‘Farewell fearless fighter who fought for town’

John Betjeman, who became involved in the fight to preserve Beverley.
John Betjeman, who became involved in the fight to preserve Beverley.
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TRIBUTES have been paid to a “fearless fighter” who helped make an East Riding market town the gem it is today.

Margaret Powell, a former town and county councillor for Beverley, has died in Cornwall, aged 91.

The great-granddaughter of the architect Sir George Gilbert Scott, Mrs Powell took up the fight against plans for a roundabout round the historic North Bar, persuading the borough council to abandon the “mad” scheme.

However she was not as successful in the battle to stop the county council knocking down the Globe Inn and building Sow Hill Road from Walkergate into the north end of Saturday Market in 1967.

Rupert Alec-Smith, founder of the Georgian Society for East Yorkshire, of which she was a member, recruited the support of John Betjeman and the Royal Fine Arts Commission, but by the time they visited the inn had been demolished.

She was also part of the successful campaign against the widening of Walkergate, which would have seen some Georgian buildings demolished.

Prof Barbara English, from Beverley and District Civic Society, has described Mrs Powell, who came to live in North Bar Within in 1964, as “coming upon unsuspecting Beverley with the suddeness of a storm cloud.”

She said: “She campaigned tirelessly and with passion to ensure that Beverley is the architectural gem it is today.

“The councils planned to demolish North Bar, knock down one side of Hengate including Nellies, put a road through Old Waste to York Road, flatten the Friary, take out Ladygate.

“Margaret Powell, with the backing of Coun Rosemary Kinloch, opposed all these ideas and with the help of figures such as John Betjeman, succeeded in turning back the tide. These two women were often alone in the councils, and were constantly attacked by their fellow councillors. Farewell to a great Beverley woman, and thank you.”