Cllr Maryam Eslamdoust: Mayor of Camden 2019

Source: Camden Council website London, 16 May 2019

Camden’s Mayor for 2019-2020 was appointed at the annual Mayor-making ceremony on Wednesday evening.

Councillor Maryam Eslamdoust succeeds outgoing Mayor Councillor Headlam-Wells. The new Deputy Mayor is Councillor Sabrina Francis.

She is the first Iranian-born woman ever elected to public office in the UK, and currently due to give birth this month, she will be the first Camden mayor to give birth in office.

Councillor Maryam Eslamdoust was born in Tehran and moved to London as a child, with her family making their first home in Kilburn, where she has been a Labour councillor since 2010.

Before her election to the council, Maryam studied in two of the borough’s universities – the School of Oriental and African Studies and at University College London. She started her early career in the legal and charity sector.

Pained by her own experiences in discrimination, Maryam has devoted her time on the council towards elevating the lives of Camden people from marginalised sections of society. She has campaigned on race, gender and disability issues and led on policies to protect Camden residents.

The Mayor’s chosen charity is Solace Women’s Aid.

Councillor Maryam Eslamdoust, Mayor of Camden, said: “Domestic violence should have no place in Camden. I want to raise awareness and encourage people to speak out when they see signs of abuse. My chosen charity, Solace Women’s Aid, offers free advice and support to women and children in London to build safe and strong lives – free from abuse and violence.

“By this time next year, I hope that everyone in our borough recognises the wider impact of domestic abuse on individuals and on their families. My aim is to put this issue firmly in the spotlight.”

Mary Mason, CEO for Solace Women’s Aid, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be chosen as the Mayor’s charity for 2019-20, as Camden is one of the boroughs where Solace first began supporting women over 40 years ago – so is a place which is very dear to my heart and is part of our DNA. Since then Solace has grown to become the leading specialist charity in London supporting women and children experiencing domestic abuse and sexual violence and we have supported thousands of families in Camden during that time.”

In the UK, two women are killed every week by a partner or ex-partner, while one in four women and one in six men will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime. It can happen to anyone – regardless of age, gender identity, sexual orientation or culture. Domestic abuse isn’t just physical – it can include verbal, psychological, sexual, financial, and emotional abuse including controlling and manipulative behaviour.

Camden Council has a dedicated support service, Camden Safety Net, with trained advisors who can offer impartial and confidential advice to any resident who has concerns about their relationship. Camden’s message to anyone experiencing domestic abuse is you’re not alone – we’re here to help.Residents can contact Camden Safety Net on 020 7974 2526 or visit, where they can also watch our short film that highlights some of the different forms domestic abuse can take.

More about Solace Women’s Aid

Domestic abuse and sexual violence can take many forms. Solace provides life-saving support to over 16,000 women and children in London every year. They run 37 refuge and move on accommodation properties with space for 168 women and their children. Last year 139 women and children lived in their Camden refuges giving them somewhere safe to stay when they had nowhere else to turn. In the Camden refuge women and children would have built their new lives with support from Solace staff, everything from overcoming trauma to starting a new school. Across Camden, Solace Women’s Aid supported 377 women and children to rebuild their lives, with therapy, group work and other support that meant they had a strong future.

For more information on Solace Women’s Aid visit

Mayor of Camden gets a new escort as she gives birth to baby boy

Councillors thank NHS staff for their care as little Xerxes arrives two weeks early

Source: Camden New Journal 13 June, 2019 — By Richard Osley

CAMDEN’S mayor has given birth to her own first citizen!

Maryam Eslamdoust was caught by surprise when new baby boy Xerxes arrived on Wednesday, two weeks earlier than expected.

Mayor Maryam Eslamdoust and her husband Cllr Thomas Gardiner with baby Xerxes

“I was doing mayoral events right up until the day before,” she told the New Journal. “I was at a memorial service for the London Fire Brigade and then baby came early. We rushed to University College London Hospital late on Tuesday evening – and then he arrived on Wednesday afternoon.”

It is three four since Cllr Eslamdoust became Mayor of Camden at a special council meeting.

Her consort is husband Thomas Gardiner, a fellow Kilburn councillor and now a proud father. The baby’s full name is Xerxes Arthur Gardiner.

His first name is pronounced Zerk-seez, the Mayor said, explaining that several well-wishers had asked about this. Cllr Eslamdoust, the first Iranian-born woman to become a mayor in the United Kingdom, writes an unusual new chapter in Camden’s political history as the first mayor in the borough to give birth in office.

Baby Xerxes at UCLH

She said at her mayor-making ceremony that her yet-to-be-born son would be one of her escorts.

Over the next 12 months, she has resolved to use her time wearing the mayoral chain to raise money for Solace Women’s Aid, which supports women and children who have ex­perienced domestic abuse. The charity helps with refuge places and assists with therapy, with the aim of giving women a chance to make fresh starts.

Cllr Eslamdoust was first elected in her Kilburn ward, alongside Cllr Gardiner, in 2010. The couple, part of the left-wing caucus on Camden’s Labour group, had been politically active beforehand, however; the picture below shows them march­ing against the Iraq War.

Thomas Gardiner and Maryam Eslamdoust marching against war in 2003

While council staff often take around nine months of maternity leave, Cllr Eslamdoust is expected to be back on the beat in about four weeks.

Her deputy, Sabrina Francis, was on duty at events this week as the new family return­ed home from hospital.

“We are so happy about our beautiful son arriving,” said Cllr Eslamdoust. “I must give huge thanks to the NHS staff at the UCLH for how they looked after Xerxes.”


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