Markham, Violet Rosa (1872–1959)

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Markham, Violet Rosa (1872–1959)

English public servant . Born in Chesterfield, England, in 1872; died in 1959; daughter of a Chesterfield colliery owner; married James Carruthers (a lieutenant colonel), in 1915 (died 1936).

Born in 1872, Violet Rosa Markham was the daughter of a Chesterfield colliery owner and the granddaughter of Sir Joseph Paxton, the architect who designed London's Crystal Palace. As an adult, her house in London was often the meeting place of important members of the art, social service, and political communities. She joined the Liberal Party and, from 1914, served on the Central Committee on Women's Training and Employment, which she chaired for numerous years. She was also a member of the executive committee of the National Relief Fund. In 1915, Markham married Lieutenant Colonel James Carruthers, who died in 1936. From 1919 to 1946, she was a member of the Industrial Court, and in 1927 was elected mayor of Chesterfield. She joined the Assistance Board in 1934, serving as deputy chair from 1937 to 1946, was a member of the Appeals Tribunal on Internment from 1939 to 1945, and chaired the Investigation Committee on Welfare of Service Women in 1942. Markham was awarded honorary degrees from Sheffield University (1936) and Edinburgh University (1938), and recorded her life in her autobiography Return Passage (1953). She died in 1959.

Kari Bethel , freelance writer, Columbia, Missouri

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