An old girl of Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Horncastle, who was a British suffragette and socialist, is now commemorated through a blue plaque, mounted on the school gate post in West Street.
Connie Lewcock, nee Ellis, was born on the 11th April 1894 and lived at 7 West Street in Horncastle, the only child of Thomas Henry Ellis and his wife, Emily Mary, née Lessware. Connie won a scholarship to the grammar school in Horncastle where she remained until she was seventeen.
Aged 14, Connie became an ardent women's suffragist after hearing a speaker on the promenade at Dunoon, who made her feel “that equality and freedom were the most important things in life”, she later recalled in an interview, in 1976. As a school girl, she saved up money in order to travel to London and take part in a suffragette procession and demonstration in Hyde Park. Inspired by the "Votes for Women" campaign Connie joined the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU).
As a suffragette, Connie was responsible for burning a wooden railway building at Esh Winning, in an attempt to raise awareness for the women’s cause. She had designed a system where a jar of flammable liquid was set alight when a candle burnt down. This meant that by the time the wooden building was alight she was miles away establishing an alibi; she later described the event as the “perfect crime” as the Police could not make formal charges as she had over thirty witnesses who could testify that she was with them at the time of the fire.
In 1918, after being engaged for four years, Connie married William Best Lewcock at Horncastle Congregational Church; they had three children, Sheila, Peter and Cynthia. Connie’s later life was dedicated to serving the public as a councillor; from 1960 she represented the Benwell ward on Newcastle City Council, acting as chairman of the housing management committee and the parliamentary and general purposes committee and vice-chairman of the finance committee. In 1961 Connie was awarded an OBE for her public service. After a fall, in 1980, Connie died at Newcastle upon Tyne General Hospital.
On 10th May 2018 Connie Lewcock's family received an honour on her behalf from the Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Councillor Linda Wright, and from the Deputy Mayor of Gateshead, Councillor Jill Green. Connie is commemorated too with her own plaque on the "Local Heroes Walk of Fame" which runs along the Newcastle and Gateshead Quayside. And now she is also celebrated in Horncastle, at her old school, QEGS, where the blue plaque, unveiled by Cynthia, her daughter, together with four generations of her family, memorialises her contribution to others.