Dora Gaitskell, Baroness Gaitskell

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Anna Dora Gaitskell, Baroness Gaitskell (née Creditor; 25 April 1901 – 1 July 1989) was a British Labour Party politician[1] and wife of Hugh Gaitskell, leader of the Labour Party 1955–63.

Early life[edit]

She was born near Riga, Latvia, then part of Russia, the eldest of four sisters and a brother. Her father, Leon Creditor was a Hebrew scholar and writer. They emigrated to Britain in 1903 or soon after, arriving in Stepney, London. She was educated at Coborn High School for Girls in Bow, east London.[2] She abandoned a career in medicine to marry Isaac Frost, a lecturer in physiology, on 15 March 1921. They had a son, Raymond, in 1925. They divorced in 1937.[2]

Political career[edit]

She had joined the Labour Party at the age of 16. She met Hugh Gaitskell in Fitzrovia, London. Gaitskell had taken a teaching post at University College, London. They lived together until after her divorce when they married at Hampstead town hall on 9 April 1937. They had two daughters Julia, 1939, and Cressida, 1942.[2]

She was a delegate at the UN General Assembly and member of the All Party Committee for Human Rights from 1977 to 1989. She was also Trustee of the Anglo-German Federation.[1] She remained loyal to the Labour Party when most of her husband's supporters left to form the Social Democratic Party.[2]

On 23 January 1964, she was made a life peer with the title Baroness Gaitskell, of Egremont in the County of Cumberland.[3] Two years later she received an honorary degree as Doctor of Law from the University of Leeds.[1]

She outlived Hugh Gaitskell by 26 years after his death in January 1963, living until July 1989 and the age of 88.[1] She died at the Gaitskell home, 18 Frognal Gardens, Hampstead.


  1. ^ a b c d "Centre for Advancement of Women in Politics". Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d William Rodgers: Gaitskell , (Anna) Dora, Baroness Gaitskell (1901–1989) rev. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, accessed 17 March 2013
  3. ^ "No. 43228". The London Gazette. 24 January 1964. p. 739.