Margery Corbett Ashby
Dame Margery Corbett Ashby
Ashby in 1923
|President of the Women's Liberal Federation|
|Preceded by||Margaret Wintringham|
|Succeeded by||Eleanor Acland|
Margery Irene Corbett
19 April 1882
|Died||15 May 1981|
She was born at Danehill, East Sussex, the daughter of Charles Corbett, a barrister who was briefly Liberal MP for East Grinstead and Marie (Gray) Corbett, herself a Liberal feminist and local councillor in Uckfield. Margery was educated at home. Her governess was the feminist polymath Lina Eckenstein. Eckenstein was to become her friend and assisted with her work.
She passed the Classical tripos as a student at Newnham College, Cambridge; but the university did not at that time give degrees to female students. She married lawyer Brian Ashby in 1910. Their only child, a son, Michael Ashby (1914-2004), was a neurologist who gave evidence as an expert witness at the 1957 trial of suspected serial killer John Bodkin Adams.
With her sister Cicely and friends, she founded the Younger Suffragists in 1901. After deciding against teaching, she was appointed Secretary of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies in 1907. She served as President of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance from 1923 to 1946. She received an honorary LLD at Mount Holyoke College, USA, in 1937 in recognition of her international work. In 1942 she went on a government propaganda mission to Sweden.
Ashby was one of the seventeen women candidates to contest a parliamentary election at the first opportunity in the General Election of 1918. She stood for Birmingham Ladywood against Neville Chamberlain the Unionist Coalition candidate. Her slogan was 'A soldier's wife for Ladywood'. Although she came third behind Chamberlain and the Labour candidate J.W.Kneeshaw, she forced Chamberlain to address women's issues during his campaign, one of the few candidates who tried.
Her papers at the Women's Library at the LSE in London contain a selection of her affectionate letters to her husband who was still in France for the early stages of the campaign. Chamberlain kept his sisters up to date with the campaign and his letters are preserved in the Cadbury Research Library at the University of Birmingham. Together they provide a unique record of the candidates' contrasting view of the election campaign.
In 1922 and 1923 she contested Richmond, Surrey, 1924 Watford, 1929 Hendon, and 1935 and 1937 Hemel Hempstead. Finally, she stood as an independent liberal with the backing of Radical Action at the 1944 Bury St Edmunds by-election.
|Labour||John W Kneeshaw||2,572||19.0|
|Liberal||Margery Corbett Ashby||1,552||11.5|
|Independent Unionist||Harry Becker||12,075||50.6|
|Unionist||Clifford Blackburn Edgar||6,032||25.3|
|Liberal||Margery Corbett Ashby||5,765||24.1|
|Liberal||Margery Corbett Ashby||7,702||37.0||+12.9|
|Labour||Herbert Henry Elvin||7,417||26.6|
|Liberal||Margery Corbett Ashby||5,205||18.7|
|Liberal||Margery Corbett Ashby||13,449||22.2|
|Liberal||Margery Corbett Ashby||7,078||22.0||-2.6|
|Labour||Charles William James||4,951||15.4||+7.2|
|Liberal||Margery Corbett Ashby||7,347||28.3||+6.3|
|Labour||Charles William James||3,651||14.0||-1.4|
|Independent Liberal||Margery Corbett Ashby||9,121||43.8||n/a|
- Sybil Oldfield, 'Eckenstein, Lina Dorina Johanna (1857–1931)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, September 2014 Profile, oxforddnb.com; accessed 1 October 2015.
- Cullen, Pamela V., A Stranger in Blood: The Case Files on Dr John Bodkin Adams, London, Elliott & Thompson, 2006; ISBN 1-904027-19-9
- Law, Cheryl. Women, A Modern Political Dictionary. I.B. Tauris, 200. ISBN 1-86064-502-X
- Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
- Hallam, David J.A., Taking on the Men: the first women parliamentary candidates 1918, Studley, 2018, Chapter 4 "Corbett Ashby in Ladywood.
- F W S Craig, British Parliamentary Election Results 1918-1949; Political Reference Publications, Glasgow 1949
- Chris Cook, A Short History of the Liberal Party: 1900 - 2001, pp.268-269
- Peter Barberis, Encyclopedia of British and Irish Political Organizations, p.316
- Margaret Corbett Ashby's records ref=7MCA, London School of Economics
- "Historic statue of suffragist leader Millicent Fawcett unveiled in Parliament Square". Gov.uk. 24 April 2018. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
- Topping, Alexandra (24 April 2018). "First statue of a woman in Parliament Square unveiled". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
- "Millicent Fawcett statue unveiling: the women and men whose names will be on the plinth". iNews. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
- British Parliamentary Election Results 1918-1949, FWS Craig
- British Parliamentary Election Results 1918-1949, F W S Craig
- British parliamentary election results 1918-1949, Craig, F. W. S.
|Party political offices|
| President of the Women's Liberal Federation