A YORK magistrate has been added to the country's official record of men and women who have shaped British history from prehistory to 2015.

In the centenary year of the Act that gave women the right to be magistrates, Almyra Gray JP has joined 63,367 people with entries in the latest edition Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (DNB).

She was the first woman magistrate in York and among the first in the country when she joined the Bench in 1920.

Born in Sheffield in 1862, she married York solicitor Edwin Gray of Gray's Court in central York and became lady mayoress when he was chosen as mayor in 1897.

She was elected a poor law guardian in 1898 and was interested in the causes of poverty.

She lobbied for improved maternity services and infant welfare to reduce child mortality and in 1913 became president of the North and East Riding Federation of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies.

In December 1919, the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act was passed, allowing women to join the legal profession and be appointed Justices of the Peace.

According to York magistrates' own history about their Bench: "Obliged to Their Worships" written by three of today's city magistrates, she was among the early magistrates that sat in judgement in the city's juvenile court which started the same year as she became a JP.

Mrs Gray's entry in the DNB was written by Dr Trev Broughton of the University of York. The new edition was published last week and is a standard book in public library reference sections.

The first woman magistrate in the country was Ada Summers, who was sworn in as JP for Stalybridge in December 1919. At the time the major of Stalybridge was automatically a magistrate and she therefore was entitled to sit from the moment the Act became law.

Until recently the Lord Mayors of York were also automatically magistrates when in office, though nowadays when a magistrate becomes Lord Mayor, he or she stands down from the Bench during their term in office.