Thursday 01 February 2018

Events across England celebrate phenomenal females in the centenary year of votes for women


6 February 2018 marks the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, which allowed some women in Britain to vote for the first time, gave them the right to stand as an MP and was the first time a female MP was elected. Seven areas across England will commemorate this milestone with the government’s ‘Centenary Cities’ – Bolton, Bristol, Leeds, Leicester, London, Manchester and Nottingham have strong link to the women’s suffrage movement  and will be hosting projects celebrating those individuals who helped to make this happen. With International Women’s Day also on the horizon (8 March), events celebrating female empowerment will be taking place across England throughout the year.



Votes for Women Centenary, Museum of London

2 February 2018 – 6 January 2019

An experience likely to stir emotions; see Emmeline Pankhurst’s hunger strike medal up close and other iconic objects from the Museum of London’s huge Suffragette collection at its new display commemorating the Votes for Women centenary. But don’t just look – take part too. Book onto its Deeds Not Words event with independent jewellery company Tatty Devine, a jewellery masterclass on 17 March where you’ll create a Tatty Devine bunting necklace in Suffragette colours. Wear with pride. Museum admission free. Jewellery masterclass £45.


Vote 100, Westminster Hall

27 June – 6 October 2018

Immersive and interactive tech, rare historic objects, pictures and archives will reveal the story of women in Parliament, from the campaigning, protests and achievements to where we are today and how we can continue to make change, in a free exhibition taking place this summer at Westminster Hall in London. Voice & Vote: Women's Place in Parliament is part of Vote 100, the year-long celebration of women’s voices in Parliament that will explore the contribution and impact of women on Parliament over the last 200 years. Witness a landmark moment too this year as the first female statue is unveiled in Parliament Square – renowned suffragette Millicent Fawcett. Admission free.


Women of the World Festival (WOW), Southbank Centre

7 – 11 March 2018

WOW – Women of the World festival returns to the Southbank Centre for its eighth year, a global network of festivals that provides a platform for celebrating what has been achieved for women, and exploring further how we can continue to change the world. Join influential artists, writers, politicians, comedians and activists for a programme of talks and debates, concerts, performances, art installations and workshops. 1-day pass £30, 2-day pass £55, 3-day pass £80, all plus booking fee £2.50. Women and the Hall, Royal Albert Hall

Until 26 April 2018

One of London’s most iconic venues, the Royal Albert Hall celebrates the women who formed its history and the women who are shaping its future, through a season of immersive drama tours, film screenings, talks and music performances, Women and the Hall. To celebrate International Women’s Day, the venue will present a night of ‘fierce, feminist truth, fiction, politics and poetry’ on 7 March, bringing together female writers and performers including broadcaster, activist and poet Bidisha and author and playwright Sabrina Mahfouz. Various ticket prices.


Women’s Hockey World Cup, London

21 July – 5 August 2018

Cheer on the world’s best female hockey teams from 15 nations as they take to the field at London’s Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park this summer. While not directly linked to the centenary celebrations, this is a sporting event of real significance; it’s the first time England has hosted a Hockey Women's World Cup, and will be the biggest standalone hockey event Britain has ever seen. Various ticket prices.



Women’s Words, The Pankhurst Centre/Manchester Central Library

From February 2018

Women are being invited to share their stories, poems and memories at the exhibition Women’s Words, curated by the Pankhurst Centre, when it opens at Manchester Central Library in February, some of which will also feature in an artistic re-imagination of the original The Suffragette magazine. The Centre itself will host an exhibition Resistance! in September, featuring contemporary photographs of UK grassroots movements acting for social change, and will also run events around International Women’s Day. Immerse yourself in the place where suffrage history was made; the centre is the former home of Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst and was where the first meeting of the Women’s Social and Political Union was held. Pankhurst Centre admission free; Manchester Central Library admission free.,


People’s History Museum

Throughout 2018

Delve into Manchester’s radical feminist past as the People’s History Museum has dedicated its 2018 programme to the suffragette movement. March is dedicated to Wonder Women, a festival – now in its fifth year – combining talks, theatre, discussion and art. In May, headline exhibition Represent! will open, exploring Manchester’s issues of representation and, later in the year, a rare suffragette banner will be added to the museum’s suffragette collection and go on public display for the first time in more than 100 years; a crowd-funding campaign to secure the piece and fund the exhibition is underway. Museum admission free.


Castlefield Gallery

9 March to 29 April 2018

Search out the response to the historic struggles of women, the collective strength of women coming together and a look at life for women today, at artists Ruth Barker and Hannah Leighton-Boyce’s exhibition at Castlefield Gallery. The exhibition will take on many art forms, including ancient mythology and everyday life.  Gallery admission free.


Lost Voices, Quarry Bank Mill

Opens 3 March

As part of the Wonder Women festival, which creates a platform for women’s voices, the exhibition Lost Voices will recapture the voices of the women during the ten-year period from 1918, when legislation was passed giving some women the vote (over the age of 30 and who met certain property qualifications), to 1928 when all women were given equal voting rights. From £11.70 adult ticket. National Trust members free.


From Petticoats to Microscopes, Manchester Museum

12 March

 Wonder Women 2018 will also celebrate the pioneers of Manchester, women who have helped to shape the world, championing their stories in a talk and object-handling session by Michelle Scott and Judith Fabian titled From Petticoats to Microscopes. Museum admission free.


Film and theatre

Throughout 2018

Contact Young Theatre will present the first performance of She Bangs The Drums (8 March) at the Museum of Science and Industry, which has both humour and politics at its core and brings stories, voices and testaments of those campaigning for the vote. There will also be screenings, with the Pankhurst Trust showing the award-winning and moving film Suffragette at The Whitworth, while the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art will be showing Hooligan Sparrow; a documentary about China’s most prominent women’s rights activist. Various ticket prices.,,


Statue of Emmeline Pankhurst

March 2019

One to remember for next year; 2019 will see Manchester unveiling a new public statue of Emmeline Pankhurst on International Women's Day.



Bristol Museums

Throughout 2018

Celebrations for International Women’s Day will take place across Bristol, with interactive theatre, music and debates top of the agenda. M Shed is once again taking part, hosting a dedicated exhibition, talks and suffragette tours. The SS Great Britain will host a hands-on science event particularly aimed at encouraging young women to consider STEM careers in the week preceding International Women in Engineering Day (23 June).; 



28 – 30 July 2018

Videos at the ready as live painting takes place during two days of Europe’s largest street art and graffiti festival which, this year, will be commissioning female graffiti artists to celebrate women past, present and future. A multi-venue urban festival, centred on North Street in Bedminster, Upfest is free to attend. Festival admission free.


Bristol Festival of Ideas

Throughout 2018

Great for sparking ideas and debates, this festival dedicated to discussion, held throughout the year, will feature the panel discussion 100 Years Since Suffrage: Feminism and Protest on 17 March, bringing together ideas from leading feminist journalists and professors to discuss the battles the feminist movement is fighting today. Tickets from £9/£7 concessions.



A Woman’s Place, Abbey House Museum

Throughout 2018

Discover stories and objects from pioneering women from the present day, such as from Olympic boxing gold medallist Nicola Adams, back to the Victorian era, and explore the struggle for equality and the progress that’s been made. The exhibition A Woman’s Place? also looks at how daily life has changed for women. £4.95 adult ticket.



Women and Power season, The Workhouse

April – July 2018

Women from all walks of life were integral to forcing through change in political representation – and the National Portrait Gallery and the National Trust have joined forces to open new displays focusing on that, in its Women and Power season. Find out more at its touring Faces of Change: Votes for Women exhibition, opening at The Workhouse in Southwell, Nottinghamshire (before transferring to Killerton, Devon, in November). It will take an in-depth look at the campaign for Votes for Women from the late 19th-century until 1918, in the context of the working women who joined the campaign, and also titled women who played a key role, including Lady Laura Elizabeth Ridding, the founder of Southwell House and of the National Union of Women Workers. Adult ticket from £9.10. National Trust members free.



Unveiling of Alice Hawkins Statue

4 February 2018

Watch the unveiling of a bronze statue of Alice Hawkins – who led the women’s suffrage movement in Leicester in the early 1900s – which will be at the heart of the city’s celebrations for the centenary. The statue will stand on a 4ft plinth in Leicester’s new market square, close to where Alice would have addressed the crowds at the height of the suffragette movement. And an exhibition featuring some of Alice’s personal possessions – including her ‘Votes for Women’ sash, her hunger strike medal and her notes from Holloway jail – is also under proposal. 


Sevenoaks, Kent:

A Woman’s Place, Knole House

17 May – 4 November 2018

Online content, film and sculpture will explore love, betrayal, class, gender and inheritance issues, as Turner Prize winner, Lubaina Himid, and five other artists – CJ Mahony, Emily Speed, Lindsay Seers, Melanie Wilson and Alice May Williams – shine a light on women’s stories in the exhibition A Woman’s Place, at the historic home of Knole in Kent. Himid’s work will focus on the women who served and lived in the background at Knole, including the unseen and little-documented Grace Robinson, described in the house inventory as a ‘blackamoor’ laundry maid. Adult ticket from £3.15. National Trust members free.



Branded: Fashion, Femininity and the Right to Vote’, Killerton

Feb – October 2018

Through contemporary film footage, art and design, original clothing and objects of identified suffragettes will be brought to life in a fashion exhibition Branded: Fashion, Femininity and the Right to Vote’ at 18th-century estate Killerton in Devon. Wander among items such as the parliamentary suit worn by the first female MP to take her seat, Nancy Astor, a hand-embroidered couture wedding dress worn by pro-suffrage Eleanor Acland as well as one of Queen Victoria’s garments which has recently been conserved for Killerton’s exhibition. Victoria famously spoke out against women having the vote. Adult ticket from £11.60. National Trust members free.


Across England


18 June – 2 July

All across England EqualiTeas will take place this summer, a chance to debate, share ideas and celebrate women’s right to vote – with tea and cake an added bonus!


Heritage Open Days

6-9 and 13-16 September

The country’s largest festival of history and culture, this year’s Heritage Open Days will be promoting women’s history, revealing and sharing marginalised, unknown or misunderstood female stories through its events’ programme Unsung stories. Admission free.


1,100th anniversary of Æthelflæd, The Lady of Mercians

11 July

Our ‘greatest woman-general’ Æthelflæd, the powerful queen who ruled Mercia from 911 until her death in 918AD, will be commemorated in 2018, the 1,100th anniversary of her death. She is known to have re-fortified Tamworth in 913; the town will mark the anniversary with a massive community art Mercian mosaic (summer), and the installation of a six-metre-high Æthelflæ statue. There will also be celebrations in Gloucester on 11 July; Æthelflæd was buried in the St Oswald’s priory in Gloucester. Chester, meanwhile, plans to link the 1,111th anniversary of the founding of modern Chester in 907AD by Æthelflæd with the 100th anniversary of votes for women, as part of plans for a year celebrating female empowerment. ;


Votes and Voices: Acts of Defiance - Historic Royal Palaces

January – July 2018

To mark the 100th anniversary of the representation of The People Act, a season of special programming will take place across palaces including events at the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace and Banqueting House. From live interpretation, workshops and expert talks, the series of events will be a chance for visitors to discover about some of the fascinating women that have marked the History.


For more information on what’s new for 2018 visit:



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