Barbara Ayrton-Gould

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Barbara Ayrton-Gould
Member of Parliament for Hendon North
In office
5 July 1945 – 22 February 1950
Preceded by Constituency established
Succeeded by Sir Ian Orr-Ewing
Personal details
Born Barbara Bodichon Ayrton
(1886-06-01)1 June 1886
Kensington, London
Died 14 October 1950(1950-10-14) (aged 64)
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Gerald Gould
Children Michael Ayrton

Barbara Bodichon Ayrton-Gould (née Ayrton; June 1886 – 14 October 1950) was a Labour politician and suffragist in the United Kingdom.

Background and family life[edit]

She was born in Kensington, London, the daughter of prominent electrical engineers and inventors Hertha Marks Ayrton and William Edward Ayrton. She married the writer Gerald Gould (1885–1936);[1] the artist Michael Ayrton (1921–1975) was their son.

Suffrage work[edit]

She became a member of the Women's Social and Political Union in 1906 and was a full-time organizer for them by 1909.[2] She wrote the pro-suffrage pamphlet The Democratic Plea.[2] She participated in smashing store windows in the West End of London in March of 1912 for suffrage, after which she served time in prison.[2] In 1913, she went to France so she would not be arrested again.[2] She left the Women's Social and Political Union in 1914 due to frustration with their leaders.[2] But on 6 February 1914 she and her husband became two of the founders of the United Suffragists, which had male and female members.[2] The United Suffragists ended their campaign when 1918's Representation of the People Act gave women limited suffrage in the United Kingdom.[2]

Political office[edit]

Barbara Ayrton-Gould became a member of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party in 1929,[3] and served as vice-Chair in 1938 and Chair of the Labour Party from 1939 to 1940.[1] As from 1922, she made several attempts to get elected as MP. During the general election of 1929 she missed victory in Northwich by only four votes.[4] Finally, Gould was elected Member of Parliament for newly created Hendon North constituency in Labour's landslide victory of 1945.[1] The forerunner constituency, Hendon had since 1935 grown considerably in population (and to some extent number of homes) and was split in two; it had been solidly won by Conservative candidates since 1910, however the north division fell to Gould's campaign, a feat not to be repeated until 1997 by a Labour candidate.

Gould held the seat until losing the next general election (in 1950), when it was gained by Ian Orr-Ewing (Con).[3] She withdrew as prospective candidate for the constituency in September because of ill health.[3] A month later Gould died, eight months after leaving the House of Commons.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "FORMER M.P.-Death of Mrs. Barbara Ayrton Gould". Western Morning News. 16 October 1950. Retrieved 12 October 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (subscription required (help)). 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g 'Suffragette': The Real Women Who Inspired the Film; Bio., 23 October 2015, by Sara Kettler
  3. ^ a b c "Mrs Ayrton-Gould Withdraws". Dundee Evening Telegraph. 5 September 1950. Retrieved 12 October 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (subscription required (help)). 
  4. ^ "THIRTEEN WOMEN MEMBERS". Gloucestershire Echo. 1 June 1929. Retrieved 15 October 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (subscription required (help)). 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Hendon North
Succeeded by
Ian Orr-Ewing
Party political offices
Preceded by
George Dallas
Chair of the Labour Party
Succeeded by
James Walker