Born Beatrice Martin on 30th January 1880, she was the daughter of George Martin, a miner, born in Darley in 1806. He and his wife Hannah had at least 10 children and are found in the census in Norton-in-the Moors in 1881, Bold Street, Stoke in 1891 and Anchor Road, Longton in 1901. Beatrice must have been largely self-educated, though no doubt the church provided some schooling. She was a dressmaker up to at least 1911, but later had jobs as Relief Officer and Maternity Officer for the Guardians of the Poor in Stoke or Walsall: a sort of prototype social worker.
She was a friend of John Marshall’s first wife Sarah, (she is listed as such in the account of Sarah’s funeral in 1926) though how they met is unknown. John married Beatrice in Longton in April 1928; Nancy Marshall was one of the bridesmaids.
When she decided to stand for election to RUDC in 1935, Beatrice said that she had been a “paid officer” of the Guardians (the predecessor of the Council) for fifteen years. This must have been in Stoke, or possibly Walsall. There is a record of her as a Relief Visitor for the Stoke Board in 1921. The article announcing her move to Stoke in 1952 said she had been a member of the Executive Committee for Moral Welfare of the Potteries before moving to Ripley.
She was elected to Ripley Urban District Council in 1935 and re-elected in 1938, her address at that time focussing on the need for a maternity home, public library and ambulance. On John Marshall’s death in 1939 she inherited the sweet shop on Oxford Street, as well as their house, “Dresdena House” on Derby Road. Initially she stood as an independent, but later (in 1950, for example) she stood as a Labour candidate.
She was appointed a County Magistrate in 1941 and was one of the founders of the Ripley Ratepayers’ Association, serving as President for two years. She was on the Hospital Ladies’ Committee and a member of the Food Control Committee. She retired from the Council in 1951, citing ill health, having represented the central ward for 14 years, and left Ripley for Stoke in October 1952.