Exeter Civic Society

Exeter Civic Society

Johns, Ivy

1910-2007
First Labour Woman Mayor of Exeter and champion for the people of Wonford
Johns, Ivy

Ludwell Valley Park

A blue plaque was unveiled at 1 Holly Road, Wonford, EX2 6BA on June 25th 2022, commemorating Ivy Johns (1910-2007) who lived in the house from 1929 to 2004. The plaque celebrates her dedication to the community of Wonford, and the public achievements of her life, especially during her time as a local Councillor on Exeter City Council.

The plaque reads: “Ivy M Johns, 1910-2007, First Labour Woman Mayor, Exeter City Councillor, 1966-1983, Champion for the people of Wonford and the preservation of Ludwell Valley, Lived here 1929-2004.”

The plaque was installed by Wonford Community and Learning Centre in conjunction with Exeter Labour Women’s Council, with the help of funding through public subscription. 

Mrs Johns was a long-time resident of of the Burnthouse Lane Estate, having moved into her house there just after it was built in 1929. She represented Wonford Ward on Exeter City Council for 17 years, and was Mayor of Exeter in 1981-2.

She entered politics quite late in life, after her five children had grown up, but took on the role with vigour. She led a successful campaign against a County Council plan to build a new road into the city from Pynes Hill which would have cut the estate in two. She also succeeded in getting a doctors’ surgery opened in Burnthouse Lane. As chair of the relevant City Council Committee, she was instrumental in achieving the designation of the Valley Parks in Exeter, a lasting legacy for the whole city. Later she and her husband set up a senior citizens’ lunch club in Wonford which ran for many years.

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