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Brilliant Brummie Women Listing

Here is the list, as it has developed. I first moved it to this new dedicated page, from a blog post on 7 February 2011, nearly 2 years to the day after I started this blog.  I have added women recommended by friends and readers.  I have found at least one link for every entry and am working towards at least one blog post per entrant.  It’s a labour of love, which has taken me to places I never thought would interest me.  Thank you to everyone who has ever encouraged me to do this.

More importantly, thank you to everyone who have ever encouraged any of the women on this list, may their success inspire others.

  1. Abigail Kelly (Opera Singer)
  2. Alice Beale (1st President of Birmingham Settlement, Philanthropist)
  3. Alison Hammond (Television Presenter)
  4. Alison Nicholas MBE (World-class Golfer)
  5. Anita Ward (Lord Mayor of Birmingham 2011-12)
  6. Ann Jones (Tennis player)
  7. Anne Wood (Founder of Rag Doll Productions)
  8. Barbara Cartland (Novelist)
  9. Beatrice Cadbury (anti-capitalist and peace activist)
  10. Bertha Ryland (activist & feminist)
  11. Beryl Foyle (MD of Boxfoldia and 1950s ‘Industrial Tycoon’)
  12. Bessie Rayner Parkes (Poet, Essayist and feminist.  Mother of Hilaire Belloc)
  13. Betty Jackson (Fashion Designer)
  14. Cat Deeley (Television Presenter)
  15. Catherine Hutton (Writer and historian)
  16. Carol Coombes OBE (1st person in UK to be honored for leadership work and top brummie woman)
  17. Catherine O’Flynn (novelist and wit)
  18. Catherine Ostler (Leader of the Birmingham Suffragists)
  19. Cecilia Costello (Folk Singer)
  20. Christine McVie (Musician – Fleetwood Mac)
  21. Claire Dowie (writer and performer)
  22. Clare Morrall (Novelist)
  23. Clare Short (Former MP)
  24. Constance Naden (Poet & Philosopher)
  25. Deirdre Figueiredo MBE (Director of Craftspace)
  26. Denise Lewis (Athlete)
  27. Dorian Chan (Deputy Chair of the Wing Wah group of restaurants)
  28. Doris Fisher (Former MP)
  29. Dorothy Thompson (Historian)
  30. Dorothy Wilson MBE (CEO of mac)
  31. Edith Holden (diarist – The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady)
  32. Edith Pitt DBE (Former MP)
  33. Edith Willis (Birmingham’s first woman MP)
  34. Edwina Currie (Politician)
  35. Dame Elizabeth Cadbury (philanthropist and wife of George Cadbury)
  36. Elizabeth “Tetty” Porter (wife of Samuel Johnson)
  37. Ellen Pinsent (first woman councillor)
  38. Elnora Ferguson (philanthropist and activist)
  39. Emma Jane Worboise (author)
  40. Emily Wilding Davison (Suffragette and Edgbaston School Teacher)
  41. Erin O’Connor (model and cycle fanatic)
  42. Estelle Morris (Former MP, politician)
  43. Felicity Jones (Actor)
  44. Floozie in the Jacuzzi (The river, public art in Brum city centre)
  45. Gail Troth (Artist)
  46. Georgina Gaskin (Arts & Crafts Jeweller)
  47. Gisela Stuart (MP for Edgbaston Birmingham)
  48. Gladys Morgan (Miss Birmingham 1944 and Hollywood actress)
  49. Gurjeet Bains (Editor of Eastern Media Group, 1st woman chair of the Institute of Asian Businesses)
  50. Gwyneth Fox (linguist and dictionary publisher)
  51. Harriet Martineau (journalist, political economist, abolitionist and life-long feminist)
  52. Helga Henry (inspiring creative entrepreneurs)
  53. Hilda Burkitt (1st Sufragette to be force fed)
  54. Dame Hilda Lloyd (First President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG))
  55. Ida Smedley (Biochemist)
  56. Jamelia (R&B singer)
  57. Jane Bunford (world’s tallest woman at 7’9″)
  58. Jane Loudon (writer)
  59. Jane Sixsmith (International Hockey player)
  60. Jane Webb (gothic novelist)
  61. Janet Parker (last person to die of Small Pox)
  62. Janice Connolly (actress, founder of Women & Theatre)
  63. Jasper Carrot’s mum
  64. Jill Knight (Former MP)
  65. Jo Hamilton (Chamber-folk artist)
  66. Joan Armatrading (Singer/Songwriter)
  67. Joan Blaney (trainer, author, social entrepreneur)
  68. Joan Woodward (Psychotherapist, founder of Lone Twin Network)
  69. Josie Lawrence (comedian and actress)
  70. Joyce Green (final Senior Manager of Newman Brothers Coffin factory)
  71. Judith Cutler (novelist)
  72. Julia Varley (first woman member of the Birmingham Trades Council)
  73. Julie Walters (actress)
  74. Karen Bailey (Lawyer, particularly landmark Whistleblower vs UN case)
  75. Karen Carney (Professional Footballer)
  76. Karren Brady (Former Football Club Manager, Right hand to Sir Alan Sugar)
  77. Kate Bunce (artist)
  78. Kathleen Deyus (author)
  79. Kelly Sotherton (Olympic Athlete)
  80. Lauren Crace (Actress)
  81. Lindsey Davis (author)
  82. Lisa Clayton (Solo yachtswoman)
  83. Liz Light (Founder and company Director of Stage 2 Theatre Company)
  84. Liz Locke (Banker and Apprentice contestant)
  85. Louisa Ryland (philanthropist)
  86. Lucy Davis (actress, Jasper Carrot’s daughter)
  87. Lynne Jones (former Labour-ish MP)
  88. Mandy Rice-Davies
  89. Margery Fry (Prison reformer, magistrate and Hall Warden at Birmingham University)
  90. Maria Harvey (erstwhile Nightingale)
  91. Marie Bethell Beauclerc (First female reporter i.e. Pitman’s shorthand recorder, in England)
  92. Marie Corelli (novelist and protector of local heritage)
  93. Marjorie Brown (The City’s first woman Mayor)
  94. Mary Cutler (longest serving Archers writer 1979- )
  95. Mary Anne Schimmelpenninck (Theologian, abolitionist and theorist)
  96. Mary Showell Rogers (founder of the Ladies Association for the Care of Friendless Girls)
  97. Dr Mary Sturge (2nd Female Dr in Brum, helped establish B’ham Women’s hospital)
  98. Maxine Brooks (Director, Birmingham Community Gospel Choir)
  99. Mollie Randle (Established mac)
  100. Muriel Wheldale (Bio-chemist)
  101. Natasha Carlish (Bafta Winning Film producer)
  102. Noele Gordon (TV presenter and actress)
  103. Pui Fan Lee (TV Presenter and former teletubby)
  104. Dame Rachel Waterhouse (former chair of Consumer Association, founder chair of the renewed Lunar Society +more)
  105. Rebecca Anderton (paid for St Anne’s Church, Moseley and some bells in St Mary’s Church)
  106. Reeta Chakrabarti (journalist and reporter)
  107. Ruby Turner (Soulful music’s best kept secret)
  108. Rustie Lee (Soulful food’s best kept secret)
  109. Ruth Badger (Business & Sales Consultant and Apprentice Finalist)
  110. Sadie Plant (Author)
  111. Sally Jones (first BBC female sports presenter)
  112. Sally Luton (Head of the Arts Council in the WM 1996-2010)
  113. Salma Yaqoob (Leader of the Respect Party, BCC Councillor)
  114. Samantha Brick (world renowned beauty and Daily Mail Troll)
  115. Sam Porter (First female director of the Wesleyan Assurance Society)
  116. Shabana Mahmood (Labour MP, 1st UK female Muslim MP)
  117. Shazia Mirza (Comedian)
  118. Shefali Oza (TV Anchor person)
  119. Shelia Wright (Former MP, Head of Education when Comps were introduced to the city)
  120. Shirley (OK, she’s technically in Solihull),
  121. Sonia Lannaman (Athlete)
  122. Sue Howell (Watercolour Artist)
  123. Sue Lawley (TV & Radio presenter)
  124. Sue Reeve (Athlete)
  125. Sue Whitehouse (The Darkness Manager, Billboard Band Manager of the year)
  126. Sylvani Merilion (Artist, Co-founded Ikon gallery)
  127. Theresa Stewart (Politician)
  128. Toyah Willcox (Singer, actress and television presenter)
  129. Una White (Subject of public art-work)
  130. Victoria Wood (comedian, writer, hilarious)
  131. We’ve got a fuzz box and we’re gonna use it (pop punk quartet – according to Wikipedia!)
  132. Zena McNally (Singer – Mis-Teeq)
10 Comments leave one →
  1. Mark Foster permalink
    April 19, 2015 2:51 pm

    What about Miriam O’Reilly? Took the BBC to a tribunal over ageism and won in a land mark victory for the industry?

  2. February 22, 2012 4:50 pm

    brilliant! what a great idea!
    Did you know that Edgbaston has had a woman MP for longer than any other in the country.
    3 July 1953 Edith Pitt was elected… then Jill Knight and since 1997 me – Gisela Stuart

    • February 22, 2012 4:58 pm

      Thank you Gisela, I’m glad you like it. I presume you’ve read my recent post about our women MPs. The Edgbaston heritage is certainly impressive, though I hadn’t realised it was a record breaker. I was shocked by how few women MPs there have been in total – only 10, and most of them during my adult life. If you have any suggestions to add to the brimmin list, or indeed for me to write specific posts about, I’d be glad to.


  3. November 15, 2011 11:38 pm

    tell us more about Shirley, (no 100!)?? x

    • November 17, 2011 12:56 am

      Carol: (sorry)

  4. May 24, 2011 9:21 pm

    Cheers Liz. I agree – I’ve had that discussion before. I think I’ve only done it once, with Dame Elizabeth Cadbury. I had an explanation lined up that I thought it telling of its time; that she was only really able to have the impact because of her status through marriage. Then I re-read her biog and decided that’s a nonsense – I only really did it to indicate her family connection. I’ve decided now to delete it.

    I should also pull in some of the other Cadbury Women who I know also had a big impact.

  5. Liz bennett permalink
    May 24, 2011 8:50 pm

    Thanks for great and inspiring list jaki. Not sure I like ‘wife of’ label though

  6. April 11, 2011 9:17 pm

    Hi Audrey, thank you so much for leaving a comment; it’s great to get some feedback.

    If ever you want to add any women to the list, or even write a story about them, just get in touch – I’d be delighted to make that happen.

    Hope your Women’s day celebration went well.

  7. audrey Miller permalink
    March 8, 2011 9:11 am

    I am one of many in Birmingham involved in Jubilee Debt Campaign
    A small beginning which is now a global campaign. see
    may be you missed notice of our celebration of International Women’s day . Do come along on Thursday 10th March.


  1. Samantha Brick, who cares? « Women in Brum

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