June Hannam’s pamphlet examines the life and work of Mabel Tothill (1869 – 1964), Quaker peace campaigner, socialist and Bristol’s first woman councillor. It reveals how this committed social activist was part of a complex network of individuals and organisations working to improve the lives of Bristol women and men.
As a campaigner for women’s suffrage and a stalwart of the Independent Labour Party, Mabel saw the causes of women and labour as intertwined. Her interest in education and desire to bring people of all classes together led her to be instrumental in the early years of the Barton Hill Settlement and Bristol Folk House.
During World War 1, she engaged in tireless work supporting Bristol conscientious objectors, visiting COs in prison, monitoring their conditions and organising holidays for their families.
The impressive range of Mabel Tothill’s work outlined here is testimony to her strong “belief that socialism and labour politics held the key to a better life for all”.