Clara Rackham – a blue plaque for a civic hero

Cambridge has honoured one of our longest-serving civic heroes with a blue plaque to be placed outside her former home that looks onto Parker’s Piece. BBC Cambridgeshire’s report is here.

181010 Clara Rackham Palmer Clark HiRes colourised Low Res.jpg

Clara Dorothea Rackham from the Palmer Clark archive in and courtesy of the Cambridgeshire Collection, colourised by Nick at PhotoRestoration.Services for Antony Carpen. 

Above is one of a number of images I have commissioned for modern digital colourisation. Cllr Anna Smith (Labour – Romsey), one of Clara’s successor councillors in Romsey Ward, Cambridge, gave this speech recently about the life and legacy of Clara Rackham.

Cllr Anna Smith at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge.

At the same event, dancers from the Bodyworks Studio performed this incredible dance piece on the theme of votes for women. Furthermore, Clara’s role in Cambridge during the General Strike of 1926 was dramatised by the Cambridge Street Players – you can watch the video below.

Half a century of public service

My earlier blogpost about Clara’s life and legacy is here. In the grand scheme of things it only touches the surface of what was an extremely active life. At the event at Anglia Ruskin University (where Clara was a governor of the predecessor Cambridge College for Art and Technology), and the formal plaque unveiling at Newnham College (where she studied) we heard first hand from her great-nieces who went on the CND marches with her in the early 1960s.

Clara on Clara

I transcribed a Cambridge News interview from 1964 – just after she saw the opening of Parkside Pool in Cambridge after decades of campaigning for an indoor pool. A couple of years earlier, she gave her final public speech in Cambridge. Introduced by the UK’s first woman life peer, Girton graduate Baroness Wootton, I have transcribed the speech from the Cambridgeshire County Archive in two parts: Part 1 is here, and Part 2 is here.




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