Friday 13th March 2013 is International Women’s Day, so it was fitting, I thought, that ‘Liverpool Picturebook’ should pay some small tribute to the ladies in history that have made out city great. But, where to start, just some basic research on famous Liverpool women led me to over 150 names in just under an hour, all of them had made a contribution to the city in one way or another, both great and small. Some like Kitty Wilkinson and Bessie Braddock are already featured on this site as well as others like entertainer Cilla Black, the city has produced many famous daughters, Beryl Bainbridge, who was one of Liverpool’s most unique voices, with her comedies and her reimagining’s of historical events and characters immortalised in a 40-year writing career. The list goes on and on, but of all these women one for me shone through as a worthy candidate for this article.
Eleanor Florence Rathbone was born on 12 May 1872 she was the daughter of the social reformer William Rathbone VI and his second wife, Emily Lyle. Her family encouraged her to concentrate on social issues. Eleanor went to Kensington High School, London, and later studied in Somerville College. After graduation, she worked alongside her father to investigate social and industrial conditions in Liverpool until William Rathbone died in 1902.