Black Firsts Blog: Lydia Emelda Simmons

The 1980s was the decade when black people in the UK started to make their mark in British institutions and political life. We saw black men and women entering politics and local government, education, housing, the justice system and so on.

Mrs Lydia Emelda Simmons was one of these pioneering figures from the 1980s. This cutting from the Voice in 1984 shows Mrs Simmons, who made history by becoming the first black woman to be appointed mayor in Britain when she was inaugurated as Mayor of Slough Borough Council.

Mrs Simmons, who was born in Montserrat, had a full time job and a family. She said that one of the main reasons for becoming involved in politics was because of the lack of facilities for young people in the community, and “I realised that the only place you could have a say was on the council”.

I shall be highlighting more of these 1980s pioneering figures in future blogs.