Highgate Festival announces the latest ‘remarkable women’ awarded a Pink Plaque

Claudia JOnes

Claudia JOnes - Credit: Archant

The Kenwood Ladies pond swimmers, anti-racist activist Claudia Jones, and 17th century philanthropist Lady Elizabeth Gould join a scheme to remember fabulous women

New Years Day swim at Kenwood Ladies Pond 01.01.2020.
Pictured, swimmers in the pond

New Years Day swim at Kenwood Ladies Pond 01.01.2020. Pictured, swimmers in the pond - Credit: Archant

A 17th Century philanthropist, an activist who founded the Notting Hill Carnival, and the Kenwood Ladies Pond swimmers are among the recipients of the latest Pink Plaques.

The scheme to celebrate remarkable Highgate women is now in its third year with the latest nominations released to coincide with the virtual Highgate Festival.

Eight new plaques will form part of the scheme including Trinidad-born Claudia Jones who is buried in Highgate Cemetery next to Karl Marx. Given asylum in the UK in 1955, she became a leading anti-racist activist and launched the Notting Hill Carnival in 1959.

The swimmers and lifeguards of Kenwood Ladies Pond are awarded a plaque to mark the pond as a “place of sanctuary, community and connection to nature for thousands of women” since 1926.

Nicky Gavron

Nicky Gavron - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima

Elizabeth Gould was a 17th Century philanthropist who left part of her estate in Highgate High Street to help the “poor inhabitants of Highgate.”

Her charity continues to support those in need.

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Also awarded a plaque is actress Anita Probert, who for decades has taught piano and singing to local children and brought people together with her Sunday ‘Singalong with Anita’.

Dame Geraldine Aves, who died in 1986, was a pioneering senior civil servant instrumental in establishing our modern social services system and an active Highgate resident who nurtured educational gardening charity the Harington Scheme and chaired the Highgate Cemetery Trust.

Labour politician Nicky Gavron, who began her career as a councillor for Archway ward is credited for her work on climate change, and local campaigns such as widening Archway Road and helping to save Jackson’s Lane.

The late BBC producer Sasha Young campaigned to save Lauderdale House, while Lady Phyllis Mary Willmott was a social worker, lecturer and diarist.

Pink Plaque scheme organiser Catharine Wells said: “In 2018 I was working on a project with the HLSI Archives to look back at a century of women’s suffrage.

We wanted to highlight the extraordinary contribution of women to Highgate and the wider world. There are many Blue Plaques in Highgate to remember men but only one for a woman: the explorer Mary Kingsley. So we developed the idea of Pink Plaques along with a map and detailed stories.

“At Last year’s Festival we added more women -including those who are still with us and make a living breathing contribution to the beating heart of this great community.

“This project is set to grow and grow.”

Alicia Pivaro added: “There is a great selection this time round including all the swimmers and lifeguards from the Ladies Pond so that includes hundreds if not thousands of fabulous women.”