Archives Centre acquires the papers of its first female politician, Florence Horsbrugh

Florence Horsbrugh was elected MP for Dundee in 1931 and became one of the most successful Conservative women parliamentarians before Margaret Thatcher. She served in the Health and Food Ministries during the Second World War, where she coordinated the evacuation of women and schoolchildren from major cities, and as Education Secretary from 1951 to 1954. She was denied the status of Cabinet Minister in Churchill’s government until September 1953, when she became the first Conservative woman to hold the position. Her difficult brief involved implementing cuts to the Education budget at the same time as overseeing the raising of the school leaving age, and dealing with the effects of overcrowding in schools caused by the baby boom. The role proved damaging to her political reputation, and she left office in October 1954. Upon her retirement from backbench politics in 1959, she became one of the first women life peers in the House of Lords.

  • Read more about Florence Horsbrugh’s life in this blog for International Women’s Day.

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