As part of the Remembering Eleanor Rathbone Celebrations taking place during 2016 , we asked the The Clock Community Centre in Everton to come up with an original idea for commemorating the work of Eleanor Rathbone, Elizabeth Macadam and the many other women who were active within the Victoria Women’s Settlement in the early twentieth century. The outcome is the wonderful tapestry shown here, which was unveiled officially on Friday evening, 18 November.
The Victoria Women’s Settlement was a residential house for women social workers on Netherfield Road North, Everton, founded in 1897, by Dr Lilias Hamilton and an American lady, Lydia Booth, The settlement opened in 1898 and provided a place for the volunteers – genteel women who wanted to live amongst the people they served – to live, and a centre for their activities. The need in Everton, one of the most densely populated and deprived areas of Liverpool, was vast, and the earliest community projects included a girl’s club, a dispensary, and the first classes ever offered to disabled children in the city. Elizabeth Macadam, a young Scottish social worker, who was appointed Warden, in late 1902, was instrumental in getting Eleanor Rathbone to join the settlement in early 1903, forming a partnership, along with founder member Emily Jones, that was to transform the organisation, the volunteers and the services provided. Under Macadam’s leadership training programmes were introduced for the volunteers, leading to the opening of the School for Social Science at the University of Liverpool and the professionalization of social work.
The Victoria Settlement was demolished in the 1970’s and replaced with a block of social housing flats, retaining the original name.