Mary Sykes was an alumna of Royal Holloway College and one of the first women to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales.  Although she must have faced prejudice, as one of the first women lawyers, she recalled, ‘my professional brethren have always been very nice to me.’

Dr Nicola Phillips, Royal Holloway, University of London, is an expert in gender history, co-director of the Bedford Centre and editor of the Bedford Centre Blog for Women’s & Gender History.

Listen in browser to hear Nicola perform a first hand account of Mary’s life and career compiled using newspaper reports of Mary’s achievements and an interview she gave to the Huddersfield Daily Examiner on 30 June 1949.

[Image © Huddersfield Library Local Studies]

Mary Sykes (bubble speech)

Further reading:

Katie Broomfield, ‘Huddersfield’s Legal and Political Pioneer: Mary E. Sykes (1896–1981)’ Huddersfield Local History Society Journal, 29 (2018/2019), 94–101 (