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Call for information on radical women ahead of event marking 100 years since the suffragette movement

PUBLISHED: 11:02 12 April 2018 | UPDATED: 11:29 12 April 2018

Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw, her daughter Matilda and Caroline Topping, who are organising an event in the town to mark 100 years of women being given the vote.
 Picture: Nick Butcher.

Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw, her daughter Matilda and Caroline Topping, who are organising an event in the town to mark 100 years of women being given the vote. Picture: Nick Butcher.

Archant © 2018

A call has gone out to search through Beccles’ history for radical women who fought for the vote a century ago.

Caroline Topping and Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw, with her daughter Matilda, who are organising an event in the town to mark 100 years of women being given the vote.
 Picture: Nick Butcher.Caroline Topping and Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw, with her daughter Matilda, who are organising an event in the town to mark 100 years of women being given the vote. Picture: Nick Butcher.

This year marks 100 years since the first women received the right to vote in the UK, and a group has been established to stage an event later this year in the town in celebration of the milestone.

Spearheaded by Beccles town councillors Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw and Caroline Topping, the group is eager to display as much local history as possible and is asking local residents if they know of an ancestor or local person who campaigned for the law to change to allow women to vote.

Mrs Brambley-Crawshaw said: “Sadly few records were kept at the time and in the decades after, other towns and counties have had successful campaigns to ask people to come forward with their families personal stories, photos and documents.

“Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, one of the most famous Suffragettes, lived in Aldeburgh. Could Beccles also have a woman in it’s history that fought for this important right too?”

One hundred years ago people all over the country were celebrating the fruition of a campaign that had taken decades to achieve. Women over 30 who owned property or were married to men who owned property were finally allowed to vote in general elections. The right to vote was also extended to all men over the age of 21.

This legislation, called the Representation of the People Act, was the beginning of an acceptance that democracy was for everyone.

Mrs Brambley-Crawshaw added: “We are eager to create a fun and informative event that will appeal to all age groups.

“It seems incredible to us today that the right to vote was denied to half the population just because of their gender. We are hoping that members of our community will have some exciting information that will give our event a local aspect.”

The event, due to be staged in the autumn, will feature a play written by Jill and Phil Allum based on an original transcript of a meeting discussing “Votes for Women” at a meeting in Beccles in 1914.

It will be showcased for the first time at Beccles Library at 2pm on May 17, and requires audience participation. Tickets are free from the library.

Anyone with information which could help the event or who would like to join the group, can email brambleycrawshaw@googlemail.com

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