Inspiring Cockney Women celebrated in Modern Cockney Festival


A pantheon of inspiring Cockney women of the past and today are being celebrated in a special event organised by the Modern Cockney Festival and the East End Women’s Museum at 5.30pm Tuesday, March 5th at The Hickman Building, Four Agency, Whitechapel, London.

Launching the ‘Golden Nellie Awards’ – inspired by Nellie Cressall, the Poplar Councillor, who in 1921, despite being eight months pregnant, went to prison, along with 29 other councillors in protest against an unfair and unjust system, and refused to leave when offered a pardon – the event pays tribute to the ‘Nellies’ of the past and today, all sharing lessons on overcoming adversity and gender bias to create a better, more just society.

Inspiring women being celebrated include the Matchgirls strikers, the first woman boxer in Victorian England, the women heroes of the Bethnal Green tube disaster, the inspiring educationalist who created ‘Farthing Bundles’ to provide toys for poor children, through to a Pearly Queen’s daughter.

Speakers at the event include Kim Bennett, the Pearly Queen of Woolwich, Samantha Johnson, great granddaughter of Sarah Chapman – one of the key figures in the Matchgirls Strike and now Chair of the Board of Trustees of The Matchgirls Memorial, Becky Laxton-Bass, Director of Women of London, Katie Russell of the East End Women’s Museum, and Sandra Scotting MBE, Chair of the Bethnal Green Memorial Fund.

Chaired by Marcia La-Rose, Head of HR at Four Agency who are kindly supporting the event.

The free event also features an exhibition and artefacts of the Matchgirls Strike. Book your ticket here

“The story of Nellie Cressall, who was a prisoner of conscience despite being eight months pregnant is an inspiration. Yet, she is not alone with many great women of yesterday and today being celebrated. Their stories will hopefully inspire others to fight for social justice or overcome discrimination” said Asma Istwani of the East End Women’s Museum, co-organisers of the event.
The East End Women’s Museum is England’s first women’s museum celebrating women’s stories, exploring their rich social, political and cultural history. Further details of its work at
The Modern Cockney Festival is a month-long celebration of the culture, heritage, and future of ‘non-posh Londoners’ aka Cockneys. It features the launch of a virtual Modern Cockney Museum, live and online events, lectures, talks, family fun days, the Modern Cockney Kids festival, and the first-ever National Pie’n’Mash Week.

It is a community partnership between the East End Bengali Heritage Society and social enterprise Grow Social Capital.