Born and brought up in Brixton, south London, Jessie’s formal education was cut short by her suffering diphtheria as a child but this resulted in her becoming a wide reader and led to her developing socialist views. Like so many, she became aware of the dangers of fascism in the 1930s and became a member of the Communist Party. She was active in the London Auxiliary Ambulance Service at the beginning of the war and in September 1940 married Norman Baker.
Moving to live near Swindon, Wiltshire, she became a union shop steward while working at the Great Western Railway during the war. In peace time, back in London, in Lambeth, she was a long-time chair of management at Stockwell school, served on the council education committee and was involved in the Women’s Cooperative Guild. She also worked for the Coop education committee and was a manager of a local special school. Her husband died in 1989. Jessie died aged 92, in 2007.
Source: Guardian 1st May 2007
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