Amelia Scott

Amelia (Millie) Scott was born on 16 Jan 1860 in Surrey. The following year the family moved to Southborough, on the outskirts of Tunbridge Wells. Scott came from a reasonably comfortable background; her father was described on the 1861 census as an accountant and employed three domestic servants; however, the family was not wealthy. Following the death of her father in 1870, Scott lived with her aunt and grandmother. Scott was the grand-daughter of a clergyman, she was a practising Anglican and and her own writings reveal a religious commitment. Amelia Scott and her three sisters all remained unmarried and Amelia and her sister Louise (Louie) set up home together in Tunbridge wells and lived there for many years.

Amelia Scott was active in numerous organisations such as the Tunbridge Wells branch of the National Union of Women Workers (NUWW, later the National Council of Women), which she established in May 1895. She was an officer of this organisation for thirty-five years, serving as its honorary secretary and holding meetings in her own home. She worked as Honorary Secretary and Chair for the Leisure Hour Club, an association set up for working girls and was involved with the Christian Social Union. By her mid-30s, Amelia Scott had seemingly found her vocation as a social worker. She served as a Poor Law Guardian for many years, and during her long service the Tonbridge Workhouse was gradually converted into Pembury Hospital.

Scott was an avowed supporter of women's suffrage and was vice president of the Tunbridge Wells branch of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies. She took part in the 1913 suffrage 'pilgrimage', giving speeches along the way. Her leaflet bag has been preserved, and is kept with her papers in the Women's Library in London.

Amelia Scott was active in all aspects of women's work in Tunbridge Wells during the first world War, including the establishment of the Soldiers' Central Laundry. She was awarded the Gold Palm Order of the Crown, an extremely prestigious award, in 1929 by the King of the Belgians for her work with Belgian refugees.

In November 1919 Amelia Scott and Susan Power were the first two women to be elected to the Tunbridge Wells Town Council. Having taken almost 40% of the votes cast for the South Ward, Scott took her seat, saying that she had women's interests at heart, and hoped she would be able to fulfil her intentions. Having worked so tirelessly for women's suffrage, she intended to carry on using her position to work for women's causes.

Between 1918-1924 Scott served on the Legal sub-committee of the National Council for the Unmarried Mother and her Child. She was also a convenor of the NCW's Public Service and Magistrates' Committee, Chair of the Infant Life Protection Committee, Member of the Kent County Mental Deficiency Committee and Director of the Women's Common Lodging House Company, Tunbridge Wells. Amelia Scott was the author of 'Women of Sacred History', a study concerned with the women of the bible and 'Passing of a Great Dread', a history of the poor law as well as writing a number of articles, pamphlets and speeches for the organisations she was involved in.

The dedication reads:

'In affectionate memory of Amelia Scott a pioneer in social reform, who served this Hospital devotedly for many years. A great Church woman and a real friend of the sick & needy'

source: The Women's Library/Mary Evans Picture Library

Gold Palms Order of the Crown awarded to amelia Scott by the King of the Belgians in trecognition of her service to Belgian rafugees

Source: The Women's Library

Amelia Scott's election poster, 1919

Source: The Women's Library

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