World breaking yachtswoman solo circumnavigation of the globe 2005

  • The Bishop of Repton, The Venerable Janet Elizabeth McFarlane, BMedSci, BA - First woman Bishop for Derbyshire and East Midlands Consecrated at Canterbury

  • Emma Miller - (1839 - 1917) born Chesterfield Derbyshire was a pioneer trade union organiser, suffragist, and key role in  founding of the Australian Labour Party 

  • Hannah Mitchell - Suffragette

  • Prof Kathryn Mitchell - First Woman Chancellor University of Derby

  • Anne Mozley - 17th Sept 1809 in Gainsborough she died in Derby on 27 June 1891. Author of several books and papers Anne also  made a  considerable contribution as an editor. Her inclusion here both recognises her contribution to literature but also addresses the fact that she 'wrote invisibly' for most of her life. 

  • Florence Nightingale - Nursing/Medical Pioneer and Statistician. She is also Barbara Bodichon's cousin. See listing for Anne Longdon. Although famously born in Florence, Italy, she moved as a baby with her family to Derbyshire where he family maintained a home at Lea, in 1821. Nightingale invested in the region, most prominently advising Dr William Ogle in the 1860s on the redesign and management of the biggest hospital in the area: the Derby Royal Infirmary. The new hospital opened in 1869 with a wing named in Nightingale’s honour.

  • Kavita Oberoi - Born 27 April 1970 Entrepreneur, philanthropist

  • Lady Madeleine Emma Onslow - (formerly Loftus Tottenham) Born 1851 in County Monaghan, Ireland. Suffragist and anti-vivisection campaigner in the UK and Australia. She married Alexander Campbell Onslow, former Chief Justice of Western Australia on 2 Mar 1878. Madeleine was an accomplished musician and a prominent worker in the cause of women's suffrage. The Karrakatta Club was founded by her in conjunction with American Dr. Emily Ryder, in 1884.Madeline Onslow worked for the woman suffrage cause in Western Australia after her arrival in the colony with her husband, Sir Alexander Onslow in 1880. As vice-president of the Karrakatta Club for women in Perth from 1894 (Lady Onslow was the first president of the Karrakatta Club, between 1894 and 1901) she persuaded it to debate and discuss woman suffrage. In 1899 she was instrumental in the formation of the Woman's Franchise League, which lobbied strongly for the vote until it was granted to the women of Western Australia in 1899. In 1901 she returned to England where she worked to achieve the franchise for the women of the United Kingdom Lady Onslow was the president of the club until she left the State in 1901(due to her husband’s ill health) to return to Bakewell, Derbyshire,England.  Alexander Onslow died in Belper Derbyshire on 20th October 1908.  Madeleine continued to work to achieve the franchise for women in  the United Kingdom. The England and Wales Census, 1911 reports that the Madeline Emma Onslow, aged 60 was registered at Duffield Derbyshire District Belper. Source:  Madeline Onslow was a member of the Derby branch of NUWSS in 1914  Source: Madeleine  died, aged 75,  5 Oct 1926 in Hampstead, London after a lengthy illness.

  • Elizabeth Petty -  (1875–1947) She was a former Poor Law Guardian and the second woman elected to Derby City Council winning Dale Ward in 1922. She was a Conservative and was elected the First Woman Mayor of Derby in 1936 (There have been Mayors in Derby since 1835). She was Derby's most successful woman politician at that time in terms of her longevity. She returned to the Council 6 times, 4 times unopposed. She was a Councillor at the outbreak of WW II. Reports of her political concerns including her work with Belgian Refugees in 1914 and again with Basque child refugees fleeing Franco's Rebel army in 1937, her concern for women and children are indicative of early 'feminist sympathies' and suggests that she was a liberal Conservative. Source: Derby Daily Telegraph 2 Nov. 1922 and 26 Oct 1928.                                       

  • Pollyanna Pickering - Acclaimed Wild-life artist, Environmentalist

  • Elizabeth Pinder-Ashenden - Religious leader, Community Organiser

  • Gertrude Mary Powys  - (1877 – 1952) born in Ashbourne Derbyshire was a very talented artist who first studied in Paris in 1913 and again in 1943. Gertrude belonged to what is described as the most successfully accomplished family in British literary history and went on to publish over one hundred books between them.

  • Louise J. Rayner - watercolour artist. born in Matlock Bath in Derbyshire on 21 June 1832 (died on 8 October 1924)

  • Chantelle Reid - World Championship Boxer

  • Melissa Reid -  Professional golfer was born in Derby, 19 September 1987. She plays on the Ladies European Tour and was a member of the victorious European Team in the 2011 Solheim Cup.

  • Margaret Roberts -  Margaret Roberts, born in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, 1912.  She married a curate whose vocation took him to Derbyshire. She was veteran member of CND and a Greenham Common Campaigner. Margaret first got involved with Greenham Common when she offered to stand in for a fellow peace campaigner who had left her children at home She died aged 98.

  • Sheila Rollinson -  Founder and now club secretary Derby County Ladies. Winner FA Outstanding Contribution to Women's Football Award 2014. Points of Light Award Winner 2015

  • Ivy Ryalls - Founder member the National Housewives Association Derby

  • Jasvinder Sanghera - Pioneer, Activist.​ Forced Marriage and 'Honour Killing'

  • Mrs Ellen Scotton -  Former president of the Guild Branch of Derby Provident Cooperative Society for five nearly years. She also served on the District Committee and Sectional Council  of the Guild and as vice-president of the Women's Liberal Association until her death on May 8th 1903.

  • Anna Seward - 12 December 1742 – 25 March 1809 Eighteenth Century Romantic Poet

  • Beth Seymour - Pioneer Trans Rights Activist

  • Marjorie Lynette Sigley  - (22 December 1928 – 13 August 1997) also known as Sigi, was an English artist, writer, actress, teacher, choreographer, theatre director and television producer.

  • Dorothea Skrytek - Environmentalist Campaigner/Educator

  • Mrs Rosina Sky  (nee Posener) (1858–1928)  Born in Soho, London.  In 1907 she  single-handedly collected 400 of the 257, 000 signatures collected in favour of votes for women, included in the Suffrage Declaration drawn up by Clementina Black (see Women's Franchise Declaration Committee). Rosina remained active in the Suffrage movement, including being treasurer of the WSPU Southend Branch in 1910 and joining The Tax Resistance League. She used her status as a household head to spoil her census form by writing across it " No votes for women, No information from women" lived in Southend. She ran her shop until 1922, We are unclear of her Derbyshire connection or what she did when she came here but she  died in Heathersage Derbyshire in 1928.  Source: The Women's Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide 1866-1928  P 639).

  • Agnes Elizabeth Slack -  (1857–1946) was a British and international Temperance organiser. Elizabeth was the first woman to preach in Wesley's Chapel in London. 

  • Rose Smith (10 May 1891 – 23 July 1985) was a British communist activist, educator and union organiser

  • Olave St Clair Baden-Powell, Baroness Baden-Powell - Scout and Girl Guide Movements

  • Elsie Steele - (née Fletcher; 6 January 1899 – 18 October 2010) was born at Midway near Swadlincote  was the oldest documented person in Britain at the time of her death

  • Mary Swanwick - (13 July 1841 - 7th April 1917) Born Old Whittington Chesterfield, Derbyshire Benefactor/Educationalists. Among her many acts of philanthropy (including local painter Joseph Syddall, who under her patronage, went to Bushey where he studied under Sir Hubert von Herkomer). She was a member of the Education Committee of the Derbyshire County Council, the Chesterfield Higher Education Committee and the Girls High School Committee.  She was a of the former manager of the Whittington Council Schools and the Chesterfield Board of Guardians.  Whittington Council School, originally built in 1848, was renamed  the “Mary Swanwick Community Primary School”  when it was re-opened on July 4th 1932.She died on April 7th, 1917 after a brief three-week illness (pneumonia), aged 78.

  • Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury (Bess of Hardwick Hall) - a formidable figure, a four times widowed dowager who was one of the wealthiest and most influential women in England after Elizabeth I

  • Annie Florence Theobalds M.D. (1874 - 1937) born in Birkenhead educated St ,Mary's School Edinburgh and Edinburgh University. Before arriving in Buxton in 1909 Annie was Resident Assistant Medical Officer at Halifax Poor Law Institution and Pathologist and Assistance Medical Officer at the West Riding Asylum in Wakefield. Had previously been Clinical Assistant at Birmingham City Asylum. She was an authority on the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and Committee member of the Buxton and District Hospital. Hon Physician Devonshire Royal Hospital 1917;Hon Consulting Physician at same 1934. Chairman of Governors Cavendish High School Buxton 1932; Chairman of the Buxton and District Nursing Association 1922; Medical officer V.A.D. Hospital Buxton 1914 – 1918; Medaille de lar Rune Elizabeth (Belgium) 1918.

  • Jean Timms - Jean Timms (née Stone) who at the age of 17 in 1941 became the first woman mechanic in the Derbyshire Fire Service Research is ongoing

  • Elizabeth Ann Toogood   - (1875 - 1944) - Born 1875 at Bellary India. Elizabeth was a Justice of the Peace for Borough of Derby*; and an Original Member of Derby Women's Conservative and  Unionist Association 1910 (of which she became Hon sec 1923 fr several years. She Worked at Munitions Area Recruiting Office under Captain Blore' Captain -in-Charge one day per week at YM.C.A. Canteen; Periodical Service with Local Red Cross Depot. From 1938 became vice-president of the Littleover Branch of the South Derbyshire Conservative Association

  • June Wall/Lower  - Campaigning Journalist and Co-founder of the National Housewife Association 

  • Jane Warden  -  In the Derby Co-operative Society women were able to vote for members of the Management Committee, they were not thought suitable to be involved in the running of the society.  Mrs Warden, a member of the Derby Society since 1892, and The Women's Guild (No. 1 Branch of which she had been Committee Member, assistant secretary, vice-president, tea secretary and first club secretary) since 1898) did not agree with this view and after many attempts was elected to serve on the Management Committee of the Society in May 1919. Her persistence meant that she was the first woman to be elected to the Directorate.

  • Joan Waste - (1534–1556), blind martyr burned to death at age 22. Protestant Martyr Joan Waste, of Derby, who was burned at the stake for heresy in 1556

  • Helen Wathall  - Managing Director G. Wathall & Son Ltd and  the only woman appointed to Golden Charter Board. In 2002, Helen Wathall was honoured to be the first woman to be elected as President of the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors ( which represents over 700 Independent Funeral Directors from all over the UK).  

  •  Miss Frances Webb  - Derbyshire Historian, Philanthropist Died Dec 2006 Research is ongoing

  •  Hollie Webb - Olympic Gold Medal Hockey Player

  • Jessie Webster - Derbyshire's first warranted Woman Police Officer

  • Anne Western - Leader Derbyshire Councty Council, Cabinet member for strategic policy and budget since May 2013 and Councillor for Barlborough and Clowne.

  • Dame Vivienne Westwood - née Swire; born 8 April 1941 in  Tintwistle, High Peak, Derbyshire. Celebrated award winning Fashion Designer, Environmental Activist

  • Alice Wheeldon -  (1866–1919) pacifist and anti-war campaigner, was an early socialist, feminist and a Suffragette. Mrs Wheeldon supported the No-Conscription Fellowship and helped conscientious objectors avoid conscription in the First World War. In December 1916 Alex Gordon, a spy from MI5 arrived at the Wheeldon home, claiming to be a conscientious objector on the run and it is claimed that he would go on to manufacture evidence leading to the imprisonment of the Wheeldon family.
    Read more at This listing also references the actions of  Winnie and Alf Mason 

  • Mary Williams aka Mother May  - Black Church Pioneer 

  • Effie Grace Wilson  - 1877 - 25th October 1960 She purchased Dalby House in Ilkeston, in 1946 31st March 1946  and it became a boarding house for Michael House School. It remained a hostel from 1947 until 1965. She was a teacher at Institute at Ilkeston Junction and also at Bennerley School, then the Ilkeston Secondary School. Rudolf Steiner’s ideas were relevant to all aspects of life.

  • Prof Cecile Wright - Pioneer African Caribbean Professor in Derby, Political and Community Activist

  • Alison Uttley - Writer 1884 -1976, Born in Cromford Derbyshire

Top 10 Women Movers, Shakers and Groundbreaking Pioneers

Margaret Beckett
Margaret Beckett
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Catherine Booth
Catherine Booth
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Barbara Castle
Barbara Castle
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Rhoda Garrett
Rhoda Garrett
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Derbyshire 100+ Women of Note

Parkash Ahluwalia, MBE
Parkash Ahluwalia, MBE

Parkash Ahluwalia was Derbyshire's first Asian policewoman, a pioneer for race relations, including a trustee at Derby Council for Racial Equality a lecturer, translator, and a team leader for Derby’s Education Dept. Mrs Ahluwalia has raised money for many charities and helped to raise cultural awareness in Derby. Although unsuccessful in her 1980s bid to become Derby’s first woman Asian City Councillor she received a Derby Civic Award and in 2015, an MBE in the Queen’s Honours List.

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Norah Aiton
Norah Aiton


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Marion Elizabeth Adnams 1898–1995
Marion Elizabeth Adnams 1898–1995

Marion Adnams trained as a teacher of modern languages and gained an honours degree in 1919. She began to paint with a view to getting her art teacher’s diploma which she gained it in 1938 and was appointed art mistress at Homelands Grammar School for Girls, Derby. She became senior lecturer and head of art at Derby Training College in 1946. She retired, largely to France in 1960 to paint, She ceased painting in 1968 because of failing eyesight.

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Sue Arguille
Sue Arguille

Sue Arguille is the local Branch Secretary of The National Union of Teachers, Sue has been a Trade Union, activist and organiser for many years. She is passionate about grassroots organising and currenty campaigns around what she describes as "The dismatling of the Education System".

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Jessica Baldwin OBE
Jessica Baldwin OBE

Marilyn Baldwin’s 10 year campaign (which resulted in the charity 'Think Jessica') against postal scammers led to a change in Royal Mail rules to protect the vulnerable against the kind of postal scams which conned elderly mother out of £50,000 (and may have contributed to her death). She earned an OBE for her work.

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Mary Clegg and Jenny Turner
Mary Clegg and Jenny Turner

Mary Attenborough (née Clegg) 1897-1961 was born in Sawley Derbyshire was a Writer, linguist, suffragette and founder member of the National Marriage Guidance Council. She became an ardent supporter of the Republican cause in Spain and was secretary of the Leicester Committee for Basque Children and from July 1937 providing shelter for 50 Basque refugee children. Mary also chaired the Board of the Leicester Little Theatre.

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Prof Mary Barber
Prof Mary Barber

Barber, Mary (1911–1965), pathologist and bacteriologist, was born in Derby on 3 April 1911, the third daughter of Hugh Barber, physician, and Ethel M. Howlett. She studied anti-biotic resistance in bacteria. She was one of the pioneers in this field documenting the phenomena of penicillin resistance to early on.

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Marjorie C.Bates
Marjorie C.Bates

Marjorie Christine Bates R.A. was born in 1882 in Kings Newton, near Melbourne, Derbyshire. She was a painter who exhibited at the Royal Academy in London and Paris and achieved a moderate living from her paintings. Bates was the daughter of George and Emily Bates who had made money from the sale of mosquito netting. Her family moved to Wilford in Nottinghamshire where she attended the Nottingham School of Art. She was a distant relative of both Laura Knight and Harold Gresley. She died in 1962.

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Margaret Beckett
Margaret Beckett

Dame Margaret Mary Beckett, DBE (née Jackson; born 15 January 1943) is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Derby South since 1983.

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Freda Bedi
Freda Bedi

Freda Bedi (sometimes spelled Frida Bedi, also named Sister Palmo, or Gelongma Karma Kechog Palmo) (5 February 1911 – 26 March 1977) was a British woman born in Derby, England, who became famous as the first Western woman to take ordination in Tibetan Buddhism.

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Catherine Booth
Catherine Booth

Catherine (1829-1890) was a founder member of the Salvation Army, nee Mumford, in Ashbourne, Derbyshire. At an early age Catherine supported the national Temperance Society and wrote articles warning of the dangers of alcohol. She married William Booth in 1855. She organised Food for the Million shops where the poor could buy a cheap meal and distributed meals to the needy at Christmas. Catherine and William Booth had 8 children all of whom became active in the Salvation Army.

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Mary Shuttleworth Boden
Mary Shuttleworth Boden

She was affiliated with the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (W. C. T. U.), British Women's Temperance Association (B. W. T. A.), British Temperance League, Girls' Friendly Society, Women's Union Church of England Temperance Society, Bands of Hope, and the Woman's Auxiliary Union. She donated land to Derby on Bold Lane in memory of her husband which was equipped with sixteen swings as an area for small children to play Mary was also a suffragist and advocate of women’s matters and issues

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Dame Vera Brittain
Dame Vera Brittain

Vera Mary Brittain (29 December 1893 – 29 March 1970) was an English Voluntary Aid Detachment (V.A.D.) nurse, writer, feminist, and pacifist. Her best-selling 1933 memoir Testament of Youth recounted her experiences during the First World War and the beginning of her journey towards pacifism. Vera was born in Newcastle Under Lyme Staffordshire but moved to Buxton Derbyshire with her family where she lived for 2 years.

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Deborah Bull
Deborah Bull

Deborah Bull, CBE born in Derby on 22 March 1963, is a dancer, writer, and broadcaster and former Royal Ballet principal and creative director of the Royal Opera House. Since 2012 she has been Director, Cultural Partnerships at King's College London. Born in Derby, and brought up in Kent and Lincolnshire, she studied dance from the age of seven

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Katharine Burdekin nee Cade
Katharine Burdekin nee Cade

Katharine Burdekin (born Katharine Penelope Cade) (1896-1963) was born in Spondon, Derbyshire. She wrote speculative fiction concerned with social and spiritual matters. Often writing under the name Kay Burdekin and Murray Constantine, she published more than ten novels before her death in 1963. Several of her novels could be categorised as feminist utopian/dystopian fiction. Rowena Cade, creator of the Minack Theatre was her sister.

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