Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Historic Women @54StJamesStreet Home of @TheWomensOrg: Kitty Wilkinson

When The Women's Organisation opened the doors of their new £5.3mil building in the Baltic Triangle district of Liverpool, they were keen to show the influence that iconic women of history have had on the organisation.

Each room at 54 St James Street has been carefully named after an inspiraing woman who made her mark in history.  The Women's Organisation wanted to introduce you to some of these amazing women so you can see why they have been recognised at the Women's International Centre for Economic Devlopment (WICED).

The Wilkinson Suite which sits on the 3rd Floor of the building and can be hired out for IT training, or used as a business lounge for hot desking by virtual office users was named after Kitty Wilkinson.

Kitty Wilkinson (17861860)

Catherine Wilkinson was born in Derry, Ireland and was an Irish immigrant "wife of a labourer" who became known as the Saint of the Slums. In 1832, during a cholera epidemic, Wilkinson took the initiative to offer the use of her house and yard to neighbours to wash their clothes, at a charge of 1 penny per week, and showed them how to use a chloride of lime to get them clean. She was supported by the District Provident Society and William Rathbone. In 1832 a cholera epidemic was sweeping Liverpool ,  Kitty and Tom Wilkinson were in the fortunate position of having the only hot water boiler in their street so they invited their neighbours down to their cellar to wash their clothes and bed-linen, hoping to offer some measure of protection against the cholera. The Wilkinson’s were aided in their work by the Liverpool District Provident Society and the benevolence of the Rathbone family, each contributing towards the provision of clean clothes and fresh bedding materials therefore reducing the spread of disease. The Wilkinson’s wash-room became so popular that it was moved upstairs to the kitchen, with a rudimentary drying area established in the back yard. Kitty and Tom asked the neighbours who used their facilities to contribute one penny per family, per week to help towards water and new bedding costs. At the same time, Kitty and a neighbour by the name of Mrs Lloyd established a rudimentary infant school, in Kitty and Tom’s bedroom. Local young orphans would be taught, continuing Kitty’s desire to see working-class children educated as best as possible. Kitty Wilkinson is permanently commemorated in a stained glass window in Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral, which honours the noble women of Liverpool.





  1. Why do you continue to dishonour Kitty Wilkinson with your silly photo of a young woman. When Kitty was a young woman photography was not even invented.

    Michael Kelly

  2. PS
    You can't even get her date of birth right!!

    Michael Kelly

  3. How does this look now Michael? Apologies that we have offended you, we did not mean to as we believe Kitty Wilkinson was an incredible woman.

  4. Thank you for your your welcome reply.

    I did offer to send you a copy of Kitty's photo early this year, I can still send it is you wish. It's the only photo of Kitty when she was an old lady taken 1858.
    Good luck in your work, you might like to read Mothers Of The City, twenty outstanding Liverpool women.
    Best wishes
    Michael Kelly

    1. Hi Michael, we'd love to have the photo and use it on this blog, please would you be able to email it to hello@thewo.org.uk ? And we'll definitely have a look at Mothers Of The City, always interested to read about inspiring women, especially from Liverpool!

  5. well done for putting kitty's real image on your site.
    Thank you
    Mike k