On Wednesday the 8th of March, we welcomed the Mayor of Preston, Neil Darby, through our doors to unveil a Blue Plaque, commissioned by the Friends of Winckley Square (FoWS) and endorsed by Preston Historical Society, to celebrate the life of the former resident of our building, Beatrice Todd.
Beatrice formerly lived at Arthur House in the years 1897- 1908. Born in Colchester, Essex in 1876, and died in 1958, Beatrice made her mark on history with the remarkable accomplishments she made between 1908- 1930’s. These achievements include:
Becoming the First Secretary of Preston National Union of Women’s Suffrage (N.U.W.S.S).
Leading the Preston Station Sailors and Soldiers’ Buffet, serving 3.5 million soldiers in 1915-1919.
Establishing the Preston Infant Welfare Voluntary Women’s Association.
Teaching at Preston High School for girls.
The event had been under wraps since January, with Patricia Harrison, Chairman of Friends of Winckley Square working in collaboration with our marketing team to ensure the day was a success. With the idea to combine the unveiling with Internationals Women’s day stemmed from a conversation between Paul Bradley, our Associate Director, and Patricia, after expressing his appetite to do more with local businesses and within the community.
Our very own Paul Bradley, who initially got the balling rolling following a desire to learn more about the heritage of our premises, said, “We are proud to recognise the achievements of Beatrice and the many things she did for our local and the wider community today on International Women’s Day, a day where we both look back, show thanks, and celebrate the historical contributions of Women and also look forward towards promoting gender equality and a more inclusive society. I believe the example set by Beatrice should be an inspiration to all, showing what people can be achieved to help others is often the most difficult of times. I feel this serves as a highly relevant message for everyone in today’s society”
Ahead of the unveiling, Patricia kindly provided us with an exhibition of the Women of Winckley Square which details the individual women who lived on the Square and their accomplishments. Patricia also delivered a talk to our employees the morning of the event to shed light on Beatrice’s story and cover the history that lives within the walls of other businesses on the square. This was a great opportunity for our members of staff to listen to the stories of the remarkable woman who once lived, where we all work.
At mid-day, we also had the chance to meet and speak with the Mayor, who made the effort to greet and thank everyone who came down to watch the unveiling. Neil’s words were, “Women are worth remembering in history and it’s really great we’re addressing the balance. Today we’ve got Beatrice Todd and we’re all about making sure we remember people equally within the city. We’ve got so much history here in Preston and today it’s the turn of Beatrice Todd.”
Chris Musgrove, our Managing Director said, “We were delighted to find out that Beatrice used to call Arthur House her home. Learning about the significance of her accomplishments has been fascinating and something we are proud to celebrate. As a Preston-based business, we understand the significance of community and Beatrice’s work is a testament to the difference people can make to their communities.
It’s great that we can mark the occasion on International Women’s Day, helping champion equality and reflect on the progress we have made as a society.”
The day presented a great opportunity for people in and around the community to come together and form new relationships off the back of a remarkable celebration. We greeted everyone into our offices afterward for the chance to indulge in an impressive spread and to view our business in action, also enabling those who haven’t seen the exhibition beforehand to do so.
Richard Freye, the Chairman at Service Care Solutions, was also present at the unveiling of the plaque, “Personally I can’t imagine what Beatrice went through many years ago, it should have been equality through, but it’s a great journey to see as a society to try and bring equality to everybody. It’s so important to look back on our history and I have so much respect for what Beatrice has done and it’s an honour to have the blue plaque on our building.”
Other guests included Helen Hesketh (Head-Teacher of Penwortham Girls’ High School) alongside students, Joan Burrows (County Councillor), David Hindle (President of PHS), Steve Harrison (FoWS Researcher of Beatrice Todd & Tour Guide), Susan Douglass (FoWS Tour Guide and Researcher), Sue Clarke (FoWS), Stewart Turner PHS, and Angie Milne PHS.