Edith S. Kerrison
Person Born 1850 Died 1934
The first woman to serve on the West Ham council and an advocate of welfare for women and children. Was offered the Mayoralty but in view of her advancing years and increasing deafness she declined to take it. Made honorary freeman in 1936 (after her death, which seems a bit odd).
Researching Kerrison we discovered that when the first woman Mayor in West Ham, Daisy Parsons, was elected the Stratford Express, 9th November 1936, reported one dissenting voice: “Alderman Rumsey; He was sorry to see the day when a woman was to occupy the chair (Shame) When a town hands itself over to petticoat government it is always in trouble. If the man is not the master in his own house he is in for a bad time. The woman wears the trousers. You were told by the mover of the resolution what wonderful things the lady had done, but she did not mention any of them. I do not know of one thing in the borough which ever came from this lady’s brain. The Alderman said he had come up against two or three lady Mayors during his mayoralty and he had to say they were absolute failures. A woman mayor was out of place. She was alright for exhibition purposes but for business it was not in the best interests of the town to have a woman mayor. This council chamber is deteriorating, and I wish I had got out of it before ever I saw a woman occupying that chair.” Hats off to Daisy for standing up to him! Go, Daisy, go!