|Born||23 May 1855|
|Died||14 July 1924|
|Nationality||United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland|
Isabella Ormston Ford (23 May 1855–1924) was an English social reformer, suffragist and writer. She became a public speaker and wrote pamphlets on issues related to socialism, feminism and worker's rights. After becoming concerned with the rights of female mill workers at an early age, Ford became involved with trade union organisation in the 1880s. A member of the National Administrative Council of the Independent Labour Party, she was the first woman to speak at a Labour Representation Committee (which became the British Labour Party) conference.
The National Administrative Council (NAC) was the executive council of the Independent Labour Party (ILP), a British socialist party which was active from 1893 until 1975.
The Independent Labour Party (ILP) was a British political party of the left, established in 1893, when the Liberals appeared reluctant to endorse working-class candidates, representing the interests of the majority. A sitting independent MP and prominent union organiser, Keir Hardie, became its first chairman.
The Labour Party is a centre-left political party in the United Kingdom that has been described as an alliance of social democrats, democratic socialists and trade unionists. The party's platform emphasises greater state intervention, social justice and strengthening workers' rights.
Isabella Ford was born 23 May 1855 in Headingley, Leeds, in the north of England. She was the youngest of eight children of Quakers Robert Lawson Ford and Hannah (née Pease).Her mother was a cousin of abolitionist Elizabeth Pease Nichol. Her father was a solicitor who ran a local night-school for mill-girls. Contact with these girls gave Ford and her sisters an insight into class differences and an interest in working conditions. When she was 16, she began teaching at her father's school.
Headingley is a suburb of Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, approximately two miles out of the city centre, to the north west along the A660 road. Headingley is the location of the Beckett Park campus of Leeds Beckett University and Headingley Stadium.
Leeds is a city in the United Kingdom, located in the county of West Yorkshire in Northern England, approximately 170 miles north of central London. Leeds has one of the most diverse economies of all the UK's main employment centres and has seen the fastest rate of private-sector jobs growth of any UK city. It also has the highest ratio of private to public sector jobs of all the UK's Core Cities, with 77% of its workforce working in the private sector. Leeds has the third-largest jobs total by local authority area, with 480,000 in employment and self-employment at the beginning of 2015. Leeds is ranked as a High Sufficiency level city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. Leeds is the cultural, financial and commercial heart of the West Yorkshire Urban Area. Leeds is served by five universities, and has the fourth largest student population in the country and the country's fourth largest urban economy.
Abolitionism in the United Kingdom was the movement in the late 18th and early 19th centuries to end the practice of slavery, whether formal or informal, in the United Kingdom, the British Empire and the world, including ending the Atlantic slave trade. It was part of a wider abolitionism movement in Western Europe and the Americas.
In the 1880s, Ford became involved with trade unions.She worked with tailoresses who were campaigning for better working conditions; she helped them to form a trade union and was involved when they went on strike in 1889. In 1890–91, she marched with workers from Manningham Mills in Bradford. As a result of her involvement, she was elected a life member of the Leeds Trades and Labour Council.
A trade union is an association of workers forming a legal unit or legal personhood, usually called a "bargaining unit", which acts as bargaining agent and legal representative for a unit of employees in all matters of law or right arising from or in the administration of a collective agreement. Labour unions typically fund the formal organization, head office, and legal team functions of the labour union through regular fees or union dues. The delegate staff of the labour union representation in the workforce are made up of workplace volunteers who are appointed by members in democratic elections.
Lister's Mill was the largest silk factory in the world. It is located in the Manningham district of Bradford, West Yorkshire, England and was built by Samuel Cunliffe Lister to replace the original Manningham Mills that were destroyed by fire in 1871. The mill is a Grade II* listed building, built in the Italianate style of Victorian architecture.
Bradford is a city in West Yorkshire, England, in the foothills of the Pennines, 8.6 miles (14 km) west of Leeds, and 16 miles (26 km) north-west of Wakefield. Bradford became a municipal borough in 1847, and received its charter as a city in 1897. Following local government reform in 1974, city status was bestowed upon the City of Bradford metropolitan borough.
She helped found the Leeds Independent Labour Party (ILP) and was president of the Leeds Tailoresses' Union.Her concerns were trade union organisation, socialism and female suffrage. She overcame a natural shyness to become an experienced public speaker, speaking at many meetings related to socialism, workers' rights and women's emancipation. She wrote many pamphlets, as well as a column in the Leeds Forward. In 1895 she was elected parish councillor for Adel cum Eccup in Leeds.
Suffrage, political franchise, or simply franchise is the right to vote in public, political elections. In some languages, and occasionally in English, the right to vote is called active suffrage, as distinct from passive suffrage, which is the right to stand for election. The combination of active and passive suffrage is sometimes called full suffrage.
A parish council is a civil local authority found in England and is the first tier of local government. They are elected corporate bodies, have variable tax raising powers, and are responsible for areas known as civil parishes, serving in total 16 million people. A parish council serving a town may be called a town council, and a parish council serving a city is styled a city council; these bodies have the same powers, duties and status as a parish council.
In the 1900s, Ford increased her focus on her work for the ILP, and was elected to the national administrative council.She became more involved in the national women's suffrage movement, but felt that feminism and the labour movement were equally important. In 1903 she spoke at the annual conference of the Labour Representation Committee (later the British Labour Party), and was the first woman to do so.
Following a 1904 debate with future politician Margaret Bondfield, Sylvia Pankhurst described Ford as "a plain, middle-aged woman, with red face and turban hat crushed down upon her straight hair, whose nature yet seemed to me ... kindlier and more profound than that of her younger antagonist".
Margaret Grace Bondfield was a British Labour politician, trade unionist and women's rights activist. She became the first female cabinet minister, and the first woman to be a privy counsellor in the UK, when she was appointed Minister of Labour in the Labour government of 1929–31. She had earlier become the first woman to chair the General Council of the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
Estelle Sylvia Pankhurst was an English campaigner for the suffragette movement, a prominent left communist and later an activist in the cause of anti-fascism. She spent much of her later life agitating on behalf of Ethiopia, where she eventually moved.
Ford formed friendships with Labour politician Philip Snowden, socialist writer Edward Carpenter, poet Walt Whitman, Josephine Butler, Millicent Fawcett and Olive Schreiner.She lived most of her adult life with her sisters Bessie and Emily in Adel Grange, the Leeds home that the family moved to when she was 10. Bessie Ford died in 1919 and her sisters moved to a smaller property called Adel Willows in 1922. Isabella Ford died 14 July 1924.
Ford's name and image, and those of 58 other women's suffrage supporters, are etched on the plinth of the statue of Millicent Fawcett in Parliament Square, London that was unveiled in 2018.
Dame Millicent Garrett Fawcett was an English political leader, activist and writer. Known as a tireless campaigner for women's suffrage via legislative change, from 1897 until 1919 she led Britain's largest women's rights organisation, the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS). She would famously write: "I cannot say I became a suffragist. I always was one, from the time I was old enough to think at all about the principles of Representative Government."
Frances Power Cobbe was an Irish writer, social reformer, anti-vivisection activist, and leading women's suffrage campaigner. She founded a number of animal advocacy groups, including the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) in 1875, and the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) in 1898, and was a member of the executive council of the London National Society for Women's Suffrage.
Frederick William Pethick-Lawrence, 1st Baron Pethick-Lawrence, PC was a British Labour politician, and campaigned for women's suffrage.
Helena Lucy Maria Swanwick CH was a British feminist and pacifist. Her autobiography, I Have Been Young (1935), gives a remarkable account of the non-militant women's suffrage campaign in the UK and of anti-war campaigning during the First World War, together with philosophical discussions of non-violence.
Adela Constantia Mary Pankhurst Walsh was a British-Australian suffragette, political organiser, and co-founder of both the Communist Party of Australia and the Australia First Movement.
Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, Lady Pethick-Lawrence was a British women's rights activist and suffragette.
Teresa Billington-Greig was a British suffragette who helped create the Women's Freedom League. She left another suffrage organisation - the WSPU - as she considered the leadership too autocratic.
Charlotte Despard was an Anglo-Irish suffragist, socialist, pacifist, Sinn Féin activist, and novelist. She was a founding member of the Women's Freedom League, Women's Peace Crusade, and the Irish Women's Franchise League, and an activist in a wide range of political organizations over the course of her life, including among others the Women's Social and Political Union, Labour Party, Cumann na mBan, and the Communist Party of Great Britain.
Mary Eleanor Gawthorpe was an English suffragette, socialist, trade unionist and editor. She was described by Rebecca West as "a merry militant saint".
Ada Nield Chew was a British suffragist.
Mary Reid Macarthur was a British suffragist and Scottish trades unionist. She was the general secretary of the Women's Trade Union League and was involved in the formation of the National Federation of Women Workers and National Anti-Sweating League. In 1910 Mary led the women chain makers of Cradley Heath to victory in their fight for a minimum wage and led a strike to force employers to implement the rise.
Ray Strachey, born Rachel Pearsall Conn Costelloe, was a British feminist politician, mathematician, engineer, artist and writer.
Lady Frances Balfour was one of the highest-ranking members of the British aristocracy to assume a leadership role in the Women's suffrage campaign in the United Kingdom. Balfour was a member of the Executive Committee of the National Society for Women's Suffrage from 1896 to 1919. Mrs. Fawcett was President of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies. As a non-violent suffragist, she was opposed to the militant actions of the Women's Social and Political Union, whose members were called the suffragettes.
Emily Susan Ford (1850–1930), artist and campaigner for women's rights, was born into a Quaker family in Leeds. She trained as an artist at the Slade School of Art and exhibited at the Royal Academy.
Nessie Stewart-Brown JP, née Nessie Muspratt was a British Suffragist and Liberal Party politician.
Priscilla Bright McLaren was a British activist who served and linked the anti-slavery movement with the women's suffrage movement in the nineteenth century. She was a member of the Edinburgh Ladies' Emancipation Society and, after serving on the committee, became the president of the Edinburgh Women's Suffrage Society.
Sarah Reddish (1850–1928) was a British trade unionist and suffragette, who was active in the cooperative movement. A supporter of women running for local elections as a springboard to gaining national voting rights, she ran for office on the Bolton School Board and was successful in her second attempt in 1899. She also ran for office as a Poor Law Guardian, and was successful, but was defeated in her attempt to become a member of the borough council. As a textile worker, Reddish knew first-hand the conditions and wages women experienced and joined unions, working as a paid organiser to help women improve their situations. She was both a socialist and a radical feminist, urging women's equality in the public sphere.
Lucy Minnie Baldock was a British suffragette. Along with Annie Kenney, she co-founded the first branch in London of the Women's Social and Political Union.
Annot Robinson, née Wilkie, nicknamed Annie, was a Scottish suffragette and pacifist. She was sentenced to six months for trying to break in to the House of Commons. She helped to found the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
The statue of Dame Millicent Fawcett, the suffragist leader and social campaigner, in Parliament Square, London, is a 2018 work by the Turner Prize-winning artist Gillian Wearing. Following a campaign and petition by the activist Caroline Criado Perez, the statue's creation was endorsed by both the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Theresa May, and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. The statue, Parliament Square's first monument to a woman and also its first sculpture by a woman, was funded through the government's Centenary Fund, which marks 100 years since some women won the right to vote. The memorial was unveiled on 24 April 2018.