Lime Street Station, Liverpool
When Bessie Braddock was 7-years old in 1906, her mum volunteered in a local Liverpool soup kitchen. One evening, Bessie went to help out. I remember the faces of the unemployed when the soup ran out, she wrote later. I remember their dull eyes and their thin, blue lips. I remember blank, hopeless stares. The memory of those dull eyes never left Bessie Braddock. In 1926, when she was 27-years-old, she joined the Labour party and was a member until her death at 71 in 1970. And in that time, she never missed an opportunity to fight on behalf of the poor and under-privileged. When she was a member of Liverpool City Council, she once brought a megaphone to a meeting to make sure her colleagues heard what she had to say about the wretched living conditions in Liverpool’s most deprived areas. As a politician, she took no prisoners. She spoke out for poverty relief, gender equality and a better understanding of mental health issues. She campaigned tirelessly to make clothes for larger woman more available in shops, and even took part in a London fashion show for women whose sizes were ‘above average’in 1959 . True, she sometimes lost her temper. Once, she called a fellow councillor a ‘blasted rat’. But probably because he wasn’t listening to her. And once, she told the opposing Tory councillors she ‘wanted to take a machine gun to the lot of them’. But probably because they weren’t listening to her. The press called her Battling Bessie. But it probably didn’t bother her. Her political career was, after all, a battle. A battle for the things she believed in.
Bessie is seen her holding an egg. This is because she was responsible for getting the lion standard mark put on British eggs.
Here she is with another famous character from Liverpool at Lime Street Station, Ken Dodd.