St Albans 'trailblazer' and England's first female town clerk Betty Entwistle will be commemorated with a blue plaque later this month.

Betty Vivian Entwistle was born in Lancashire in 1912, the daughter of Joseph and Nora Entwhistle.

After obtaining an honours degree in law at Manchester University, Betty worked in Morecambe and Heysham Town Clerk's office before moving to St Albans in 1939, where she worked as a legal assistant to the city council.

Herts Advertiser: The plaque in honour of Betty EntwistleThe plaque in honour of Betty Entwistle (Image: Robert Pankhurst)

In 1944 she became assistant solicitor and deputy town clerk, before being appointed to town clerk in 1960 - in competition with 67 other applicants.

Betty was the first woman to be appointed to such a position. During her tenure, she conducted the ceremony when the Queen Mother was given the freedom of the city in 1961, and when the freedom was given to Herts and Beds Yeomanry in May 1962.

In 1973, Betty became chief executive officer of the new St Albans City and District Council.

While holding the position, she was closely associated with the expansion of leisure services, including those of Westminster Lodge, and was greatly respected for her dedication to community.

Betty was also active in St Albans arts and conservation societies, and was secretary of the Eastern Orchestral Association.

She died suddenly on August 2, 1975, at her home at 4 York Road.

The plaque in Betty's memory will be installed at her place of work, the former council offices at The Grange in St Peter's Street - now The Saint and Sinner pub.

Herts Advertiser: Where the blue plaque will be installedWhere the blue plaque will be installed (Image: Tim Boatswain)

Members of the public are welcome to attend the installation at 1.30pm on Friday, February 23.

St Albans MP Daisy Cooper, who will officially install the plaque, said: "Betty Entwistle was a trailblazer here in St Albans.

"Betty’s life is an inspiration for the next generation of women here in St Albans to get involved in the civic and political life of our area.

"I would like to thank McMullen’s & Sons and Tim Boatswain, the chairman of Blue Plaques, who have made this possible."

This is the 11th plaque to be installed by Blue Plaques St Albans (BPSA), a voluntary organisation established to commemorate famous men and women who have lived or worked in the city.

The initiative resembles the blue plaque scheme run by English Heritage in London.


Chairman Tim Boatswain said: "Betty Entwistle was a wonderful role model of female empowerment at a time when there few women in senior positions in local government.

"She had a deep commitment to the community of St Albans and is fondly remembered.

"We are delighted that another female role model, Daisy Cooper, MP for St Albans, and deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, has agreed to officially install the plaque.

"Blue Plaques St Albans is also very grateful to McMullen's & Sons, who not only given permission for the installation but have also sponsored the blue plaque itself.

"I hope this blue plaque will inform more people about the important contribution Betty Entwistle made to the city."