As we approach the local elections at the beginning of May, our Document of the Month focuses on two notable Stirling Councillors: Grace Tasker and Catherine Turnbull. Miss Tasker and Miss Turnbull had the distinction of becoming Stirling’s first female Town Councillors in November 1919 with Tasker going on to become the first female Magistrate in 1924.
Catherine Turnbull was the daughter of John Turnbull, a painter by trade and beadle of the North Parish Church. She was noted for her kindness to soldiers during the war and was Vice-President of the Stirling Girl’s Club. Her main job, however, was being Manager of Messrs H. Ferguson & Son’s boot and shoe shop in Port Street. She would represent the Port Street Ward.
Grace Tasker was the daughter of Captain Tasker of the Board of Trade in Glasgow. Before her election as Councillor, Tasker was highly thought of in the area. During the war she worked with the Stirlingshire Work Depot to provide comforts for soldiers on the front line. She also helped with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders’ Prisoners of War Fund. Her services to both causes were recognised with the award of an MBE.
As well as being elected a Town Councillor in 1919, she was elected to Stirlingshire Education Authority where sat for three years as Convener of the Medical Inspection and Treatment Committee. During her time as a Councillor, she served the Public Health and Housing Committees and was a Convener of the Child Welfare Committee. She also played a prominent role and respected role in developing the Girl Guides in Stirling.
In 1924, Tasker gained another notable achievement. She was elected as Stirling’s first female Magistrate. In a vote for the fourth and final Magistrate, she beat Councillor Aimer by 11 votes to 7. She was introduced to the Police Court on 15th December 1925 and contrary to custom, did not let off the first offender who came before her.
Miss Tasker died in March 1976 aged 91