Annie Besant (1847-1933) was a British writer, activist and philanthropist. She
was the founder of Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi, India.
She was a champion of women’s rights, worker’s
rights, secularism and freedom of thought. She was especially active in India,
campaigning for self-rule and its independence from the UK. In 1917, she was
elected as the president of the Indian National Congress.
Olive Edis (1876-1955)
was a professional photographer who owned a number of studios throughout London
and England. In 1919 she became the first official female war photographer in
She obtained her first camera in 1900, and
opened the first studio in 1905 in North Norfolk. She was one of the first
adopters of the new autochrome technique, an early style of colour photography.
Her subjects included many prominent figures in British history, such as
Emmeline Pankhurst or Elizabeth Garrett Anderson.
June Jacobs (1930-2018)
was a British activist whose efforts focused on peace campaigns and Jewish
She was the founder and the first Chair of
the National Council for Soviet Jews, and later served as the President of the
International Council of Jewish Women. Additionally, she was involved in the
Black Jewish Asian Forum and the Jewish Council for Racial Equality, among
Sarah Siddons (1755-1831) was a famous Welsh-English actress, best known for her
roles in tragedies and particularly Shakespearean plays. She was referred to by
a contemporary critic as “tragedy personified”.
She started her career in 1774, and played
numerous roles until her retirement in 1812. Her most famous and lauded
performance was as Lady Macbeth. An acting award in her name has been in
existence since 1952.
Above: Sarah Siddons as Lady Macbeth, Robert
Cicely Saunders (1918-2005) was an English physician and social worker. She is
remembered for her important role in developing the hospice movement in the
She studied at Oxford, and later at the
Nightingale School of Nursing. In 1967, after years of research into palliative
care, she established the first purpose-built hospice in the world, St Christopher’s
Hospice, in London. She received numerous accolades for her work, including the
1981 Templeton Prize, the world’s highest-value annual prize.
Glover (b. 1986) is
a British rower, part of the national team. She is considered the best female
rower in the world, having held that position since 2015.
She is a
triple World champion, triple European champion and quintuple World Cup
champion. In her first Olympic Games in 2012, she won the gold medal and set
the Olympic record in women’s coxless pairs, alongside her partner Heather
Margaret Damer Dawson (1873-1920) was one of the founders of the first British women’s
police service. She achieved this in 1914, alongside Nina Boyle.
The two women established the Women Police
Volunteers to better support female citizens suffering from sexual assault and
abuse. Dawson was also an anti-vivisectionist and received international
recognition for her animal rights work.
de Valois (1898-2001) was a dancer, choreographer
and director of classical ballet. She is known as the ‘godmother’ of English
and Irish ballet.
She started dancing from an early age, and
in 1927 established her own Academy of Choreographic Art in London. She went on
to establish the Royal Ballet, one of the most important companies of its kind
in the 20th century.
de Cardi (1914-2016) was a British archaeologist, a
specialist in the area of the Persian Gulf and Pakistan. She was the world’s oldest
She studied at University College London
and later started working for the London Museum. She served as president of the
British Foundation for the Study of Arabia, and as Secretary for the Council
for British Archaeology.