All you need to know about Norwich’s new mayor
12:23 16 June 2014
She has just become Norwich’s 15th female lord mayor, is in good health, has two successful grown-up children, and a loving husband, so Judith Lubbock knows she has a “lot to smile about” at present.
Sitting talking to her at her home in Unthank Road, she comes across as a picture of contentment. We had just broached the subject of Norwich’s new sheriff, William Armstrong, the county’s former coroner, sometimes finding it hard to smile, because of his previous job.
Mrs Lubbock said that she smiles a lot, and added: “I have a lot to smile about.”
While she has been Liberal Democrat councillor for Eaton ward since 1995 and has been re-elected four times, she said it was only now that she felt “ready” to take on the mayoral duties.
She said: “I don’t think I’ve been ready to be mayor before. I have served my 20-year apprenticeship. I know the city well and its people now.
“I’m pleased I’m doing it now when I have the time and commitment. I hope I don’t neglect the people of Eaton.”
She said it was an honour to become lord mayor, and a privilege to be the 15th lady lord mayor of Norwich.
“I’m very much looking forward to the year ahead as an exciting adventure, an opportunity to discover the people and places which make up this fine city and a chance to have some fun along the way.
“I am looking forward to all the events and special occasions this year, including the Lord Mayor’s Celebrations in July.
“When I learned I was the 15th lady lord mayor, I was especially interested in the first lady to hold the post: Ethel Colman, who was elected in 1923. She was the first lady lord mayor not just in Norwich but the whole country.
“It was also in 1923 that Norwich returned its first female member of parliament, Dorothy Jewson.
“These female election successes are an indication of how forward- thinking the citizens of Norwich are.”
She has three aims for her year as mayor: to promote the city’s parks and open spaces; to celebrate the city’s built heritage; and to encourage more walking and cycling.
She cycles regularly into the city from her home, sometimes walks and sometimes drives so she feels she sees traffic issues from various viewpoints.
Like many of Norwich’s most prominent citizens, she was not born in the county.
She’s a Londoner, the middle daughter of three girls, and went to school in Twickenham, and then on to Thames Valley Grammar.
She said: “I always felt fortunate in being brought up in a loving family and having been born at a time when the effects of the war were a thing of the past. My father served in the Royal Navy during the war where he met my mother who was a Wren.”
On leaving school she went to Bristol to teacher training college. She met her future husband Nigel in Bristol. They married in 1973 and set up home in Norwich, where he had been brought up until the age of 10. He was an articled clerk and, after qualifying as a solicitor, has worked at Steeles Law in Norwich for more than 37 years.
Their first home was a council flat in Mile Cross which was granted to them for a year on a service tenancy after she secured a job as a teacher with Norwich City Council.
In 1973, Norwich was an authority responsible for education and social services.
She said: “I did not know much about Norwich or Norfolk before we moved here. I had just been on holiday with my family to the Norfolk Broads on a few occasions. Norwich has its own identity and a sense of belonging, which I did not have growing up in the London suburbs.”
There then followed work in the civil service and in 1982 and 1984 their children Tom and Anna were born.
Her son has a doctorate in politics and teaches at Oxford University while her daughter, who lives in Manchester, is a qualified social worker.
Mrs Lubbock is the current chairman of the Norwich Preservation Trust, which seeks to preserve the city’s heritage by rescuing historic buildings in need of conservation.
She is also vice-chairman of the Friends of Eaton Park and is keen to see more friends’ groups set up in the city.
She said: “We are fortunate in Norwich to have had characters like Captain Sandys-Winsch who was far-sighted enough in 1919 to see the physical and psychological benefits of creating the heritage parks of Eaton, Waterloo, Heigham and Wensum.”
Her hobbies include felt making and looking after their garden.
“I hope I will be able to keep up with the gardening during my year as mayor,” she said.