Headteacher of local school and Southend's first female councillor

Place and date of birth


Southend Councillor

Connection to Southend 


Elizabeth Sumner Bannester was born in the village of Barling, Essex in 1864. From census records her family were farmers who lived at 'The Cottege', Barling. Elizabeth lived with her parents and grandparents at The Cottage.

Some years later, Miss Bannester gained a place at London University where she studied the arts and in 1890 was awarded a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the university.

The 1901 census has Elizabeth Bannester listed at the head of household at 5 Avenue Road, Prittlewell and her occupation at Private School Mistress.

In 1910 Elizabeth was elected to Southend Council for the Westborough Ward - the first time a lady had been elected for the council.

1911 has Miss Bannester listed as the Principal of Private School at Alexandra College, Westcliff-on-Sea. The college was a private school for young ladies.

Sadly the story comes to an end in 1914 as Miss Elizabeth Bannester died on the 2nd December 1914. We know that she left £521 6 shillings as a notice for probate was posted naming Rose Brown - who seems to have been a long time colleague as she was listed on both 1901 and 1911 census records as living at the same address with the same occupation.

Main image courtesy of Dean Trotter

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