Ada Summers becomes the first female magistrate.

Published 26th March 2018
Ada Jane Summers became the first British woman to sit as a magistrate. She was also the first female councillor and mayor of Stalybridge.

Born in Oldham in 1861, she married John Summers of John Summers & Sons Steelworks in 1881. After John’s death in 1910, Ada was elected as a Liberal Party councillor in Stalybridge in 1912, and was elected mayor in November 1919, serving until 1921. She was sworn in as the first female Justice of the Peace on 31st December 1919, one week after the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act.

Ada was also a philanthropist, using her inherited wealth to fund a maternity and child welfare centre, a nurses home and an employment centre among other things.
Newsletter Sign Up
Get the latest updates on the First 100 Years Project and join our journey.