Ada Salter was initially a resident at Bermondsey Settlement. She was deeply moved by the condition of people in London, and Bermondsey in particular. With Alfred Salter she made a significant contribution to the life and welfare of the area. A committed pacifist and Quaker she was imprisoned for a short time during the First World War. She became the first woman councillor (1910) and woman mayor in London and the first Labour mayor in Britain (1922).
Two of the most visible signs of her work are the trees that populate Bermondsey streets and parks and the housing in the Wilson Grove area. Ada and Alfred Salter saw at first hand the disastrous effects of industrial and domestic pollution. Ada's championship of tree planting resulted in a major programme of work, and had a significant effect on air quality in the borough.
The cottages in Emba Street, Wilson Grove and Marigold Street were also the result of the Salter's efforts (and are now known as 'Salter Cottages'). Built in 1928 (and designed by Culpin and Borthers) they are one of the first attempts in London to provide municipal housing in "garden village" form.