Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Local Faces - Leonora Cohen (1873-1978)

After the last link I thought I'd better add Leonora Cohen. The people on the local faces were embroidered in colour if still living and monochrome if deceased. The men far outnumber the women in the deceased category so we could really have done with knowing about Vera Leigh in the planning stage.

Leonora Throp was born in 1873. Against both families wishes she married Mr Cohen who was Jewish and both husband and son were very supportive of her political activities. One of Leeds Suffragettes' most prominent activists she campaigned long and hard for enfranchisement and organized mass meetings on Woodhouse and Hunslet Moors. She achieved notoriety in 1912 by throwing an iron bar through a jewel case in the Tower of London and was, for a time, bodyguard to Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst. At the height of the suffragette movement Leonora was briefly imprisoned in Armley Jail, having thrown a brick through a window when Asquith was speaking and there she went on hunger strike. In 1923 Mrs Cohen became the first woman president of the Leeds Trades Council. She was also a magistrate. She retired to North Wales and died there aged 105.

Abbey House Museum holds a collection of Leonora Cohen memorabilia. As well as pamphlets, correspondence and news-cuttings, the collection includes a dress designed by Mrs Cohen in Suffragette colours which she wore at an Arts Club Ball in 1922.

The Leeds City Museums blog also has an interesting reference to Mrs Cohen.

The embroideries were hand stitched by Karen Pattison, Barbara Gray, Joan Holah and Joyce James

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