1 Suffragist Jessie Stephen was one of the women who successfully smuggled Emmeline Pankhurst in a laundry basket past a police blockade to speak at a rally in the St Andrew’s Hall. Knowing the prominent campaigner was due to make an appearance, police officers had surrounded the place, confident she could not have made it into the building. Just as the meeting began, Jessie announced: “Ladies! Our leader!” and out stepped Ms Pankhurst who had been sneaked into the building in the basket earlier in the day.

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2 This was far from Jessie’s only claim to fame. Born in 1893 in Maryhill, she was the eldest of 11 children brought up in a socialist family. She left school at 14 to get a job as a maid, where she organised fellow workers into the Scottish Federation of Domestic Workers in 1912.

Glasgow Times:

3 By the age of 16 Jessie was also vice-chair of the Independent Labour Party in Glasgow, and a militant member of the Women’s Social and Political Party (WSPU) who went on to work on the frontline of the suffragette movement with leader Sylvia Pankhurst in London.

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4 Her many roles included organiser of the Bermondsey Independent Labour Party, secretary of the National Federation of Women Workers, and vice-chair of the Ministry of Reconstruction. In 1922, she was the elected Labour councillor for Bermondsey and worked to improve public health in the borough. She was still only 29. She travelled to the US in 1926 to speak to workers there and was instrumental in the formation of the Canadian Union of Domestic Workers.

Glasgow Times:

5 Back in Britain, Jessie became a journalist and set up a secretarial agency. She was the first ever woman president of the Trades Union Council and in 1978 she received an MBE. Jessie died, aged 86, a year later.