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Celebrating Marie Randall MBEFirst woman elected to the States in 1924

Introduction

Marie Randall MBE was a pioneer.

She was elected to the States of Deliberation in January 1924, becoming Guernsey’s first female Deputy. This came just 4 years after Nancy Astor first sat in the UK Parliament and 24 years before Ivy Forster’s election in Jersey.

Deputy Randall was 42 when she was elected and she served in the States for more than 30 years, retiring in 1955. For 24 of her years of service to the island, she was the only woman in the States.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of her election, Women in Public Life nominated Marie for a Blue Plaque which was unveiled on her childhood home at Vauxlaurens Brewery – now One St Julian’s – on 24 January 2024.

More about Blue Plaques.

Photo courtesy of the Guernsey Press

Photos of the event

With grateful thanks to Paul Chambers.

Event videos

Thank you to Helen Bowditch, our roving reporter.

Media coverage
The unveiling ceremony

Jessica Roland, the first woman to be appointed as Guernsey’s Deputy Bailiff, unveiled Marie’s plaque on

Wednesday 24 January 2024 at 12.45pm at One St Julian’s.

One St Julian’s is an apartment building that was previously Vauxlaurens Brewery. It is in the upper part of St Julian’s Avenue, opposite the entrance to Le Truchot.

 

The Deputy Bailiff, Jessica Roland

Photo by Chris George

Dedications

Our members, Marie’s family and the Guernsey public funded the manufacture of Marie’s plaque.

Those who donated £25 or more were invited to add a personal dedication to one of the 31 years she spent in the States. 

We read out a selection of the poignant dedications to much-loved parents and grand-parents at the unveiling.

Click on the relevant decade below to see the dedications:

More about Marie

5 August 1881 – 27 January 1965

Marie Louise Mansell Randall was the daughter of R.H Randall and the sister of R.W. Randall, both successful brewers. Her mother was Eliza Mary Cohu. Her connections with a highly respected commercial family gave her connections and credibility in the business sector.

Marie was educated at Ladies’ College and, at 33, volunteered as a member of the Voluntary Aid Detachment in World War I and nursed in Guernsey, Rouen, London, Belgium and Holland. In 1919 she became a lay member of the General Committee of the Victoria Hospital (Amherst).

After her election in 1924, she served on a long list of States committees and was an advocate for equal voting rights for women. In 1933 she signed an unsuccessful petition from 14 Deputies and others calling for the voting age for women to be reduced from 30 to 20 to match the voting age for men. She brought the matter back to the States in 1938 and, after a proposal from the Bailiff, the voting age for women was reduced to 20, taking effect after the war in 1945.

Marie was made an MBE in 1954 and retired from the States in 1955.

Photo courtesy of Island Archives Service

Sources:

A Women’s History of Guernsey 1850s-1950s by Rose-Marie Crossan

Record of civil births at the Priaulx Library

Guernsey Press announcement of Marie’s death in the Priaulx Library’s ‘Guernsey Women’ file

Marie Randall – Politician and Reformer 1881 – 1965 (author unknown) in ‘Guernsey Women’ file

The History of Randalls of Guernsey by Simon Coombes on breweryhistory.com

Guernsey’s iconic women of the future?

Thank you for nominating a young woman or girl for our future iconic Guernsey women campaign to celebrate International Women’s Day!

Nominations close on Sunday 6 March at 17.00.

Please fill in the details below.

miriam-makeba-SA

Miriam Makeba - South Africa

Nominated by: Christine James

Zenzile Miriam Makeba (1932 to 2008), nicknamed Mama Africa, was a South African singer, songwriter, actress, United Nations goodwill ambassador, and civil rights activist. Associated with musical genres including Afropop, jazz, and world music, she was an advocate against apartheid and white-minority government in South Africa. In 2020 she was named one of Time magazine’s 100 women of the century. 

South Africa is ranked 12th in the world for percentage of women in national parliament: 45.8% (source: data.ipu.org) 

Are you from South Africa? Please email hello@womeninpubliclife.gg if there is a social or cultural group for people from South Africa in Guernsey.

Want to learn more about public office vacancies in Guernsey? 

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The original image “The Hague Jazz 2008 – Miriam Makeba” by Haags Uitburo is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. 

jacinda-adern-2

Jacinda Ardern - New Zealand

Nominated by: Martin Lock

Jacinda Ardern (born 1980) has served as prime minister of New Zealand and leader of the Labour Party since 2017. In 2019, she led the country through the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque shootings, rapidly introducing strict gun laws in response, and throughout 2020 she directed the country’s widely praised response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ardern was the world’s second elected head of government to give birth in office when her daughter was born in 2018. ‘An inspiring Prime Minister who brought a nation together with true leadership, empathy and compassion.’

New Zealand is ranked 4th in the world for percentage of women in national parliament: 48.3% (source: data.ipu.org) 

Other iconic women: Dame Whina Cooper, nominated by Claire Fisher, and Kate Sheppard, nominated by Anna Cooper.

Are you from New Zealand? You may be interested in joining the ANZACs in Guernsey Facebook group

Want to learn more about public office vacancies in Guernsey? 

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