Three Women Across the Century

Catherine Thackray faces a terminal illness. She wants to put her life in
order and to create a family history for her own grandchildren. In so doing,
she takes up her mother, Marjorie’s memoir, and weaves it into her story. Her own daughter is continuing the tradition of diary keeping.

All next week on BBC Radio 4 [10.45 to 11.00am Monday 24 to Friday 28th January 2011] , The Woman’s Hour series ‘ Writing the Centurycontinues exploring the lives of real people through their diaries, this time concentrating on the final decades of the 20th century.

The West Yorkshire Archive Service, Kirklees office, hold the papers of Catherine Thackray (1922-1997) who lived in Huddersfield from 1950, including her diaries 1994-1997 (WYK1265/1) which chart various global events including: the Yugoslav war; Rwanda; the Chinook Enquiry; Dunblane; the IRA; Blair’s election; and Princess Diana’s state funeral, as well as local events and providing an insight into her own family. 


WYAS also holds records of the Huddersfield Group of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament [KC378] in which Catherine Thackray was heavily involved.

Catherine Thackray (1922-1997) was the daughter of Marjorie Sharp and one of eight children. Marjorie born in 1883, was a Fabian and Suffragist. In 1943 Catherine joined the ATS as a Specialist Wireless Operator and in 1944, she joined the Battersea Labour Party. In 1946, she joined the Central London Fabian Society whilst at the same time studying for a diploma in Social Sciences. In 1949, Catherine married Lawrence Thackray and in 1950 after he was offered a job as a solicitor in Huddersfield they moved into the area. Catherine became a volunteer at the local Citizen’s Advice Bureau and also the local Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, remaining active in the anti-nuclear movement until the end of her life. She was arrested in 1984 during a protest at Greenham Common. Her research into the lives of 70 married women was published in ‘Education’ in 1968. Both Marjorie and Catherine were in the vanguard of their times, politically engaged and living lives of public service to their communities. They were not afraid of expressing their views!

For further information please contact our Kirklees office

The 2011 Local History Month in May focuses on diaries as a useful archival source and WYAS will be producing a display celebrating and highlighting the numerous diaries held within the service including the diaries of Catherine Thackray and others such as the diaries of Anne Lister held at our Calderdale office.


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