These 15 women are amongst 100 remarkable females who have put Teesside on the map.
How many do you recognise?
If we mention names like Tanni Grey Thompson, Gertrude Bell and Ann Ming, chances are you will know just why they are well known to the people of our area.
But what about Minnie Levick, Ivy Close or Norma Shaw?
Or Florence Bell, Marion Coates-Hansen, Mary Butterwick, Sister Mary Jacques, Ellen Wilkinson, Ruth Pennyman, Florence Easton, Winnie McKenna and Naomi Jacob.
All of the above and more are set to feature in a special history lesson being given in Middlesbrough next month when historian Martin Peagam will celebrate the lives and achievements of remarkable Teesside women at Middlesbrough’s Central Library.
The 15 ladies mentioned above are just part of his special history lesson which features a total of 100 women who, currently and through past centuries, have put our area on the map.
Some made their mark in politics, some in entertainment, sport or spearheading brave campaigns to name just a few of the fields he has delved in to.
* Tanni Grey Thompson
Champion Paralympian Baroness Thompson Grey Thompson is known fort her sporting prowess.
Over her career she won a total of 16 Paralympic medals, including 11 golds, held over 30 world records and won the London Marathon six times between 1992 and 2002.
She is now a member of the House of Lords and is patron of numerous charities.
* Gertrude Bell
Teesside heroine, adventurer Gertrude Bell, dubbed the female Lawrence of Arabia, grew up in Redcar.
She was the first woman to achieve a first-class degree in modern history from Oxford and travelled the world with the likes of TE Lawrence and Winston Churchill.
British military intelligence recruited her to help draw the borders of Iraq.
* Ann Ming
Ann launched a relentless campaign change the ancient ‘double jeopardy’ law after the murder of her daughter Julie Hogg in Billingham.
The move brought her killer Billy Dunlop to justice – he had stood trial twice in 1991 for Miss Hogg’s murder but a jury failed to reach a verdict on each occasion.
The Billingham labourer later admitted the killing on tape.
After Ann’s campaign, the 800-year-old law was changed and Dunlop finally faced justice at the Old Bailey.
* Minnie Levick
Together with her husband, surgeon Harry Levick, Minnie introduced aseptic surgery to Middlesbrough and they performed the town’s first appendicectomy.
She was also a medical officer and founder of the first voluntary child welfare centre as well as a supporter of the Girl Guides.
* Ivy Close
Ivy was born in Stockton in 1890 and achieved instant fame in 1908 when she won a Daily Mirror beauty contest.
Her dreamy sylph-like brand of loveliness was painted by Arthur Hacke of the Royal Academy and after appearing in a week long show at Stockton’s Castle Theatre she began to make films.
She made her first full length movie in 1914 and went on to appear in 43 more, many of her films directed by her husband Elwin Neame.
* Norma Shaw
Bowling legend Norma Shaw became an inspiration for all in the game.
Her career pinnacle came in 1981 when she became the world singles champion in the Commonwealth Games in Toronto.
* Florence Bell
In the 1890s and 1900s Lady Florence Bell wrote numerous plays and novels and was best known for her book ‘At the Works’, a study of factory life.
She was married to Sir Hugh Bell, the famous Middlesbrough ironmaster.
* Marion Coates-Hansen
Suffragette Marion was an early member of the militant Women’s Social and Political Union and a founder member of the Women’s Freedom League (WFL) in 1907.
She is generally credited with having influenced George Lansbury, Labour politician and future party leader, to take up the cause of votes for women.
She spent her life in Middlesbrough and was an active member of the local Independent Labour Party.
* Mary Butterwick
Butterwick Hospice founder Mary’s vision was to provide a place to care for local people as they adjust to a life limiting illness after losing her husband to cancer.
She sold her home and put all her savings in to creating that place, leaving a lasting legacy for the people of Teesside.
* Sister Mary Jacques
Nursing pioneer Mary Jacques to Middlesbrough where she opened England’s first cottage hospital in 1859.
* Ellen Wilkinson
Ellen was Middlesbrough’s first woman MP and was known as ‘Red Ellen’, a reflection of the colour of her hair as well as her left-wing politics.
She held the Middlesbrough seat until 1931 and four years later she was elected MP for Jarrow.
In 1936 she was one of the leaders of the Jarrow March.
She became chairman of the Labour Party in 1944 and education minister in the post war Labour Government.
She died in 1947, 18 months after taking office.
* Ruth Pennyman
Ruth lived at Ormesby Hall until the early 1980s. A poetess and a playwright, in 1931 she joined her husband James in a scheme to provide work and support for unemployed iron miners and their families in East Cleveland.
During the Spanish Civil War, she arranged for child refugees to stay at Hutton Hall.
* Florence Easton
South Bank born Florence joined the Royal Academy of Music in 1900.
Her fine soprano voice brought acclaim from many musicians – she was known professionally as ‘the nightingale of South Bank.”
* Winnie McKenna
Footballer Winnie McKenna, who hailed from Grangetown, captained England after honing her skills in our part of the world in the years following the First World War.
* Naomi Jacob
Romantic novelist Naomi was a Middlesbrough teacher and later the author of 75 best-selling novels.
Martin is giving several talks in October as part of the Discover Middlesbrough festival and decided to research Teesside’s inspirational women in 2018, the year which marks the centenary of some women being granted the right to vote.
“Until recently, I was unaware of many of the ladies from Teesside who have had an amazing impact on people’s lives,” said Martin.
“We see statues of men – such as Henry Bolckow, John Vaughan, Tom Dresser, and Wilf Mannion – and we hear about their achievements.
Rightly so. But we know less about some equally amazing women.
“The idea behind my presentation is to raise awareness, and inspire others.”
Martin will host the library event from 2pm-3pm on Thursday, October 25.
Tickets are £2 and available by calling 01642 729002.