St Hugh’s Honorary Fellow Betty Boothroyd has died
St Hugh’s was saddened to learn of the passing of Honorary Fellow Betty Boothroyd (Rt Hon Baroness Boothroyd of Sandwell) on the 26th February 2023, at the age of 93. Baroness Boothroyd became the first, and so far only, female Speaker of the House of Commons in 1992, until her retirement in 2000.
Baroness Boothroyd was made an Honorary Fellow of St Hugh’s in 1996; in 2000 she opened the Maplethorpe Building and unveiled the re-dedication of the Howard Piper Library (pictured).
Born into a working class family in Yorkshire in 1929, she worked as a professional dancer before following her primary passion, politics. Retaining her down to earth attitude and flamboyant style, she served as the Labour MP for West Bromwich from 1973 – 2000, before renouncing any political affiliation when she took up the post of Speaker.
Boothroyd was highly respected for her uncompromising but good-humoured approach to maintaining order in the often turbulent House of Commons of the 1990s.