Great Britain

Tribute for childcare pioneer Florence Moser

A WOMAN who provided childcare for working mothers in Victorian Bradford, in premises known as “The Nest”, is to have a blue plaque in her honour.

Florence Moser, who became a pioneer in nursery care and early years education, is one of four Bradford women honoured in Bradford Civic Society’s blue plaque scheme addressing an historic gender inbalance of memorials in the city.

Florence's plaque will be installed by the society on International Women’s Day next week.

A ‘forgotten philanthropist’, Florence Moser was a prominent member of Bradford’s 19th century German-Jewish community and a major funder of the fledgling Bradford Royal Infirmary, as well as several other charities. But it was her work in supporting the city’s working mothers that led to her to break new ground in childcare. Florence established “The Nest”, off Westgate in the city centre, where working mothers could leave their babies and young children to be cared for and fed during the day. It ran for 26 years.

Florence, whose husband Jacob Moser was Lord Mayor of Bradford from 1910-1911, was a tireless campaigner against injustices faced by the poor of industrial Bradford. She established the UK’s first City Guild of Help on Manor Row which provided support to those in need and was widely adopted as a model in many other cities.

The Guild still operates in Bradford and has funded Florence’s plaque which will be installed on Manor Row, in a prominent position chosen to highlight some of Bradford’s pioneering heritage to visitors arriving in the city via Forster Square station.

Ruth Frost of Bradford Civic Society, said: “While it’s a shame we can’t have the usual getting together to celebrate a blue plaque unveiling, we’re still very pleased to honour yet another great Bradfordian with an appropriate heritage marker.

“Blue plaques not only help tell some of Bradford’s forgotten stories, they also put a great deal of pride back into our city. I look forward to seeing more of them unveiled in coming months.”

The plaque is the latest in Bradford Civic Society’s ‘Great Women of Bradford’ series honouring women who made significant contributions to social reform, literacy, childcare and aviation. The other plaques are dedicated to author Malachi Whitaker, Victoria Cross recipient Barbara Jane Harrison and trade unionist and suffragette Julia Varley. A plaque for the Bronte sisters at their Thornton birthplace will be unveiled later this year.

The Civic Society has worked with Bradford BID, Bradford Council and members of the public to identify sites for the plaques.

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