Prominent Dewsbury women's rights activist Baroness Lockwood dies aged 95

Betty Lockwood has died aged 95.
Betty Lockwood has died aged 95.

Tributes have been offered to Dewsbury politician and women's rights activist Baroness Betty Lockwood, who passed away at the age of 95 yesterday.

A proud and passionate campaigner for all things Dewsbury, Baroness Lockwood became a member of the Labour Party as regional women's organiser for Yorkshire, then moved to London as women's officer. She campaigned for equal pay and was instrumental in the creation of the Equal Pay Act 1970.

Eight years later she was made a member of the House of Lords as a life peer, where she served until her retirement in May 2017.

She was the very first Chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission and acted as chair of the European Advisory Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men.

When the then Yorkshire Mining Museum was under threat in the 90s, as Coal Board funding came to an end, Baroness Lockwood lobbied the government to ensure funding was made available from the central purse, leading to the establishment of the National Coal Mining Museum.

Director, Nick Dodd said: “We are all very sad. She is fondly remembered here for her achievements and all she did for us. She was massively important to the success of the Museum and wanted people to see how important coal-mining was to the nation. It is a really important legacy she leaves. The things she did were impressive, particularly being a woman in politics in the 60s and 70s. She was a force to be reckoned with.”

She was born on January 22, 1924 and her father, Arthur, was a coal miner.

She left Eastborough Girls School aged 14, but studied at night school and read economics and politics at Ruskin College in Oxford.

Speaking in 2010, Baroness Lockwood spoke passionately about her town at a BBC press call.

Fondly recalling her childhood in Dewsbury, she said: "There was a great sense of community within the mills themselves and there was a great sense of community in the streets where people lived.

"There was very little crime in those days. Sometimes we got a bit of street fighting here and there but crime didn't feature as a daily part of our lives."

Details of her funeral are yet to have been finalised.