This column two weeks ago relating to 'Vera' Marlow's first motorised fire tender and her 'christening' in Market Square reminded me that many of today's readers might not know a great deal about the famous local lady who performed the official ceremony.

In fact it was over ten years ago that this page featured Vera Terrington from Spinfield House, Liberal M.P. for Wycombe and Marlow in the early 1920s, a strong personality, a fierce advocate of women's rights and a supporter of animal charities.

Born Vera Florence Annie Boucher in 1889, her first of three marriages was to Guy Sebright in 1907. He died in 1912. In 1918, at the start of her political career Vera married Harold Selborne Woodhouse, also an M.P., and they purchased and moved into Spinfield House where they spent vast amounts filling it with antiques. Harold became the 2nd Baron Terrington upon the death of his father on 8th February 1921.

After building a big local following and coming a close second in the 1922 General Election Vera's biggest achievement was a year later when she was elected to the House of Commons as Liberal Member for Wycombe and Marlow defeating the sitting Unionist member.

Her Unionist opponent was an avowed anti-feminist, and her victory was greeted with special delight among women's societies such as the Six Point Group. This made her one of only eight women in the House of Commons. She also served as Vice-President of the Buckinghamshire Lace Association and was Secretary of the Grand Council of Our Dumb Friends League.

The pictures above show Vera addressing a large crowd along with various electioneering posters. The location of this rare picture, issued as a postcard, was probably in the courtyard of The Crown Hotel in front of their stable block. There is a small insert of the impressive Spinfield House which makes a stark contrast with the larger picture underneath. Vera's other claim to fame was as a pioneer and designer of pre-fabricated houses. This block stood behind Henley Road and close to Spinfield House from the 1920s until (I think) the 1980s. It took just 48 hours to construct. The  picture on the left, used in building magazine advertisements, manages to include an election poster: Vera never missed an opportunity for self publicity.

However, at this time, husband Harold was attracting his own publicity, and in fact very bad publicity, and Vera divorced him in 1927. In the fire tender column, I said that Harold's conviction for fraud and incarceration at Parkhurst Prison would make a separate story, but if I did so the lengthy saga would fill a complete edition of The Marlow Free Press.

The late historian Hugh Grice researched all the facts and he once gave me a folder of over 25 pages. There is also similar in the Marlow Society archive and if you would like to study it, just Google 'Harold Terrington by Hugh Grice'. The https file caption might be too long for you to copy down and enter.

On a positive note, Harold sponsored the Marlow Town Band and there is a nice group picture, Harold front centre. I'll use that another week. The original Spinfield House no longer exists, but a road close by is named Terrington Hill.

Vera, meanwhile, waited until 1949 before marrying again, to Max Lensveld. She died in 1973.

Contact Michael at  or  01628 486571