Queer Places:
42 Woodstock Rd, Golders Green, London NW11 8EP, UK

Mary Macarthur.jpgMary Reid Anderson (née Macarthur; 13 August 1880 – 1 January 1921) was the first woman National Federation of Women Workers founder in 1906. Her name and picture (and those of 58 other women and men's suffrage supporters) are on the plinth of the statue of Millicent Fawcett in Parliament Square, London, unveiled in 2018.

She was a Scottish suffragist and trades unionist. She was the general secretary of the Women's Trade Union League and was involved in the formation of the National Federation of Women Workers and National Anti-Sweating League.[1] In 1910, Macarthur led the women chain makers of Cradley Heath to victory in their fight for a minimum wage and led a strike to force employers to implement the rise.[2]About 1901, Macarthur became a trade unionist after hearing a speech made by John Turner about how badly some workers were being treated by their employers. Mary became secretary of the Ayr branch of the Shop Assistants' Union, and her interest in this union led to her work for the improvement of women's labour conditions. In 1902 Mary became friends with Margaret Bondfield who encouraged her to attend the union's national conference where Macarthur became the first woman[3] to be elected to the union's national executive.[4][5]

Macarthur was born on 13 August 1880 in Glasgow, the eldest of six children to John Duncan Macarthur, the owner of a drapery business, and his wife, Anne Elizabeth Martin.[6] She attended Glasgow Girls' High School, and, after editing the school magazine, decided she wanted to become a full-time writer. After her Glasgow schooling she spent time studying in Germany before returning to Scotland to work for her father as a bookkeeper.[6] After becoming politically active, Mary met and eventually married William Crawford Anderson, the chairman of the executive committee of the Independent Labour Party, in 1911, ten years after he first proposed. Their first child died at birth in 1913, and daughter Anne Elizabeth was born in 1915. William died four years later in the 1919 influenza epidemic. Mary herself died of cancer after two years, in Golders Green, London on 1st January 1921, at the age of 40.[3]

On the eve of International Women's Day 2017, a blue plaque was unveiled at her home at 42 Woodstock Road in Golders Green, where she lived while she was at her most prominent.[18]

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