Friends of Hastings Cemetery

Jane Elizabeth Strickland, continued

Rev. J. Lloyd Davies’s tribute to the late Mrs. Strickland continued

STRONG CONVICTIONS. There are two things that stand out in her character.  One was her very strong convictions.  She never departed from them; never to gain place or power or anything at all did Mrs. Strickland give up anything she thought was right.  I met her for the last time a year ago to-day.  I went to see two different people during a week-end visit, both very fine people.  One was Mrs. Strickland and the other Father Roberts.  Both of them are gone.  A year ago Mrs. Strickland was over 80 years of age, and in my conversation with her there was no one more up-to-date in her conception of life and her duty towards life."

Mr. Lloyd Davies added that he had been struck by the way Mrs. Strickland always respected everyone else's convictions.  There were men with whom she had worked on education committees for forty years from whom she differed in religious and political ideas, yet he had never heard her say an unkind word of them.  "She did a great work in this church." he continued.  She refused to let us stagnate.  She was always challenging us with the problems of the day, and that was good for us. But she held her faith in the deepest things most firmly, with sincerity and simplicity that passes my power to tell you of. She was a real Christian woman, but she did not wear her religion on her sleeve. She was one of the great personalities of this town.

SUPREMELY GRACIOUS. "The other thing about her that I always found supreme was her graciousness.  She was most gracious. I hardly ever met anyone who had a kinder heart, though she hated to have her kindnesses known.  I remember being present at the fiftieth anniversary of her wedding, and I have seldom come across a more ideal couple.  It proved to me that whatever may said about the marriage bond these days, it can one of the most beautiful and sacred things in man's and woman's experience.  I cannot tell you with what shock of grief it came to me that she had passed away. but it was she would have wished, living to the end. full of interest, full of enthusiasm for all sorts of causes."

He spoke of the deep debt the town owed Mrs. Strickland, particularly in the educational side of its life, and welcomed the presence of so many school children at the funeral.  "I need not tell the teachers and pupils here to-day," he said, "that you will never have better friend nor a stronger supporter for what is right."  A large crowd gathered at the Borough Cemetery, where the interment took place.  The grave was lined with evergreen foliage, and there were masses of beautiful memorial flowers.

Hastings and St Leonards Observer, Saturday 17 September 1932

IN MEMORIAM One wonders whether the present generation of Hastings people realises how great a woman was Jane Strickland, who has now passed to her rest at the ripe age of 82. ………………  Her first laurels were won on the field the Women's Liberal Association. for a good many years she was on its central executive; and it was here that she came to know so many of the distinguished men and women of her times, whom later she would bring to Hastings as speakers for this or that cause.  Her aim in that association was to strengthen the strain in Liberalism which cared for and championed the cause of social legislation on the one hand, and of the emancipation of women on the other.


Presently she came to feel that the immediate task was the achievement of Women Suffrage, and the work the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies, centrally and locally, became her leading interest…….Mrs. Strickland was strongly attracted by the courage and enthusiasm of the Pankhursts; but she could not hold with their methods of violence, and remained in the N.U.W.S.S., while also joining the Women's Freedom League, which was a body withdrawn from the Pankhurst group, but more energetic than the National Union of Women's Suffrage.

After Women’s Suffrage was won, Mrs. Strickland returned to the other—and never eclipsed—aspect of her interests, social reform; and believing her hope for this to be bound up with the Labour Party, threw herself into that camp.  Whether her friends thought her mistaken in this move or not, one could do no other than admire the energy, courage and steadiness with which she, a woman of seventy years and upwards, entered upon and worked for this new circle of ideas and personalities.  She was a real force there, indeed, she left her mark on whatever touched throughout her life. ……………….

The Late Mrs. Strickland. In none of the appreciations written or spoken of the late Mrs. Strickland have I seen reference to one of her characteristics.  This is probably accounted for the fact that it could hardly be mentioned by anybody but a local magistrate or the Chief Constable, and these, with one exception, are not given to writing for the Press.  I refer to what has been described as her softheartedncss in dealing with offenders brought for trial and sentence.  It has been truly said that her sympathy was always with the poor and the suffering, and the same remark can be made about her feeling for and her dealing with people unfortunate enough to placed the dock in the Police Court.  Many a time she offered to pay the fine inflicted, and although she was frequently persuaded by her colleagues on the bench not to do this, because they felt that punishment should inflicted, I know that sometimes she ignored this advice.  To-day the tendency is towards severity in sentences, and rightly when crimes of violence are being dealt with, but I am certain that Mrs. Strickland would never have been able to co-operate in this course without a feeling of real distress.  She was really too kindhearted, too generous, and too gentle for a magistrate, nevertheless she was held in great esteem all her colleagues on the Bench.

Hastings and St Leonards Observer-Saturday 24 September 1932


We received the following Tuesday)— Time can often soften the sadness of death, and work and friends its loss, but the loss of some the world has known and loved can never repaired.  Great personality, such, that of Mrs. Jane Strickland, leaves her mark indelibly on public life, and the sweetness and strength of her character can never find equal.  High moral courage and unflinching straightness, combined with a warm yet unsentimental heart to mark her as a true leader of men and women, and a quick, intelligent and keen detection of humbug, sham, or any sort falsity, made this strong combination of mother, wife, friend and public servant.  ……..In the latter years of her fine life, only great spiritual tenacity and courage could have carried her through the public and private work for others which she unhesitatingly continued after her devoted husband's death.  Despite the constant companionship of her cherished family, they were lonely years. ………….

See Postscript