In celebration of International Women’s Day we wanted to learn more about some of the numerous inspirational women with a connection to West Hampstead.
Dame Margaret Postgate Cole
From the late 1920s to the late 1930s, socialist and feminist Dame Margaret Postgate Cole lived at 7 Parsifal Road in West Hampstead.
She achieved a lot in her lifetime, including establishing the Society for Socialist Inquiry and Propaganda as well as the New Fabian Research Bureau whilst she lived in West Hampstead. However it’s her commitment to pursuing married women’s right to work and equal pay that we think is especially important to remember today.
To learn more about Dame Margaret Postgate Cole take a look at this great article about women of West Hampstead.
Margaret Calkin James
Designer, calligrapher and painter Margaret Calkin Hames lived at 22 Holmdale Road in West Hampstead. You may have seen some of her work before without knowing it; she designed posters for London Transport, including a poster of Kenwood published in 1935.
Born in 1913, Margot Heinemann lived at 89 Priory Road in West Hampstead. Heinemann was a poet, writer and political activist who achieved a double first from Cambridge University. ‘Conscious of those few privileges that she had enjoyed, Margot would fight all her life for privileges to those who did not have them, never once expecting special treatment for herself’
Dame Ida Caroline Mann
Born in West Hampstead, ophthalmologist Dame Ida Mann lived at 67 Fordwych Road as a child. After leaving school she started work at the Post Office Savings Bank before going on to study medicine, where she was one of just eight women to pass the matriculation examination in 1914.
Years later she moved to Perth, Australia where she worked as a private ophthalmologist. After her husband passed away she studied eye disease in different races and cultures, groundbreaking work that contributed to her being appointed CBE and DBE for services to the welfare of Aboriginal people.
Prolific writer Doris Lessing lived at 24 Gondar Gardens until she passed away in 2013, and it was on her West Hampstead doorstep that reporters told her she’d won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2007.
Her Nobel Lecture, ‘On not winning the Nobel Prize’, highlights the disparity of opportunity for children around the world and reminds us that ‘it is our imaginations which shape us, keep us, create us’.
Read Doris Lessing’s ‘On not winning the Nobel prize’ lecture in full here .