100 Years since women got the vote: let’s look back at the Prestonian suffragette

Edith Rigby's pavement stone in Winckely Square, Preston. Image: Katy Morgan

Preston remembers Edith Rigby this week as we mark the centenary of the Representation of People Act.

Blue Plaque where Edith Rigby lived. Image: Katy Morgan

The Act, signed February 6, 1918, allowed some women to vote.

Rigby founded the Preston branch of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in 1907, working with Emmeline Pankhurst, who led the suffragette movement.

Rigby lived at 28 Winckley Square, Preston, where a blue plaque today tells you that she lived there.

She is one of 23 people to have a pavement stone dedicated to their memory in Winckley Square. Only four of those honoured are women.

Rigby made headlines when she decided to join the Pankhurst sisters in hunger strikes and window-breaking campaigns.

She also served time in prison after she planted a bomb at the Liverpool Cotton exchange.

She continued to protest with movement until her death in Wales in 1948.

This year sees a programme of events to mark the centenary. A resdesigned 50p coin is going to be in circulation later this year to celebrate the anniversary.

Dr Helen Pankhurst, Emmeline’s granddaughter, visited the Royal Mint in Wales to imprint the new design.

Speaking at the coin’s striking, Dr Pankhurst said: “Suffragettes actually used to deface coins and mark them with ‘Votes for Women’ so there is an element of justice in having an official coin.”