Margery Corbett Ashby

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Margery Corbett Ashby

Dame Margery Irene Corbett Ashby, DBE (19 April 1882 – 15 May 1981) was a British suffragist, Liberal politician, feminist and internationalist.

She was born at Danehill, East Sussex, the daughter of Charles Corbett a barrister who was sometime Liberal MP for East Grinstead and Marie Corbett herself a Liberal feminist and local councillor in Uckfield. Margery was educated at home. With her sister Cicely and friends, she founded the Younger Suffragists in 1901. Though she passed her Classics exam at Newnham College, Cambridge University refused to grant her a degree because she was female.

After deciding against teaching, she was appointed Secretary of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies in 1907. She married lawyer Brian Ashby in 1910. Their only child, a son, Michael, was born in 1914.

Ashby had a track record of flying the Liberal flag in some less hopeful constituencies that included 1918 Birmingham Ladywood, 1922 and 1923 Richmond, Surrey, 1924 Watford, 1929 Hendon, 1935 and 1937 Hemel Hempstead and finally the Bury St Edmunds by-election, 1944.[1]

General Election 1918: Birmingham Ladywood[2]

Electorate 33,330

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Unionist 9,405 69.5
Labour John W Kneeshaw 2,572 19.0
Liberal Margery Irene Corbett Ashby 1,552 11.5
Majority 6,833 50.5
Turnout 40.6
Unionist hold Swing
General Election 1922: Richmond (Surrey)[3]

Electorate 34,719

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Independent Unionist Harry Thomas Alfred Becker 12,075 50.6
Unionist Clifford Blackburn Edgar 6,032 25.3
Liberal Margery Irene Corbett Ashby 5,765 24.1
Majority 6,043 25.3
Turnout 68.8
Unionist hold Swing
General Election 1923: Richmond (Surrey)[3]

Electorate 35,042

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Unionist Harry Thomas Alfred Becker 13,112 63.0 +12.4
Liberal Margery Irene Corbett Ashby 7,702 37.0 +12.9
Majority 26.0 +.07
Turnout 59.4 -9.4
Unionist hold Swing
General Election 1924: Watford [3]

Electorate 38,169

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Unionist Dennis Henry Herbert 15,271 54.7
Labour Herbert Henry Elvin 7,417 26.6
Liberal Margery Irene Corbett Ashby 5,205 18.7
Majority 7,854 28.1
Turnout 73.1
Unionist hold Swing
General Election 1929: Hendon[3]

Electorate 84,212

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Unionist Rt Hon. Philip Cunliffe-Lister 31,758 52.3
Labour Dr. Robert Lyons 15,434 25.5
Liberal Margery Irene Corbett Ashby 13,449 22.2
Majority 16,324 26.8
Turnout 72.0
Unionist hold Swing
General Election 1935: Hemel Hempstead[4]

Electorate 46,290

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Rt Hon. Sir John Colin Campbell Davidson 20,074 62.5 -4.7
Liberal Margery Irene Corbett Ashby 7,078 22.0 -2.6
Labour Charles William James 4,951 15.4 +7.2
Majority 12,996 40.6 -2.0
Turnout 69.3 -7.9
Conservative hold Swing -1.1
Hemel Hempstead by-election, 1937[4]

Electorate 47,281

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Viscountess Frances Joan Davidson 14,992 57.7 -4.8
Liberal Margery Irene Corbett Ashby 7,347 28.3 +6.3
Labour Charles William James 3,651 14.0 -1.4
Majority 7,645 29.4 -11.2
Turnout 55.0 -14.3
Conservative hold Swing -5.6
Bury St Edmunds by-election, 1944 [2]

Electorate

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Lt-Col. Edgar Mayne Keatinge 11,705 56.2 n/a
Independent Liberal Margery Irene Corbett Ashby 9,121 43.8 n/a
Majority 2,584 12.4 n/a
Turnout 20,828 50.8 n/a
Conservative hold Swing n/a

She served as President of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance from 1923 to 1946.[5] She received an honorary LLD at Mount Holyoke College, USA, in 1937 in recognition of her international work. In 1942 she went on a government propaganda mission to Sweden.[6]

Family[edit]

Her son, Michael Ashby (1914-2004), was a neurologist who gave evidence as an expert witness at the 1957 trial of suspected serial killer John Bodkin Adams.[7]

Archives[edit]

The archives of Margery Corbett Ashby are held at The Women's Library at the Library of the London School of Economics, ref 7MCA

References[edit]

  1. ^ F W S Craig, British Parliamentary Election Results 1918-1949; Political Reference Publications, Glasgow 1949
  2. ^ a b British Parliamentary Election Results 1918-1949, FWS Craig
  3. ^ a b c d British Parliamentary Election Results 1918-1949, F W S Craig
  4. ^ a b British parliamentary election results 1918-1949, Craig, F. W. S.
  5. ^ Law, Cheryl. Women, A Modern Political Dictionary. I.B. Tauris, 200. ISBN 1-86064-502-X
  6. ^ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  7. ^ Cullen, Pamela V., A Stranger in Blood: The Case Files on Dr John Bodkin Adams, London, Elliott & Thompson, 2006, ISBN 1-904027-19-9

External links[edit]