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Eleanor Rathbone

Eleanor Florence Rathbone (1872-1946) was the daughter of Elsie (Emily Acheson Lyle 1832 - 1918) and William Rathbone VI (1819 - 1902), a highly - respected Liverpool philanthropist, social reformer and Liberal MP. She was educated at home in Liverpool by private tutors and then at Kensington High School, before becoming a pioneering female student, studying at Somerville College, Oxford in 1893.

Politics became an integral part of Rathbone's life in 1897 when she was appointed parliamentary secretary of the Liverpool Women's Suffrage Society. Then in 1909 she was, due to legislative change, the first woman to be elected to Liverpool City Council, as Independent member for Granby Ward. She became the most prominent woman in Liverpool public life, fighting to abolish slums, improve education, wages and working hours. She was elected president of the National Union of Societies for Equal Citizenship in 1919 (formerly the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies), and became a Justice of the Peace in 1920.


Eleanor Rathbone

Catalogue number

Parliamentary Archives, WHI/17/2