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Nancy Astor

Nancy Astor was MP for Plymouth Sutton, a naval constituency. Despite her initial support for appeasement by 1940 she believed her patriotic duty was to vote to install Churchill as Prime Minister.

Astor remained in her constituency during the Plymouth Blitz which razed much of the city, holding steadfast with her constituents and servicemen. She organised the evacuation of children, arranged and attended tea dances on the Hoe to boost morale.

In March 1941, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited Plymouth to view the bombing damage. Only hours later, Plymouth suffered one of the worst air raids of the war. When Winston Churchill visited in May 1941 she told him "It's no good crying Winston, you've got to do something!" Astor also supported a hospital for Canadian soldiers at Cliveden, her family's house in Berkshire. Moreover, by the end of the war, all four of her sons were on active service abroad.

Text provided by Dr Jacqui Turner, University of Reading

Image: © the artist, Parliamentary Art Collection, WOA S251