Woman in profile
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Lady Florence Priscilla Norman, née McLaren, (1883 – 1 March 1964) was a British social campaigner and suffragist.[1] She was the “vigorous and opinionated”[2] daughter of Charles McLaren, 1st Baron Aberconway, and his wife Laura Elizabeth Pochin.[3]

In 1907 Florence became the second wife of Sir Henry Norman, a Liberal MP, with whom she went on to have three children.[2] The McLaren and the Norman families were enthusiastic supporters of the women’s suffrage movement.[3] Not herself a militant suffragette, Florence held the post of Honorary Treasurer of the Liberal Women’s Suffrage Union until the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. During the conflict she and her husband ran a small voluntary hospital at Wimereux, in northern France, for which she was awarded a CBE and the Mons Star.[3]

Following the foundation of the Imperial War Museum (IWM) in 1917 Florence became Chair of its Women’s Work Subcommittee, responsible for recording the work of women during the war.[1] In that role, in 1919 she commissioned Sir John Lavery to paint twelve paintings of the work women had done in France during the war.[4] Florence remained a trustee of the IWM for more than 40 years, and was an active member of many other organisations, notably the League of Nations and the National Adoption Society.[1]

Florence’s husband died shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939.[2] She joined the Women’s Voluntary Service and drove a mobile canteen in London throughout the subsequent air raids. Florence died in 1964 at her home in Antibes, France, Château de Garoupe.[1]

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Bibliography


Archives Hub. Papers of Lady Florence Priscilla Norman. https://archiveshub.jisc.ac.uk/data/gb106-7nor.
French, Patrick. “Norman, Sir Henry, First Baronet (1858–1939).” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Online, Oxford University Press, 2011, https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/61020.
Imperial War Museum. Florence Priscilla Norman. https://livesofthefirstworldwar.iwm.org.uk/lifestory/5150919.
National Portrait Gallery. Florence Priscilla (Née McLaren), Lady Norman (1881–1964). Florence Priscilla (née McLaren), Lady Norman.