Alice Cousins (nee Lucas) was born on 16th June 1903 in Bellshill, Scotland. She came from a Lithuanian family, her parents having come to Scotland as children; indeed the name `Lucas’ was one suggested by convent nuns to hide their real origins.
Alice Cousins in her younger days (front row right)
Alice and her three sisters lost their mother when young – she was 15 years old. Her father was a coal miner, the classic man of talent when sober, who could hand-make both perfect shoes and clothes. Her sister Mary and herself moved to England and employed their needlework skills as tailoresses. Alice was to meet her future husband, James Cousins, known as Jimmy, in the ILP but was to join the Communist Party shortly after its formation. She and Jimmy married in 1926 or 1927. (See separate entry for James Cousins) Whilst living in Woolwich, Alice and James had their first child, Elsie, in 1930. (See separate entry for Elsie Oliver.) Their son, Wal, was born in 1933 and named after Wal Hannington, who was imprisoned at the time.
Jimmy and Alice were both active in a wide range of aspects of the co-operative movement, Alice also being involved in the Women’s Guild. She worked at Briggs Motors, later part of the Ford Group, during the Second World War. She was also a member of the AEU, being a member of a committee dealing with workplace compensation matters.
Alice Cousins died on 27th June 1990.
Source: Elsie Oliver
Dagenham Co-operators on the march
Alice with Wal Hannington in front of the Soviet “peace boat”, after the second world war