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Celebrate International Women’s Day with all-star panel

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Image captionImage 1: Janet Ellis (pictured) will be on the International Women's Day panel. She is best known for presenting BBC children’s TV programme Blue Peter

You’re invited to celebrate International Women’s Day at Hammersmith Town Hall.

It runs from 12.30pm to 2pm on Friday 8 March.

It’s one of the biggest and most popular annual events to be held at the town hall. Actor, author and Hammersmith resident Janet Ellis MBE will chair this year’s panel.

“I’m delighted to once again celebrate International Women’s Day with the community,” said Cllr Sue Fennimore, Deputy Leader of H&F Council.

The panel

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Image caption: Image 2: Caroline Raphael

Janet Ellis is best known for presenting BBC children’s TV programme Blue Peter. She’s currently writing a second novel.

She will be joined by Caroline Raphael, former commissioning editor for comedy and fiction for BBC Radio 4. She now runs her own audio production company and is a champion for women’s equality, BAME and LGBT rights and recognition.

Other guests include Eva Hamilton MBE, the founder of Hammersmith charity Key4Life which does innovative work to rehabilitate young offenders, journalist and author Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and former H&F Youth Mayor Federica Dal Brollo.

Celebrating four local female icons

In the days leading up to the event, Hammersmith & Fulham Council will celebrate the lives of former local residents and trailblazing female icons.

At a town hall display features:

  • H&F’s first female mayor, Alice Gilliatt, from West Kensington
  • The UK’s first female press photographer, Christina Broom, who lived in Fulham
  • The Victorian novelist, Ouida, who lived in Hammersmith
  • The intrepid Hammersmith journalist, Marie Colvin
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Image caption: Image 3: Pictured left to right are Alice Gilliatt, Christina Broom, Ouida and Marie Colvin

Alice Gilliatt

Alice Gilliatt was the first woman mayor of the Metropolitan Borough of Fulham, a role she held from 1934 to 1935.

She lived from 1880 to 1957 and during that time was active as a campaigner for women’s suffrage, a founding member of the Association of Women Pharmacists, and a London County Council JP.

She was elected as a councillor in 1919, in the first London local Government elections in which women could stand. She was defeated in the polls in 1922, re-elected in 1934, made a Freeman of Fulham in 1949 and stepped down from the council in 1953.

Alice lived in Stevenage Road, Fulham. There is a housing estate named after her in Star Road, West Kensington.

Christina Broom

Christina Broom was the UK’s first female press photographer.

She lived from 1862 to 1939 and spent most of that time in Fulham.

After an accident her husband was unable to work, Christina took up photography to support her family, selling her work in shops, magazines and newspapers.

Although there were female photographers at that time, they tended to take studio portraits. Christina took her camera to cover events.

She was helped by her daughter Winifred. It’s believed they could make up to 1,000 picture postcards a day.

Christina lived in Burnfoot Avenue and later, after her husband died, in Munster Road, Fulham.


Ouida (Maria Louise Ramé) was a Victorian novelist whose work often mixed romanticism with social criticism.

She lived from 1839 to 1908 and during that time wrote more than 40 novels, children’s books, short stories and essays.

Her work often featured strong female protagonists. 

In her early period, her novels were considered racy and swashbuckling while her later work was more typical of historical romance, though she never stopped commenting on contemporary society.

There is a blue plaque dedicated to Ouida at her former home in Ravenscourt Square, Hammersmith.

Marie Colvin

Journalist Marie Colvin is best known for her work writing for the Sunday Times from 1985 until her death in 2012.

She covered warzones around the world and shone a light on the atrocities committed during them.

In April 2001, she lost her eye after being caught in the blast of a rocket-propelled grenade in Sri Lanka while covering the conflict between the Tamil Tigers and Government forces.

Despite this, she continued reporting on warzones until she was killed by artillery fire in Syria 11 years later aged 56.

Marie lived in Weltje Road in Hammersmith.

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