Zoe Bounds, Chair of York Breast Friends

After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013, and in response to the lack of non-medical based support in the York area for those with a breast cancer diagnosis, Zoe and her friend Rachel founded York Breast Friends. They believe that peer support is very important, having received “amazing support” from an online forum following […]

Norah Gurney, Archivist

Norah Kathleen May Gurney, nee Dewar (1921 – 1974) was the second Director of the Borthwick Institute for Archives in York..   She was born in 1921 in London, the daughter of Frank J. Dewar and Mabel M. Mulholland. After graduating in modern history at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, she worked for naval intelligence during the Second World War. […]

Mary Sessions and Margaret Sessions – Printers, Editor and Author

Mary Sessions (1841 – 1926) was married to William Sessions who died at the age of just 43 in 1886.  By then he had established himself in a printing business in York which he had bought in 1865.   When he died, Mary led the business until their son was of an age to take the helm.  This involved a transformative move to larger premises to accommodate bigger (and […]

Jeannie Mercer, Magistrate

Jeannie Mercer (1880 – 1969) was sworn in as a magistrate in September 1920, one of the first women on the York bench. A schoolteacher, she had moved to the city with her husband, John (who is listed in the 1920 York Directory as a plumber with a business in Scarcroft Road). Her appointment had […]

Dr Frances Charlotte Naish, pioneering medic

Charlotte Naish (1908 – 1959) spent much of her working life in York contributing to the development of medical services and knowledge. Born to parents Lucy Naish, a lecturer in osteology, and Albert Ernest Naish, a professor of medicine, Charlotte was one of the first women to study at and receive a degree from Cambridge […]

Sue Lister and Ann Murray

Ann and Sue were the first same-sex couple in York to be joined in a Civil Partnership in the pilot scheme of 2003. Sue was born in Leeds in 1945. Her father joined the R.A.F. and was posted to India where Sue and her mother joined him in 1946. Though the British had to leave at the partition of […]

Lucy Macbean Ross, Medical Officer and Anaesthetist

Lucy Macbean Ross (1887-1932) was born in London where her father was manager of the London branch of the Commercial Bank of Scotland. When he died the family moved to Tain in Scotland where their mother came from. After school, Lucy studied medicine at Glasgow University and she graduated in 1912. Her older sister Elizabeth […]

Maud Sellers, Guild Member

Maud Sellers (1861-1939) was the first female member of The Company of Merchant Adventurers of the City of York in nearly 400 years; she was made an Honorary Member in 1913 and became the Honorary Curator of the Hall in 1918. Born in Harrogate and educated at Newnham College, Cambridge, she obtained her doctorate in […]

Thea Jacob, Creator of ‘Song Box’

Thea was born in Sydney, Australia in 1961 and came to the UK in 1974. She obtained an MA in Botany and postgraduate diplomas in Countryside Conservation and Crop Protection. She then worked in agricultural research in Oxfordshire and moved to York in 1994 with her family. She sang in school and University choirs and later studied singing […]

Iris Lemare, Composer

Lemare, Iris Margaret Elsie (1902–1997) was the first professional British woman conductor, and also a keen supporter of the music of British composers. She was the first woman to conduct the BBC Symphony Orchestra (in 1936, and 1937) – which caused a stir in the press. Educated at the Royal College of Music, she attended […]