The first British-born woman to take her seat in Parliament is recognised in her Louth constituency

Pictured with the plaque honouring Margaret Wintringham are, from left James Laverack, chairman of Louth Civic Trust); Victoria Atkins MP; Councillor Pauline Watson  and the town's current mayor Coun George Horton
Pictured with the plaque honouring Margaret Wintringham are, from left James Laverack, chairman of Louth Civic Trust); Victoria Atkins MP; Councillor Pauline Watson and the town's current mayor Coun George Horton

The first British-born female MP to take her seat in the House of Commons has been honoured in her home town of Louth.

Margaret Wintringham was elected to Parliament after winning a by-election following the sudden death of her husband Thomas in 1921, who had served as the town’s MP for just over a year.

A Liberal Party MP, Mrs Wintringham served as Louth’s representative for three years in total.

Following her by-election victory, she was returned as an MP at Louth Town Hall in the General Election of 1922, where a new plaque was unveiled last week in her honour.

The blue plaque was commissioned by Louth Civic Trust, with support from Councillor Pauline Watson, who donated part of her outgoing mayoral allowance to the Trust in May this year.

Coun Watson had suggested that, as this year marks one hundred years since some British women were first given the legal right to vote and 
stand for election, it would be appropriate for the funds to go towards a plaque commemorating Mrs Wintringham’s historic achievement.

The plaque was unveiled by Louth and Horncastle MP Victoria Atkins, who said: “Margaret Wintringham was an extraordinary woman.

“When you think of the pressure she must have faced in that day and age, first of all being elected but then also standing up in the chamber and speaking 
in what I imagine must have been quite a rowdy atmosphere in the House, it was a real achievement.

“It’s my great privilege - not just as the local MP, 
but also as the Minister for Women - to unveil this plaque.”

Back at the time of her election, one person to express her support for Mrs Wintringham was Lady Astor, the first, and at that time the only, woman in the House of Commons.

This support came despite the fact Lady Astor sat for the Conservatives , because Lady Astor thought the cause of women in Parliament was more important than party divisions.

The pair became lifelong friends and collaborated on a range of women’s and children’s issues.

In her home county, Mrs Wintringham was well known in another great British institution too - the WI.

She had a successful career as a school headmistress and magistrate and was politically active as the first Honorary Secretary of Lindsey (Lincolnshire) Federation, being a member of WIs at Fotherby and Tealby.

In 1922, she was elected to the NFWI executive committee, when she would gather issues and take them to Parliament.

For example, women had been recruited to the police force during the war, when there was a shortage of men, but in 1922, the government was trying to disband them.

A resolution at the 1922 WI AGM called for women police to be retained, and Margaret pushed this through Parliament.

Margaret Wintringham died in 1955 aged 75 years.