To celebrate International Women’s Day, March 8, 2020, we’re highlighting just some of the notable figures who’ve made their mark.
1. Grace Darling, Lifesaver
Perhaps one of Northumberland's most famous women, Grace Darling is a national treasure. She became a 19th century icon following her heroic rescue of survivors from the SS Forfarshire, which ran aground off the Northumberland coast in 1838. Today she's honoured in the popular Grace Darling Museum in Bamburgh.
Photo: Famous depiction by Thomas Brooks
2. Emily Wilding Davison, Suffragette
One of the most iconic women of the 20th century who made the ultimate sacrifice for women's rights, Emily Wilding Davison died four days after being trampled by King George V’s horse at the Epsom Derby in 1913. She was born in London in 1872, but moved to her family’s home in Longhorsley near Morpeth after her father died in 1893. She later joined the women’s suffrage movement, signing up for Emmeline Pankhurst’s Women’s Social and Political Union in 1906. A tenacious campaigner, She went on hunger strike a reported 49 times and was arrested in 1909 when she tried to hand a letter to the then prime minister, Herbert Asquith. Pictured here is the unveiling of a statue in her honour in Carlisle Park, Morpeth.
Photo: Jane Coltman
3. Josephine Elizabeth Butler, Social Reformer
Milfield's Josephine Butler was one of Britain’s greatest social reformers who spent a lifetime campaigning for social causes and women’s rights in the 19th century. Most famously, the devout Christian feminist, activist, writer and democrat was pivotal in the battle against the Contagious Diseases Acts and successfully campaigned for the raising of the age of consent from 13 to 16.
Photo: Elliott & Fry
4. Jane Percy, The Duchess of Northumberland, Businesswoman and Charity Patron
One of Northumberland's most-respected residents, the Scottish-born Duchess is a passionate ambassador of her adopted home. A patron and supporter of many charities, she is also well-known for the spectacular redevelopment of The Alnwick Garden, a significant boost to the local economy. In 2009 she was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland by Queen Elizabeth II - the first woman to receive this distinction.
Photo: Jane Coltman