Lady Helena Emiline Squires (1879-1959)

11. Number 44 Rennie's Mill Road was the home of Helena E. Squires, the first women to be elected to the NL House of Assembly.

Lady Helena Squires, the daughter of the Honorable James M. Strong, a fish producing and exporting family, was born in the small community of Little Bay Islands on the west coast of Newfoundland. She trained at Mount Allison University to become a teacher and taught in Botwoodsville, Exploits Bay. She married lawyer, and later Newfoundland Prime Minister, Richard Squires in 1905 and had seven children. She was described in 1930 as "well-travelled …a studious reader and keen observer of events… with interest in Child Welfare, public health… and education".

Home of Lady Helena E. Squires and Sir Richard A. Squires
Home of Lady Helena E. Squires and Sir Richard A. Squires
44 Rennies Mill Road, St. John's, NL
Photo by Linda Cullum, ©2023.

Helena Squires was the first woman to stand for election to the House of Assembly, and the first to sit as an MHA (1930-1932), representing Lewisporte district. Despite this milestone, she did not support the efforts of the Women's Suffrage League to obtain votes for women in the 1920s. Her political career was short-lived; she was defeated in the 1932 general election.

Lady Helena Emiline Squires, 1930
Lady Helena Emiline Squires, 1930
Politician in Newfoundland; wife of Sir Richard Anderson Squires.
Photo by Bassano Ltd, London, 6 November 1930. Half-plate glass negative. From an image on the National Portrait Gallery website, London, and used for non-commercial use under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0) licence.

Witty and humorous, well read and intelligent, she won praise and respect from both sides of the House. Lady Squires was involved in a number of charitable and philanthropic organizations and was sincerely concerned with raising the standard of living throughout Newfoundland. She helped found a teacher's college and a maternity hospital as well.

When Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949 Helena Squires was elected President of the Newfoundland Liberal Association, a position she held until 1958.

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