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Isabella Ford: Yorkshire’s forgotten leader

Isabella Ford, socialist, trade unionist, suffragist and pacifist.

Isabella Ford is one of the most remakable and interesting individuals Yorkshire has ever produced. For much of her life she was a well-known public figure who could draw large audiences for her speeches and command the respect of women and men across the political spectrum. Yet today her contribution to the social, economic and political changes that took place in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries is largely forgotten, even in her Yorkshire home.

Isabella had a national and international profile, but she lived all her life in Leeds, sharing the house at Adel Grange with her sisters Bessie and Emily. Everyone who was anyone came to Leeds sooner or later to visit them, and they hosted guests as disparate as the American suffragist Susan B Anthony, the Russian anarchist Peter Kropotkin and the early gay rights activist Edward Carpenter, who became a close personal friend. Continue reading