A DEDCIATION to honour Springhead-born suffragette Annie Kenney is to be installed in Saddleworth 100 years after some women received the right to vote.
Annie was the only senior member of the suffrage movement who came from a poor, working class background and knew what it was like to work in the mills.
She became a leading figure in the movement in 1905 when she, and Christabel Pankhurst, were imprisoned for several days after heckling Winston Churchill and Sir Edward Grey at a rally in Manchester on the issue of votes for women.
She went to prison 13 times for her beliefs, but helped achieve the vote for some women in 1918 and universal suffrage in 1928.
To recognise her important role in the political movement, Saddleworth Parish councillor Barbara Beeley has called for the installation of a plaque or memorial.
Her motion to the Parish Council said: “February has seen 100 years since some women received the right to vote.
“One of the active suffragettes who worked with the Pankhursts was millworker Annie Kenney who was born, brought up and worked in Springhead and yet this Parish Council has not recognised her role in gaining universal suffrage.
“I recently proposed that she be added to the ‘Wall of Fame’ but was told she hadn’t won a decoration so couldn’t be recognised in that way.
“That being the case then surely this Parish Council must find a means of recognising her commitment and bravery and her outstanding contribution to universal suffrage not only in this country but around the world.”
Addressing the Council, Cllr Beeley added: “Annie Kenney is one of my heroines.
“She was born and brought up in Springhead and worked there too. When she died her ashes were scattered at Dovestone so she really is part of the community.
“She lived in Leicester for a long time and they have put up a statue for her. Surely Saddleworth can do something to recognise this amazing person?”
A plaque recognising Annie Kenney, her history and what she did has been installed at Springhead Community Centre already.
And the community put up a tribute banner on February 6 to recognise the hard work and sacrifices suffragettes made on the 100th anniversary.
Cllr Beeley revealed: “There is a Blue Plaque in Annie’s honour at Lees Brook Mill but that is erroneous as she never worked there!
“There is also a road named Kenny Close after her but Oldham Council missed the ‘e’ out on the sign.”
Cllr Beeley called for a plaque or photograph to be installed either at Saddleworth Museum or the Civic Hall in Uppermill – a motion which was passed by Parish Councillors.
Cllr Pat Lord commented: “I think she deserves some recognition even if it is just a framed photograph or a plaque.”
Cllr Paul Fryer added: “It would be great to see a plaque or some sort of recognition to recognise this person who helped to change the course of British history.”
Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, also paid tribute to Annie Kenney.
She said: “It is thanks to the many sacrifices made by Annie, and other suffragettes, that I have the opportunity to serve Oldham East and Saddleworth as the 366th female Member of Parliament ever elected.”
Mrs Abrahams is a patron for the Annie Kenney Fund, set up by Jim McMahon MP, which aims to fund a statue in Oldham town centre of Annie. Read more here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/annie-kenney