Eliza McDougall, was a teacher, became a member of Salford School Board and Salford Education Committee and took an active part in many activities connected with the education of Salford children.
She was born Eliza Whittaker in 1867, the daughter of Thomas Whittaker a House Painter of 23 Ewart Street, Salford. She became a Schoolteacher at St.George's School, Wellington Street, Pendleton. In 1891 she married Councillor John Paul McDougall, who became Mayor of Salford in 1923. In November 1900, Eliza was elected to Salford School Board and was second on the poll out of 19 candidates. On 1st July 1903 she was co-opted a member of the new Salford Education Committee, a position which she held up to her untimely death in August 1904. In this capacity she rendered good service, especially amongst the girls. She was a firm believer in evening continuation classes and was an advocate and supporter of cookery, dressmaking and millinery. She was Chairman of Salford Day Industrial School sub-Committee and was a frequent visitor there. Not only did she take an interest in the ordinary work of the committee, but she made a special effort to find employment for boys who had attended the school.
For years, Eliza had taken an active interest in the education of epileptic and "defective" children and fought hard for the establishment of a special school at Buile Hill. Unfortunately, this scheme was not approved of by Salford Council. Always anxious to support the poor families, she did all she could to promote the success of the Free Breakfast movement. She was also a supporter of a scheme for the physical development of scholars introduced by Rev W.G. Edwards Rees and was a member of the Physical Instruction sub-Committee.
For a number of years Eliza had devoted her time and money to the ragged school movement and was the chief worker at Pendleton Ragged School for the 14 years before she died. Here she had a class of young women of about 70 or 80 strong. She was the organiser of a band of singers, dancers and instrumentalists known as "Mrs McDougall's Little Folk". These children were from the poorest homes in the district and specially trained by her. Entertainment was given in the form of "cinderellas" or operettas at Pendleton Town Hall to raise funds for the Pendleton Ragged School. Similar events took place in other parts of the Borough to support other charitable causes.
The last month of her life was particularly taxing. She attended the funeral of Mrs Ward, Principal of Salford Day Industrial School and had also taken a group of "defective" children from Irwell Street School on a two-week holiday at Mellor.
At the end of July 1904, Eliza developed influenza. She was attended by Drs McKenzie and Stewart and as her condition deteriorated into pneumonia, Dr Edge was called in as consulting Physician. On Saturday 30th July she became gravely ill and slipped into unconsciousness. She died on Monday evening 1st August at her home, 101, Lower Seedley Road, Pendleton at the age of 36.
The funeral of Eliza McDougall took place on Friday 5th August 1904. The coffin of oak with brass mountings, was placed in a Victoria car drawn by 4 bay horses. The cortege of eight carriages, left Lower Seedley Road shortly after 11 am and proceeded to Salem Chapel, Ellor Street, Pendleton. Outside the chapel there was a large crowd which included the Mayor, Alderman Stephens, representatives from the Education Committee and the Council and many friends and colleagues from the establishments that Eliza had supported. The service was conducted by Mr R.B.Woods (connexional evangelist), Mr George McDougall played the organ and the Chapel choir led the hymn singing.
After the service the cortege made its way to Weaste Cemetery. Members of the Pendleton Ragged School Band marched on either side of the hearse and walking in front were between 300 and 400 scholars, teachers and committee officers. Here, the cortege was met by more members of the Council and Education Committee. The graveside service, in plot A4 of the Dissenters portion, was read by Mr Woods and many floral tributes were received. The funeral arrangements were undertaken by Messrs Coop and Sons Ltd.