Town hall to commemorate historic visit by suffragette

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Heanor and Loscoe Town Council is to install a plaque at Heanor Town Hall commemorating a historic visit by leading suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst.

In 1910, there was a by-election for the parliamentary constituency of Ilkeston, which at that time included Heanor.

As part of her national campaign to secure full democratic rights for women, Emmeline Pankhurst visited the constituency to give an address on March 2.

The current mayor of Heanor, Councillor Sheila Oakes, said: “We have only become aware of this recently and I think it is important that we recognise the contribution made by the suffragette movement in trying to achieve equality of the sexes within our society.

“In putting up this plaque people will see that Heanor does have vibrant and exciting past with its involvement in national political social movement and we should be proud of our town.”

According to the Heanor Local History Society, the hall was densely packed for Pankhurst’s visit with hundreds of people stood outside trying to get in.

The town council of the day was embarrassed that the leader of the Suffragettes had managed to book the town hall without their knowledge, and immediately changed the procedure for renting the building.

Coun Oakes also drew a historical link to a campaign led by women who have lost out on pension payments due to changes in the retirement age.

She said: “There is work still to be done as demonstrated by the current WASPI campaign.”