Lancashire events mark 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

A series of events are being held in Lancashire to commemorate 100 years since some women were first able to vote in UK national elections.

The Vote 100 campaign celebrates the milestone of Parliament passing a law, the Representation of People Act 1918, which allowed women over 30, and all men, to vote for the first time.

This year is also the centenary of the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act 1918 which allowed women to become MPs. In December 2018 it will be 100 years since the first general election in which women voted in the UK.

This campaign will launch at Nelson Library next month with the Venus Voices programme of events. This series will run in support of Vote 100, and will look at how women in 2018 can reflect on the actions of the suffragettes for inspiration.

On Thursday 8 March at 12 noon, local writer and actress Yvonne Tennant will talk about Selina Cooper, the Nelson based women's suffrage campaigner. Yvonne will also perform extracts from her play about Selina, 'Hard Faced Woman'.

Venus Voices will offer a programme of workshops, performances and creative experiences giving women the chance to openly discuss their health, relationships, family roles, working lives and what different life stages mean to them.

Working with partners, including the Civic Arts Centre in Oswaldtwistle, the Venus Voices programme will be based on four themes:

• Mental wellbeing of pregnant women and new mums
• Body Image 11 years - 80s
• Work/life roles/career aspirations
• Menopause & celebrating opportunities

Lancashire museums will also host a programme of exhibitions and events about extraordinary women over the next few months. These include Lucy Adlington's Votes for Women History Wardrobe at Gawthorpe Hall on Thursday 21 June at 7pm.

Lucy specialises in costume history, particularly from the early 20th Century. She collects 19th and 20th century costume. She also is an author of costume history books and history-inspired fiction.

Lancashire Archives, on Bow Lane, Preston, will host a talk on Tuesday 27 March by best-selling author Jane Robinson about suffragette, Selina Turner. Jane's book, Hearts and Minds, was written about the Suffragists great march on London in 1913 and was written with assistance from documents held in the Lancashire Archives, where Selina Turner's archive is stored.

Lancashire County Council's Heritage Learning Team, in partnership with Horse and Bamboo Theatre and Chant, will present a performance of Suffrajitsu to pupils at junior schools in Rossendale. The enactment will include music, poetry, movement, and digital techniques allowing children to enjoy performances telling the story of female bodyguards protecting suffragist leaders.

County Councillor Peter Buckley, cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: "1918 was a major milestone for votes for women and I am delighted that we are recognising this by hosting a series of exhibitions and events.

"Many Lancashire women were at the forefront of campaigning for the right to vote, especially Edith Rigby, and I feel that it is right to mark their groundbreaking work and honour the sacrifices they made, not only up to 1918 but also in the years afterwards.

"It is strange to think that only 100 years ago women did not have the right to vote or stand for parliament. By celebrating this centenary we show our gratitude to those who fought so hard for all women to have the right to vote and stand for public office.

"I hope that people take the opportunity to go along and find out more."

More information about the events to be held at Lancashire museums is available at

For more information, or to book a place on the talk to be held at Lancashire Archives, visit, telephone 01772 533039 or email

For more information, or to book a place for Lucy Adlington's Votes for Women History Wardrobe at Gawthorpe Hall on 21 June at 7pm, email, or telephone 01282 771004. Tickets for this can only be obtained from Gawthorpe Hall.


Tagged as: Libraries and Archives

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