Shhh – Shropshire’s Secret Women

the hive groupAs it is International Women’s day it seems fitting to share the list of  Shropshire women, past & present that has been compiled as a response to our Banner making for the Processions project. Our aim is to include Shropshire women’s names on our Banner which we will then process on June 10th in Cardiff.  We began by knowing only a handful of Shropshire women but this growing list of names has been enlightening and has provided a framework for myself personally to position myself in and I think is having a similar affect on other group members.  Our starting point was that our county is  a secret to the rest of the country – relatively unknown and as women of this county we are relatively unknown and that we have been too quiet and so we want to create a SH-OUT not a SH-HH to the outside world that ‘WE ARE HERE’ and have always been here.

And so I would like to introduce you to some of our women (in no particular order) some of whom are well known and some of whom are everyday women making their mark in a quiet but significant way;

Dianne Carrington, Sharon Magrath and Elaine Theaker  – crossed the Atlantic – 3,000 miles after setting off and bang on schedule at 60 days.


Deborah Johnson{Brennan}

Deborah started wheelchair racing in 1996.Lives: telford  Date Of Birth: 10/03/1979 She went on to represent Great Britain at two Paralympic Games: Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004, where she won 1 Gold, 1 Silver and 2 Bronze medals.

Katherine Harley was the originator of the 1913 Suffragist Pilgrimage, a march from seventeen cities across the country by women to Hyde Park in London. The idea was to promote their ideals and make it clear that they were non militant and peaceful in their campaign for votes for women. The Pilgrimage was considered to be a great success and early in 1914 Katherine was one of the founders of the Active Service League intended to build on the achievements of the march. As an extension of these activities Katherine organised a women’s camp.

Eglantine Jebb – Ellesmere – set up Save the Children

Charlotte Burne – 1850–1923) was an English author and editor, and the first woman to become president of the Folklore Society and Georgina Jackson (pre CB)

Ellis Peters – Author of Cadfael

Mary Whitehouse- campaigner

Mary Beard –historian

Joan Lander- embroiderySunnycroft – queens robe

Hesba Stretton – writer children’s books – Methodist /hardship London

Lorraine Currie- Grace’s mum and done a lot for  local community / liberty

Sue Gorbing  & Sal Hampson –SAND/ LGBT (older)community

Beth Pryor – Musician

Linda Tomlinson – Dea Paradisos’s Mum who she lost very recently


Violet Ann Bland – She was a prominent Suffragette from Bayston Hill. She was imprisoned for throwing bricks through windows and was force fed in prison.

Marion Wynn of Fair Oak, Newport, is made an OBE for her 50 years’ service to the Guides.

Janet Woodroffe, a stalwart of the Guides movement in Craven Arms, is also recognised for her work for charitable and voluntary services  2017

Kathleen Rees, from Telford, was formally appointed an MBE at Buckingham Palace by Prince Charles on Thursday.She worked for The Haven refuge in Wolverhampton for 24 years, eventually rising to become its chief executive.The 65-year-old was honoured for services to the protection of women and child victims of domestic violence in the West Midlands and overseas.Mrs Rees joined The Haven in 1992 as refuge co-ordinator before becoming its chief executive, and oversaw a period of growth.The award was announced in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list last year.Former colleague Ann Dawson paid tribute to Mrs Rees.“Kath advocates the sharing of skills and knowledge to improve the lives of women and children and ensure their human rights are upheld.“Kath is passionate about international work and worked tirelessly to share knowledge, experience and best practice with women’s organisations in countries where services were less developed and the need for service was high.”Under Kath’s leadership The Haven developed formal international partnerships.”2017

Sarah Hope –A Shropshire woman has been honoured at this year’s Pride of Britain awards. Sarah Hope, from Market Drayton, has been given the award for her work campaigning for child amputees to get sport blades on the NHS 2017

Rachel Lawson has been honoured for fighting to save the life of Michael Warham who had been stabbed in the street outside her home during a brawl between two rival gangs.The 35-year-old has been awarded a Royal Humane Society Resuscitation Certificate – one of the country’s top life-saving honours.

Kathleen Hartshorne –At the age of 90, Kathleen Hartshorne, from Pontesbury, was one of the oldest people to be made an MBE. The great grandmother-of-three, who received the honour for services to the community in Pontesbury, said she was shocked when she received a letter telling her the good news last month.Mrs Hartshorne, of Shrewsbury Road, has been deeply committed to the work of the Severn Hospice as a volunteer since it opened in 1989.She has worked continuously since then, supporting patients in the day unit in Shrewsbury.She has also played the piano willingly and enthusiastically at every service since the hospice opened, providing great pleasure and comfort and actively encouraging others to volunteer. As well as volunteering for the hospice, she has been a member of Pontesbury Congregational Church since the age of 12.She has run the Sunday school, helps cater for the chapel and is the first to volunteer for any pastoral support.Mrs Hartshorne also gave 35 years of service running the village hall and has only recently retired from the committee.


Gloria Johnson – picking up a BEM is Gloria Johnson, of Noble Street, Wem.

The grandmother-of-two has been given the award for services to the community in Measham, Leicestershire.The 63-year-old breathed life back into her declining village, which faced great challenges, such as unemployment, after the closures of the four coal mines that were the backbone of the community. Mrs Johnson, who moved to Wem last year, said: “I was overwhelmed. I was shocked, surprised and then I became very emotional. In 1994 she was headhunted by North West Leicestershire District Council to manage the community office.

Without any great experience or skills to run the office, she rose to the challenge after the offices were in great threat to be sold on or permanently closed.She raised the funds single-handedly and set up the Measham and District Community Enterprise Trust in the same building.

After 21 years in operation the Enterprise encompasses many activities including Action for Jobs, employment training, an employment bureau, Community Action, workers co-operatives and festivals.She has also managed to support on a voluntary basis organisations such as Mobility Bus Appeal, Measham Museum and History Group and Age Concern.The Enterprise covers a significantly larger area than the small neighbourhood of Measham and has developed a model for regeneration that has been mirrored all over the country.

After moving to Shropshire, she is now working with St Peter & St Paul’s Church in Wem to set up community projects there. She said: “There is a church hall which is under-used. We are going to try and set up some little projects.”It’s in its infancy. We would like to so some sort of project for the youth.”SHROPSHIRE STAR 2017

Valmai Griffiths (recently deceased)had been a teacher for many years and was an avid stitcher and crafter. Had she not been ill she would have loved to have joined in this project.

Jodie Grinham, Paralympian medallist in Archery at Rio games, lives in Telford.

Beverley Fry, Shropshire artist commissions include poppies mural for National Memorial Arboretum.

Alison Williamson, of Church Stretton, Archery Olympic bronze medalist

Amy Bagshaw, an international gymnast, forced to retire early due to injury.

Barbara Pym, novelist

Edith Pargeter (1913–1995), author

Isobel Cooper (Izzy), famous opera singer from Much Wenlock

Lara Jones, writer of the Poppy Cat books

Mirabel Osler, author

Sybil Ruscoe, TV and radio presenter

Tricia Sullivan, American science fiction author lives in Shropshire

St Milburga -Shropshire’s county day is on 23 February, the feast day of St Milburga, abbess of Wenlock Priory. Her aura, which some people believed in, was seen by many. It is recorded that she was found with a sick child in her arms, both engulfed by flames,though neither were burnt. As well as healing the sick, she had the power of being able to communicate with birds, and she was said to help farmers by putting a charm on their scarecrows. It is also recorded that she was able to prevent a flock of wild geese from doing damage to crops. In fact, in later years, pilgrims to her tomb purchased little leaden geese as mementos.

Norah Wellings was from Shropshire, England. She was the main doll designer at Chad Valley Dolls from 1919 to 1926, when she left to form her own doll company with her brother Leonard. The resulting company was the Victoria Toy Works, located in Wellington, United Kingdom.

Dame Agnes Gwendoline Hunt DBE RRC (31 December 1866 – 24 July 1948) was a British nurse, who is generally recognised as the first orthopaedic nurse.

Hannah Mary Rathbone (5 July 1798, Shropshire – 26 March 1878, Liverpool) was an English writer and the author of The Diary of Lady Willoughby. Life[edit]. Hannah Reynolds, a daughter of Joseph Reynolds by his wife Deborah Dearman, was born near Wellington in Shropshire on 5 July 1798

Katherine Plymley (1758–1829) was a diarist, traveller, painter and naturalist who recorded life in Shropshire, UK, between 1791 and 1827.

Margaret Harries Wilson or Mrs. Cornwell Baron Wilson (1796– 1846) was a British poet, playwright, lyricist, writer and editor. She is considered one of the first female biographers. LifeMargaret Harries was born in Shropshire in 1796. She created her first book of poetry in 1815 and after her second poetry collection.

Marjorie Morgan McCallum Chibnall OBE FBA (27 September 1915 – 23 June 2012) was an English historian, medievalist and Latin translator. She edited Historia Ecclesiastica by Orderic Vitalis. Born in Atcham.

37 women who gained the right to vote in 1918, out of approximately 160 who were working in the ceramic and iron industries across The Gorge. The name and profession of each woman is poignantly written on the back of the silhouettes. These include Ada Burns, Tile Polisher; Martha Bryan, China Painter; May Taylor, Gold Burnisher; Harriet Jones, Tobacco Pipe Packer and Mary Thompson, Pipe Maker. They are all positioned in front of the Old Furnace where Abraham Darby started the Industrial Revolution 300 years ago.’

Mother Hutton –William Withering first learned of the use of Digitalis in treating “dropsy” (edema) from “Mother Hutton”, an old woman who practiced as a folk herbalist in Shropshire, who used the plant as part of a polyherbal formulation containing over 20 different ingredients to successfully treat this condition. Since 1928, Mother Hutton’s status has grown to an acclaimed Wise Woman, Herbalist, Pharmacist and Medical Practitioner in Shropshire who was cheated out of her true recognition of how to use digitalis by Dr. Withering’s unscrupulous methods. The foxglove is the symbol of Wellington.

We will be adding to this list – if you know of anyone you think should be included please contact me.

This project is part of Processions18

DASH is working with The Hive, SAND, Participate Artspace and Quatt Viallge Hall to create a series of inclusive workshops for all women* .DASH PROCESSIONS workshps are supported by Western Power Distribution and Shropshire Council and The PROCESSIONS Project is produced and supported by Artichoke

Published by amlartist

My Art- A stratigraphy of paint in which a history of the artists actions are condensed in a single remaining image. The process being one of decision making, mark making, covering, uncovering, adding, burying, scraping away and finally revealing or hiding.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: