Margaret Tabor of Bocking
A few notes compiled by Janet Gyford, February 2005
See also Clara Rackham (her sister, a prominent suffragist)
Although she was not a Witham person, Margaret Tabor occupied many positions in the area and in the county. So when you read about some parts of Witham’s history, she will often appear, with all her wisdom and ability. She was really an amazing person, way ahead of her time, and I would feel moved to write about her wherever she came from ! I wish I had known her. When I first wrote these notes in 2005, I had the feeling that she was neglected in her own home parishes. Perhaps with the passage of time she has been noticed more, I hope so. JG 2022
RG 10/38, folio 46, page 6, schedule 26, 16 Lansdowne Road, London, Middlesex
|Henry S Tabor||Head||Marr||31||Landowner and house proprietor||born Essex, Little Stambridge|
|Emma F? Tabor||Wife||Marr||28||born Lancashire, Wigan|
|Edward H Tabor||Son||5||Scholar||born Middlesex, Kensington|
|Margaret E Tabor||Dau||3||Scholar||born Middlesex, Kensington|
|Francis S Tabor||Son||1||born Middlesex, Kensington|
|Clara L Woodcock||Sister in Law and ?Director?||Unmarr||21||Annuitant||born Lancashire, Wigan|
|Mary Smith||Servant||Unmarr||27||Cook (domestic)||born Essex, Sible Hedingham|
|Elizabeth Holland||Servant||Unmarr||22||Housemaid (domestic)||born Essex, Great Saling|
|Emily Bragg||Servant||Unmarr||23?||Nurse (domestic)||born Essex, Bocking|
1881 census (from online version)
RG 11/30, f.63, p.11, 44 Lansdowne Rd, London, Middlesex
|Henry S Tabor||Head||M||44||Landowner||born Essex, Little Stambridge|
|Emma F? Tabor||Wife||M||38||born Lancashire, Wigan|
|Margaret E Tabor||Daur||U||13||Scholar||born Middlesex, Kensington|
|Francis S Tabor||Son||11||Scholar||born Middlesex, Kensington|
|Robert W Tabor||Son||8||Scholar||born Middlesex, Kensington|
|Clara D Tabor||Daur||5||Scholar||born Middlesex, Kensington|
|Henrietta L Morant||Servant||U||24||Cook Domestic Servant||born Lancashire, Salford|
|Charlotte Harrington||Servant||U||22||Housemaid Domestic Servant||born Essex, Felsted|
|Lilian Tyler||Servant||U||23||Nurse Domestic Servant||born Middlesex, Stoke Newington|
RG 12/1422, f.71, p.20, schedule 154, The Fenns, Bocking
|Henry Samuel Tabor||Head||Marr||54||Landowner and farmer||born Essex, Little Stambridge|
|Emma Frances Tabor||Wife||Marr||48||born Lancashire, Wigan|
|Margaret Emma Tabor||Daur||Single||25||Student||born London, Kensington|
|Ellen Rebecca Hardy||Serv||Single||32||Cook, domestic||born Essex, Finchingfield|
|Ellen Stock||Serv||Single||27||Housemaid, domestic||born Essex, Bocking|
|Ada Thomason||Serv||Single||46||Under-housemaid, domestic||born Essex, New Samford|
- New Dictionary of National Biography (2004), entry for Clara Rackham
‘In  Clara Tabor (later Rackham) followed her elder sister Margaret to Newnham College, Cambridge …’
‘[Clara and her husband, married 1901] had no children, but her marriage exempted her from the role of daughter-at-home, which was assumed by her sister Margaret in her place’.
RG 13/3495, f.6, p.4, schedule 14, 163 Edge Lane, parish of West Derby, ward of Kensington, Borough of Liverpool
|Margaret E Tabor||Head||S||33||Warden of Hall of Residence||born London|
|Catherine G Watkin||Boarder||S||19||Art Student||born Manchester|
|Mary Thomas||Serv||S||34||Cook Domestic||born Lancs, Liverpool|
|Margaret Little||Serv||S||24||Parlour maid domestic||born Lancs, Liverpool|
|Mary Howard||Serv||S||28||Housemaid||born Lancs, Liverpool|
RG 13/1723, f.66, p.20, schedule 120, Fennes Farm, Bocking, Essex
|Henry Samuel Tabor||Head||M||64||Landowner and Farmer (employer)||born Essex, Little Stambridge|
|Emma T Tabor||Wife||M||58||born Lancs, Wigan|
|Robert W Tabor||Son||S||27||Law student||born Middlesex, Kensington|
|John V Parfue[?]||Visitor||S||22||Law student||born Hants, Bournemouth|
|Mary A Stock||Servant||S||20||Cook domestic||born Essex, Bocking|
|Emma E Hale||Servant||S||21||Parlour maid domestic||born Essex, S Hedingham|
|Lily Daines||Servant||S||17||Housemaid||born Essex, Bocking|
British Library online catalogue, books by Margaret Tabor
(I have arranged these in date order of the first editions)
TABOR. Margaret Emma, The Saints in Art, with their attributes and symbols alphabetically arranged … With twenty illustrations, pp. xxxi. 208. Methuen & Co.: London, 1908. 8o, Shelfmark: 4827.de.50.
TABOR. Margaret Emma, The Saints in Art … Second edition, pp. xxxi. 128. Methuen & Co.: London, 1913. 8o, Shelfmark: 4830.de.4.
TABOR. Margaret Emma, The City Churches: a short guide with illustrations & maps, etc., pp. 122. Headley Bros.: London, [1917.] 8o., Shelfmark: , 07816.f.23.
Tabor. Margaret E., The City Churches. a short guide with illustrations and maps, [S.l.], Headley Bros., 1917, Control Number: U100366023, Shelfmark: W21/5927
TABOR. Margaret Emma, The City Churches, etc. (Revised edition.), pp. 135. Swarthmore Press: London, 1924. 8o., Shelfmark: , 010349.g.57.
Tabor. Margaret E., The City Churches. a short guide with illustrations & maps. [S.l.], Headley, [n.d.], Control Number: U100366022, Shelfmark: W11/4907
TABOR. Margaret Emma, The National Gallery for the Young … With 24 illustrations, pp. viii. 115. Methuen & Co.: London, 1924. 8o., Shelfmark: 7860.a.24.
Tabor. Margaret E., The National Gallery for the young. Margaret E. Tabor, [S.l.]., Methuen, 1924, Control Number: U100366026, Shelfmark: W10/1512
TABOR. Margaret Emma, The National Gallery for the Young … Second edition, pp. viii. 117. Methuen & Co.: London, 1931. 8o., Shelfmark: 7852.p.3.
Tabor. M. E., Elizabeth Blackwell. the first medical woman, Series: Pioneer Women, [S.l.], Sheldon Press, 1925, Control Number: U100366024, Shelfmark: W11/0220
TABOR. Margaret Emma, Pioneer Women … With portraits. [Additional headings: BELL. Gertrude Margaret Lowthian, BIRD, afterwards BISHOP. Isabella Lucy, BLACKWELL. Elizabeth. M.D., BUTT, afterwards SHERWOOD. Mary Martha. Appendix, CARPENTER. Mary, EDGEWORTH. Maria. Appendix, FRY. Elizabeth. Mrs., HERSCHEL. Caroline Lucretia, HILL. Octavia, JONES. Agnes Elizabeth, MORE. Hannah. Appendix, NIGHTINGALE. Florence. Appendix, SIDDONS. Sarah, SLESSOR. Mary Mitchell, SOMERVILLE. Mary. Writer on Science], 4 set. Sheldon Press: London, 1925-33. 8o. Shelfmark: 10804.l.31.
TABOR. Margaret Emma, The Other London Galleries. A sequel to “The National Gallery for the Young” … With twenty-four illustrations, pp. x. 116. Methuen & Co.: London, 1926. 8o, Shelfmark: 7854.bbb.58.
Tabor. Margaret E., The other London Galleries. A sequel to “The National Gallery for the Young”, [S.l.], Methuen & Co., 1926, Control Number: U100366027, Shelfmark: X20/5198
TABOR. Margaret Emma, Round the British Museum. A beginner’s guide. [With plates.], pp. xiv. 112. Methuen & Co.: London, 1927. 8o, Shelfmark: 07805.e.24.
TABOR. Margaret Emma, Four Margarets. The Lady Margaret [Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby]-Margaret Roper [formerly MORE],-Margaret Fell [afterwards FOX]-Margaret Godolphin. [With portraits.], pp. xii. 113. Sheldon Press: London, 1929. 8o.
Tabor. Margaret Emma, Four Margarets, [S.l.], [s.n.], 1929, Control Number: U100366025, X28/1484
TABOR. Margaret Emma, The Pictures in the Fitzwilliam Museum. A short guide. [With plates.], pp. vii. 64. W. Heffer & Sons: Cambridge, 1933. 8o., Shelfmark: 7852.p.30.
Essex County Chronicle, 21 and 28 February 1913
Miss Tabor president of Braintree and Bocking Women’s Liberal Association.
Essex Weekly News, 2 May 1913, page 3 [also see xerox of whole report on newspaper files]
Report of Braintree Guardians’ annual meeting. Mrs Marriott had left and she had ‘been very useful on the Cottage Home and Boarding-out Committees (Hear, hear)’. ‘The Captain’s Joke. Capt Abrey before the appointment of committees remarked: Mr Chairman, I should like to ask if we have any suffragettes here, because if so I should like some guarantee that we shall not be blown up. I think we ought to have some protection (Laughter). The Chairman: I think you can take care of yourself, Captain. (Renewed laughter). Capt Abrey: If there is to be any shooting I shall have to provide myself with a shooting iron. I am very fond of shooting. But I should like an answer to my question. The Chairman: I don’t think there is much fear of that. Miss Tabor: I should just like to say that nobody can object to militant tactics more than I do (Hear, hear). Mr Bartram: May I say that I have sat for many years with Miss Tabor on the Education Committee, and we had no more intelligent and excellent member on that Committee. Miss Tabor had always shown sound judgment and had done excellent work (Hear, hear). Mr B S Wood: I also have known Miss Tabor a good many years, and I will go bail for her good behavior (Laughter)
Essex County Chronicle, 2 May 1913, page 5
Two paragraphs of comment on Miss Tabor’s election to the Braintree Board of Guardians and especially the reaction of Captain Abrey, who ‘wanted to know in effect if the lady intended to introduce bombs’. Regarded as humorous be he ‘he didn’t seem to mean it in that way’. Miss T said ‘she was not a militant Suffragette, and that she strongly objected to militant tactics’. Several vouched for Miss Tabor’s character.
[A Miss M E Tabor of ‘Fennes’, Bocking, was on Guardians in 1934, Braintree and Witham Times, 17 May 1934]
Essex Weekly News, 25 July 1913 [also see xerox of whole report on newspaper files]
‘Suffragist “Pilgrims” in Essex. Banner smashed at Chelmsford’. March of ‘Non-militant Suffragists’ from East Anglia to London to take part in demo in Hyde Park on 26 July. Stopped and held open-air meetings along the way.
‘Lady Rayleigh presided at the Witham meeting, and the speakers were Mrs Rackham, Miss Taylor, Miss Vaughan, and Miss Courtauld. With the exception of a few interjections such as “You’re trying to wear the trousers” and “We can’t help laughing”, the meeting was very orderly’. Further meeting at Hatfield and Chelmsford where banner taken.
According to earlier part of the report, Miss Courtauld was of Colne Engaine, Mrs Rackham of Cambridge (who had frequently spoken in the area and was a sister of Miss M E Tabor who presided at Braintree meeting), Miss Vaughan of Rayne. Don’t think it explains Miss Taylor.
Another story afterwards is about ‘disturbance at the London Pavilion on Monday, when Mrs Pankhurst was re-arrested at a meeting of the WSPU, several women surrounded the police and detectives and attempted to rescue Mrs Pankhurst’. Several arrested including Miss Madeline Rook [or Rock?] of Ingatestone. Released on bail. Described as a poet aged 30. At court she and two others refused to sign recognisance to keep the peace but ‘sureties were eventually forthcoming’.
ERO G/Br M35-M39, Braintree Guardians, Minutes 1911-1930
Miss M E Tabor (Bocking) member 1913-27
Mrs M H Tabor 1922-27 member
28 April 1913, AGM
Has printed information on elections.
Margaret Emma Tabor of Bocking elected for Bocking (4th out of 5, 4 elected)
Miss Tabor and Miss Vaux are on: House Committee; Nursing Committee; Boarding Out Committee; Cottage Home Committee
26 May 1913
Re Feeble Minded. Special Committee had met with Mr L H Joscelyne (chair), Miss Tabor, Miss Vaux and R C Seabrook. Only a small number of such people so not prepared to recommend Board to join scheme for central institution. Arrangements to use one of workhouses in the county now only partly occupied, would be preferable. Discussion. Adopt.
9 June 1913
(first meeting, page 1)
Women present are Miss M E Tabor and Miss S E Vaux.
8 December 1913
House Committee including Miss Vaux and Miss Tabor and three men, about two cases, discussed at length. One about not letting man called Sutton visit his children, and another about a boy placed out in Wales, where the son of the family is now setting up a dairy business in London and wanted to take the boy. Committee recommended not. Report only adopted by 12 to 3.
AGM 27 April 1914, AGM, page 173
Miss Tabor and Miss Vaux are on: House Committee; Nursing Committee; Boarding Out Committee; Cottage Home Committee; Visiting Committee (General)
All men on: Finance Committee; Farm Committee; Assessment Committee (Mr W Pinkham for Witham on latter)
Visiting Committee (Ladies): Mrs H Pryke, Mrs W Gordon, Miss Vaughan, Miss G Harrisson, Miss M E Tabor, Mrs T Speakman, Mrs Richardson, Mrs R C Seabrook, Miss Packe, Mrs G Cousin, Mrs Eddleston, Miss Harrison, Mrs Brownrigg.
28 April 1915, AGM
Committees as before, Miss Tabor and Miss Vaux on the House, Nursing, Cottage Home and Boarding Out committees.
8 May 1916, AGM
Committees as before. Miss M E Tabor to be chair of Boarding out and Cottage Home Committee (didn’t give names of chairs before)
6 May 1918, AGM
House and Works Committee (13 members including Miss M E Tabor and Miss S E Vaux).
Farm Committee (3 members, all men)
Assessment Committee (12 members, all men)
Nursing and Midwives Committee (7 members including Miss M E Tabor and Miss S E Vaux).
Finance Committee (10 members, all men)
Boarding Out Committee (9 members including Miss M E Tabor (chairman) and Miss Vaux).
Cottage Home Committee of Management (14 members including Miss M E Tabor (chairman) and Miss Vaux).
Also Assessment Committees in districts, all men.
16 December 1918
[page 882] Miss Tabor and Mr H W Golding to go to a Poor Law conference in February.
26 April 1920, AGM
Committees similar to before but now Miss Vaux is chairman of Cottage Home Committee instead of Miss Tabor, though latter is still on it.
25 April 1921, AGM
Still just the two ladies. Miss Vaux seconded Mr L H Joscelyne as Vice Chair (and Capt Abrey proposed) but he defeated by G A Newman .
10 April 1922 [last meeting in book]
Miss Vaux and Miss Tabor still only ladies.
24 April 1922, AGM
Committees similar to before but now have Mrs M H Tabor as well as Miss M E Tabor
House and Works Committee (including Mrs M H Tabor and Miss S E Vaux).
Farm Committee (all men)
Finance Committee (all men)
Boarding Out Committee (including Miss S E Vaux (chairman), Miss M E Tabor (chairman) and Mrs M H Tabor).
Cottage Home Committee of Management (including Miss S E Vaux (chairman), Mrs M H Tabor, but not Miss Tabor).
Assessment Committees in districts, all men. Captain Abrey for Witham.
12 May 1924, AGM
[page 1775] Committees Mrs C P Brown is now a member as well as Miss V, Mrs and Miss T, so now four ladies (as well as Mr C P B).
House and Works includes Mrs Tabor and Miss Vaux
Boarding out now has man as chair and includes the four ladies.
Cottage Home. Mrs Tabor as chair and Miss Vaux as member
27 April 1925, AGM
Committees, members now include Miss M M Ruggles Brise, making 5 women.
House includes Miss M M Ruggles Brise, Miss S E Vaux
Boarding Out includes Mrs C P Brown, Miss M M Ruggles Brise, Mrs M H Tabor, Miss M E Tabor, Miss S E Vaux, i.e. 5 women out of 11 members.
In Cambridge. 4 Feb 1954, 9 Park Terrace. Margaret Emma Tabor, 86 years
Occupation: ‘spinster of no occupation, daughter of Henry Samuel Tabor a farmer deceased’.
Cause of death: ‘(a) Coronary thrombosis. (b) Arterio-sclerosis. Certified by M G P Reed, M B
Informant: ‘Clara D Rackham, sister. In attendance, 9 Park Terrace, Cambridge’.
Registered: 5 February.
Essex Weekly News, 12 February 1954, page 2
Obituary of Margaret Tabor. Xeroxed. Reads as follows:
Death of Miss Tabor. Work for Essex Education. One of first Women County Aldermen.
Miss Margaret Emma Tabor, MA, JP, for many years a leading figure in the public life of Essex, died on February 4 at Park terrace, Cambridge. She was 86 years of age.
Elder daughter of the late Mr Henry S Tabor, of Fennes, Bocking, Miss Tabor was educated at Notting Hill High School and Newnham College, Cambridge, where she took honours in the Mathematical Tripos. On leaving the University Miss Tabor plunged at once into many forms of activity. She started university extension classes in Braintree, and she was elected in 1893 as a member of the Bocking School Board.
Education was to be her chief interest throughout a long life of service, although it was far from being her sole interest. Her work on the County Education Committee was soon recognised, first by her appointment as vice-chairman, and later as chairman: she soon proved that she had all the ability and experience to guide the Committee aright. Her continuous service on the committee covered 33 years.
Miss Tabor was one of the first governors of Braintree County High School. For a considerable time she was on the Council of Bedford College, London University, had been governor of Homerton College, Cambridge, representing the Essex County Council; and on the Council of the Royal Society of Art.
She was a founder-member of the Executive of the Rural Community Council.
Miss Tabor was among the early pioneers in promoting better opportunities for University education for pupils from County Schools. As the provision of County Scholarships increased, she devoted much personal effort to the selection of these awards, and the need for widening university education remained one of her chief interests.
An event in which she was deeply concerned was the opening of the St Osyth Teachers’ Training College at Clacton in 1949; one of the Halls of the College is named after her and she served on the Governing Body until her death.
Miss Tabor was one of the first two women to become a county alderman in 1937 – the other was Mrs Arthur Williams – for it was obvious that their claims to recognition could no longer be overlooked. First elected to the County Council in 1931, she remained until her resignation from the Aldermanic Bench in 1949.
Other ways in which Miss Tabor displayed marked ability were as a member of the Essex Insurance Committee, of the Braintree Rural Council, and in former years as a Guardian of the poor. She was on the Council of the Rural Housing Association for some time, and her interest in architecture led her to write a Guide to the City Churches. She also wrote many other books.
In 1924 Miss Tabor was appointed a Justice of the Peace for Essex and she sat on the Braintree Bench.
Among many more local interests was the Bocking Women’s Institute, of which she was the first president in 1919.
Miss Tabor was a very early woman cyclist and for some years she bicycled regularly to Felsted to teach the three daughters of Canon Dalton, the headmaster. She was a keen hockey player, and taught the game to the factory girls in Bocking, for whom she ran a club.
In addition to her public work Miss Tabor led a full home life. In 1915, on the death of her eldest brother’s wife, she brought up his three children – Miss M L Tabor, Mrs Dixon, JP, and Mr John Tabor, urban and county councillor.
In 1948 Miss Tabor left her Essex home and went to live with her sister, Mrs Rackham, in Cambridge. To occupy some of her leisure she took up the study of Braille and spent much time in correspondence with the blind. Five months ago came her last illness.
She will be mourned by a host of friends and her family, and especially the three children of her brother, whom she brought up.
The funeral took place privately.
Sympathetic reference to the death of Miss Tabor was made at Monday’s meeting of Essex Education Committee by the vice-chairman, Mr E C Hardy. He referred to her passing as “a great loss to education in Essex” and gave particulars of her 50 years public work, which included the chairmanship of the Education Committee.
Mr A L Clarke said Miss Tabor devoted her life to the cause of education and had a profound belief that the future of this country depended on the kind of education people received. She was loved and respected by all who knew her.
“Miss Tabor”, said Mr S S Wilson, “was one of a large family of distinguished people – surely the greatest family Braintree has ever produced”.
Several other members spoke in similar vein, and the meeting stood in silent tribute for a few moments.
Braintree and Witham Times, 11 February 1954, page 3
Obituary of Margaret Tabor. Xeroxed. Reads as follows:
Education Pioneer Dies. Miss Margaret Tabor’s great social work. A pioneer in educational work, Miss Margaret Emma Tabor, died, aged 86, at her home 9, Park Terrace, Cambridge, on Thursday. The private funeral took place at Cambridge on Saturday.
Miss Tabor was born in London in 1867, the daughter of Mr Henry Samuel Tabor of Fennes, Bocking. Starting her school life at Notting Hill High School she won a scholarship to Newnham College, Cambridge. There she took honours in the Mathematical Tripos and in 1891 returned home to Braintree, and there lived for the rest of her life.
Immediately she started university extension lectures in the town. In 1893 she became a member of the Bocking School Board. An enthusiastic cyclist for several years, she cycled daily to Felsted to teach the three daughters of Canon Dalton, the headmaster.
A keen hockey player, she opened a club for factory girls at Bocking and taught them the game.
From 1893 to 1903 she went to Liverpool where she started the first hostel for women students at the university. She was elected a member of the Braintree Rural Council and to the Board of Guardians in 1913. For several years she was chairman of the Local District Education Committee. She was one of the earliest women magistrates in the town.
Miss Taber’s greatest contribution was undoubtedly in the field of education. In 1916 she was co-opted on to the Essex Education committee and remained a member for 33 years until she resigned in 1949.
She became a member of the County Council in 1931, and represented the Bocking Division until 1937, when she was made an alderman.
She was chairman of the Higher Education Committee and County Library Committee for a number of years, and was chairman of the Essex Education Committee from 1935 till 1939.
Miss Tabor was one of the early pioneers in promoting better opportunities for University education for pupils from county schools.
From the Start. An event she was greatly concerned with was the opening in 1949 of the St Osyth’s Teacher’s Training College at Clacton. One of the halls is named after her, and she served on the governing body until her death.
Miss Tabor also served for many years on the governing body of Bedford College, London University, and on the council of the Royal Society of Art. She was the founder member of the executive of the Rural Community Council.
A great love of travel took Miss Tabor to North and South America, North and South Africa, the Sudan, to India and Palestine. She was a frequent speaker at village meetings upon her experiences.
Author of several works, Miss Tabor wrote a series of four volumes on the lives and work of women, entitled “Pioneer Women”. “The National Gallery for the Young” was another of her works. Other books included “Saints in Art” and “The City Churches”.
First president of the Bocking Women’s Institute in 1919, Miss Tabor was also manager and governor of various local schools. Of those, her greatest interest was in the Braintree High School of which she became founder-governor in 1906 and served in that capacity till her resignation in 1951.
In 1948 she left Essex to live with her sister, Mrs Rackham, in Cambridge. There she studied braille and spent much time corresponding with blind people. Five months ago she became ill and died on February 4, after more than 60 years of active public life.
At Chelmsford on Monday members of the Essex Education Committee stood in silence to her memory and several members paid tributes.
In a tribute to Miss Tabor, Mr F A Parish, chairman of Braintree Bench, said on Wednesday: “Her service to this Bench was all that could be desired”.