Social reformer nominated as 'heroine'

She was one of Yorkshire's tireless social reformers who fought for the right of unmarried women to receive pensions.

And yet Florence White's name has been lost in the annals of time, with many people even in her home city of Bradford unaware of who she was.

Born in 1886, Miss White was a spinster who ran a confectioner's shop in Lidget Green with her sister Annie.

Influenced by the impact of the First World War when thousands of young men failed to return home from the battlefields of Europe, she formed the National Spinsters' Pensions Association to demand pensions at the

age of 55 for all unmarried women.

The organisation was formed in 1935, following a meeting above her shop, and within months had 8,000 members.

The group is regarded by social historians as being one of the most effective peacetime mass movements and now Miss White's contribution may receive greater recognition following her nomination as one of Yorkshire's hidden heroines.

The British Library is asking readers of the Yorkshire Post to nominate local people from the past or present who have made

a difference by standing up

for the rights that most of us living in Britain today take for granted.

The search coincides with the library's new exhibition, entitled Taking Liberties – The Struggle for British Freedoms and Rights, which opens in October.

Alongside a nomination for Miss White, North Yorkshire's Father Nicholas Postgate has been put forward as one of the region's forgotten human rights campaigners.

Born in Egton Bridge, he was a 17th century Catholic priest at a time when it was punishable by death.

He worked tirelessly all over Yorkshire, baptising the young, burying the dead, marrying young couples and celebrating mass in secret.

He was caught and executed in 1679 in York.

He was not forgotten in his home village – the pub in Egton Bridge was named The Postgate in his honour.

Ben Sanderson of the Boston Spa branch of the British Library said: "The latest nominations show how the Hidden Heroes and Heroines campaign has

captured the imagination of Yorkshire Post readers and I hope that they will inspire further suggestions as a result."

He added: "This campaign aims to highlight local activists who might not have received the recognition they deserve."

Yorkshire Post readers have until October to nominate their hidden heroes.

If you know of anyone, alive or dead, who has campaigned for people's rights and freedoms, we want to hear from you.

To send us your nomination, email or visit for more information.