Dedication to be installed for Springhead’s suffragette Annie Kenney

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.

A tribute to Annie Kenney in Springhead on February 6 2018 – 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:


9 Replies to “Dedication to be installed for Springhead’s suffragette Annie Kenney”

  1. Springhead is not in Saddleworth! Historically it is the 7 villages.
    Denshaw, Delph, Diggle, Uppermill, Greenfield,Dobcross and
    Friezland. So erect your statue to Annie Kenney in Oldham from
    whence she came.

    1. According to my birth certificate, I was born in Springhead in the Sub-district of Saddleworth in the County of York (WR).
      I don’t know if Springhead was in Saddleworth in 1905 but I would be pleased to see a statue of Annie Kenney in Springhead.
      Austerlands, Grasscroft and Scouthead are in Saddleworth too I understand.

      1. they are now not then,historically as I said in my email Saddleworth has 7 villages
        it also had 4 meres would you care to name them?

        1. They are.
          The meres – Shawmere, Lordsmere, Quickmere, Friarmere. I don’t see the relevance to the article.
          Your original point appeared to suggest the proposed statue should be in Oldham. “Historically”, Springhead was not in Oldham. (It did become part of the Metropolitan Borough of Oldham in the mid 1970’s but it did not stop being in Saddleworth).

          1. just trying to establish how deep your roots are in Saddleworth,
            or are you just a comer in who knows all about it,and try to
            claim it…..bored now
            nobody who was not born in Saddleworth did not want to live
            there until the M62 opened and it then became an ever expanding
            dormitory area,and subject to a land grab from Oldham and it’s
            environs. and all the comers in know more about it than people
            who for generations have lived there.I find it hilarious that Damhead
            mill lodge is now Uppermill duck pond and the mill itself Willowbank
            how sad
            you can leave Saddleworth but it never leaves you

          2. I wonder what Annie Kenney would have made of my and M Radcliffe’s pedantry. Ha ha.

            I didn’t know anything about her until I read the article. She obviously had more serious issues and admire her for what she did.

            I can’t reply directly to M Radcliffe’s comments directly. I lived there before the M62 was built. I went to Saddleworth school, played rugby for Rangers and worked briefly in a mill in Delph.
            If I’m considered an (in) comer, I don’t mind.

  2. This memorial should really include Annie’s sister, Jessie (1887-1985). Although not as famous as Annie, she made a significant contribution to the movement.

    She became actively involved in the Women’s Social and Political Union(WSPU) after she and Annie heard Teresa Billington-Greig and Christabel Pankhurst speak at the Oldham Clarion Vocal Club in 1905. While Jessie did not have her elder sister’s gift for public speaking, she was more organised. In 1906 she became the secretary of Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, Baroness Pethick-Lawrence and organised members to interrupt meetings and to send deputations.

    In 1908, Jessie and Vera Wentworth were jailed for assaulting the Prime Minister H. H. Asquith and the Home Secretary Herbert Gladstone during a golf match!

    More here :

    And some great pictures here:

  3. Springhead has always been in saddleworth. Way back if we required any service I.e..medical, dentist from school we had to go to Wakefield. Also during winter times we never had snowploughs because oldham council only came as far as county end to clear the roads of snow(that’s why it’s called county end as in end of County.) On any report from school always said West Riding of Yorkshire.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *