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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Eva Maria McLaren (1852 - 16 August 1921) was an English suffragist, writer and campaigner. She served as Superintendent of the Franchise department of the World's Woman's Christian Temperance Union. She was actively associated with the Woman's Liberal Federation, and was the Vice-President of the National British Women's Temperance Association. In this capacity, she presided over and lead the white ribbon forces in England when the President, Lady Henry Somerset, was absent from the post. McLaren was superintendent of the department for work among municipal women voters; was an authority on parliamentary drill, as well as rules and procedure in debate; wrote leaflets on the subject of "The Duties of Women on Parish and District Councils"; and had the cause of woman's franchise greatly at heart. She was also a fine speaker. Her husband, Walter McLaren, M. P., was a nephew of John Bright and one of the chief champions of woman's cause in the British Parliament.[1]

Early years

Eva Maria Müller was born in 1852. She was the younger daughter of German businessman William Müller, and his English wife, Maria Henrietta. One of Eva's sisters, Henrietta Müller, was also a notable suffragist.[2]

She spent her early life in Valparaíso, Chile, before the family moved to London, living in Portland Place.[3]


McLaren's mother had progressive political views and introduced Eva to Octavia Hill for whom she collected rents and managed tenant welfare in Marylebone.[3] She later trained as a nurse at Brownlow Hill infirmary in Liverpool.[3] In 1881, she was a co-founder of Society for Promoting the Return of Women as Poor Law Guardians,[4] a fore-runner of the Society for Promoting the Return of Women as County Councillors (1888) which eventually (1893) became the Women's Local Government Society.

On 18 April 1883, at the Meeting House in St Martin's Lane, Westminster, she married politician Walter McLaren (1853–1912), whose mother, Priscilla Bright McLaren (1815–1906), was president of the Edinburgh National Society for Women's Suffrage. Walter McLaren also supported women's suffrage and the couple joined the Manchester Society for Women's Suffrage in 1884.[3] In the 1886 General Election, Walter McLaren was elected as the Liberal Party MP for Crewe. As one of the few MPs supporting votes for women, he served as joint secretary of the all-party committee of the Parliamentary Supporters of the Women's Franchise Bill.

McLaren joined the central committee of the National Society for Women's Suffrage, became a leading member of the Women's Liberal Federation, and was active in the Union of Practical Suffragists, the Forward Suffrage Union (which she founded in 1908 with Marie Corbett and Frances Heron Maxwell as a focus for women's suffrage efforts inside the Liberal Party and through the WLF),[5][2] and the Liberal Women's Suffrage Union.[3] She was one of the Exeter Hall speakers involved with the February 1907 Mud March; the march's concluding meeting was chaired by her husband.[6]

McLaren wrote many pamphlets including Civil Rights of Women (published by the National Society in 1888), The Election of Women on Parish and District Councils and The Duties and Opinions of Women with Reference to Parish and District Councils (both 1894),[2] and in 1903 she was the author of The History of the Women's Suffrage Movement in the Women's Liberal Federation.[2][3]

Walter McLaren died in 1912. When World War I, broke out Eva McLaren resumed her nursing career, working at a base hospital in France during the winter of 1914–15 before being forced to return to England through ill health.[3]

She died from chronic Bright's disease and uraemia on 16 August 1921 at Great Comp Cottage, Borough Green in Kent.[3]

Posthumous recognition

Her name and picture (and those of 58 other women's suffrage supporters) are on the plinth of the statue of Millicent Fawcett in Parliament Square, London, unveiled in 2018.[7][8][9]


  1. ^ Chapin 1895, p. 19.
  2. ^ a b c d Crawford, Elizabeth (2001). The Women's Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide, 1866-1928. Psychology Press. pp. 85–86. ISBN 9780415239264.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Simkin, John. "Eva McLaren". Spartacus Educational. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
  4. ^ Masson, Ursula (2010). For Women, For Wales and For Liberalism: Women in Liberal Politics in Wales 1880-1914. University of Wales Press. p. 219. ISBN 9780708322543.
  5. ^ Peter Gordon, David Doughan, Dictionary of British Women’s Organisations, 1825-1960; Woburn Press, 2001 p54
  6. ^ "Kate Frye's Suffrage Diary: The Mud March, 9 February 1907". Woman and her Sphere. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
  7. ^ "Historic statue of suffragist leader Millicent Fawcett unveiled in Parliament Square". 24 April 2018. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  8. ^ Topping, Alexandra (24 April 2018). "First statue of a woman in Parliament Square unveiled". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  9. ^ "Millicent Fawcett statue unveiling: the women and men whose names will be on the plinth". iNews. Retrieved 2018-04-25.


External links

This page was last edited on 26 August 2018, at 06:27
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