Councillor Elaine Still said: “It is incredible to think of the progress in these past 100 years, from women winning the right to vote in 1918 to where we are today, with many women in influential positions across local and national government. None of this would have been possible without Emmeline Pankhurst and I am delighted to represent Hampshire County Council in remembering her today, 160 years from the day she was born.”
Councillor Still, wearing her chairman’s chain interwoven with the purple, white and green colours of the women’s suffrage movement, was joined by Hampshire MPs - Maria Miller, Caroline Nokes and Mims Davies.
Maria Miller MP said: “Emmeline Pankhurst was one of the most influential people of the 20th century. She shaped an idea of women of our time; she shook society into a new pattern from which there could be no going back. In this centenary year and on the day we remember Emmeline, Hampshire can be proud of six women MPs.”
In 1918, Parliament passed the Representation of the People Act which allowed women over thirty who met a property qualification, and all men, to vote for the first time.
Hampshire County Council’s wreath laying today is part of a series of events happening all over the country to engage politicians and the public with the struggle for the vote.
Councillor Roy Perry, Leader of Hampshire County Council, said: “The right to vote is fundamental to our democratic system of government in this country, and it is fitting we honour Emmeline Pankhurst in this way today, for the role she played in making sure millions more people could have this right.”
Emmeline Pankhurst was born on 15 July 1858 in Manchester. The Representation of the People Act was granted Royal assent on 6 February 1918 and allowed women over the age of 30 who met a property qualification to vote. Although 8.5 million women met this criteria, it was only about two-thirds of the total population of women in the UK. The same Act abolished property and other restrictions for men, and extended the vote to virtually all men over the age of 21. Additionally, men in the armed forces could vote from the age of 19. The electorate increased from eight to 21 million. Emmeline Pankhurst died on 14 June 1928, just weeks before the Representation of the People Act (1928) extended the vote to all women over 21 years of age on 2 July 1928. The 1928 act gave women over 21 the same voting rights as men. This act increased the number of women eligible to vote to 15 million.
Suffrage in Hampshire
Hampshire County Council’s Record Office, the home of Hampshire Archives and Local Studies, contains several items relating to the suffrage movement, including a printed booklet called ‘Women’s Suffrage: an appeal from women’. This booklet contains original signatures, collected by Sophia Wickham of Binsted Wyck, as part of a national campaign to present an appeal to Parliament asking for women to be allowed to vote in 1894. The archives also hold letters, diaries, articles and publications by Lady Laura Ridding (1849-1939), an author and suffragist, who played a key role in the National Union of Women Workers. She lived in Winchester for several years. For more information visit www.hants.gov.uk/archives
The Queen Eleanor Garden
The medieval garden is named after Queen Eleanor of Provence and Queen Eleanor of Castile as both spent considerable time living at Winchester Castle. Eleanor of Provence, was the wife of Henry III under whom the Great Hall was built, and her daughter-in-law, Eleanor of Castile was the wife of Edward I.
The garden is a re-creation of a typical castle herber in size, shape, plants and features. The design has been pieced together from documentary evidence relating to seven or eight royal residences of the period, and incorporates many local architectural features. The plants in the garden were selected for their symbolism as during the medieval period, certain plants were philosophically associated with particular religious or personal virtues. Among the plants are holly, ivy, and bay, which represented the medieval ideal of faithfulness. The roses, columbine, and strawberry plants all represented various aspects of Christian spiritual philosophy.