Helen Cordiner – Labour Party Activist and Social Reformer

For our latest blog, we caught up with WESWWHN Treasurer, June Hannam. June was one of the speakers at our AGM in December 2020, when she spoke to us about her research into Helen Cordiner, a Bath Labour Party activist and social reformer between the wars.

Hallo, June, and welcome to the blog. First of all, tell us a little about yourself.  

I worked for many years at Bristol Polytechnic, subsequently University of the West of England, where I was always keen to promote women’s history through teaching, research and membership of the Women’s History Network, both locally and nationally. My research and publications focused on socialist women and feminism from the 1880s to c1930s, and publications include Isabella Ford, 1855-1924 (Oxford, Blackwell, 1989); Socialist Women; Britain c1880s-1920s (with WESWWN Committee Member Karen Hunt) (Routledge, 2002); and Feminism, (Harlow, Longman Pearson, 2012).

Since I retired, my research has had a more local focus on Bristol. I’ve looked at the women’s movement, the suffrage campaign and the Independent Labour Party during and after the First World War and have published a pamphlet for Bristol Radical History Group on Mabel Tothill: Feminist, Socialist, Pacifist. I’m treasurer of WESWWHN and, with Kath Holden, organize the Larkhall History Society in Bath. And I’ve been able to spend more time on history projects in Bath: I’m a trustee of the Museum of Bath at Work and a patron of the Cleveland Pools restoration project.