Ida Copeland

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Ida Copeland
Member of Parliament
for Stoke on Trent, Stoke division
In office
27 October 1931 – 13 November 1935
Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin
Preceded by Cynthia Mosley
Succeeded by Ellis Smith
Majority 6,654 votes
Chairman of Stoke Division Women's Unionist Association
In office
Chairman of the Staffordshire Anglo Polish Society
In office
1943 – 19??
Personal details
Born 1875
Died 29 June 1964
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Richard Ronald John Copeland
Residence Trelissick
Occupation Envoy
Religion Church of England

Ida Copeland OStJ FRSA (née Fenzi; born 1875, died 29 June 1964) was an Anglo-Italian British politician, born and raised in Florence, Italy.

Family and early life[edit]

Great granddaughter of Cavalier Emanuele Fenzi,Senator of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, a banker (Banco Fenzi), granddaughter of Cavalier Sebastiano Fenzi and his wife Emily Verity and twin daughter of Cavalier Camillo Fenzi (born 1852, died 1883), and his wife, Evelyne Isabella, daughter of Sir Douglas Strutt Galton and Marianne (née Nicholson), a first cousin of Florence Nightingale. On the death of her father she and her brother Leone inherited the Villa di Rusciano designed by Brunelleschi for the Dukes of Urbino. In 1898, her mother married Leonard Daneham Cunliffe, an influential London financier, Governor of the Bank of England, President of the Hudson's Bay Company and one of the major investors in the Harrods department stores.[1] In 1907 Cunliffe joined HBC's Board, replacing the retiring Sir Sandford Fleming. Two years later Cunliffe invited Harrods' Managing Director Sir Richard Burbidge to accompany him to Canada to inspect the Company's retail business. Upon his death in August 1937, Cunliffe left a considerable bequest to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.

Leonard Daneham Cunliffe left to the Fitzwilliam a collection whose breadth and splendour enriched almost every department. It ranged from ancient and Renaissance bronzes, paintings, drawings, prints and portrait miniatures to enamels, furniture, textiles, pottery and metal plate, including an exquisite Nautilus shell cup made in London c. 1585-1586.
Cunliffe's treasures provided a grand finale to Sir Sydney Cockerell's Directorship. "A very important bequest has come to the Fitzwilliam", he wrote in September 1937, "just in time to be included in my spoils".

In 1915, Ida Fenzi wed Richard Copeland, Esq[3][4][5] (1884–1958), Staffordshire, grandson of William Taylor Copeland,[6] Mayor of London,[7] president and chairman of the Spode-Copeland firm of bone china manufacturers in Staffordshire, potters to the royal family since 1806.

Girl Guides[edit]

Copeland was an active participant in the success of the Girl Guides and was member of the International Council of Girl Guides from 1920–28 and 1940-1948. Throughout her life she was dedicated to all forms of social and welfare causes. Funding and campaigning alongside Baden-Powell for the development of the Girl Guide movement. She served as a division commissioner for the north-west of the county from 1918, while her husband Ronald was a county commissioner for the Boy Scout Association. Later the Copeland family donated the Kibblestone Hall Estate[8] to the Staffordshire Scouting Movement to be used as a Scout camp.

Elected as MP[edit]

Elected chairman of the Stoke division of the Women's Unionist Association[9] in 1920, she was chosen as Conservative candidate for the Stoke division of Stoke on Trent in 1931 for the general election. Facing the opposition of Sir Oswald Mosley, leader of the New Party for the constituency, Copeland's popularity and involvement in local politics and welfare proved fruitful. Mosley maintained strong connections with the Nazi Party in Germany. Lady Cynthia Mosley, had won Stoke for Labour in 1929.[10] Although Mosley spent less than a week campaigning in the constituency, directing his efforts instead at a national campaign, he met enthusiastic support there, especially amongst younger voters. However the electoral tide ran in Copeland's favour. Her husband's position as a leading china manufacturer in the Potteries, and her 'moderate and straightforward appeal' won her an audience even outside factory gates.[11] She won by an impressive majority of 6654 votes. She was the 25th woman to be elected to the House of Commons.[12]

In May 1932, Copeland made her maiden speech on import duties, which she approached "entirely from the point of view of the pottery industry".[13] It was an industry under threat from foreign competition and she welcomed the protection that tariffs afforded. She believed that overseas manufacturers paid starvation wages to their workers, and it was with a critical eye on the opposition benches that she asked:

Can we allow goods manufactured under those conditions to come into this country and lower the standard of living of our own people? I say 'no', and I firmly believe that, if we raise these tariffs, the time will come when our industry will be on its feet again.' '[14][15]

She made another plea for protection of the china industry in December 1933 after reports that Australian and New Zealand markets were being flooded by cheap Japanese goods, including skilful imitations of British wares: ‘the competition is so severe that it threatens to sweep the English Potteries right out of those countries’.[16] She wanted the British government to compel the dominion governments, in their own interests as much as in Britain's, to take action to prevent this "dumping". This was, though, a sensitive matter and the official response was sympathetic without being specific.



  • Served on the International Council of Girl Guides from 1920 to 1928 and in 1940,
  • Division Commissioner for N.W. Staffordshire Division of Girl Guides from 1918;
  • Chairman of Stoke Division Women's Unionist Association, 1920;
  • Chairman of the Staffordshire Anglo Polish Society 1943-;
  • President of the Staffordshire Allotment Holders Association in 1948-;
  • President of the Women's Advisory Council, Truro Division 1955.
  • MStJ: Sister of Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem, 1949.[17]
  • Polish Gold Cross of Merit, 1952.
  • Donor of the Trelissick Gardens Estate to the National Trust in 1955.[18]


  1. ^ Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) profile
  2. ^ "The Fitzwilliam Museum: European Ceramics and Precious Metalwork". 31 October 2008. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  3. ^ D.J. Jeremy, ed., Dictionary of Business Biography, 5 vols. (1984–86)
  4. ^ J. Burke, A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland, 4 vols. (1833–38); new edn as A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland, 3 vols. [1843–49]
  5. ^ Who Was Who (1900–1958)
  6. ^ P.A. Halfpenny, ed., Spode-Copeland, 1733–1983: potters to the royal family since 1806 (1983) [exhibition catalogue, City Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent, 1983]
  7. ^ A. B. Beaven, ed., The Aldermen of the City of London, temp. Henry III–[1912], 2 volumes (1908–13)
  8. ^ Stone Hist. and Civic Soc. No., PT00389
  9. ^ The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  10. ^ R. Skidelsky, Oswald Mosley (1990)
  11. ^ The Times, 23 October 1931
  12. ^ photograph, repro. in The Times (29 October 1931)
  13. ^ Hansard 5C, vol. 265, col. 1204
  14. ^ Hansard 5C, vol. 265, col. 1206
  15. ^ Hansard 5C Parliamentary debates, Commons, 5th ser. (1909)
  16. ^ Hansard 5C, vol. 283, col. 1790
  17. ^ "No. 38503". The London Gazette. 4 January 1949. p. 82. 
  18. ^ R. Fedden and R. Joekes, The National Trust guide (1973)

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Cynthia Mosley
Member of Parliament for Stoke
Succeeded by
Ellis Smith