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Gilman Anne

  Anne Gilman

Anne Gilman was one of three children raised in New Zealand by an Irish emigrant mother and a British emigrant railway worker father. There, she won a scholarship to the University of Canterbury, and was involved in student politics and the setting up of an alternative student magazine.

 

She arrived in England in the 1950s and almost immediately met Harry Gilman, a trade union activist at the Morris motor works in Oxford, who became her husband.  The local newspaper darkly commented about a foreign accent being heard on the picket line during a walkout at Cowley. Ann became involved, along with Harry, in the Communist Party, and for many years she worked for the Daily Worker.

 

At the Industrial Law Society, she helped with research on books for lawyers. She was an active member of the Islington committee for community relations. Later, she was secretary of the Workers' Music Association and involved in the Islington pensioners' forum.

 

A colourful and lively bohemian woman, she had been a vegetarian since the age of six. She also loved cats, and asked that her last one, Clio, be interred with her at the green burial ground at Herongate Wood. Anne’s cats had serious names: Joey was named after Stalin, Leonie Dolores after La Pasionara, George after George Jackson, of the Soledad brothers, and there was, of course, Vladimir Ilyich, Karl and Rosa Luxemburg.

 

She became an Islington councillor in the 1990s, presumably after the dissolution of the CPGB, and eventually Mayor of the borough. Her unusual inauguration ceremony included Maori dancers. She took her first grandchild, Harriet, everywhere on her mayoral duties. She was committed to greening Islington and managed to get some New Zealand trees planted in the borough.

 

Anne Gilman died aged 76

 

Source: Guardian 5th July 2007