As of the 8th of March, Service Care Solutions will be added to the list of Blue Plaque buildings in England, stating the remarkable history of an individual, Beatrice Todd, who was once a resident of Winckley Square. Paul Bradley, Associate Director of Service Care Solutions, reached out to Patricia Harrison, the Chairman of the Friends of Winckley Square (FoWS), with the intention to involve the business further with the community.
Why are we getting a blue plaque?
We have recently discovered the remarkable achievements of Beatrice, who once lived at No13 Starkie Street, where Service Care Solutions is now situated. Beatrice Todd was an ambitious woman, who led numerous organisations and movements during the early 1900s. These roles served with the aim to make a difference in the area, not only for herself as a woman, but also for the community around her. The accomplishments in her life included-
Secretary of Preston’s National Union of Women’s Suffrage
Chairman of Preston Station Sailors and Soldiers buffet
President of Preston’s Women’s Liberation Associate
Honorary treasurer of the National Women's Liberals Association
Vice Chairman of Preston Park School
Vice Chairman of Preston Council's Maternity and Child Welfare committee
Justice of Peace
The story of Beatrice Todd
Beatrice Todd, born in 1876, began her career working in Preston as a teacher, in which at the time, female teachers had to remain single. Between 1908 and the 1930s, she was Secretary of the Preston branch of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage (NUWWS), which helped many women to gain experience in organising and management during the suffrage movement. As a suffragist, she was incredibly concerned with the welfare of women and children, in which she worked passionately leading the Preston Infant Welfare Voluntary Women’s Association, providing the care that was needed, even two years before corporations were required to set these by the government. Additionally, Beatrice was also honorary treasurer of The National Women’s Citizens Association and president of the Preston Women Liberals Association, as well as being a Justice of the Peace.
An outstanding accomplishment of Beatrice’s’ would be the staggering 3.5 million men and women she served between 1915-1919 when she was the Chairman of the Sailors and Soldiers buffet. Within this, Beatrice worked to provide food and drink for those passing through Preston Station during the uncertain time of World War. This committee was remarkably set up funded entirely by donations and was staffed by 400 volunteers, all of whom Beatrice was the leader of.
Beatrice’s story had faded over time, but more recently has been rediscovered by researcher Steve Harrison, with the support of other members of Friends of Winckley Square (FoWS), whom recently we have worked closely with through the Blue Plaque process.
Friends of Winckley Square
Friends of Winckley Square, based in the historical gardens of Preston, is an established group that helps to ensure the long-term development and support of the Heritage Project. The leader of the FoWS, Patricia Harrison formed together the group by knocking on the doors of local buildings within the Winckley Square area, to attract the interest of members of the community. Additionally, the establishment of FoWS was also announced by the Preston Historical Society (PHS) which has a strong interest in Winckley Square.
What do they do?
The FowS group performs several different roles around the square, with the aim to ensure the history remains known and to share the achievements of the individuals who have lived in and amongst the area in the past. Another one of their core aims is to ‘preserve the past and to secure a vibrant and sustainable future for the Winckley Square and particularly its Gardens.’
Roles that the community group carries out to achieve this include
The organization of activities sharing and celebrating the heritage of the gardens
Ensuring that the history of Winckley Square is conserved
Raising funds to help support and finance the gardens.
Organising guided walks that aim to educate visitors on the area
Ensuring the long-term sustainability and well-being of Winckley Square for generations to come.
International Woman’s Day
After learning the history of Beatrice Todd, from the Chairman of Friends of Winckley Square (Patricia), and being approved for the blue plaque, our next decision to make, was when our blue plaque will be unveiled. Due to the nature of Beatrice’s motivations in her life, we felt it would be appropriate to align this with International Woman’s Day. Not only this but the huge split between the number of male blue plaques vs women, with only 14% of blue plaques being for women (English Heritage), also further influenced us into the importance of celebrity Beatrice on this day.
The plaque has been commissioned by FoWS and is endorsed by the Preston Historical Society and is due to be unveiled by the Mayor of Preston, Neil Derby, alongside invited guests, and also Service Care Solutions staff themselves.
Preston’s Blue Plaques
In the area of Preston, there are also other blue plaques, that celebrate a range of people with city links, these include,
Thomas Miller (1811-1865)
Prince Charles Edward (1720-1788)
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
Joseph Livesy (1794- 1884)
Edith Rigby (1872-1948)
To check out how our International Woman's Day went in the office check out our Instagram.