Girl power in Islington: Celebrating International Women’s Day

Mrs Beeton's Family Cookery book. Picture by lvvl on Flickr.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures.

We thought we’d celebrate IWD with a run-down of the most influential female role models who’ve lived and worked in our borough.

Any others you’d like to add? Contact us on or @ us on Twitter.

Mary Wollstonecraft

A long-term resident of Mildmay, the 18th century feminist and philosopher, the author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman and mother of Mary Shelley has her very own green heritage plaque at Newington Green Primary School. Find out more about the campaign to honour her with a statue here.

Edith Margaret Garrud

The Suffragette was born in 1872 and lived at Thornhill Square. Remarkably she was one of the first pro martial arts instructors in the western world and ran a jiu jitsu school with her husband in Hackney. She led the Suffragettes’ all-woman protection unit known as the Bodyguard.

Crystal Hale

Born in 1915, the founder of the Angel Canal Festival, Angel Community Canal Boat Trust and Islington Boat Club lived in Canonbury Square and then Noel Road. She fought a campaign to save the City Road Basin and is honoured with a plaque at Hanover School on Noel Road

Lilian Baylis

The theatrical producer, born in 1874, managed the Old Vic and went on to launch a national campaign to save Sadler’s Wells in the 1920s. A performance space was opened in her honour in 1988.

Gracie Fields

Honoured with an English Heritage blue plaque, the iconic Lancashire-born singer lived above a sweet shop at 72a Upper Street from 1926 to 1929.

Isabella Beeton

The journalist and author (1836-1865), world-famous for her 1861 book Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management attended school in Colebrook Row.

Mary Kingsley

The pioneering explorer was born at 30 Tavistock Terrace, N19 in 1862. She made two influential solo trips to West Africa in the 1890s, and achieved a multitude of feats including canoeing up the Ogowe River and climbing up the 13,000ft Mount Cameroon.

Marie Stopes

Marie Stopes’ (and the UK’s) first birth control clinic, The Mothers’ Clinic, opened at 61 Marlborough Road, Upper Holloway in 1921. Now one of the largest international family planning organisations in the world, Marie Stopes International operates across 40 countries. Find out more about her work here.