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Heritage Eastbourne to Mark 100 Years of Women’s Votes

4 December 2018

A new exhibition commemorating the incredible women of Eastbourne, will mark 100 years since some women first voted in a British general election.

Women of EastbourneOn display at the Town Hall from 10 – 14 December, the free exhibition will commemorate this momentous turning point in history, revealing the life changing work of the town’s suffragettes and follow the stories of other local women who shaped the Eastbourne we see today.

The result of a community research project, Extraordinary Women will reveal the everyday stories of women in Eastbourne and prove that what can be described as ordinary, can often be the most remarkable.

Eastbourne Borough Council Lead Cabinet Member for Tourism and Enterprise, Cllr Margaret Bannister said “This project has revealed some remarkable women in Eastbourne, with incredible strength of character. This is our opportunity to celebrate their achievements which have helped to create the Eastbourne of today.”

The exhibition will be accompanied by a free talk on Saturday 15 December, revealing the ‘Ordinary Women with Extraordinary Stories’, ranging from the Iron Age through to 20th Century women.

Stories range from the Eastbourne suffragettes jailed in Holloway Prison for attempting to deliver a petition to the King, one resulting in hunger strike, to the woman who saved her husband from imprisonment during the Civil War.

The talk also reveals those who left their homes to work in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps and Almeric Paget Military Massage Corps at Britain’s first WWI convalescent camp – Summerdown Camp in Eastbourne. The heart-breaking story of Czech Jewish refugee Hana Mullerova during WWII, also reveals the lives of those who moved to Eastbourne, helping to shape their adopted town during uncertain times.

The anniversary on 14 December will mark 100 years since some women first voted in a British general election following the creation of the Representation of the People Act 1918. The act enabled women aged 30 and over to vote for the first time, but only if they resided in premises with a rateable value above £5.

It was to be another 10 years before women truly received electoral equality, giving them the right to vote from the age of 21, regardless of where they lived.

Extraordinary Women will be on display at the Town Hall from 10 to 14 December, with a free talk by Heritage Officer Katherine Buckland from 2 – 3pm on 15 December.

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