New exhibition highlights the Leeds ladies leading suffragette crusade

Blue Plaque unveiling to celebrate Leeds Suffragette''Mary Gawthorpe'' Mary Gawthorpe-Portrait
Blue Plaque unveiling to celebrate Leeds Suffragette''Mary Gawthorpe'' Mary Gawthorpe-Portrait
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The role of Victorian women in Leeds will be celebrated at a new exhibition which starts next month.

Called, ‘The Vote Before The Vote, it will run from May 3 to 30 in Room 700 at Leeds Central Library.

It begins in 1832, with the first petition to Parliament from Mary Smith, who was thought to have lived in Far Headingley. From 1903 it highlights the Leeds figures in the 19th century Suffragist movement such as Mrs Catherine Buckton, Isabella Ford, Alice Cliff Scatcherd, Constance Holland and Mary Gawthorpe and their struggles and successes.

For example, Mrs Buckton became the first woman elected to public office in Leeds in 1873, others helped women organise, both in unions and politics, while Mary Gawthorpe straddled the Victorian and Edwardian campaigns.

Curated by Leeds historian Vine Pemberton Joss, The Vote Before The Vote, shines the light on an area of forgotten local history. The exhibition will also feature workshops, including one for children on what life was like in the Victorian workhouse.