June tour: Tue 25 June, 11.30am.
Meet: Emmeline Pankhurst statue, St Peter’s Square.
Booking: Press here to book with eventbrite.
On 28 December 1918 a woman was elected to the British Parliament for the first time. This is what the Suffragettes had been dreaming about for decades. This is why they had smashed the windows of the Treasury, raided 10 Downing Street and hidden in the crypt of the House of Commons. This is why they had disrupted a Liberal Party at the Free Trade Hall in 1905 and spat at a policeman. This is why Emily Davison had thrown herself in front of Anmer, the king’s horse, at the Derby. They had done all these things and more to persuade the British establishment that women should have the vote.
At last, early in 1918, the Liberal Coalition government had passed the Royal Assent, giving (some) women the vote at the next general election, whenever that would be, after the Great War. The day after the Armistice of 11 November the government announced that a general election would take place on 14 December.
It took fourteen days for the results to be announced (to allow returning soldiers to vote and for their votes to be counted). Sixteen women stood. Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, one-time treasurer of the Women’s Social and Political Union, founded by the Pankhursts in Manchester in 1903, stood for Labour in Rusholme but lost. Only one woman was elected. She had impeccable Manchester credentials and had once been sentenced to death by the British government.
New Manchester Walks celebrates the entry of women, well one woman, to Parliament in this guided tour of suffragette haunts in Manchester one hundred years after the first success.