Women march through Halifax to celebrate vote

The walkers included the outgoing Deputy Mayor of Calderdale, Coun Jane Scullion and event organiser Surraya Bibi
The walkers included the outgoing Deputy Mayor of Calderdale, Coun Jane Scullion and event organiser Surraya Bibi

A parade of women marched through Halifax to mark the hundredth anniversary of votes for women.

The trail, through the Hanson Lane and Pellon Lane areas of the town, connected local campaigners and events during the suffragettes’ fight for the right to vote a century ago.

The marchers followed a banner with the suffragettes’ slogan “Votes for women” and wore sashes in the suffragettes’ colours of purple, white and green.

The event, organised by the Halifax Opportunities Trust, wound its way from the trust’s base at the Hanson Lane Enterprise Centre to the Kwik Fit depot in Pellon Lane, where a blue plaque was unveiled.

The marchers, who included students at the enterprise centre, were led by local historian David Glover, who presented episodes in the suffragettes’ story at every stopping point.

First the marchers paused at the premises of Sky DIY in Queen’s Road. Here in 1907 Adela Pankhurst, daughter of suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst, spoke at a rally organised by the Halifax branch of the Women’s Social and Political Union on what was then open ground.

The first of two blue plaques organised by Halifax Civic Trust was unveiled by the Deputy Mayor of Calderdale, Coun Jane Scullion, commemorating Adela Pankhurst’s visit.

The march moved on to Penn Street, where suffragette Dinah Connelly lived for nearly 50 years. Here flowers were laid at the door of the home of the first of three local woman who all went to prison for fighting for the right to vote.

At Raglan Street more flowers were laid to remember another local suffragette, Laura Willson, at the site of her home. Earlier in the week flowers had also been left at the spot in Pellon Lane where the third campaigner, Mary Alice Taylor, once lived.

At the Kwik Fit depot the marchers paused for the last time, to recall the first vote ever cast by a woman in Halifax.

In February 1918 women over 30 who owned property won the right to vote and in November that year a by-election was held in what is now Park ward.

The only voting station was the Pellon Lane Board School, long since demolished and now the site of the Kwik Fit depot. Here Dinah Connelly became the town’s first woman voter.

The event was commemorated with a second blue plaque, unveiled by former Halifax MP Alice Mahon and Calderdale Council’s cohesion and neighbourhood manager, Jo Richmond.

Walkers symbolically cast votes in a ballot box borrowed from Calderdale Council.