Elisabeth (Bessie) Margaret Bamber was born in Zante Street, Liverpool, in 1899, the daughter of Harry and Mary Bamber, at the time of her birth her mother Mary was involved in local politics, and aged three weeks baby Bessie attended her first political meeting.
During her life Bessie was to mix with the stars and royals of the time, however, she never forgot her roots and was always at hand to help the poor of the city. It was from her parents that Bessie gained her socialist views, which she held onto for the rest of her life.
Bessie and her mother were present at what became known as “Bloody Sunday”, in August, 1911, when police charged thousands of people who had gathered peacefully outside St George’s Hall, Liverpool to hear Tom Mann speak at the transport workers' strike meeting.
At an early age she joined the Communist party, later recalling: "I joined the Communist Party because I was a rebel.” Adding, "I left the Communist Party for the same reason. I was a rebel and still am. The Communist Party hates social democracy even more than it hates Toryism."
Although her family was comfortably off, the young Bessie became aware of the social problems in her native city. In 1922, she married Jack Braddock, who was from a similar socialist background. In 1930, she was returned as Councillor for St. Anne's Ward. In 1945 she became president of the Liverpool Trades Council and Labour Party, that same year she was elected to Westminster as the member for the Exchange Division of Liverpool. In her maiden speech to the House of Commons she denounced the Liverpool slums as "bug-ridden, lice-ridden, rat-ridden, lousy hell holes."
Bessie Braddock never craved high office she would remain on Labours back-benchers for 25 years, from where she fought poverty and social injustice.
She was considered rude by many of her adversary’s, but the people close to her knew it was just Bessie’s way of coming straight to the point.
In 1968 Bessie become vice-chairman of the Labour Party, but soon became ill.
In April 1970, Bessie was given the Freedom of the city she loved, but was too ill to attend. Her sister, Mrs. Enid Sharp, received the honour on her behalf.
Elisabeth (Bessie) Braddock died, on 13 November 1970
Bessie Braddock campaigned against poverty and social injustice. in her maiden speech to the House of Commons she denounced the Liverpool slums as “bug-ridden, lice-ridden, rat-ridden, lousy hell holes.”