With all the clamour building up for the Will and Kate show, today’s post is a kind of antidote to the sentimental vision of Britain the media will be churning out. Bessie Braddock was no ‘people’s princess’ – just a hard-working socialist who wanted to lift her people out of poverty. Much derided by the national press for her larger-than-life persona, she understood her role as a constituency MP (for Exchange division) and was not afraid of speaking her mind. She had been tutored in her politics by her firebrand mother, who started taking Bessie to political meetings while she was still a baby. (Bessie remembered standing on St Georges Plateau as an eleven year-old listening to Tom Mann’s oration during the 1911 General Transport Strike).
The photograph was taken in Soho Square in 1954. The caption reveals the other woman as Elizabeth McGuinness and her son, Peter, aged two, standing in the rubble to the rear of their Soho Square house.
This weekend (Saturday and Sunday) is the Big History Show at St George’s Hall. I have a table selling a substantial number of old and rare books and maps about Liverpool (I am reducing my library). Dozens of bargains to be had and some very interesting out of print titles. Definitely worth a visit for the many other organisations and talks.

Battling Bessie in Soho Square, 1954

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