Ellen Wilkinson

(1891—1947) politician

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One of Britain's best known and most successful female politicians. After completing a history degree at Manchester University, she became an organizer for the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies and then, in 1915, for the National Women's Organization of the Amalgamated Union of Co‐operative Employees. She became Labour MP for Middlesbrough (1924–31) and for Jarrow from 1935. It was in the 1930s that ‘Red Ellen’ made her reputation as a crusader for the unemployed with extensive involvement in the Unity campaign, the famous Jarrow march, and in the campaign against fascism in Germany and Spain. As minister for education 1945–7 she achieved much: the implementation of the 1944 Education Act, the raising of the school‐leaving age to 15, despite Treasury opposition, the building of new schools, and the introduction of ‘school milk’.

Subjects: British History.

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