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Award Categories

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The Noel Chavasse Award

recognises selflessness


The Josephine Butler Award

recognises someone who makes life better for other people


The Duncan, Newlands and Fresh Award

recognises a group of young people who have worked to improve the health and well being of others

The Kitty Wilkinson Award

recognises those who give generously to change the lives of others

The Edward Rushton Award

recognises someone who makes a difference even when it's unpopular

The Roscoe and Horrocks Award

recognise someone who inspires others to learn

The Frank Hornby Award

recognises someone who makes the world a better place to be

The Father James Nugent Award

recognises someone who champions the overlooked


The Joseph Williamson Award

recognises those who Help others to feel valued

The Eleanor Rathbone Award

recognises a young person who speaks out to make a difference for others.

Noel Chvasse

Noel Chavasse

Noel Chavasse, the house surgeon at the Royal Southern Hospital, Liverpool, was the only individual

Noel Chavasse, the house surgeon at the Royal Southern Hospital, Liverpool, was the only individual to be awarded the Victoria Cross and Bar during the Great War - a feat that is adorned on his headstone.

The son of a bishop, Noel attended Liverpool College School in 1900 before graduating with a First in philosophy from Trinity College, Oxford. He was appointed house surgeon in 1913 and the same year applied and was accepted as lieutenant for the Royal Army Medical Corps. When war broke out, Chavasse's battalion, Liverpool Scottish, were stationed near Ypres. Continuously, he risked his life venturing out into no man's land to aid fallen soldiers, and he was relentless in his bravery, never faltering until he was certain there were no more men that needed his treatment.

On the 27th July, 1916, Chavasse's battalion were issued to the trenches in front of Guillemont. Under enemy attack and with no known location of the enemy's positioning, 189 of the 600 soldiers had fallen casualty in a matter of hours. Chavasse tended to the wounded all day whilst being under attack from enemy soldiers and under the cover of night, ventured into the front line to search for wounded. Chavasse sustained an injury during his exploits, though insisted in a letter to his worrying parents that "it is absolutely nothing. The merest particle of shell just frisked me. I did not even know about it until I undressed at night." For his acts of bravery in this battle, he received his first VC.

However by 1917, Liverpool Scottish were relocated and poorly protected against the enemy's mustard gas, losing 143 soldier. Chavasse was wounded on the skull, though remained diligent in his service, reusing to be sent home. Under heavy opposition fire, suffering from fatigue and weary from a lack of food, Chavasse continued to venture into no man's land, helping the wounded. Whilst stationed at a first-aid post, a shell landed on site, killing or wounding everyone present. Suffering from six injuries, Chavasse crawled half a mile to receive help for the others and was picked up by a field ambulance, though his face was unrecognisable. His injuries served out the last of his duties.


Josephine Butler

Josephne Butler
Josephine Butler

A devout Christian, Butler moved to Liverpool, an area steeped in poverty.  After the death of her six-year-old daughter, Butler sought after others who had suffered worse than her for her help. She wrote,  "became possessed with an irresistible urge to go forth and find some pain keener than my own, to meet with people more unhappy than myself."

Due to the lack of factory work available, poor women would have to turn to a life of prostitution to feed their children. Butler made to evident that although [Butler was clear that the women, although partly driven by poverty, were the victims of patriarchy]

[Butler is an important figure who advocated on behalf of women considered to be "scum" - prostitutes and other "fallen women" - and challenged men's right to sexual access to prostituted women and children. She achieved huge social and legal reforms in her own lifetime at a time when women did not even have the right to vote.]

Josephine Butler's work was recognised by the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral shortly after her death by including her to the Noble Womens window.

[The Josephine Butler Memorial House, Liverpool, affiliated to the Anglican Archbishops' Advisory Board for Preventive and Rescue Work, was set up in 1920 in association with the University of Liverpool to train women as professional administrators in the field of social welfare, in accordance with the reforming principles of Josephine Butler's work. It offered, from a succession of premises in the city, one year social work courses, or the two year full Social Science course of the University of Liverpool, with which the House was always closely associated. Continuous financial struggles and the gradual evolution of professional social services made the House (later Josephine Butler College) unviable. The last students finished their courses in 1972.]

Josephine Butler was Britain's first anti-prostitution campaigner and a major social reformer for women's rights. Her work towards helping suffering women subject to prostitution and the oppression of men has gone largely unheard of in the 21st Century despite the impact she delivered for women's freedom. This has largely been due to the radical approach of the suffragettes in the following years which has overshadowed the impactful work she has performed.


Dr William Henry Duncan, James Newlands & Thomas Fresh

Dunca, Newlands & Thoms

Duncan, Newlands and Fresh pioneered a coordinated public health. Newlandsbuilt sewers and drains- before the sewers were built, life expectancy was an average 19, by the time Newlands retired it had more than doubled. Duncan introduced health visitors, mother and infant welfare centres and sanitary reform. Built the country’s first municipal housing scheme in the 1870s. Fresh had been working in environmental health in an unofficial capacity before Newlands and Duncan were appointed, Fresh created a model sanitary department from scratch, and managed refuse collection and public cleansing.

Duncan, Newlands and Fresh pioneered a coordinated public health. Newlandsbuilt sewers and drains- before the sewers were built, life expectancy was an average 19, by the time Newlands retired it had more than doubled. Duncan introduced health visitors, mother and infant welfare centres and sanitary reform. Built the country’s first municipal housing scheme in the 1870s. Fresh had been working in environmental health in an unofficial capacity before Newlands and Duncan were appointed, Fresh created a model sanitary department from scratch, and managed refuse collection and public cleansing.

As a result of their developments, Liverpool was one of the first cities to introduce a whole population screening programme for TB in 1959 and established some of the first urban smokeless zones in the 1960s.



Kitty Wilkinson

Kitty Wilkinson
Kitty Wilkinson

Born in Ireland, she arrived destitute in Liverpool in 1794. Her father and sister drowned during the trip from Derry. Also lost a husband at sea before marrying Tom Wilkinson.

In 1832, during a cholera epidemic, she had the only boiler in her neighbourhood, so she invited those with infected clothes or linens to use it, thus saving many lives. This was the first public washhouse in Liverpool. Ten years later with public funds her efforts resulted in the opening of a combined washhouse and public baths, the first in the United Kingdom.

Took in orphans and anyone who wanted help.

CATHERINE WILKINSON. Died 11 November 1860, aged 73. Indefatigable and self-denying She was the Widow's friend. The support of the Orphan. The fearless and unwearied nurse of the sick. The originator of Baths and Wash-houses for the poor. 'For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.' St. Mark, 12th Chapter, 44th Verse.




Edwards Rushton

Edward Rushton

Born in Liverpool . Left school at the age of 11 to become an apprentice with Messrs, Watt and Gregson, a West Indies trading firm. 

Rushton quickly became an experienced sailor. For example, at age 16, he took the helm of a ship which the captain and crew were about to abandon and guided them safely back to Liverpool. Because of this event, he was promoted from his apprenticeship to the position of second mate. In addition, at the age of 17 he survived the sinking of a slave ship he was aboard while on the way back from Guinea.

Working with human cargo gave Rushton first-hand experience with the ways that slaves were treated, and caused him to become an abolitionist later in life. In 1773, the same year that he survived the ship sinking, Rushton was sailing to Dominica with human cargo when a highly contagious outbreak of ophthalmia struck many of the slaves. The disease spread quickly and Rushton was appalled with the conditions that the slaves had to endure, so he would sneak food and water to them. He also reprimanded the captain, and because of this he was ultimately charged with mutiny. However, his contact with the slaves during the outbreak caused him to contract ophthalmia himself, and he became completely blind in his left eye and developed a cataract-like condition in his right eye.

Eventually, Rushton was able to make enough money from bookselling to live comfortably and educate his children. In the late 1780s, he became a member of the literary and philosophical society and began donating money to help blind paupers. This led to Rushton establishing the Liverpool School for the Indigent Blind, which opened in 1791, second only in the world to the Paris school. The school now exists under the name of The Royal School for the Blind, Liverpool.
In 1807, Rushton had an operation which allowed him to regain his sight. For the first time in 33 years, he was able to see his wife and children. In 1811, his wife Isabella and one of his daughters both died. Rushton died on 22 November 1814 of paralysis in Liverpool, Lancashire, England (UK).




Williams Roscoe and Jeremiah Horrocks 


Roscoe was born in Liverpool.  Left school at 12 after learning all that he could and joined his father working in the garden of a public house called the Bowling Green at Mount Pleasant. Became a lawyer in 1774.

Roscoe denounced the African Slave trade in his town, where, at that time, a significant amount of the wealth came from slavery. His outspokenness against the slave trade meant that abolitionism and Presbyterianism were linked together in the public mind. He gave up legal practice in 1976, and in 1806, he was elected member of parliament for Liverpool, but he stood down the following year at the dissolution. However, he was able to vote in favour of the successful abolition of the slave trade during his brief stay.

Abolitionist, identified universal education as a key to progress, set up an institute which would become Liverpool John Moores University. Loved learning himself and spoke four languages, wrote poetry. "This mode of life gave health and vigour o my body, and amusement and instruction to my mind; and to this day I well remember the delicious sleep which succeeded my labours, from which I was again called at an early hour. If I were now asked whom I consider to be the happiest of the human race, I should answer, those who cultivate the earth by their own hands.

Jeremiah Horrocks was the first person to demonstrate that the Moon moved around the Earth in an elliptical orbit; and he was the only person to predict the transit of Venus of 1639, an event which he and his friend William Crabtree were the only two people to observe and record. Most remarkably, Horrocks correctly asserted that Jupiter was accelerating in its orbit while Saturn was slowing and interpreted this as due to mutual gravitational interaction, thereby demonstrating that gravity's actions were not limited to the Earth, Sun, and Moon.

Horrocks is remembered on a plaque in Westminster Abbey and the lunar crater Horrocks is named after him. In 1859, a marble tablet and stained-glass windows commemorating him were installed in the Parish Church of St Michael, Much Hoole.[13] Toxteth Unitarian Chapel contains a memorial plaque commemorating his achievements. Horrocks Avenue in Garston, Liverpool, is also named after him.

In 1927, the Jeremiah Horrocks Observatory was built at Moor Park, Preston.

The 2012 transit of Venus was marked by a celebration held in the church at Much Hoole, which was streamed live worldwide on the NASA website.

Horrocks and the transit of Venus feature in an episode ("Dark Matter") of the British television series Lewis.

In 2011, a sculpture by Andy Plant, titled Heaven and Earth, was installed at Dock Head in Liverpool to celebrate Horrock's work on the transit of Venus. It consists of a telescope looking at a working orrery which has the planet Venus replaced by a figure of the astronomer depicted as an angel.





Frank Hornby

Fran Hornby
Frank Hornby

Born on 15 May 1863 at 77 Copperas Hill, Liverpool, Lancashire, Hornby was the son of John Oswald Hornby, a provision merchant and his wife Martha Hornby (née Thomlinson), though this date has been questioned. It is the date on his birth certificate, but the entry in the family bible in his mother's handwriting gives the date as 2 May.[1] At the age of sixteen, Hornby left school and started working as a cashier in his father's business. On 15 January 1887 he married a schoolteacher Clara Walker Godefroy, the daughter of a customs officer and they had two sons, Roland and Douglas, and a daughter, Patricia. When his father died in 1899, his father's business was closed and Hornby became a bookkeeper for David Hugh Elliot who ran a meat importing business in Liverpool.

After experimenting with new ideas in his home workshop, Hornby began making toys for his sons in 1899 with pieces he cut from sheet metal. He built models of bridges, trucks and cranes, although the pieces they were made from were not interchangeable. The breakthrough came when Hornby realised that if he could make separate, interchangeable parts that could be bolted together, any model could be built from the same components. The key inventive step was the realisation that regular perforations in the structural pieces could be used, not only to join them together with nuts and bolts, but also to journal – act as a bearing for – axles and shafts. This made the construction of complex mechanisms relatively simple. He started making metal strips by hand from copper sheets. The strips were half an inch wide with holes for bolts spaced at half-inch intervals. Initially he made the nuts and bolts himself, but he soon found an alternate source of supply.

By the end of 1900 Hornby had built a set of parts he considered worth marketing. On advice, he patented his invention in January 1901 as "Improvements in Toy or Educational Devices for Children and Young People",[2] but not without first having to borrow £5 from his employer, David Elliot, to cover the costs.

During 1901 Hornby began looking for companies to manufacture his product, but it was poorly finished and did not attract much attention. Still having to support his family on the small wage he earned, Hornby did not have much time to market his invention. Fortunately, his employer saw potential in what Hornby was doing and offered him some vacant premises next to the office where he worked to pursue his ideas. With this move, Elliot and Hornby became partners.



Father James Nugent

Jmes Nugent

Father James Nugent was born in Hunter Street, Liverpool on 3 March 1822. He was the eldest of nine children born to John and Mary Nugent. At that time educational facilities for Catholics were few, so he was educated at a private school under the patronage of Reverend James Picton of Christ Church, Liverpool.

His family wanted James to pursue a business career but instead he chose to train for the priesthood and in 1838 went to the College of St Cuthbert, Usher. After 5 years there he went to the English College, Rome and was ordained as a priest at St Nicholas', Liverpool in 1846. On New Year's Day 1849, after serving in parishes in Blackburn and Wigan, Father Nugent was back at St Nicholas' Parish as their curate.

Living conditions in Liverpool in the 1840s were terrible. There was great poverty and sickness and thousands of children were homeless. Father Nugent decided to do something about this situation.

In 1849 he opened a Ragged School at Copperas Hill to take homeless children off the streets offering them shelter, food and clothing. Father Nugent also brought the teaching order of Notre Dame to the city to staff the Catholic Poor Law Schools.

Later a night shelter and refuge giving homeless boys food and lodging was established, but in 1867 with over 48,000 boys receiving supper and 3,000 a night's lodging, Father Nugent realised that more was needed. It was clear that a residential school was essential. The Boys' Refuge (a certified Industrial School) was opened in 1869 teaching shoe making, tailoring, joinery and printing, which continued until 1923.

As well as accommodation Father Nugent was keen to provide educational opportunities. It only took him two years to raise the money and lay the foundation stone for the Catholic Institute in Hope Street. There was no such resource in the city when he went to school. He was appointed Director of the Institute and lived at 26 Hope Street until 1863. This work is continued to this day through St Edward's College.

Another concern of Father Nugent was the fate of women after their discharge from prison. He had seen firsthand the need to provide support for women on their release during his 22 years chaplaincy at Walton Prison. Father Nugent persuaded the Order of the Poor Servants of the Mother of God to establish a refuge to help such women.

Some years later a home for mothers and their babies, the House of Providence, was established in Dingle. In its first year Father Nugent reported that 33 mothers and their babies had found shelter there.

Father Nugent's importance to the generations of Liverpool people who followed him is immense. He saw the deprivation suffered by the people of the city and did something to help by highlighting the issues facing them and encouraging those with power, money and influence to help. His work is continued today through the work of Nugent Care - his lasting legacy to the people of Liverpool.


Joseph Williamson

Joseph Wiliasn

Born in Barnsley, Yorkshire but at a small age he moved to Warrington. Married Elizabeth Tate, his boss Richard Tate's daughter. He left his family when he was 11 to work in Liverpool in a tobacco and snuff firm on Parr Street.

Williamson and his wife bought a home in Edge Hill and began to develop more properties on the street. He created multiple jobs, by employing men to help build the houses. At this time, many of the healthy British men would have been in France at war, so the men in Britain were looking for jobs. He began to build tunnels through the gardens of the houses he built. He never revealed the nature of these tunnels, only pointing out that he was employing more men than others were.

"The King of Edge Hill". Creating jobs for the unemployed. Teaching men new skills to get new jobs.

Tomb was found underneath the site where Liverpool One was to be built. Archaeologists were able to record their findings, and builders were able to take pictures of the tombs for themselves. Garden has been built in memory of him over his remains.



Eleanor Rathbone

Elao Ratbone

Born in Liverpool, moved to London for education and moved back for work. Second daughter of William Rathbone VI and his second wife Emily Lyle. She was unmarried.

She was the first woman o be elected to Liverpool City Council from 1909-1934. She was associated with the equal rights and citizenship for women, which led to the Liverpool Women's Suffrage Society being established through her efforts in 1909. She founded the first Women's Association in Liverpool in 1913 to promote women's involvement in political affairs. She campaigned for cheaper milk and better benefits for the children of the unemployed during the depression. She joined the British Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi Council to support human rights after realising the nature of Nazi Germany.  She even tried to hire a ship to run the blockade of Spain and remove Republicans at risk from reprisals. In 1938, she set up the Parliamentary Committee on Refugees to take up individual cases from Spain, Czechoslovakia and Germany.

In 1945, the year before her death, Eleanor Rathbone saw the Family allowances Act pass into law. The School of Law and Social Justice at the University of Liverpool renders homage to Eleanor by carrying her name, and Edge Hill University has a hall of residence called Eleanor Rathbone in honour of her work as a social reformer.




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