Kathleen Johnson: First woman in senior officer roles at Norwich City Council

A local government officer, Kathleen Johnson, who was the first woman to serve a Norwich city council committee, has died eight days before her 100th birthday.

She joined the former Norwich Corporation as a shorthand-typist in 1938 and went on to set several precedents for women in local government.

Her election as the first women president of the Norwich branch of the trade union, Nalgo (National Association of Local Government Officers) ended a 50-year tradition in 1969. 'It was the biggest surprise of my life. At first I don't know whether to accept,' she said at her retirement after 32 years with Norwich Corporation in November 1970.

She presided over meetings in the Council Chamber, which were at first quite awe-inspiring, she said.

Norwich-born and bred, in her first job after leaving school, she later became a confidential secretary to the directors of Caley's, the leading Norwich chocolate manufacturers.

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She was the first woman to be appointed a committee clerk in the Norwich Town Clerk's department. And she also was the first woman to represent the branch's 950-strong membership at a Nalgo national conference.

In retirement, she was a keen bowls player.

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She also enjoyed spending time at her chalet on the coast at Mundesley with her late sister, Irene.They enjoyed touring holidays and also cruises abroad.

She spent the last years of her life at Chiswick House, where she died on November 7.

A funeral service will be held at Earlham Crematorium on Tuesday, November 22, at 1.30pm.

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