Baroness Lockwood

A Dewsbury Great.  

One of a select group of individuals born, bred or living in Dewsbury who have made their mark on their town and country. The Dewsbury Greats have featured in various exhibitions and publications since they were first researched and published in 1992.

Betty Lockwood, the Shaw Cross miners daughter who became a peer.

MINER'S daughter Betty Lockwood, champion of the oppressed and campaigner for equal rights, could never have dreamed when she was selling dresses in a Dewsbury shop that she would one day he helping formulate the laws of the land and become a deputy Lord Lieutenant for West Yorkshire.

Nor could she have imagined when she left
Eastborough School at 14 that she would become a Deputy Speaker in the House of Lords. carry the title Baroness and carve her name in history.

Achieved

But Betty, who was born in Owl Lane, Shaw Cross, just a few yards from the pit where her father worked, achieved all these distinctions and many more.

The girl who continued her education at night classes at Dewsbury Technical College became a forceful campaigner for women's rights.

She became the country's first chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission in 1975 and three years later received a life peerage

Betty Lockwood outside her Dewsbury home, in Bywell Close, on December 29 1977.  The photograph was taken in anticipation of the announcement of her life peerage in the New Year's Honours List of January 1 1978

She has held a number of distinguished positions including chairman of the EEC Advisory Committee on Equal Rights, president of Birkbeck College. London University, then pro-chancellor of Bradford University, and was elected a member of the Assembly of the Council of Europe.


BORN in 1924, Betty was only Iwo years old when her father Arthur, who worked at Shaw Cross pit. was involved in the 1926 strike. He suffered victimisation afterwards and lost his job.

The young Betty's interest in politics started while she was at Eastborough Council School, where pupils were encouraged to debate current affairs "We had to take a newspaper to school and discuss some of the articles in class," Lady Lockwood recalled "I was about 13 and read the Daily Herald so I took that "

Her first job after leaving school was as a shop assistant in a small Dewsbury dress shop, aptly named Betty's.

But Betty was determined to improve her education and went to night classes at Dewsbury Technical College for shorthand and typing. Later she worked in the offices of the local electricity department.

During the war. while still in her teens, she Joined the local labour Party and later became part-time secretary of the Dewsbury Constituency Labour Party. 

It was while Involved in local politics that she became fired with the desire to do something to improve the lot of women.

She was secretary of the women's section and among the many speakers who addressed meetings were women who had been involved in the fight for votes for women

"Some of these women had actually been campaigning for votes for women." Lady Lockwood recalled. "It was after listening to them that l become interested in rights for women "

The young Betty soon started spreading her wings and eventually left Dewsbury to continue her education at Ruskin College. Oxford, then later became assistant agent to the Labour Party in Reading and full-time agent in Gillingham.

Distinguished

She has held numerous appointments and distinguished positions, including Yorkshire regional women's officer of the Labour Party, a position she held for 15 years, and chief women’s officer and assistant national agent for the Labour Party from 1967 to 1975. Leaving party politics aside, in 1975 she was appointed founder chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission

Lady Lockwood, who was one of three children, later lived in Addlngham until her death on 29 April 2019 - but always had a deep affection for Dewsbury.

"Wherever you live in the world you always remember your hometown." she said.

"I remember mine with great affection and visit it regularly "


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