Fanny Deakin and A J Cook, Newcastle-under-Lyme

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Description:Fanny Deakin is pictured here A J Cook, trade unionist and miners' leader. This photograph may well have been taken during the General Strike of 1926, when they led a march of 200 or 300 miners through Wolsanton and Newcastle-under-Lyme. A J Cook stayed at Fanny's Silverdale home.

Born Fanny Rebecca Davenport in the mining village of Silverdale in 1883, into a large, poor family, Fanny Deakin was a trailblazing activist and politician who sought to right the injustices and inequalities she experienced while growing up. She was the first woman to be elected onto Wolstanton Council as a Labour member in 1923. She was re-elected in 1927, this time as a Communist candidate: her visits to the Soviet Union in 1927 and 1930 earned her the affectionate nickname of 'Red Fanny.' In 1934 she became a County Councillor, continuing to fight for improved maternity and childcare services.

In 1931 her husband Noah was seriously injured while working at Leycett Colliery. He never fully recovered, and Noah's experience inspired her to campaign for better compensation for injured miners. She spent nine month's in jail at Winson Green Prison, Birmingham after being found guilty of perjury after giving an alibi for a political ally charged with inciting a riot. On her release she regained her seat and later a major achievement was the opening of the Fanny Deakin Maternity Home in Chesterton, Newcastle-under-Lyme in 1947.

When Noah died in 1951, Fanny withdrew from public life. She died in 1968, leaving a legacy which included greatly improved conditions and support for expectant mothers, better care for children and a new hospital.

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Donor ref:NM.2017.157.215 (22/38027)

Source: Brampton Museum and Art Gallery, Newcastle under Lyme

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