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Born on 4 February 1896 to John Ernest Phythian and Ada Crompton Prichard in Crumpsall, Manchester, the then Mabel Phythian's father was a solicitor, local politician and a lay preacher, with a great interest in the arts and education. She attended the University of Manchester, where she was commonly known as "Phiz".
She was on the (Manchester) Committee of the Free German League of Culture in Great Britain, founded by published by German and Austrian refugee organisations and supportive British groups, including Albert Einstein, the artist Oskar Kokoschka, writer Thomas Mann and actress Sybil Thorndike. The League had its own publishing company, Inside Nazi Germany, and a major artist, John Heartfield, producing most of its illustrative material.
Tylecote served as a Manchester City Councillor, and stood as a Labour Parliamentary candidate on several occasions. In later years, her husband, Dr. Frank Edward Tylecote, a physician and early researcher into the link between smoking and lung cancer, also served as a City Councillor as a Conservative. This was Frank's second marriage, following the death of his first wife; Mabel became stepmother to his son and daughter, and the couple later had a son also.
Tylecote was made a DBE in 1966.
Mabel Tylecote Building
The Mabel Tylecote Building was a Manchester Metropolitan University building on the University's All Saints Campus. It housed teaching and learning space for the Department of Languages and the MMU School of Theatre as well as academic and administrative staff offices. This included the Capitol Theatre, a performance space for MMU theatre and acting students. It was also the location of the Manchester Philosophy Society offices, the Green Room Refectory, and an open-air walk-through art gallery.
The building was opened by Manchester City Council in 1973 as a purpose-built adult education college. After the college closed in 1991, MMU (then Manchester Polytechnic) took over the building and renamed it in Dame Tylecote's honour. The unusual design, featuring windows only on the upper floors, derives from the City Council's long-term plan during the 1970s to connect all the education buildings along Oxford Road with a first-floor level pedestrian walkway. This would have linked the Manchester University Precinct Centre, Manchester Business School, Royal Northern College of Music, Mabel Tylecote Building and MMU's All Saints Building at the first floor. However, only the sections between MBS, the Precinct Centre and RNCM were ever completed.
The building was demolished in 2017.
Her personal papers are located at the John Rylands Library, Manchester. They relate to her career in the Labour Party, Manchester local politics, and adult education. The collection comprises: general correspondence, both personal and official; letters of congratulation and condolence; files relating to particular topics such as adult education, by-elections and general elections, her career in Manchester politics and Mechanics' Institutes; Phythian family correspondence; letters to Lucile Keck of Chicago, from Tylecote and others; Sidebottom family correspondence, including earlier letters from A. J. Balfour (1888, 1893), John Bright (1848, 1864) and Richard Cobden (1864); personal diaries; and photograph albums. There is a collection of 67 watercolours and drawings of scenes from the First World War by her brother, Wilfrid Phythian.
- The Mechanics' Institutes of Lancashire and Yorkshire Before 1851 (Manchester University Press: 1957)
- The Education of Women at Manchester University, 1883 to 1933 (Manchester University Press: 1941)
- Robertson, A. B. (2004). "Tylecote [née Phythian], Dame Mabel (1896–1987), adult educationist". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
- Williamson, Mary F.; Sharp, Tom, eds. (2011). Just a Larger Family: Letters of Marie Williamson from the Canadian Home Front, 1940–1944. Wilfrid Laurier University Press. p. 357. ISBN 978-1-55458-322-5.
- "Frank Edward Tylecote". Royal College of Physicians. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
- "John and his wife Joan Tylecote with his mother, Mabel Tylecote when she received the DBE in 1966". National Archives. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
- "New Estates Development". Manchester Metropolitan University. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
- ; John Rylands Library. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
- "Mabel Tylecote – Champion of Adult Education" (PDF). Educational Centres Association. Retrieved 13 October 2017.