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Julia Scurr

Julia O'Sullivan was born in Limehouse in 1873 to Irish parents. In 1899 she married local Social Democratic Federation activist John Scurr. She was a British politician and suffragette, and became a prominent activist in the East End for workers and women’s rights.

She worked with socialist activists Keir Hardie, George Lansbury, and Dora Montefiore to organise a march of 1,000 women from the East End to Westminster to lobby for jobs and welfare for the unemployed in July 1905.

In 1907 she was elected to the Poplar Board of Guardians and remained a Guardian until she died. In June 1912 she presented a report criticising poor conditions at the Bow Infirmary (later St Clement's Hospital). In the same year she helped to organise food for the families of striking dockers.

Scurr joined the East London Federation of Suffragettes soon afterwards and was elected to the deputation who met Prime Minister Asquith in June 1914, opening the meeting with her speech.

In November 1919 she was elected to Poplar Council; the Labour Party had won 39 of the 42 council seats. She was also one of the Poplar Rates Rebels who were arrested and imprisoned for refusing to pass on unfair city rates to their constituents and in 1925 Scurr herself was elected to the London County Council herself but died in 1927 aged just 57.

1911 Census for Poplar, showing the Scurr family

1911 Census for Poplar, showing the Scurr family