Great Women of Hoxton!

March 25, 2015

It’s no surprise that Hoxton Hall has seen some fantastic women in its time. We recently celebrated International Women’s Day at Hoxton Hall by sharing three fantastic women connected to the site and its rich heritage. If you missed our Facebook and Twitter updates, here they are again!

First up, meet Johanna Jasper! Born in Amsterdam in 1871, she moved to London in the late 1870’s with her parents. She later married in 1894 and had five children. She was the mother of A. S. Jasper and features in his book about his life as a young boy entitled, ‘A Hoxton Childhood’. An incredible force in both her family and friends lives, she ensured they stuck together and survived life in the slums through many hardships and tragedies, and in spite of her alcoholic husband!

Our second inspirational Hoxton woman is, Olive Malvery! Born in the 1870’s, Olive began her philanthropic work in Punjab, India. In 1890, she moved to London to train as a singer at the Royal College of Music where she soon became fascinated with the lives of ‘slum dwellers’. She immersed herself in this world by taking up various working class occupations such as factory worker, street singer and even spent some time in the dreaded workhouse. She became good friends with Sarah Rae, another celebrated woman of Hoxton, who ran ‘The Girl’s Guide for Good Life’, at Hoxton Hall. Olive wrote, ‘The Soul Market’, about this time and it is thanks to her we have such a great knowledge of what it was really like to live in East End London during this time.

And last, but by no means least, our final is, May Scott! May joined Hoxton Hall during WW2 and took over as warden in 1957. During the war years, she maintained correspondence with many supporters of the hall, helping to ensure kind donations for its users. From this time onwards and until her retirement in 1974, May worked tirelessly towards the upkeep of the hall, providing support, activities and a meeting space for local residents. The development of Hoxton Hall’s community arts programme that we see today owes a sincere debt to her energy, compassion and creative thinking. You can find out more about May in our publication, ‘A Short History of Hoxton Hall and its Locality’, available on request.

Do you know any inspirational Hoxton women? Share them with us here!


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