• MAryJane

Mary Jane Bridges-Adams and the Plebs League

1897

“She supported adult education for workers through the Plebs League and the Central Labour College, and founded the Working Women’s Movement”

MAryJaneMeet Mary Jane Bridges-Adams (née Daltry, 1854–1939), the daughter of a Welsh engine-fitter who was brilliant at ancient Greek and became an ardent campaigner for widening access to education.  After obstinately fighting her own way into tuition at London University, she was awarded a distinction at Bedford College, London, in Greek and Maths, and became a headmistress in a board school. In 1897 she was elected as sole Labour member of the Greenwich division of the London school board, and campaigned for compulsory, free education, a non-religious curriculum, free school meals, health care, the expansion of the number of continuation schools, and the first free nursery school in England, which opened at Woolwich in 1900. She later supported adult education for workers through the Plebs League and the Central Labour College, and founded the Working Women’s Movement.  Her defence of the right of asylum for Russian socialists fleeing Tsarist persecution led Lord Derby, the Secretary of State for War, to denounce her as ‘dangerous’ in 1917.

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