Saturday, March 15, 2014

Beatrice Drapper - NUCO and "Angel of Deptford"


Beatrice M Drapper – Deptford “Angel of Mercy” or “Our Beatrice”
Born Deptford, South London

Student at Scott-Lidgett’s, Bermondsey University Settlement and an orignal member of the "Beatrice" Dunkin, Club for Girls

Beatrice Drapper stated "I owe all my success in life to the Settlement"
Lived at 7 Evelyn Street,

Helped in the election of Will Crook’s as MP for Woolwich, one of the first Labour MP’s

A school manager from 1902-1927, Swimming and Gymnastics lecturer for the London county Council Schools & Welfare Board

Labour Councillor for North West Ward, Deptford from 1919 – 1956 (resigned 7/3/1956)

One of the first elected women Mayor’s in Britain, Deptford Mayor 1927-1928
Married Mr E. C. Drapper also a Labour Councillor who died in 1945

Helped establish NUCO at St Alfege’s hospital, Greenwich in 1918
Helped organise the feeding of Dockers families during the 1912 dock strike and was a leading figure in the campaign against the Chair of the Port of London authority who kept the Dockers in poverty. She was not alone 

“O God strike Lord Davenport dead” prayed Dockers leader Ben Tillett
From 1919 voluntary worker for the Poor Law Workers union (later National Union of County officers and COHSE ) from 1929 – 1946 paid employee of the union.

She was heavily involved in a case involving Peggy O'Neil a nurse suffering from TB of the spine (not then an industrial injury) and a bed patient for six years, with Beatrice help she was able to help Nurse O'Neil start a new life in America.

Justice of the Peace 1921 for Blackheath division

Elected to Greenwich Board of Guardians 1907 -1930 as a Labour representative (three years as Chairman)

During the 1921 she helped feed up to one thousand Dockers at deptford Central hall during the strike "cycling from her home at 5am in the morning in order to serve breakfast".She bought two shops in Deptford and converted them into a club for striking women tin workers who she helped organise into a union, serving 200 meat and veg meals daily at 4d a meal. 

The tin workers suffered terrible conditions and were pitifully paid. When they were taken to court for daring to strike she organised coaches to take the women tin workers to the Law courts hearings

Member of Lewisham hospital management committee
Officially opened the Woodlands Nurses home for nurses, Greenwich, December 1925
Appointed Chair of Chelsea Juvenile Court in 1945


Later moved to 46 Coniston Road, Bromley, Kent
Cremated Southend cemetery 4th December 1961