Jane Cobden

Who? Jane Cobden, a British abolitionist, and suffragette. She had a heart for the less fortunate and was born into a family of politicians – her father was heavily involved in the Anti-Corn Law League, a group that worked the removal of the corn-law, which were laws that raised the prices of grains and bread for importation. She kept her father’s legacy going by standing for social justice, and land reform when she became County Council. She was devoted to women’s suffrage and eventually joined the National Society for Women’s Suffrage. When she married Thomas Fisher Unwin, she started broadening her political horizons and became interested in international affairs. She supported Irish independence, and opposed the Boer War as well as segregation of the South African natives.

Jane Cobden

What? Jane Cobden was the first female to be elected London County Council, but was never allowed to vote on anything, due to a court hearing saying that it was unlawful for a women to vote in council meetings. All she could do was sit in on the meetings. She served her term, but never ran for re-election.

When? Jane Cobden was born in 1851 and died in 1947 (she was 96 when she passed!) She was elected to the London County Council in 1889, but she worked her whole life fighting for the rights of others. At a young age, she and her sisters helped the poor by visiting the workhouses, which were kind of like homes for the jobless and a soup kitchen mixed in one. Workhouses could become corrupt however, with the house leader neglecting the needs of the people there.

Example of a Workhouse in London

Why? Jane Cobden was born into a family that was heavily involved in politics. Her sister was a radical abolitionist and her father was a politician. She and her sisters grew up helping the poor and less fortunate.

Where? Jane was born in London but also lived in Dunford as a girl. She was elected to county council in London.

Sources: National Portrait Gallery  Suffragist and Campaigner for Minorities  Turbulent Londoners  Workhouses

 

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