Plaque at Town Hall will honour suffrage pioneers

All parties agree to erect tribute to mark 100th anniversary of Representation of the People Act

Tuesday, 6th February 2018 — By Richard Osley

Claire Louise Leyland

Claire-Louise Leyland

A PLAQUE will be erected at the town hall honouring the role women from Camden played in the suffrage movement.

The move follows a universally-backed motion at Monday’s full council meeting which called for more to be done to mark next week’s 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act, passed in 1918, which at last granted to some women over the age of 30 the vote.

The motion was brought to the council chamber and seconded by the leaders of Camden’s four political parties: Claire-Louise Leyland, Georgia Gould, Flick Rea and Sian Berry.

“We set an example and I think as women we can encourage young women in the borough to come forward and think about the capacity they may have to hold public office,” said Cllr Leyland. “We are uniquely placed in Camden, not only when women’s suffrage was first being debated. We’ve continued to have an extraordinary number of women who are involved in leadership roles in Camden and of that I’m very proud.”

Mary Wollstonecraft, Dame Millicent Fawcett, Emmeline Pankhurst, Dame Christabel Pank­hurst and Charlotte Des­pard had links with the borough. An exhibition on women’s suffrage and the contribution by women from Camden is to be held at Holborn Library’s local studies archive this summer.

Emmeline Pankhurst

Cllr Gould said her leadership was influenced by a suffragist: “I went to a girls’ school in Camden which was founded by Frances Mary Buss, who set up Camden School for Girls to open up education to women, to make it more affordable. I remember we used to put on our suffragette posies every year. “Whenever I’m feeling timid about something, I think: ‘What would Frances Mary Buss do?’”

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