Ada Salter (1866-1942) was an English social reformer, environmentalist, pacifist and Quaker.
Born Ada Brown in Northamptonshire, she dedicated her life to the people of Bermondsey and was instrumental in clearing slums, running clubs for teenagers, promoting health and education, and beautifying first Bermondsey, then London, with trees and flowers.
She married Alfred Salter, an agnostic, socialist doctor with revolutionary ideas, who, like Ada was passionate about helping the poor and socially deprived people in Bermondsey.
In November 1909, standing as an ILP candidate, Ada was elected the first Labour woman councillor in London. In the next few years she campaigned in support of the women trade unionists in the local factories, for women's rights to vote and receive support in maternity and childcare, and for the replacement of the worst London slums by Garden Cities. In 1922 she became the first woman mayor in London of any party. Nationally, she was elected President of the National Gardens Guild and the Women's Labour League.
She died in Balham in 1942. James Hudson wrote in the Friends’ Quarterly Examiner ‘Socialism in action; that is what she was’.
The image on our tea towel is inspired by a depiction of Ada Salter from The Blue Bermondsey People's Mural, which celebrates the history of Bermondsey and was completed in June 2022 by Paul Butler working with artist Linda Jane James and assisted by local artists Moses Kanneh, Laura Hudson and Morgan Paton.
For every tea towel sold a £1 donation will go to Big Local Works, a Lottery-funded project which aims to bring together local talent, skills and energy from individuals, groups and organisations in Bermondsey to make their area a better place to live and work in.
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Beautiful. And lovely message!