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5 places in Lancashire with links to the history of the Suffragettes

PUBLISHED: 00:00 05 February 2018 | UPDATED: 12:58 08 February 2018

Blue plaque for Edith Rigby

Blue plaque for Edith Rigby


Lancashire has witnessed some of the most important events in the Suffragette movement, we take a look at the places where you can see them first-hand.

Sylvia Pankhurst's typewriter at The Pankhurst Trust in ManchesterSylvia Pankhurst's typewriter at The Pankhurst Trust in Manchester

Just the type

Sylvia Pankhurst, the daughter of Emmeline Pankhurst, the leader of the British suffragette movement, was introduced at the age of 14 to the women’s suffrage movement. She was an artist, activist and writer and was imprisoned for her involvement in the militant Women’s Social and Political Movement, formed in 62 Nelson Street, Manchester. She is also recognised on an international level as a committed anti-fascist and campaigner for peace and social justice. She used this typewriter to write The Suffragette Movement – An Intimate Account Of Persons and Ideals 1931.


Towneley Hall by Mark RobinsonTowneley Hall by Mark Robinson

Burnley banner

The National Union of Women’s Suffrage Society banner at a suffragette march in London in 1911 is now in the collection at Towneley Hall in Burnley. The banner was said to have been carried by Selina Jane Cooper who was born in Cornwall but lived in Nelson and was active in local and national politics. She was a supporter of Labour/ILP politics, was involved in anti-conscription/pacifism in World War One.


The statue of the14th Earl of Derby in Preston's Miller Park was tarred and feathered after his son had opposed granting the vote for womenThe statue of the14th Earl of Derby in Preston's Miller Park was tarred and feathered after his son had opposed granting the vote for women

Tar very much

Edward Geoffrey Stanley, the 14th Earl of Derby and three time Prime Minister is captured holding his coat tails in the statue in Preston’s Miller Park but it didn’t save him from Edith Rigby’s tar attack and the stains are still clearly visible. Edith was a firm believer in direct action and as well her alleged involvement in the daubing of the statue, she said to have planted a pipe bomb in the Liverpool Corn Exchange on July 5 1913 and two days later setting fire to Lord Leverhulme’s bungalow at Rivington Pike. The wife and of a doctor, Edith was criticised by her neighbours for treating the servants with civility and after daubing the statue with tar and a ‘Votes for Women’ poster, she escaped the law by dressing in male clothing and riding off on a bicycle. You can also see a blue plaque dedicated to her 28 Winckley Square, Preston.


The Lancaster City Museum has a number of items linked to the city's SuffragettesThe Lancaster City Museum has a number of items linked to the city's Suffragettes

Museum pieces

There’s a number of items relating to Lancaster’s suffragettes at the city museum, including badges, a sash and a certificate awarded to Mary Redhead in recognition of her suffering force feeding during a spell in jail. The city was also home to Ida Cunard and Selina Martin who was arrested for causing a breach of the peace in Liverpool and was force-fed in Walton Jail.


Emmeline Pankhurst addressed a crowd of 50,000 in Manchesters Heaton ParkEmmeline Pankhurst addressed a crowd of 50,000 in Manchesters Heaton Park

Charity shop find

A banner which provided the backdrop for many of the inspirational speeches by suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst has been bought by the People’s History Museum in Manchester. The purple banner, which reads ‘Manchester – first in the fight’, will go on display in May after it was found languishing in a cupboard at a Leeds charity shop. The banner was there when Emmeline addressed a crowd of 50,000 in Manchester’s Heaton Park in July 1908 and reminded people that the Women’s Social and Political union was formed in Manchester, although by then it moved its headquarters to London. The banner was donated to the Halton Moor and Osmondthorpe Project for Elders charity shop in Leeds where for ten years volunteers failed to realise its significance.



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