On Oct 14th, the Royal Mail released a new series of stamps, entitled Women Of Distinction, featuring two of my great-great-aunts! Millicent Garrett Fawcett and Elizabeth Garrett Anderson were both sisters of my mother’s mother’s father. Millicent was a famous suffragist, feminist, and founder of Newnham College, Cambridge; Elizabeth was the first female doctor in England, and in 1908 became the UK’s first lady mayor, of Aldeburgh, Suffolk.
Their father Newson Garrett built the Snape Maltings, now home to the Aldeburgh Festival. And on Park Road, he built a row of houses, one for each of his ten children. It’s a private road with multiple speedbumps, but (feeling no guilt due to a probably misplaced sense of entitlement!) I use it a shortcut most weekends on my way to the River Alde where I like to race a wooden sailboat called a Loch Long One Design. And, to complete the circle, one of the preeminent LLOD sailors is the current mayor of Aldeburgh Jimmy Robinson, whom I’ve roped into performing the opening ceremony when I ‘launch’ my lifeboat. A large man, Jimmy complains that his mayorial robe has been handed down by successive mayors. Elizabeth was a small woman, which may explain why the hem of the robe just about reaches Jimmy’s waist.