Celebrating Ada Salter – 16 July


ADA salter

Ada Salter was born 150 years ago on July 20, 1866. Celebrations have been arranged to commemorate this anniversary in Bermondsey, South East London, where Ada and her husband, the pioneering doctor and MP, Alfred, struggled tirelessly to improve the conditions of working people against the background of poverty, bitter political opposition and personal tragedy.

Ada was a pioneering ethical socialist, community activist, councillor and mayor. She successfully advocated slum clearance, environmental improvement, peace and the Women’s Labour League. Her remarkable life story can be found in the moving and celebratory book ‘Ada Salter: Pioneer of Ethical Socialism’ by Graham Taylor.

Alfred salterDr Alfred Salter: 1945 Southwark

In 1900 they married and became members of the Religious Society of Friends. After studying and working at Guy’s hospital Dr Salter worked in London; when visiting a patient in nearby Bermondsey he was shocked by the poverty and appalling housing conditions and set up practice there, Ada continuing as a social worker at Bermondsey Settlement. Their only child died of scarlet fever, strengthening Alfred’s resolve to diminish the twin causes of premature death, disease and war. Both became committed pacifists; in later life he became treasurer of the Peace Pledge Union.

They bought Fairby Grange in nearby Kent and turned it into a convalescent home for Bermondsey patients. In 1922 Alfred Salter became an MP for Bermondsey and London’s first woman mayor, Ada Salter, announced the result.

ada salter full lengthDescribed by the Daily Telegraph at the time as an object lesson of what can be done with ingenuity even in the poorest area, Ada Salter’s aim to have trees in every street resulted in 9000 trees being planted in the borough within two years.

(Left: the Rotherhithe statue).

As well as helping to establish a number of play facilities for children in the borough, Alfred Salter prepared plans for replacing 180-year-old tenements with lower density housing. After the Labour election victory in 1924 the plan rapidly turned into reality. Read on here.

The anniversary celebrations will take place in Bermondsey throughout the weekend of 15 – 17 July.

The Quaker Socialist Society will be amongst those attending the celebrations on July 16th, 2016.

Details of all the events throughout the weekend will be available in June on the QSS website:

http://quakersocialists.org/events_7592_187505.html – and Facebook page as well as the Ada Salter Facebook page.

For those who need accommodation overnight it might be possible to arrange this with London Friends. Please contact Graham Taylor (grahshei@tiscali.co.uk or telephone 020 7252 2717)

Read more: http://russiadock.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/adas-garden-recognition-for-pioneering.html


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