Blue plaque tribute to Baroness Alice Bacon, Leeds’s first female MP

Alice Bacon speaking at the Labour conference in Blackpool in 1968.
Alice Bacon speaking at the Labour conference in Blackpool in 1968.

She made history when she became Leeds’s first female MP back in 1945.

And now, more than 70 years on, the city is set to pay tribute to Baroness Alice Bacon’s trailblazing role in its political story.

Leeds Civic Trust today announced that a blue plaque honouring Baroness Bacon will be unveiled on January 10 at the Corn Exchange, where she used to hold constituency surgeries.

Trust director Martin Hamilton said: “Alice Bacon is a standard bearer for those women – including many from Leeds – who campaigned for the women’s vote and women’s representation in Parliament. We are delighted to support this plaque.”

Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves, author of a biography of Baroness Bacon, will do the honours at next month’s unveiling ceremony.

Support for the plaque tribute has also come from the University of Leeds.

Georgina Maud, from Rushbond, the property firm that owns the Corn Exchange, said: “We hope that people will see the plaque and be intrigued to learn more about someone who has so shaped the future of women in politics, through determination and commitment in what were very different times.”

Baroness Bacon, a miner’s daughter from Normanton, initially represented Leeds North East and then Leeds South East as a Labour MP between 1945 and 1970.

A powerful speaker who helped create the welfare state, she was made a life peer in 1970.

She was hailed as one of the most significant figures in the British Labour movement following her death in 1993 aged 83.