Forman Hilda

 Hilda Forman

Born on the 1st January 1920 Hilda Sybil Forman was daughter to Harry and Rachel Davies. The middle child of Jewish Russian/Polish migrants, her impoverished upbringing worsened when her father, a tailor’s machinist, died when she was 10. Her mother took on tailoring jobs, taking home a measly 15 shillings a week.  Yet spare pennies were found to send her children to the theatre, cinema and the music halls – where Hilda saw the greats of the time from Tito Gobi to Louis Armstrong – beginning her life-long passion for the arts.

Hilda was granted a scholarship to Thoresby Girls’ School where she was described by tutors as a “top scholar” But at 14 years old, she left to find work to help support the family income. She worked in sales and administration, and later, as a book-keeper for a clothing manufacturer in 1939, where she was sacked for her involvement in a strike.
Her skills and intelligence were recognised in the upheaval of the war; while managing contracts for the Ministry of Supply as an Executive Officer, she took great delight when the same company that had sacked her approached her to tender for a contract to produce army uniforms.

Hilda was largely politicised by her mother when she was a teenager. Rachel even allowed their home in Leeds to be used as a base for a local Communist candidate seeking election. Hilda became a member of the Left Book Club.


It was not long before Hilda joined the YCL, in which she met Stanley Forman, her husband of 60 years, whom she married in 1946.  Stanley Forman ran the distributors, Plato Films, for many decades.  For a time, Hilda was active in the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY) for the YCL.


When Stanley returned from active service in 1947, they moved into St George’s Avenue in Tufnell Park, where they had the ground floor of a house.


She took a position in Central Books, the Communist Party’s book and periodical outlet.


She became the first executive secretary of BRIDGE (the Britain-German Democratic Republic Information Exchange) in the early 1960s.


As senior research manager at Bedford College, between 1970-74, she explored the state of general practice within the NHS in a major sociological study  and organisation of general practice within the NHS. From 1974, she worked as a manager at the James Wigg Practice in Kentish Town until her retirement in 1985.


Hilda Forman died on August 12th 2008.


Sources: Camden New Journal 4th September 2008; `Landmarks of Life – funeral programme



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