Mrs WM Blackburn

Photo reference number: 1352

(Photo and text from "Who's Who In Newport" 1920.)

Blackburn, Mrs. W. M. (nee Ada Tovey) was born in Bristol in 1872, and was educated locally. Her grandfather was the first to cultivate fuschias in this country, and was the pioneer in the introduction of the spiral staircase. She took up nursing as a profession, being trained at University College Hospital, London. Was married on the 8th January, 1897, to Mr. W. M. Blackburn, of this town. As Mayoress during her husband's term of office - which commenced on 9th November, 1909 - her successful work will long be remembered in connection with the organisation of the large fete and gala on Shaftesbury Park. Thanks to the initiative and enthusiasm displayed by the Mayoress on that occasion, the following charities benefited to a considerable extent: The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, the Newport and Monmouthshire Blind Aid Society, the Llandevaud County Home Change for the Blind, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Infantile Health Central Committee, the Children's Home, conducted by the Sisters of St. John the Baptist Community (Clewer), and the Newport Poor Cripples' Aid Society. Mrs. Blackburn has also done a good deal of war work, and organised two fetes for the Comrades of the Great War, being successful in securing a visit from the Prime Minister (Right Hon. D. Lloyd George, M.P.) on August Bank Holiday, 1918, also General Townshend of Kut in August, 1919. Was organiser of the amateur week at the Lyceum for three years in succession. Took a leading part in connection with the Welsh Industries Exhibition at Newport, 5th. 6th and 7th October, 1910, when her husband was chairman of the General Committee. As Mayoress, Mrs. Blackburn was specially thanked by her Grace the Duchess of Beaufort (chairman of the Ladies' Committee) for the warm interest which she manifested in this function, thereby largely contributing to the success of the Exhibition. Mrs. Blackburn took a leading part in organsiing the amateur week at the Lyceum in February, 1920, in aid of the Church of England Waifs and Strays' Society, which realised about 600. Her daughter Dorothy, born in 1898, has been of great assistance to her mother in her organising work. As Mayoress, Mrs. Blackburn was chosen to present to Princess Mary (now her Majesty the Queen) a purse of gold from the Newport Branch of the Girls' Friendly Society at the national function, which was held at Queen's Hall, Langham place, London. She also entertained the guests at the opening of the new Technical Institute in Clarence place, 29th September, 1910. She likewise entertained the delegates who attended the Conference of the National Federation of Assistant Teachers, held in Newport 23rd and 24th September, 1910. Address : Holly Bank, Fields Park road.