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Helena Normanton is one of the most important women in history but there is very little on her on the web. Some facts about her:

Born in 1882, her father was killed when she was only four years old. Her mother, Jane Normanton, moved to Brighton with her two young daughters. She ran a small grocery shop and also turned her family home at 4 Clifton Place into a boarding house.

In 1918 Normanton applied to be admitted to the Middle Temple. When this application was rejected because she was a woman, she took the case to the House of Lords. However, before the case could be heard, Parliament passed the Disqualification (Removal) Bill. Normanton immediately applied again and therefore became the first woman admitted as a student to the bar. After passing her exams she was called to the bar on 17th November 1922, a few months after Ivy Williams, had become the first woman to do so (but she did not practise).

In 1924 she became the first married British woman to be issued a passport in her maiden name. Later that year she became the first female counsel in a case at the Old Bailey. The following year she became the first woman to conduct a case in the United States, that established American women's right to retain their maiden names.

In 1938 Normanton was co-founder with Vera Brittain, Edith Summerskill and Helen Nutting of the Married Women's Association. The organisation sought equal relationships between men and women in marriage.

In 1948 she became the first woman to lead the prosecution in a murder trial, and the following year became one of the first two women to be appointed King's Counsel.

Normanton was a pacifist and was a member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

Helena Normanton died on 14th October, 1957, and is buried at St Wulfran's Churchyard in Ovingdean.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Wnormanton.htm

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