As people around the world celebrated International Women’s Day, Stockport is marking the 100th anniversary of some women gaining the vote by naming the town’s newest public area ‘Suffragette Square’.
It comes after Stockport Council asked the people of Stockport to come up with a name for a new public square between Prince’s Street and Redrock.
And after reviewing over 1500 entries, the panel decided on the name ‘Suffragette Square’ to celebrate the achievements of four Stockport women who were nominated by local people. Gertrude Powicke, Elsie Plant and Hannah Winbolt were Stopfordian women who were all active in the Suffrage Movement, predated by Elizabeth Raffald who was also a pioneering Stopfordian woman.
In short, the four women chosen were described by the public as:
• Elizabeth Raffald, of Stockport, was an innovator, educator, businesswoman and benefactor and produced an 800 recipe cookbook, 100 years before Mrs Beeton.
• Gertrude Powicke, of Romiley, was an active suffragist who travelled to Northern France during WW1 as a volunteer with the Friends War Victims Relief Committee.
• Elsie Plant, of Stockport, was a suffragette and activist and was particularly influential in advocating for birth control.
• Hannah Winbolt, of Stockport, was a silk weaver who became a prominent advocate for Women’s Suffrage, giving speeches across the country on the subject of Women’s Rights from her perspective of being a ‘working woman’.
Councillor Kate Butler, Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration at Stockport Council said:
We wanted the square to be named after an amazing story connected to Stockport. The panel worked our way through some brilliant suggestions and some fascinating stories. After much deliberation, we felt that Suffragette Square was particularly appropriate 100 years after the vote was first extended to women.
“The other idea behind naming it Suffragette Square is that each of the four benches in the square will be named after one of these four special women, making this an even more welcome addition to our town centre and one that I hope Stopfordians will cherish for years to come.”
The decision to name the new public area Suffragette Square came after a panel of Councillors and local stakeholders made the selection yesterday (7 March 2018).
Stockport residents voted in their droves, with 1,569 different entries suggested in total for the new square, ranging from celebrities to musicians and local heroes to historical figures.
An official naming ceremony of the square will take place this summer whilst opportunities to celebrate the many other stories of Stockport people nominated in the process continue to be looked at.