Tribute unveiled at Sheffield Town Hall to mark 100 years since first women gained right to vote

A silverware tribute has been unveiled at Sheffield Town Hall to celebrate 100 years since the first women in Sheffield were given the right to vote in national elections.Â

Friday, 14th December 2018, 15:24 pm
Updated Friday, 14th December 2018, 15:28 pm
Coun Anne Murphy at a centenary celebration event of Sheffield Women getting the vote.

Dozens of women gathered at Sheffield Town Hall today to mark the centenary, at an event held to commemorate those who were instrumental in gaining the right to vote for some females in 1918. 

Councillors Anne Murphy, Olivia Blake, Mary Lea, and Pat Midgley were joined by former Labour MP for Hillsborough Helen Jackson CBE to unveil the silverware made by Sheffield silversmith Jessica Flinn, which features the suffragette colours of purple and green. 

Dozens of women attended the celebration event.

Helen Jackson CBE addressed the all-female crowd with an empowering speech about women, before Councillor Pat Midgley shared a moving story of her resilient grandmother Harriet, who lived through a time when women did not get the vote. 

The event also included an exhibition of archive images from Sheffield Libraries and Archives, to bring the Sheffield women of 1918 to life.

It included photos of those who worked as conductors and telephonists, and paid homage to Eleanor Barton, who stood as Labour candidate for Attercliffe in the 1920 council elections. 

Anne Murphy, councillor for Crookes and Crosspool and former Lord Mayor of Sheffield said: 'I was the 121st Lord Mayor of Sheffield, but only the eighteenth female so we women have got a lot of catching up to do. It's 100 years, since some women got the vote, not all women but this day, December 14, 1918 paved the way for full emancipation in 1928 so a great day to be celebrating. 

'Sheffield should celebrate these kinds of occasions, as someone said in a speech we are half of the population and lets not kid ourselves women have still got a lot of work to do in terms of getting equality.

'What we want to do is reach out to men and say '˜you need to remember that women are half of the population.

'We're going to continue our fight for equality and equal rights and that we do want to see the shift in men's attitudes about the value of women and their work politically, whatever walk of life women are involved in we want to see those walks of life be valued.'

Councillor Olivia Blake, Deputy Leader of Sheffield City Council said: 'It's fantastic that we can all come together and celebrate the great impact that women have had on this city.

I'm really proud to be part of an all female leadership of the council and I think it is really important that we continue to celebrate these milestones like getting the vote for women, because it was ten years after this first vote where all women over 21 in Sheffield could have voted. 

'It's really important we celebrate the great achievements of the suffrage movement.

'We had some great, strong suffragettes during that period and some inspirational women in the women of steel in both World Wars who really stepped up and were able to do a huge amount for our city.'

On December 14 1918 women '“ providing they were over 30 and they or their husbands owned a property '“ were given the right to vote in parliamentary elections for the first time due to the Representation of the People Act.

This subsequently paved the way for voting rights to be extended to all women ten years later.

The silverware tribute is open to visitors, and can be viewed in the Silver Room at Sheffield Town Hall during opening hours.