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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Selina Cooper
Selina Cooper

Selina Cooper (4 December 1864 – 11 November 1946)[1] was an English suffragist and the first woman to represent the Independent Labour Party in 1901 when she was elected as a Poor Law Guardian.[2][3]

Early life

Cooper, born in Callington, Cornwall, in 1864, moved to Barnoldswick when she was a child, after her father Charles Coombe died of typhoid. In 1876, aged 12, she began working in the local textile mills at Barnoldswick. She left school at the age of thirteen and started work full-time in the mills.[2]

Trade union and political activities

Cooper became active in trade union activities and took practical courses in laundry, hygiene and first aid and became a member of the Barnoldswick St John's Ambulance Committee in 1895.[3] She joined the Women's Co-operative Guild in 1897 and the North of England Society for Women's Suffrage in 1900.[2][3] In 1910 she was chosen to be one of four women to present the case for women's suffrage to H. H. Asquith, the then Prime Minister.[2]

During the First World War Cooper developed the first ever Maternity Centre in Nelson, Lancashire. She was later elected to the town council and went on to become a local magistrate. She resigned from the Labour Party in the 1930s due to her belief that the party did not take a strong enough line against fascism.[3]


Selina Cooper's house at 59 St Mary's Street, Nelson is marked with a heritage blue plaque.[4] In 2015, she was the subject of a play by the Function Factory theatre in Nelson titled "Hard-Faced Woman".[5]


  1. ^ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  2. ^ a b c d "Selina Cooper". Spartacus Educational. Retrieved 2017-11-19.
  3. ^ a b c d Liddington, Jill; Norris, Jill (1978). One Hand Tied Behind Us: The Rise of the Women's Suffrage Movement. London: Virago. pp. 21, 115, 136, 147, 260. ISBN 086068007X. OCLC 4379457.
  4. ^ Liddington, Jill (2014). Vanishing for the vote: Suffrage, citizenship and the battle for the census. Manchester: Manchester University Press. p. 349. ISBN 9781847798947. OCLC 900415080.
  5. ^ Magill, Peter (27 August 2015). "Suffragette's story set to hit streets". Lancashire Telegraph. Retrieved 2017-11-19.
This page was last edited on 29 November 2018, at 19:13
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