Plaque unveiled in memory of former Horncastle pupil

Connie's daughter Cynthia (right), together with four generations of her family, including baby Connie. Picture: John Aron.
Connie's daughter Cynthia (right), together with four generations of her family, including baby Connie. Picture: John Aron.

A former pupil at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, in Horncastle, who was a British suffragette and socialist, is now commemorated through a blue plaque, mounted on the school gate post in West Street.

Four generations of Constance (Connie) Mary Lewcock’s family, including her daughter Cynthia, gathered on Monday for the official unveiling of the plaque.

Relatives of Connie are pictured standing next to the blue plaque with Heather Payne, Headteacher at QEGS. EMN-190107-144513001

Relatives of Connie are pictured standing next to the blue plaque with Heather Payne, Headteacher at QEGS. EMN-190107-144513001

Headteacher at QEGS, Mrs Heather Payne, gave a short speech to the crowd of 30 or so people.

Mrs Payne said: “We are here to celebrate Connie and her lifetime of service.

“We today at QEGS send men and women into the world to do great things and I think Connie would be proud.”

Connie Lewcock was born on April 11, 1894, and lived at 7 West Street, in Horncastle.

A close up of the blue plaque at QEGS. EMN-190107-144414001

A close up of the blue plaque at QEGS. EMN-190107-144414001

She was the only child of Thomas Henry Ellis and his wife Emily Mary Lessware.

Connie won a scholarship to the grammar school in Horncastle where she remained until she was seventeen.

At the age of 14, Connie became an ardent women’s suffragist after hearing a speaker on the promenade at Dunoon, who made her feel “that equality and freedom were the most important things in life”, she later recalled in an interview, in 1976.

As a schoolgirl, Connie saved up money in order to travel to London and take part in a suffragette procession and demonstration in Hyde Park.

Inspired by the Votes for Women campaign, Connie later joined the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU).

Most of Connie’s sufragette activity concentrated on speaking at meetings and taking part in demonstrations in an attempt to raise awareness of the woman’s cause.

In 1918, after being engaged for four years, Connie married William Best Lewcock at Horncastle Congregational Church.

Connie and William had three children, Sheila, Peter and Cynthia - who attended the unveiling on Monday.

At the ceremony, Cynthia said: “The plaque is a great honour, and we were very astonished when we first heard about installing it.”

Connie’s later life was dedicated to serving the public as a councillor in the North East.

From 1960, Connie represented the Benwell ward on Newcastle City Council, acting as chairman of the housing management committee and the parliamentary and general purposes committee and vice-chairman of the finance committee.

Then in 1961, Connie was awarded an OBE for her public service.

After a fall, in 1980, Connie sadly died at Newcastle upon Tyne General Hospital.

Last year, Connie’s family received an honour on her behalf from the Lord Mayor of Newcastle, 
Councillor Linda Wright, and from the Deputy Mayor of Gateshead, Councillor Jill Green. 

Connie is commemorated too with her own plaque on the Local Heroes Walk of Fame which runs along the Newcastle and Gateshead Quayside.