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Let’s honour the female greats of our town

PUBLISHED: 16:48 12 March 2013 | UPDATED: 11:09 13 March 2013

Edith Cook from Ipswich, Britain's first female pilot

Edith Cook from Ipswich, Britain's first female pilot

Archant

So, how about Edith Cook Boulevard? An excellent name for a new street in Ipswich, I think.

It occurs to me that we have given a number of local heroes their own streets – Constable and Gainsborough each have a thoroughfare named for them in both Ipswich and Felixstowe.

Not so many for the girls.

I used to live in Alexandra Road which, I imagine, was named for the wife of the Prince of Wales, who was to become King Edward VII.

We have poets on the Whitton estate – Shakespeare, Burns, Byron, Tennyson; artists over Gainsborough (Hogarth, Reynolds, Landseer) and Dickens, Pickwick and Copperfield on the Triangle.

Nelson’s connection with Ipswich is celebrated in Trafalgar Close, Victory Road and Nelson Road.

There are a few female street names; Gwendoline Close, June Avenue, Karen Close, Mandy Close and Muriel Close. Lucky June, she gets an avenue while the other girls are closes.

But at least we have a feminine contingent... albeit I don’t know who they are.

There are some female saints’ names and a nod to queens. There is also a Nightingale Road which looks like that’ll be our Flo.

It is International Women’s Day tomorrow and University Campus Suffolk is hosting an event with the theme Creating Gender Balance in the Real World.

Well, we could start with street names and go 50:50 on gender.

And we could do no better than begin with aviatrix Edith Maud Cook, who has a blue plaque at 90 Fore Street and if you’re looking for a bit of derring-do you don’t get much more derring-done than Ms Cook did.

Born in 1878 she was a balloonist, parachutist and pilot in the very early days of aviation. It was on a parachute descent in Coventry in 1910 that she was fatally injured, having made around 300 jumps in her career.

Reputed to be the first British woman to pilot a plane the least she deserves is a street name, surely.


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