Friday 30th October 2020

A Life of Action: Eleanor Rathbone

Liverpool’s unsung hero

On Thursday 14th January, Paul, Head Boy and Maddie, Head Girl, represented the College at the 2016 Roscoe Lecture on Eleanor Rathbone, held at the prestigious St Georges Hall, Liverpool. The Lecture was presented by Dr Susan Cohen.

This lecture series looks at distinguished people and their contribution to society and how we as citizens can be better informed of events that shape our lives and those of others in the world today.

Eleanor Rathbone was a remarkable MP. She sat as an Independent, for the Combined English Universities, from 1929 until her death in January 1946. Within her time in the House not exceptionally long by parliamentary standards she achieved a remarkable amount. She is credited primarily with achieving the introduction of family allowances. However, that was her most notable, rather than her only, achievement. Her far-sightedness in international affairs was something I drew out in the lecture. She was on a par with Churchill in recognising the threat from Nazi Germany and in warning what would happen unless nations mobilised against the threat. She pursued a range of causes, mostly in defence of those who were disadvantaged (such as refugees fleeing authoritarian regimes), and utilised the procedures of the House of Commons to great effect. She was regularly on her feet in Question Time and during debates.

Speaking after the event Maddie commented that “we simply do not see this calibre of person in our world today, I hope that I can make a difference in some small way in my life to help others.”

Paul, said, “A truly remarkable and inspiring lecture about a great Liverpudlian, it just makes you so proud to be part of this great city of Liverpool.”

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