Butler, Joyce (3 of 3) National Life Story Collection: Fawcett Collection
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Butler, Joyce 1905-2000 (speaker, female)
Maynard, Marie (speaker, female)
Part 3: Another source of satisfaction is the separation of taxation for married women. JB had pioneered this issue in the House through questions to the Chancellor. JB retired from parliament in 1979 - drew analogy with the priest who has served a long time in a parish and then feels he is not as good as in the past. Had been MP for 24 years and felt it was time to be more with the family. Did not miss the House when she first retired - but then her son and daughter were busy with their own lives and she sometimes felt regret that she had retired when really she had more time than in the past for political work. Does not think she would have achieved much more as an MP if she had stayed. Was succeeded in her constituency by a man - she thinks there was "some feeling" about this, but was not involved and did not have any more comment on it. Retirement - Continued to belong to many organisations. Became Vice Chairman of Wood Green Age Concern - feels concern about the problems of the elderly and thinks they should be more involved in the community. Has also been President of London Passenger Action - work to prevent cutting down on public transport. On the whole feels she has adapted to retirement but as she feels less energetic and is reluctant to go out much in the evenings, she would like to write but doesn't know how to go about it. Thinks she does not read as much as she should, but enjoys just living. Thinks life generally is exciting - finds people interesting and sometimes funny. Has firm links with her family but has not got a lot of friends. Parliament took up so much time that there was not much left for friends. Her husband was always supportive - "or at least he did not interfere". Thinks also that some people are "funny" about politics and wary of becoming friendly with a politician. Hobbies - JB is a keen gardener. Has a small garden in her house in London and a larger one in a country home in Gloucestershire. Drama has always been an interest. She took an LGSM (??) is her twenties, studying with an elocution teacher who later went on to work at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. She was also involved in acting in amateur drama groups - but now never goes to the theatre as it is too far to Central London and she has not followed local drama activities. Thinks the best things in her life have been seeing things happening that she had a hand in as an MP or local councillor. Is still very much concerned with the environment. Would like to knock down all high rise buildings. Feels she is fortunate not to have had any great pain and believes in "enjoying things as they are".
Life story interview with the late British Labour Cooperative politican, Joyce Butler (1910-1992)