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It's time to honour the first female councillor

PUBLISHED: 09:43 18 January 2008 | UPDATED: 14:41 07 September 2010

BELSIZE Park residents are trying to get a blue plaque to honour one of the area s most inspiring female figures. Councillors and residents have set up a campaign to get a plaque on the Belsize Avenue home of Regina Emily Lawrence, England s

Katie Davies

BELSIZE Park residents are trying to get a blue plaque to honour one of the area's most inspiring female figures.

Councillors and residents have set up a campaign to get a plaque on the Belsize Avenue home of Regina Emily Lawrence, England's first female councillor.

Ms Lawrence was elected in 1907 to Hampstead Council, taking advantage of the new law that year allowing female ratepayers run for political office.

Belsize Park Councillor Alexis Rowell said: "It was the centenary of her election in December and one of my constituents suggested we get a plaque on her house at 37 Belsize Avenue.

"I spoke to the residents association and they thought it was a great idea.

"This week we spoke to Eng-lish Heritage and they said she sounded like someone who would qualify, so we are sending through the details."

The councillor's career is the subject of an exhibition at Hol-born library until the end of this month.

Not only a pioneer in the world of politics, Ms Lawrence was also one of first women to graduate with a degree in law from University College London.

After that she went on to work for the Hampstead Distress Committee, which supported the unemployed, and then stood in the election.

She was elected to the Belsize ward for a two year term, supported by the Hampstead Women's Local Government Association.

"Becoming a councillor is a daunting thing," Cllr Rowell continued. "But becoming the first ever woman in England to do it is a fantastic achievement.

"I really think these plaques add to an area as well."

Belsize Residents Association chairwoman Helen Cordell added: "We would support it. She was a very interesting figure and spent a large part of life at that home so it would be logical to put it there."

Details of Ms Lawrence's life form part of the exhibition exploring the leading female lights of Camden.

Others whose stories are being explored include Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, the first woman doctor in the country, and Mary Wollstonecraft, the author of A Vindication of the Rights of Women.

It runs until January 31 at the Camden local studies and archive centre at Holborn Library.

For more information call 020-7974 6342 or visit www.camden.gov.uk/libraries.

katie.davies@hamhigh.co.uk

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