Hetty Bower

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Hetty Bower (née Rimel; 28 September 1905 – 12 November 2013)[1] was a British political activist and suffragette, known for devoting her life to political campaigning since the early 1920s. Before the founding of the UK NHS, she said, "Families were forced to choose between buying medicine for their children or a loaf of bread... We must never ever go back to those days.[2] She marched against welfare cuts, austerity and the closure of Whittington Hospital in North London.


Bower was born in 1905 in Dalston, East London, when King Edward VII was the monarch and women were not given the right to vote in general elections. She was the seventh of ten children, and worked in schools, fashion, business and cinema. She founded the first women's association. As she grew older, she was inspired to campaign by her sister, Cissie Rimel. In 1923, Bower joined the Labour Party at the age of 17. As a Labour party member, Bower participated in the 1926 General Strike and the Battle of Cable Street in 1936.[3] Her husband was Reginald Bower.

During World War II, she ran a refugee hostel for people departing Czechoslovakia. She was also a founding member of the Campaign For Nuclear Disarmament, better known as CND, in 1957.[4] In her remaining years, she was invited to several political campaigning events.[5]

She enjoyed opera and liked listening to Caruso.

She was 108 when she died, two months after giving a speech at a labour conference and campaigning for peace and equal rights. Her last words were "Ban the bomb for ever".[2]


  1. ^ "Hetty Bower (obituary)". The Independent. 16 September 2013. p. 48. 
  2. ^ a b Jones, Ros Wynne (14 November 2013). "Hetty Bower vowed to campaign until her final breath - her last words were ‘Ban the bomb for ever’". 
  3. ^ "Tributes flood in as ‘tireless campaigner’ Hetty Bower dies aged 108". Ham&High. Retrieved 16 November 2013. 
  4. ^ "Veteran peace campaigner dies aged 108". The Haringey Advertiser. Retrieved 16 November 2013. 
  5. ^ "Hetty Bower vowed to campaign until her final breath - her last words were ‘Ban the bomb for ever’". The Mirror. Retrieved 16 November 2013.