A grand green clock hangs off the side of an otherwise unremarkable block of flats in memory of a quite remarkable woman.

Minnie Lansbury was a leading suffragette and also an alderman in the first Labour-led council in the Metropolitan Borough of Poplar.

Minnie started her adult career as a teacher, and in 1915 joined the local suffragettes, being elected as elected alderman on Poplar’s first Labour council in 1919. As her date of birth is uncertain, it’s possible that she was elected while aged 29, at a time when suffrage for women only applied to those aged over 30.

In 1921, she was one of six women and twenty-four men on Poplar Council who, along with their male colleagues, were jailed in Holloway jail for six weeks for refusing to levy full rates in the poverty-stricken area.

Fifteen thousand people marched to Holloway to support the jailed women councillors with trade union banners much in evidence. However, due to her imprisonment, she developed pneumonia and died in 1922, aged just 32.

In her memory, the Minnie Lansbury Memorial Clock was put up in the 1930s on Electric House in Bow Road.

In May 2006 Tower Hamlets Council, who own the clock approached the Heritage of London Trust for a grant to restore the now faulty clock, and a public appeal supported by the by the Jewish East End Celebration Society was organised to raise funds.

The restored clock was unveiled on 16th October 2008 at a cost of £12,000.

There are now two plaques to the clock on the corner of the building, one original and the more recent to celebrate its restoration.

(Yes, the actress Angela Lansbury is the daughter of Minnie’s husband Edgar Lansbury)


Be the first to know what's on in London, and the latest news published on ianVisits.

You can unsubscribe at any time from my weekly emails.

Tagged with: ,

This website has been running now for over a decade, and while advertising revenue contributes to funding the website, it doesn't cover the costs. That is why I have set up a facility with DonorBox where you can contribute to the costs of the website and time invested in writing and research for the news articles.

It's very similar to the way The Guardian and many smaller websites are now seeking to generate an income in the face of rising costs and declining advertising.

Whether it's a one-off donation or a regular giver, every additional support goes a long way to covering the running costs of this website, and keeping you regularly topped up doses of Londony news and facts.

If you like what you read on here, then please support the website here.

Thank you

  1. mauricereed says:

    Thanks for that, an interesting point of London’s history.

  2. Janine Booth says:

    Hi. This article would benefit from a couple of factual corrections. If you’d like some guidance on this, please email me.

Home >> News >> Architecture