Recognition 1945-57

Daisy, her husband and children all survived to see the new Britain that emerged after W.W.II. Her old colleague Clem Atlee was at 10 Downing Street and hopes were high. But West Ham had desperate problems and she returned to work

After the war she continued to work for West Ham, but she was recognised for her past achievements and honoured in several ways. She was given a clock by her local branch of the Labour Party for 40 years membership and service in February 1948. West Ham County Borough presented her with a smaller version of the mayoral chain, and in November 1949 they awarded her the highest accolade they could confer, the Freedom of the Borough:

Stratford Express November 1949

Great Voluntary service gets a great reward

Grandmother and bachelor are West Ham’s new Freemen

It was the first public ceremony in the freshly renovated and redecorated hall. The stage was adorned with gold curtains and in front were amassed a beautiful array of chrysanthemums and other flowers. …

On the stage in her robes sat the Mayor Alderman Mrs A A Barnes JP who performed the ceremony.

The Town Clerk read the resolutions of the Council authorized the conferment of the Freedom, and then the Mayor addressed the assembly, speaking of the historical side of the conferment of freedoms.

The Mayor went on to speak of the services of Alderman Parsons and Alderman Collins, saying that the former was well known for her hard work for women and children throughout her life. Indeed women had to thank her for her fight in the cause of women’s enfranchisement. Those who knew her knew that when she had a job to do she did it conscientiously and did not spare herself. We can say to her, she added, well done, you have served the people faithfully and well.

The Mayor in conferring the freedom asked the recipients to accept souvenir copies of the resolution illuminated on vellum. …

Having signified their acceptance by signing the Roll of Freemen each addressed the gathering:

Alderman Mrs Parsons first of all extended her congratulations to Alderman Collins and thanked her colleagues and the Labour Party. She could not claim to being born in West Ham, but she could claim to being brought there a few months afterwards. She referred to the work of the Labour movement saying it was second to none in the country and spoke of the work on the council from which they sometimes went home in the early hours of the morning. She thanked her husband for his tolerance and added amid laughter ‘Forty one years is a long time to be married and still be living together.’ She wanted to say how much she owed to Mr Parsons and to her family, and was proud to be able to say it publicly.

She urged young people to take a deeper interest in public affairs. Of the future she said they wanted to see real peace prevailed. They wanted conditions for the people to be better still and they wanted to rededicate themselves for the work lying before them, and see West Ham rebuilt on firmer ground than it was previously. …

In 1951 she was awarded the MBE.

Newspaper cutting from 1951

Public Service Awards in New Years Honours

MBE for First Woman Mayor of West Ham

Public and political work in West Ham, covering many years has once again received official recognition in the New Year’s Honours. … She is a former chairman of the old Public Assistance Committee. At present time amongst many other appointments she is one of West Ham’s representatives on the Essex Hospitals Joint Advisory Council and the West Ham National Health Service Executive Council.

One of her last official duties was in her capacity as Chairman of the Bench of JPs. She presented a bravery award.

She had been to Birchington to convalesce after a diabetes attack and was having a drive with her family one Sunday, when she had another attack and was found to be dead on arrival at Queen Mary's Hospital. She was widely mourned:

Stratford Express 4th October 1957

Mother of the Council

Alderman Mrs Parsons dies suddenly

The public life of West Ham is much poorer by the death, which occurred with such dramatic suddenness in a car on Sunday night, of Alderman Mrs Daisy Parsons MBE JP, one of the outstanding personalities for nearly 40 years. She was 67.

Mrs Parsons who had been in ill health for a long time, had recently returned from a period of convalescence at Birchington. …

Mrs Parsons was probably the best known woman in West Ham’s public life with a remarkable record of 35 years unbroken service to the people of West Ham in a diversity of ways.

She could be described as the mother of the council for her period of service on it began in 1922 and she served as a councillor until elected alderman in 1935. …

She leaves a husband [Robert Stanley aka Tom] three daughters [Joan, [Marguerite] Ivy, Edna] and one son [Stanley] (all married) and five grandchildren. …

The funeral takes place today (Friday) the cortege leaving the house at 11 o’ clock for service at West Ham Parish church at 11.30 at which the Rev. Christopher Perowne, and Canon Stafford Morris will officiate and the internment will follow in the family grave in the City of London Cemetery.

She was commemorated by a memorial garden at St Mary’s Hospital Plaistow.

Last update: 1st May 2007