My good friend Helen W asked me to join her on a Sheffield Boost Walk on a Sunday morning. Anyone who knows me, will tell you this is a bold ask, but also that if I was going to drag myself out of the house on a Sunday morning for anything, then probably a walk about Suffragettes in Sheffield would do it.
Local Historian and generally interesting woman Ann Beedham led the talk beginning at the Old Queens Head on Pond Hill and wandering the streets of the city centre describing the exciting part the city’s women have always played in campaigning for social justice improvements.
So what, I hear you say… So now we’ve moved to a new city (again), I think it’s time to add another list to this site. Watch this space for a list celebrating the contribution women have made to Sheffield. First I’m off to twitter to crowd source the list.
Apologies for the delay in writing this post, I guess this gets harder the longer it is since I lived in Brum. Nevertheless, I’m still keen to keep up with the posts that celebrate the passion and commitment constantly shown by ordinary people. Yes, it’s flawed, but preparing these posts always helps me understand a little bit more about who makes our city tick. So I’ve found 7 women this year, that’s looking slightly more than usual. I had the pleasure of meeting Christine a few years ago – an inspirational leader, who I wish I’d worked with. Meanwhile, recognition for the work of the Chief Exec of St Paul’s in Balsall Heath, they often looked after my daughter so I could work through the school holidays – St Paul’s CDT is one of those organisations that is right under the skin of its community – and has been for decades. It has the added attraction of being home to a neat inner city farm.
Congratulations and thank you to all of you.
Principal and Chief Executive, Birmingham Metropolitan College. For services to Further Education.
Head of International Competition, UK Athletics. For service to Sport.
Chief Executive, St Paul’s Community Development Trust. For services to the community in Balsall Heath, Birmingham.
Principal, North Birmingham Academy. For services to Education.
Senior Officer, Criminal Investigation, Birmingham, HM Revenue and Customs. For services to Prevention of Smuggling and Asset Recovery.
For services to the community in Masefield, Birmingham.
Chair, George Coller Memorial Fund. For services to People with Asthma.
Click here for the full list – still on a pdf (grrr).
To my huge delight, my daughter decided to go in to her Y7 school history day dressed as one of our Brimmin. Gladys Morgan grew up in a Fish n Chip shop and died a Hollywood film star. The Birmingham Post wrote an obituary with some great photos.
The text below is the fact sheet my daughter prepared as part of her homework for the day. Thanks Pippa, you are now officially a blogger…
Gladys Morgan Pageant Profile:
Name/s: Gladys Morgan/ Lisa Daniels/ Lizbeth Keen.
Experience: Fish and chip assistant. The official Miss Birmingham. Dancer in Cinderella, Walt Disney Production ‘101 Dalmatians Hollywood movie star.’
Biography: The star to be, who was crowned Miss Birmingham in 1944, lived the American dream becoming a TV and movie star!
Lisa Daniels was born Gladys Morgan in the backroom of the fish and chip shop, which her mother May had rented in 1929 after winning cash in a newspaper competition. Gladys’ niece, Jean Bytheway, who was born in the same bed nine years later, told the Birmingham Mail her aunt had lived an ‘extraordinary and colourful life’ which was down to her desire and ambition.
She was always involved in singing and dancing. She was so talented and beautiful.Then at 13 Gladys was crowned Miss Birmingham, the family kept the photographs and the silver cup she won. Her Grandmother sent her to London to take part in the musicals and shows. This is where she got noticed my an employer and got her big break!
When she was 14 she was a dancer in Cinderella at the Alexandra Theatre and when Noele Gordon, who was in Crossroads, fell ill, her aunt Lisa stepped in as Cinderella. When the Pageant research team spoke to Mrs Bytheway she said,: “She was so beautiful, photographs do not do her justice, she had perfect skin and teeth, and she was such a good person, she was practically perfect.” We think this captures the essence of why she is in the final perfectly!Gladys became best known as Lisa Daniels, was friends with some of the biggest names of the big screen. She was married to the late film executive Roger Hill Lewis – producer of the Shaft series in the 1970s.
Later on she played a girl who was murdered by Jack the Ripper in The Man In the Attic. She also had a small part in The Virgin Queen, in which Joan Collins had the lead, and she was the voice of Perdita in the first ever version of Walt Disney’s One Hundred and One Dalmatians.
The glamorous couple, who later separated, had three children together, all now working in the Hollywood music business.Lisa’s (Gladys’) extraordinary life ended in early 2010 when she passed away peacefully in an LA retirement village at the age of 79.
Enjoy her pageant performance!
In keeping with what I can now call tradition, I am happy to share with you the women of Birmingham who have been honoured by HM in this her Jubilee year.
Vice-Chancellor, Aston University. For services to Higher Education and Technology.
Finance Director, University of Birmingham. For services to Higher Education.
Creator and Leader, Yes We Will Leadership and Achievement Programme, Birmingham. For services to Education.
Ms Ulite Malcolm MBE
Chaplaincy Volunteer, HM Prison Birmingham. For services to Prisoners and their Families.
This is the year Cameron has re-introduced the British Empire Medal (BEM) awarded locally by the odd County Lord Lieutenant, to recognise volunteering. Well, not one for a Birmingham woman. I’ve trawled through all 121 pages of honours and this is all I can spot – 4 women. awarded.
Who really cares about Samantha Brick’s vain article in the Daily Mail earlier this week? Not me. In fact I was doing really well at avoiding the whole sorry affair of Samantha and her over-inflated sense of self importance. Until somebody sent me a tweet that claimed her a brummie.
Sheena Ignatia (@SheenaIgnatia) April 05, 2012
A quick bit of research backed this up: not just Birmingham, but she was born and raised in the neighbouring suburb to mine – Kings Heath. So what choice did I have but to add her to the brimmin listing. In what way is she brilliant I hear you cry. Well, I never claimed to support or like the actions of all of the women on this list. The point is that is recognises the contribution made by the women of our city. Any woman who can write an article and get so much international attention is getting something right. I see plenty of nonsense on the internet every day, but rarely does it catch on like this.
My challenge to Samantha now is to find something constructive to say. Something that might improve the economic and social status of women? Something that might illustrate more depth of thought than she has managed so far? Something that will turn her from laughing stock to leader? I’m not holding my breath, but meanwhile she’s into our #brimmin list at number 107 (for now). If she engages in more outlandish trolling I may make her the first woman to be removed…
It was a rare thing in 1883 to find women teaching in schools never mind working in such a senior role as leading one. So it is appropriate for us to give all those women who did that the hat tip on this site. More precisely, this is a list of the 25 women who have already headed up one of the schools in the King Edward VI Foundation in Birmingham. So far all have worked at the girls only schools. I understand Handsworth, Camp Hill and Five Ways are all due new Heads this autumn, so maybe we will see a female head for boys in a foundation school for the first time in the schools’ history.
So, this post really is no more than though than an acknowledgment. To begin with I haven’t given any of the women a cursory hyperlink to another part of the internet. I will do my best to come to that, as my initial research has shown that these women were powerful, determined and able to achieve success in a very much harder world than today.
So, starting with King Edward VI High School for Girls, the only independent girls school in the foundation:
|Miss Edith Elizabeth Maria Creak||1883 –||1910|
|Miss Edith Helen Major||1911 –||1925|
|Miss Lilian K Barrie||1925 –||1941|
|Dr Mary Sybil Smith||1941 –||1953|
|Miss Sylvia Lloyd Williams||1953 –||1964|
|Miss Jean RF Wilkes||1964 –||1977|
|Miss Ena Evans||1977 –||1996|
|Sarah Evans (Principal)||1996 –||current|
Next up Handsworth, the first of two all girls selective voluntary-aided schools in the group. Interestingly, their accounts for y/e March 2010 show turnover of more than £4m, mostly public funding, yet no formal requirement for them to produce audited accounts. If anyone can explain why, I’d be pleased to understand that better. But I digress:
|Margaret Nimmo||1883 –||1915|
|Miss Brew||1915 –||1942|
|Miss Bamforth||1942 –||1963|
|Miss Fox||1963 –||1966|
|Miss Reid||1966 –||1971|
|Miss Sergeant||1971 –||1989|
|Miss Inch||1989 –||2012|
Finally my alma mater, KE VI Camp Hill School for Girls:
|Miss Harriet Grundy||1883 –||1903|
|Miss Helen Sullivan||1903 –||1913|
|Miss Mary Keen||1913 –||1943|
|Miss Muriel Mandeville||1943 –||1962|
|Miss Joan Miller||1963 –||1978|
|Miss Ann Percival||1979 –||1992|
|Mrs Joan Fisher||1992 –||2003|
|Mrs Dru James||2003 –||2012|
So there we are. Three all-girl selective schools, producing hundreds of highly educated, impressive women in Birmingham every year and the 23 women who have led them for nearly 130 years.