Mary Whitmore

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Mary Whitmore (née Fletcher) (17 September 1884 – 19 July 1974) was a social activist who was the first woman to be Mayor of Ipswich, in 1946-47.

Early life[]

Whitmore was born Mary Fletcher in 1884 in Whitton, Suffolk, to Isaac Fletcher and his wife Rosetta (née Elliott).[1] She won a scholarship to Ipswich Higher Grade School in 1895.[2] By 1901 she was a pupil teacher at a board school. She later trained as a teacher at Whitelands College.[2] [3]


Whitmore was a suffragette, and was a founder member of the Ipswich branch of the Women's Social and Political Union.[4] She was a founder member of the Ipswich Workers' Educational Association, and was its secretary from 1929 to 1939.[4]

She was elected a Labour Councillor in 1930.[4] She was Mayor of Ipswich in 1946-47, and was the first woman to hold the post.[5]

For many years she taught at Nacton Road Mixed School.[3]

She was awarded MBE in the 1951 Birthday Honours for her contribution to public service. [4]

An Ipswich Society blue plaque was installed on Ipswich Town Hall in 2016.[6] [7]

Personal life[]

Whitmore married James Offer William Whitmore (1882-1944) in 1922.[8] He had previously been married to Eva Martha Pryke (1883-1920).[9] Mary and James had one daughter, Enid (1923-2016),[10] [11] [2] who married a clergyman, Trevor Howard.[12]

Whitmore died in 1974, aged 89, at the Rectory at Belchamp Otten, in Essex;[13] her son-in-law, Canon Trevor Howard, was Rector of St Ethelbert & All Saints, Belchamp Otten, 1959-93.[14]


  1. ^ Ipswich Registry Office, December 1884 quarter, Vol 4a, page 770.
  2. ^ Jump up to: a b c "Curious Fox: Whitton". Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  3. ^ Jump up to: a b "Lives of Ipswich Women". Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  4. ^ Jump up to: a b c d "Ipswich Women: Mary Whitmore". Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  5. ^ "Ipswich Council: Mayors of Ipswich". Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  6. ^ "Ipswich Lettering: Plaques". Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  7. ^ "Ipswich Star: "Former Ipswich mayor Mary Whitmore to be honoured with blue plaque on Town Hall", 31 May 2016". Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  8. ^ Samford Registry Office, December 1922 quarter, Vol 4a, page 2302a.
  9. ^ Ipswich Registry Office, September 1909 quarter, Vol 4a, page 2052.
  10. ^ Ipswich Registry Office, December 1923 quarter, Vol 4a, page 1676.
  11. ^ "Find A Grave: Enid Howard". Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  12. ^ Colchester Registry Office, September 1943 quarter, Vol 4a, page 1955.
  13. ^ National Probate Calendar, 1974, p 9652.
  14. ^ "Crockford's Clerical Directory: Canon Ronald Trevor Howard". Retrieved 7 February 2021.
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