Wigan-born scientist recognised with blue plaque
After saving Japan’s sushi industry, the scientest known as ‘Mother of the Sea’ has been recognised with a blue plaque.
Kathleen Mary Drew-Baker, from Leigh has been recognised by Wigan Council for her contribution and will be immortalised by signage located at Sacred Heart RC and Leigh Central Primary Schools on Windermere road where Kathleen was born.
Focusing on seaweed, her research helped in the recovery of the Japanese farming of Nori – seaweed that is often used in sushi.
To many in Japan she has become known as ‘Mother of the Sea’ and her work is remembered each year on April 14.
Councillor Chris Ready, cabinet member for communities at Wigan Council, said: “Leigh resident Kathleen Mary Drew-Baker is commemorated each year in Japan for the amazing contributions her work made to the lives of so many.
“We’re proud that we’re able to recognise her local roots through this blue plaque as part of our cultural manifesto, The Fire Within.”
Kathleen’s work has previously been recognised by students at Project Inc who found her story so compelling that they created a 3D mixed media piece which would later be displayed at the exhibition space in the Archives: Wigan and Leigh.
The botanist’s work has also been featured in civic events in Leigh, as the subject of a moving installation created by Leigh artist Vicky Tyrell in the Leigh Carnival.
Lee McStein, director for Monument Men who nominated the scientist for her award, said: “I think it’s amazing the work that we’ve put in for the last six years to honour Kathleen’s legacy now has a physical presence in the town.
“Kathleen is one of a number of people born in Leigh or who have lived in Leigh who have made a worldwide impact.
“Placing this plaque outside a school will hopefully provide inspiration to many young people who may aspire to follow in her footsteps.”
Nominations for a blue plaque can now be submited for 2023, with ceremonies taking place each year linked to the council’s cultural manifesto, The Fire Within.
For more information about the Blue Plaque scheme, visit: https://www.wigan.gov.uk/Resident/Museums-archives/Wigan-Archives/Blue-Plaque-Scheme.aspx