Sue Slack talks to The March Society about ‘100 Years: Women’s Suffrage in Cambridgeshire’

PUBLISHED: 12:30 21 April 2018

Sue Slack (fifth from right) gave The March Society a talk about the campaign work done by Cambridgeshire women as part of the suffragette movement. Some of the audience members are pictured.

Sue Slack (fifth from right) gave The March Society a talk about the campaign work done by Cambridgeshire women as part of the suffragette movement. Some of the audience members are pictured.

Archant

Sue Slack, a former librarian and researcher into women’s’ history from March gave The March Society a fascinating summary of the campaign work done by Cambridgeshire women as part of the suffragette movement.

Sue explained that a peaceful suffragist movement started in the mid-19th century.

In Cambridgeshire the suffragists organised open air meetings, had stalls in local markets and produced posters and pamphlets about getting women the vote. In March town the Mechanics Institute (now the Nat West bank) hosted meetings arguing that, as women paid rates and taxes, then they should have the right to vote.

At that time several Cambridge Colleges were women only and there were many activities aimed around getting women the vote.

Millicent Fawcett was a major participant in the suffrage movement became president of the National Union of Suffrage Societies and lived in Cambridge.

She was a founder of Newnham College and one of her legacies is the ongoing work of the Fawcett Society.

Eventually it became evident that the suffragist movement was not achieving its objective and so a more militant suffragette movement emerged in 1903 led by Emmeline Pankhurst.

Emmeline visited March in 1910 to promote the movement. The 1913 Pilgrimage came to March, from all parts of the country.

Sue told the March Society about one of the possible lesser known consequences of the death of Emily Davidson (who had stepped in front of the King’s Horse) - the jockey, who was in favour of votes for women, committed suicide later in his life.

Sue mentioned that a statue of Millicent Fawcett will be soon unveiled in Parliament Square. This will be the first statue of a woman in Parliament Square. Its plinth will have the names of the women - some of who were mentioned in Sue’s talk - and the men who had played a major role in woman’s suffrage.

The March Society’s May event - ‘Heritage Walk in Wimblington and visit to St Peter’s Church Wimblington’ with Jennifer Lawler - is on Wednesday May 9 at 6.45pm. All welcome.

Contact The March Society to book a place as numbers are limited, and for more details. Admission costs £2 for members and £3 for non-members.

Email info@themarchsociety.org.uk or visit the society’s Facebook and Twitter pages for more information.

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