Alice Cameron grew up in London and studied at Oxford before the outbreak of WWI, where she pivoted from her studies to become a war probationer from 1914-16 and organiser of the Federation of Women's Workers from 1916-1918. However, this did not diminish her love of learning and after the war, Alice went on to lecture at Bangor University and an Oxford resident tutor in Lincoln where she began teaching WEA classes from 1921. 

Alice taught philosophy and later English to her students, taking into account individual needs. For example, Alice taught one of her students, Kate Mumby (who had left school at 10 to look after her siblings) how to read and write, which projected her on to the path for an Oxford scholarship where she graduated and became a tutor. 

Alice was also instrumental in supporting and tackling the levels of high unemployment that was prevalent in Lincoln during the late 1920s. Alice worked with her local branch in organising an exhibition of handicrafts made by unemployed individuals, and together they began to develop the idea of a workshop specifically for unemployed people. 

Created in 1928, the People's Service Club was a collective effort and one that Alice was proud to be a part of. Indeed, she lobbied the Ministry of labour, local officials, trade unions, the WEA and a local trust to help it get established. The programme itself was designed wholly for unemployed people and included boot repairing, woodwork classes that produced furniture for the workhouse and toys for disabled children at Christmas. There was also a women's dress-making class. It became so successful that it supplied free resources for organisations across the country and became a model for schemes set up throughout the country. 

Alice's work with the WEA finished in 1940. She went on to work for Lambeth Borough Council during WW2, then living in Germany from 1945-51 where she assisted the Allied Control Commission, the YMCA and various women's groups to develop citizenship and local government education. Back in England, she worked with the Foreign Office School for Germans and published In Pursuit of Justice in 1964.

Share this page:

Image of Kay Field, WEA Digital Marketing Officer
Image overlay triangle
About the author

Kay Field

Digital Marketing Officer

Kay is the Digital Marketing Officer at the WEA.