Ada Moore – Councillor, Advocate for Women, Conservative

Ada Moore was active in politics and social matters locally, in Sheffield and regionally. She lived firstly in Fulwood and later in Ranmoor with her husband, Frank, and their family. She was an energetic and resourceful woman with a sense of humour she used effectively. Having set out organising at a local level, she took on roles in the city and nationally.

A note about sources

The primary source for this biography has been Sheffield newspapers. In the period covered (190-1940) there were two publications, the Telegraph which produced a daily and an evening edition and the Independent. Politically, the Telegraph had always supported the conservatives whilst the Independent was more left leaning. There was a mix of ways in which news was gathered. Many items in the papers came from the associations themselves implying the papers were reactive, although later on the papers started being more proactive with statements such as ‘the Independent’s reporter asked Councillor Moore” seeking reactions to statements and occurrences being reported. By the end of the period the papers had combined.

When Ada Moore was first elected to the Council, the Independent focussed on the bad behaviour of the male councillors towards her, but the tone of the paper’s reports changed over time. But generally, the newspapers were respectful, there is no criticism of her as a councillor in either paper.

Find My Past has scanned Sheffield papers up to 1940. So this biography finishes at the start of World War 2.

Sources covering her origins and family were national and local data sets such as census records, registers of births, marriages and deaths and street directories.

Family and Background

Ada’s Family

Ada was born in Manchester to Christopher (born 1817) and his second wife Mary (born 1843). She grew up in a family where involvement in social organisation and a concept of public engagement was strong. Her father Christopher had left Kirkby Stephen as a young man and travelled to Manchester. There he established a company manufacturing weighing machinery. He married Mary Fawcett in 1839 with whom had three children and after her death married a second time to Mary Hogarth. Ada and her brother Ernest were children of this later marriage.

Typical certificate of the Rechabites

Christopher, when not developing a successful business, was a leading member of the Independent Order of Rechabites having joined as young man.

The Rechabite Order had been founded in 1935 in Salford so Christopher joined a young organisation. He quickly rose through the various levels of organisation becoming ‘District Chief Ruler’ in 1851 and district treasurer between 1861 and 1866. Nationally he was a director for over 40 years and national treasurer for 34 years. Christopher travelled widely, speaking at many temperance meetings where he sometimes met members of the aristocracy, such as at Heywood in 1896. He became known affectionately as the ‘Grand Old Man of the Rechabites’ and one newspaper report from Watford ascribed the founding of the entire movement to him! William Moore, who was Ada’s half-brother and a quarter of a century her senior, displayed similar social engagement though as a more establishment figure. William was both a magistrate and an alderman in Manchester. According to a pen portrait in the Sheffield Telegraph at the end of 1930, Ada was the aunt of Christopher Needham who was for 6 years from 1912, the Liberal MP for Manchester South West. Although perhaps strictly true, the MP’s mother, Elizabeth, was another half-sister, this time from her father’s first marriage and there was a considerable age difference with Elizabeth being 36 years older than Ada and Christopher Needham was Ada’s elder by 11 years. But it is interesting to note that Needham was a member of the Liberal Party that had introduced the first old age pensions in 1911. Ada was part of a wide family whose social concern was well established.

Ada Hodgson ‘was educated at The Manse, Bedford. by Mrs. J. H. Keynes, wife of the Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University’ reported the pen portrait. But a brief check of census records did not reveal any people called Keynes in Bedford either 1891 or 1901. At both these times, Ada was at home in Manchester. There was however J N Keynes, a university lecturer at Cambridge resident at Cambridge. John Neville Keynes was married to Florence Brown[1] who was born in Cheetham, Manchester where her father was an Independent Minister. Wikipedia’s entry for John Maynard Keynes, the economist, identifies his parents as John Neville and Florence who according to Wikipedia was ‘a local social reformer.’ The Wikipedia entry also says that the Keynes family attended a Congregational Church. It is not too fanciful to think that Ada spent time in the household of a social reformer who attended the same Christian denomination as her family.

Ada Hodgson’s home in WIlmslow

Ada absorbed all these influences from her family and her education and they influenced her throughout her life.

By the time Ada married Frank Moore in 1903, her father had died and she was living with her widowed mother, Mary, her half-sister, and brother Ernest who was by this time an insurance surveyor. The family had taken a house on Hawthorn Park in Wilmslow.

The Family Background of Ada’s husband

Ada’s husband was Frank Moore. Frank was the son of George Niccol Moore and Mary Harris Tiddy. George & Mary were married at a Baptist Chapel in London in 1866. The chapel was probably close to Mary’s home as she was born in Kennington. Thereafter, George’s occupation as a surveyor of taxes meant the family moved around the country. George and Mary’s child, called Mary, was born in Retford and Alice, their second child was born in Monmouth. Frank’s birth in 1876 happened in Brixton. The last three children of George and Mary were all born in Cheltenham. Their census records show that in 1881 they were in Gloucester and ten years later they were back in London. By 1901, George and Mary had moved to St Albans, though the census of that year recorded George as a widower.

Frank, 26, and his younger brother, Arthur, moved to Sheffield. Frank was an accountant and Arthur was an electrical engineer. In 1901 they were boarding with Thomas and Mary Cotgrave in Sharrow Vale. Mary had been born in Monmouthshire where the brothers’ sister had been born. It is likely that the Cotgraves knew the Moores before the brothers arrived in Sheffield. Sheffield at the turn of the twentieth century was a dynamic and thriving – in both 1901 and 1911 just under 40% of the male ‘heads of household’ in Fulwood had been born beyond Sheffield.

As is often the case, we do not know how Ada and Frank met. It is more likely to have been in Sheffield than Wilmslow as the Hodgsons (a fairly common name in Sheffield) probably had social or family acquaintances in the city. Whatever the circumstances, Ada and Frank were married in September 1903 the Congregational Church in Wilmslow. What honeymoon they took was short as they announced an ‘open house’ a week after the marriage at their home in Nether Edge.

Ada and Frank’s family

The Moore family home in Fulwood

Their first child, Randall, was born in 1905 and their daughter, Barbara, in 1912 by which time the family was living on Brookhouse Hill. Around 1923, the Moores moved onto Ranmoor Crescent. Randall clearly showed a desire to ‘go into farming’ and aged 17 he was working at a dairy farm in the Hope valley. It may well be that Ada’s family in Cumberland took Randall on as in September 1930 when he married Lydia Harryman, the marriage took place in the church at Torpenhow in Cumberland which is the parish church of the hamlet of Bothel. Now Bothel is the hamlet where Lydia grew up and also where Randall’s grandmother Mary was born back in 1843. Randall and Lydia stayed near her family after their marriage but sadly Randall died in 1934 back in Sheffield.

Frank and Barbara appeared in the play ‘The Bat’ at the Fulwood Guildhall, a production by the Brincliffe Dramatic Society. Barbara married John Kershaw in May 1938 at Fulwood Church and moved into Castlewood Road in Fulwood. Frank died in 1957.

Ada Moore’s Public Life

As soon as the Moores arrived in Fulwood, Ada took on the role of President of the Fulwood Young Women’s Christian Association, a role she continued into the 1920s. In 1927, she attended the ‘Council of the Northern Division’ of the YWCA, representing Sheffield. A Telegraph article two years later, listed the roles she had in the neighbourhood: Member of the Fulwood Church Guild, and an active worker for: the Mothers’ Union, the Victoria Nursing Association and the Church Army.

War Time

Ada Moore’s clear capability and organisational skills came to the fore when the First World War broke out. At the end of August 1914, the Daily Telegraph reported that the ‘Fulwood Army and Navy Aid Society’ had been formed and many residents had joined. Sewing afternoons were held every Tuesday, with Ada as secretary to the meetings. The ladies of Fulwood attended the meetings and were soon at work. The need was great, in January 1915 the ‘most pressing needs’ were for cardigan jackets, mufflers, mittens as well as shirts and socks and early in April they sent 100 garments to the central collection point at the Cutlers’ Hall. The society had to raise funds for the materials so in July 1915 they held a jumble sale which was probably more of a bazaar with an ’attractive display of plants, flowers and ferns alongside the large number of articles for sale. The sale’s success was ‘in no small degree due to the enterprising efforts of’ Mrs Laycock and Mrs Moore along with Mr Artur Hallam and Mr Hancock. The ‘Control Committee’ reported at the end of the Society’s first year that ‘upwards’ of 2500 garments had been produced, funded by donations, a concert and the jumble sale which had raised jut under £200. A year later, the Society could report that the sewing meetings had created 4700 garments such as pyjamas, shirts, socks, pants, scarves and mittens.

The garments created were in demand by local military hospitals as well as being sent to soldiers and seamen on active service. Many injured men arrived in hospitals in the UK with little or no personal possessions and needed to be clothed. Matrons of the Sheffield hospitals were often requesting a total of 1000 garments each month

With the war now lasting over three years, C H Chandler addressed an audience in the Victoria Hall in November 1917 when he reported on a visit to the Yorkshire battalions at the Front. His conclusions were that Sheffield soldiers felt forgotten and neglected by their home town. The report in the Telegraph brought a robust response from Ada Moore. She wrote that ‘Although Fulwood is only one of many supporters of the Sheffield Voluntary Organisation, it has the proud distinction of being the first of all the supporters having made over 1500 garments more than any other society.’ She then listed the other ways that Fulwood people supported servicemen from the area. Each had received two pairs of socks and a flannel shirt, ‘except of course those whose families were well able to provide them with every comfort,’ and 130 garments were given to two local officers to distribute to men in the trenches. Quite how these well-heeled families were identified is not recorded. And, further, the vicar, at his own expense, was intending to send each man a Christmas card! She finished her letter with “if all organisations have done as much for their local soldiers,” the claim of neglect was unjustified.

Lady Ellis, the Mistress Cutler, visited the Fulwood sewing party in February 1918 when again the number of garments produced was reported. “No fewer than 8,540 articles – shirts, socks dressing gowns, mittens, etc – have been made and in addition 125 parcels sent out to the ‘boys’ from Fulwood district. The society was adept at proving material for the newspapers, this article might well have been written as a press release by Ada Moore.

Ada Moore was writing to the paper again in September to report that the ‘fourth anniversary tea’ had raised £100 with donations ranging from £10 from the Wilson’s of Fulwood House (he was one of the Wilsons of the Snuff Mill company, married to the sister of James Dixon of Stumperlowe Hall) to 10 shillings collected by the Girl Guides.

With the war drawing to an end, the annual meeting for 1918 was again a time for congratulation. The Sheffield organisation had told Fulwood that it ‘easily topped’ all the other Sheffield organisations. Ada’s husband, Frank, revealed that 2.5 tons of wool and two miles of materials had been used since they started back in 1914. The Organisation was wound up June 1919 when the remaining funds (£39) were sent to St Dunstan’s Home for Disabled Soldiers. Ada Moore, was already ‘moving on’ as she was ‘unavoidably absent’ from this final meeting.

As if acting as secretary to the Fulwood Army and Navy Aid Organisation was not sufficient, Ada Moore was a member of the Mothers’ Union and active as a committee member of the Queen Victoria Nursing Association, organising a door-to-door collection around Fulwood in 1918. A flag day for the Sheffield Hospitals in October 1919 in Fulwood contributed over £66, ‘a record for the Fulwood Depot.’ This report may have been based on data provided by Ada as it also noted that “the [city] returns are not yet available.” She was fund-raising around Fulwood for the hospitals again in 1922. She was ‘instrumental in helping to raise funds for the Church Army, Missions to Seamen, and many other charitable organisations.’

Into the 1920s

Ada Moore’s work in Fulwood during the war had clearly given her an appetite for public roles and by the end of the decade, she would be a City Councillor and a member of the Board of Guardians. Nationally she was a member of the ‘Church Assembly’ the democratic forum of the Church of England. She was a woman not afraid to speak up in forums often dominated by men. When Fulwood was considering building the War Memorial, the Telegraph reported a ‘lengthy’ discussion with contributions by the Rev Worthington, Rev J Jones Vaughn, Mr Hancock, Mr Richardson, Mr Norton, Mrs Moore.

She had an association with Brightside Wesleyan Church, ‘relating some very amusing anecdotes connected with Fulwood Army and Navy Aid at a fundraising event in late 1920. She was back at the church a month later as a speaker at a fund-raising bazaar, the only woman of four people who addressed those present.

An advert in the Daily Telegraph in May 1923 announced a sale in aid of the newly formed Fulwood Scout Troop, organised by Ada Moore, and to be opened by Major General Sir Frederick Sykes, the recently elected MP for Hallam. The sale promised antique and modern goods, cake, fruit, flowers for sale, along with teas and wireless demonstrations. Unfortunately, Sykes had to send his regrets so the task was performed by James Dixon. The scout master presented Ada Moore with a bouquet of purple irises tied with purple and grey ribbons, the troop colours (which they are still to this day.)

The Dickens Fellowship was another group that attracted Ada Moore’s energies. This fellowship had a sewing guild, possibly created through Ada Moore’s agency, which promised children’s clothing for the Lord Mayor’s fund in 1922. Ada Moore was at the Fellowship’s dinner in February of that year when, responding to a toast to ‘the ladies’ thanked the sewing group for the promise and commented that, as one of the helpers with the Lord Mayor’s Depot, she knew of many cases that were too depressing and sad to relate. By June the same year Ada Moore had been elected senior vice president of the Fellowship. Fourteen years on and in a sign that attitudes were changing, it was Ada Moore who proposed the first toast to ‘The Immortal Memory’ of Dickens where as in earlier times this had been the preserve of the men.

Ada Moore was determined to take every opportunity to make inroads into areas of public life that were formally the preserve of men. 1925 saw her stand for election by the Sheffield Diocese to the House of Laity, one of the three houses of the ‘governing body’ of the Church of England, but she was unsuccessful, though a report in the Independent in February 1938 noted that Ada Moore had attended a funeral as the representative of the “National Church Assembly”. A year later she sent a report from the Assembly to the Telegraph which she signed ‘Councillor Mrs Ada Moore, Sheffield Diocese’.


As the new decade dawned, women’s right to vote was new, enfranchisement for most having occurred in 1918. The rest of course would have to wait until the end of the decade. The enthusiasm of women in Hallam for politics was evidenced by the numbers joining the Hallam Women’s Conservative Association (HWCA) after it was established in 1920. Though the social aspects of membership, the dances, the whist drives and outings, were important, the women were active in campaigning at both local and national elections.

Politically, Ada Moore was active as secretary of the HWCA. From its inception in 1920 she was its honorary secretary responsible for arranging the social events such as a ‘drive through the Dukeries’ in their first year. Two years later Ada Moore attended the Yorkshire Federation meeting as a delegate for Sheffield. She also attended a national conference that year. She had set her sights on more than organising social events.

Ada Moore was adept at getting publicity for the Association into the Telegraph. Short entries that announced a meeting in a few days’ time were followed by a report of the meeting. Notice of the annual meeting of 1925 was given in an advertisement six days before and the report appeared the day after it took place. Later that year, two paragraphs recorded a reception by the Telegraph’s directors. The second sentence told readers that those present ‘included members of the HWCA, of which Mrs Ada Moore is the hon secretary’.

The HWCA held a dinner in April 1926 when the ladies presented Ada Moore with a handsome mahogany writing case ‘as a token of appreciation of the splendid work she had done’ as secretary. This was the time when she moved into the role of Chairman (sic) of the Association. During her period of office, the Association which had grown rapidly was divided into meetings for each polling area such as Broomhill and Fulwood and competition between meetings on the number of members in each meeting was encouraged.  After six years in the role and with an increasing workload as a result of being a councillor (see below) in 1932 she resigned as chairman. In an impressive token of gratitude for her work, the Association presented her with a motor car. Those contributing to the fund included the Duchess of Norfolk, Earl Fitzwilliam, Arthur Balfour, Louis Smith (the local MP at the time) and Mrs C D Leng (widow of the one-time proprietor of the Telegraph.)

Receiving the car (1932)

Ada Moore did not limit her attentions to the local association. She was, by 1921, a member of the Yorkshire Federation of CWAs Executive, along with Mrs Arnold Spencer, who resided at Whiteley Wood Hall. She was at the National conference where the wife of Douglas Vickers, the local MP, was president and represented the HWCA at the burial of Bonar Law at Westminster Abbey in 1923. The Telegraph, always supportive of Ada Moore, was able to insert a notice in its Court and Personal column that Mrs F. R. S. Moore and Mrs Arnold Spencer had attended the National Unionists Conference and subsequently had tea with General Sir Frederick Sykes and Lady Sykes at the House of Commons. It is doubtful that this information which was inserted between paragraphs of information about the brother of an ex-King of Greece and the son of the British monarch was included in the Court and Personal column of the National Daily Telegraph!

She used her connections to promote good causes, persuading Douglas Vickers to open a Market to raise funds for the ‘Redmires Memorial Church’ (a pre-cursor of St Luke’s?) and in 1931 was able to secure the presence of the Duchess of Norfolk at the HWCA’s annual dance at the Cutler’s Hall. This ‘very vigorous’ Association provided an ‘exceedingly good selection of knitted goods’ for a stall at the voluntary hospitals’ bazaar in December 1922. The stall raised over £600.

City Councillor

In 1928 Ada Moore stood for election as a Citizen Association candidate to the Sheffield Council, The Citizen Association was a coalition that comprised former Conservative and Liberal party members who had joined forces to oppose the rise of the Labour party. Her success over the labour party candidate in the November 1928 elections elicited a letter of congratulation from the Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin. The Daily Telegraph hailed Ada Moore’s election because she ‘is a clear thinker and has the Citizen cause at heart’ who enjoys hard work. Hallam, the journalist claimed, had sent to the council a representative already known as a live wire.

At probably her second full council meeting, Ada Moore wanted to know why every week she received two copies of a ‘remembrancer’ (information sent to councillors by the officers) “Amid laughter,” the Independent reported, Councillor Rowlinson (Labour) replied that at one time some councillors had two homes and needed a copy in each. Barracking of new council members is nothing new. But Ada Moore was not to be cowed. The council meeting in August 1929, had to approve the minutes of the Improvement Committee. She commented that “she had not assisted in the decapitation of the committee, “but rather hoped it could produce a single colour scheme for the Council Chamber – I think it might be red!” a reference both to the ‘decapitation’ and the Labour party’s colour. The Independent reported on the October meeting that a debate on raising the Lord Mayor’s salary was “enlivened by a racy speech” from her who suggested the increase of £300 should be given to the Lady Mayoress. Her point, that the Lady Mayoress had expenses incurred by attending many events and “the great increase in the expense of feminine attire” was made to “the accompaniment of laughter from the male members of the Council.” Councillor Rawlinson wanted to know if a lady is elected Mayor would her husband get the £300, a question that provoked renewed laughter.

Ada Moore was using humour to make a point at the meeting in June 1930. A Mr Hutchinson has offered to place 10 seats along Ringinglow Road as a memorial to his wife. She advised all Council members who were married men to do likewise “in appreciation of all that their wives had to go through during their lives” Those married men reacted with laughter to this point! When a proposal to make Pinstone Street one-way was discussed, she noted that vehicles drawn by hand that would be covered by the one-way direction and wanted to know if this covered perambulators. Rawlinson, in his typically condescending manner responded that the question was too highly technical for him. This naturally evoked laughter. A similar scene was enacted when she remarked that the uniform of policewomen was ugly in the extreme and she would not wear it for anything. Back at the Dickens Fellowship, in 1931 Ada Moore, when replying to the toast ‘The Ladies’, noted wryly that whereas men councillors were often invited to public dinners, invitations were rarely received by the women councillors. “One day” she said, “I will stand and say that women councillors can’t live without dinners.”

Ada Moore in 1931

Her new role as a councillor brought changes in her activities, whereas she had organised many bazaars and other fund-raising activities that were opened by some publicly important person, now she was that person, for example opening a Bazaar and sale of work supporting Barnardo’s in June 1929, a year later she was guest of honour at a ’May Time Festival’ held by the ‘Sheffield and District United Methodist Women’s Missionary Auxiliary’ and in 1933 opened a garden party organised by the Victoria Hall Choral Society. Her allegiance to non-conformist churched is clear from her upbringing and marriage as well as these examples.

In a sign of her support for women’s causes, she was the President of the Sheffield branch of the ‘National Spinsters’ Pension Association’ A president may be more of an honorary than executive role, although there are plenty of comments praising her work for the Association, but it does indicate another aspect of women’s interests that was important to her. It is also an indication of Ada Moore’s character that she was one of the very few married women across the country named as having a role, nearly all branches across the country were led by spinsters.

Combining her association with the spinsters’ campaign and her experiences on the public relief committee along with her political role with the Conservative Women’s Associations, she supported a motion at a CWA meeting in favour of the Spinsters’ claim. She said many spinsters had taken charge of aged parents who drew the old-age pension but when the parents died, the spinsters were left destitute. She also said her work with the Spinsters’ Association had prompted men to write to her asking for help in securing a wife but she could not carry on a matrimonial agency!

A few weeks before being elected to the City Council, Ada Moore and her neighbour Arthur Neal were elected unopposed to the Sheffield Board of Guardians. The elections came at a time when the Board of Guardians were about to be abolished and its functions absorbed into the City Council. Ada Moore pointed out to the Board that the new structures would greatly reduce the presence of women in the decision making. However, she was appointed to the Public Assistance committee and when its minutes were presented, it would appear much more respect was shown to her comments.

Only very occasionally does Frank Moore come out of the shadows. In the council elections of 1931, he spoke in support of his wife at a meeting held in the Fulwood Schoolroom but there was no report of what he said. We do know what Ada Moore had to say. She told of the balancing act she had to perform as a councillor. She had been asked by unspecified people to get street lamps installed in a dark neighbourhood. After the lamps were installed, young people approached her to ask that they be removed! She claimed that her efforts had resulted in trams every ten minutes at Fulwood. And in good conservative style complained of unnecessary expenditure by the socialist council. At the election, Ada Moore received 80% of the votes while across the whole council, the socialists now had 49 seats just two more than the other parties, the ‘antisocialists’ as they were called by the Telegraph.

Council Committee Membership

Ada Moore was appointed to many committees of the Sheffield City Council. This was, in part at least, a desire to see women represented on these committees and with only two or three female councillors tis was difficult to achieve.

Safety First council of Sheffield A report in 1933 noted that Ada Moore was the Chairman of the Home Safety Committee of the Council and in this capacity was at a conference in London. One of the achievements of the Committee was to get a branch of the ‘Electrical Association for Women[2]’ formed in Sheffield. Naturally, Ada Moore was elected President of the Sheffield Association in 1935. At the outbreak of war in 1939, the Association created a Women’s Voluntary Service sewing party, its inaugural meeting at Banner Cross was attended by over 100 women, and in November 80 members of the Sheffield Association attended the Lady Mayoress’s At home in the Town Hall, an indication of the strength of the local Association.

Perhaps adopting the maxim of the importance of being seen, Ada Moore attended the funeral of Arthur Belton, a builder, at Banner Cross in 1938 in her capacity as Chairman of the Home Safety Committee. The list of other Sheffield builders who attended shows she would have had ample opportunity to ‘bend a few ears.’

Maternity and Child Welfare Committee. A report from the Independent in 1937 concerned the establishment of a municipal midwife service. Ada Moore was the only woman on the committee The report noted some objection to appointing married women but the lack of applications from spinster midwives made the objection irrelevant. Every three weeks, she visited the council’s children’s homes, checking the menus and assessing the children’s welfare. It is doubtful that much escaped her notice.

Public Assistance Committee Commenting on new rates for unemployment relief in 1930, Ada Moore said she supported the amounts given to young people over 16 years, though she was sorry that girls would not get as much as boys. She did commend the committee for providing relief to widows and single girls. At some point she did get the same rates for both boys and girls because, as she recalled later, they eat as much as each other and girls have more expenses as for dresses and stockings, costs not incurred by boys. When the council debated her proposal, people in the public gallery loudly cheered, provoking the Lord Mayor to threaten to have the gallery cleared. He told Ada Moore that her remarks should be to him. But she told him, “I cannot see the gallery and do not know anyone in it” Had she had encouraged her supporters to fill the public gallery?

The tenth anniversary article described how she spent one day a week assessing claims for relief that involved interviewing applicants. ‘She must be dressed, breakfasted and ready to leave the house by 8.30’ because being late would mean that the clerks, other committee members and perps as many as 250 applicants are kept waiting.

City Hall committee Again she was the only women member, bringing to this role ‘a housewife’s pride in the building’ according to the Independent. The article went on to quote her: “There are plenty of cigarette receptacles provided I do think people might use them. After all they must remember that the Hall is theirs and they ought to look after it as they do their own homes.”

Long Service as a Councillor

1938 represented her 10th year as a councillor and the Independent carried a feature article in celebration. Naturally this type of article finds only positive things to say but it does portray a well-respected person whose energy was frequently remarked upon. The article detailed many of the roles she played noting her ‘kindliness, her racy and amusing way of talking and her habit of finding the bright spot on dull days ‘that had made her ‘so well loved.’

A month before her re-election, ‘disaster’ struck for such a busy, active person. Running into her kitchen to save a pan of milk from boiling over she slipped, breaking her ankle. This accident meant she was away from public work for three months, though the arrival of documents and visitors probably kept her engaged.

Some Views Expressed

Although Ada Moore gave voice to the experience of women, her views on equality were perhaps less developed. In 1931, the National Association of Schoolmasters (NAS) had recently agreed that all boys over infant age should be taught by male teachers and only male teachers should be appointed to all boys’ schools. When asked by the Sheffield Independent, Ada Moore supported the NAS view, based, she said, on her experiences as a Sunday school teacher. Her views were similar to Rowlinson and Maud Maxfield, both members of the Education Committee. Maxfield went further saying girls should only be taught by women teachers. It was left to Canon Dolan, a co-opted member, to offer the ‘it all depends’ view as he had known women teachers who were quite as capable as men at teaching boys.

When commenting on the appointment of married midwives she made clear that she was not promoting the idea because it was right but pragmatic as insufficient unmarried midwives had applied.

Ada Moore held views that nowadays are quite distasteful. The ‘Sheffield Discharged Prisoners Aid Society’ had listened to the governor of Manchester Prison. The governor said he could not tell a criminal by looking at them. The Independent sought Ada Moore’s view. She said that she had interviewed many people who claimed public relief when they should not have done so. “This is what a criminal looks like”, she claimed and went on to describe their features. “They often have an abnormal head. Very often they have upright foreheads or bulge out giving the eyes an impression of being very deep set. They look like the bulldogs of humanity.” The article continued that she was often remined of waxworks in the chamber of horrors at Madam Tussauds and she claimed criminality was inborn. These comments display traits of both eugenics and phrenology.

Councillor Mrs Ada Moore – summary

Ada Moore was an energetic, highly personable women with a genuine concern for promoting the interests of women and children. She moved with ease from national forums where she enjoyed the company of national figures to local ones where she treated those in straightened circumstances with respect.

But she had to confess that she was never able to knit!

[1] Wikipedia’s entry for Florence states that her father was Rev. John Brown of Bunyan’s Chapel, Bedford. Also, that she was the first female councillor on Cambridgeshire County Councill from 1914. She subsequently became involved in local charitable work and encouraged women students to enter charitable work

[2] In 1936, the Association had Amy Johnson, Sheffield University graduate and aviator as its national president. Nationally, the membership of the Association was professional engineers educated to degree level whilst the local branch concerned itself with the safety aspects of using electricity domestically. The national body produced the ‘Electrical Handbook for Women’ which addressed topics such as mending fuses and using appliances safely. The national body also provided education and an exam in 1934 had questions on Ohm’s law, engineering, first aid and electrical apparatus.