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Time moves on for restored suffragette clock

PUBLISHED: 15:17 23 May 2008 | UPDATED: 13:19 05 October 2010

A PUBLIC clock commemorating the life and struggle of suffragette and peoples’ champion Minnie Lansbury is returning to its landmark place of honour’ in London’s East End after its restoration. The rusting Minnie Lansbury Clock was a landmark for generations passing under it in the Bow Road

By Michael Parker

A PUBLIC clock commemorating the life and struggle of suffragette and peoples' champion Minnie Lansbury is returning to its landmark 'place of honour' in London's East End after its restoration.

The rusting Minnie Lansbury Clock was a landmark for generations passing under it in the Bow Road.

But it had to be taken down last year for badly-needed repairs after pressure by the Heritage of London Trust. Its restoration is nearly complete.

Now Tower Hamlets council intends hoisting it back into place, high on the wall of Electric House, at a ceremony in next month.

The £22,000 repairs were met by the Town Hall and the Heritage of London Trust, with other donations including one from actress Angela Lansbury, of Murder She Wrote fame, who is a descendent of the Lansbury family.

The public in East London raised another £2,000, including Minnie's great-great-niece Dr Selina Gellert and her father, Minnie's nephew Harold Langdon, now 93, who was thrilled that the clock was being restored. There was also an anonymous £1,000 donation.

The Heritage trust now wants to erect a plaque on the wall of Electric House about Minnie Lansbury's life and list those who donated to the restoration.

Minnie Lansbury, daughter-in-law of Poplar's MP of the day George Lansbury, campaigned for the East End's working class as a member of the borough council in the 1920s.

She was sent to prison with 29 other councillors for their part in the 1921 Poplar Rates Revolt.

They had refused to charge the same rates that richer London boroughs like Westminster collected for the Treasury, insisting the poorer East End with high unemployment should pay less.

They were in jail six weeks before the Government of the day eventually backed down.

But Minnie Lansbury never survived. She developed pneumonia and died aged 32.

michael.parker@archant.co.uk


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