SALFORD’S Working Class Movement Library is holding an open day to showcase a collection of materials relating to women’s fight for the vote.

Items from the collections of both the Working Class Movement Library and the People’s History Museum will be on show, including leaflets and other materials which are over 100 years old.

The event is taking place in the lead-up to the centenary of the Representation of the People Act 1918, and charts the history of women’s fight for the vote.


The Representation of the People Act (1918) was the first piece of legislation to give some women the right to vote, specifically those over 30 who fulfilled certain criteria.

This was in response to the contribution that women made to the war effort during World War One.


Lynette Cawthra, Library Manager at the Working Class Movement Library, said: “This open day will be a great opportunity for people to view the library’s collection and learn more about women’s fight for the vote.

Working Class Movement Library
Suffagette Leaflet. Credit: Working Class Movement Library

“Come and spend as long as you want delving into our amazing books and pamphlets, and enjoying cartoons and other art”

It could be said that the suffragette movement was born in Manchester, with famous suffragette residents including: Emmeline, Sylvia, Christabel, and Adela Pankhurst.

The Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) was created in the Pankhurst’s home.

Working Class Movement Library
Emmeline Pankhurst. Credit: Wikimedia Commons


The WSPU went on to be the leading militant organisation campaigning for Women’s suffrage in the United Kingdom.

In fact, this connection is soon to be honoured, as a statue of Emmeline Pankhurst is due to be built in St Peter’s Square, and unveiled on International Women’s Day in 2019.

Emmeline will be the first woman to be immortalised in statue form in Manchester for more than 100 years.

Although women did eventually get the vote, the campaign stretched over several decades, and campaigners faced much adversity.

One of the most symbolic moments of women’s fight for the vote, was when suffragette Emily Davison walked in front of the King’s horse at the 1913 Epsom Derby.

Ms Davison succeeded in promoting the campaign to give women the vote, but died as a result of the collision.

The moment was captured by British Pathé:

With the passing of the Representation of the People Act 1918, certain women did get to vote, but women only had electoral parity with men in 1928, with the Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act.

The open day is this Saturday (1st April) from 12:00-15:00.

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