Early Life 1890-1912

Early life 1890 - 1904

Born Marguerite Lena Millo on 25th May 1890.

Her parents brought her to West Ham at the age of 8 months and they lived in Canning Town. The youngest girl, and having five brothers, she left Beckton Road School at the age of twelve in 1902. Her father was an invalid and her mother took in washing and did charring. (Her father died in 1918 and her mother lived to see her become mayor in 1936)

Daisy cared for her five young brothers and did chores for the neighbours for which she was paid 6d a day. She passed a certificate of exemption in order to leave school early, and later in her life said that having to leave school upset her greatly, and that if she had had the chance would have gone on to higher education.

Out to work 1904 - 1912

When she was 14 she left home to work as a maid in the household of Mr McCall, the Chief Librarian at Limehouse Library. She earned 3/6d a week.

Then she went to Milton Avenue as a maid where she earnt 4/- a week. Domestic servants were paid the lowest wages, so she moved to Carreras Tobacco Company in Aldgate, where she packed cigarettes on piecework. The women and girls were paid 3d a thousand cigarettes. In the morning they could pack 2000, but by lunchtime as they tired, they could only pack 1000. The men who worked there were allowed a fixed lunch hour and had a place to eat their food, but the women had no lunch break and no place to eat - they ate in the lavatory! Daisy Parsons later remarked to Prime Minister Asquith in 1914 that it was 'not quite the thing'. The men had better conditions because they had an organised trade union and it was here that she had her first contact with the trade union movement.

It was also where she met her husband Tom (Robert Stanley) Parsons from Camden Town, a driver for Stepney Borough Council and an active member of the Electricians Trade Union. They married on 19th December 1908, at the Congregational Chapel, Barking Road, Plaistow.


Last update: 1st May 2007