Nellie Cressall Way, E3

Place Name

Named after Nellie Frances Cressall (nee Wilson) (November 23, 1882 – 1973), a suffragette, Labour activist and, in 1943, made first female Mayor of Poplar. Her interest in politics began in 1907 when she and her husband George joined the Independent Labour Party. Five years later she met Sylvia Pankhurst and became an active suffragette. Along with Pankhurst, Keir Hardie, Julia Scurr, Millie Lansbury and George Lansbury she established the East London Federation of Suffragettes (ELF) an organisation that combined socialism with a demand for women’s suffrage. In November 1919 she and her husband were elected to Poplar Council following a Labour landslide. On September 1, 1921, despite her being six months pregnant, Cressall and five other women councillors was sent to prison for failing to implement a tax they considered unfair. At the time poorer boroughs argued that richer areas such as Kensington and Westminster were not contributing enough to poor relief. In response they refused to pay precepts for the London County Council and the central government agencies such as the Metropolitan Police. She was later released on health grounds and a few weeks later the Poplar Rates Rebellion succeeded and the others were released. She continued as a Labour councillor and activist remaining in the East End until her death.

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