A Blue Plaque commemorating the the Willmer Sisters, who were among the first female newspaper editors in the country in the early 1900s, was unveiled outside their former home in Wellington Rd on September 19. Laura and Jeannie Willmer were editors of the Wallasey News and Birkenhead News. They were also influential in the Suffrage movement and campaigned alongside the non-militant National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS). The plaque, commissioned by the Oxton Society, was unveiled by Liverpool Echo editor Maria Breslin who became the first female editor of the 141-year-old newspaper in July. Rhiannon Evans, chair of the Oxton Society, said: “The Blue Plaque Scheme, which operates all over the country, celebrates the links between notable local figures of the past and the building in which they lived. It was unusual for women in the 1900s to take control of a newspaper but the Willmer sisters were pioneers and were passionate about serving the local community.”
Shabbar Jaffar and Anu Garrib, the owners of the house, who contributed to the plaque said: “We’re very privileged and honoured to be living in a house with such a rich history, linked to women’s rights and equality.”
A booklet, by Oxton Society Member Jo Hipps, describing the sisters’ lives and the wider Suffragette Movement in Oxton is available from the Oxton Society.
Further details of the Willmer Sisters and the text of the speech by Maria Breslin can be found here.