In the spirit of International Women’s Day, we’ve rounded up a host of leading ladies. As well as their achievements shaping London Bridge as it is today, their influence transcends postcodes, cities, and even continents. They’ve motivated change in fields including nursing, fair-trade, fashion and LGBT rights: meet the Inspirational women of London Bridge…
1. Dame Zandra Rhodes
DBE, RDI, Fashion Designer
Zandra’s early textile designs were considered too outrageous by the traditional British manufacturers, so, she decided to make dresses from her own fabrics, pioneering the very special use of printed textiles as an intrinsic part of the garments she created. She has been Commander of the British Empire since 1997 (in recognition of her contribution to fashion and textiles) and has nine Honorary Doctorates from Universities in both the UK and USA. Zandra set up the Fashion and Textile Museum here in London Bridge in 2003. Painted in her trademark pink and orange, you can’t miss the stunning Bermondsey Street landmark.
2. Sophi Tranchell
MBE, CEO of Divine Chocolate
Sophi Tranchell, winner of Schwab Social Entrepreneur of the Year (the most prestigious international award for social innovation!) is the CEO of London Bridge-based fair-trade chocolate company, Divine Chocolate. She has led this innovative company since 1999, from a team of 4 to the international £12.6m company it is today. The company’s unique business model – which gives cocoa farmers the biggest share, and seats on the Board, in addition to the benefits from Fairtrade – has become a leading example of what is possible both in the Fairtrade movement and of a social enterprise reaching international scale in a highly competitive sector.
Quote – BBC News
3. Florence Nightingale
OM, RRC, Founder of Modern Nursing
The Lady with the Lamp’s pioneering work during the Crimean war lead to revolutionary progression in the field of medical care for soldiers. Florence Nightingale became involved with St Thomas’s Hospital in London Bridge in 1859. Florence helped establish numerous nursing organizations throughout the remainder of her life and received a hoard of awards for her work, including the German order of the Cross of Merit and the French gold medal of Secours aux Blessés Militaires.
4. Amy Lamé
Night Czar at London City Hall
Amy Lamé was appointed by The Mayor as London’s first Night Czar in 2016. The comedian and broadcaster has a long and successful track record as a leader and collaborator in the cultural and creative industries. She is co-founder of the Olivier Award winning arts company and club night Duckie. Amy also co-founded and chairs RVT Future, a voluntary LGBT+ community group campaigning to preserve the iconic Royal Vauxhall Tavern. She’s made a priority tackling sexual assault against women on public transport, and boosting the safety of women on nights out.
Quote – Evening Standard
5. Kerry Taylor
Founder of Kerry Taylor Auctions
Kerry Taylor joined renowned auction house Sotheby’s in 1979 and rapidly rose through the ranks to become the youngest auctioneer in the company’s history at just 21. In 2003 she left to set up her own auction business, specialising in fashion and textiles.
Since leaving Sotheby’s Kerry’s unrivalled expertise, passion and experience have led her business (Kerry Taylor Auction’s based locally on Long Lane) to be regarded as the world’s leading auction house specialising in vintage fashion, fine antique costume and textiles.
Quote – Modcloth Blog
6. Caryl Jenner – Founder of the Unicorn Theatre
The Unicorn Theatre was founded by Caryl Jenner as a touring company in 1947 with a commitment to giving children a valuable and often first ever experience of quality theatre, and a philosophy that ‘the best of theatre for children should be judged on the same high standards of writing, directing, acting and design as the best of adult theatre‘.
Today, the Unicorn is the UK’s leading professional theatre for young audiences, dedicated to inspiring and invigorating young people of all ages, perspectives and abilities, and empowering them to explore the world – on their own terms – through theatre.