Blue plaque for Florence who helped shape our city

It is just more than 100 years since one Wakefield suffrage campaigner successfully led the northern fight to gain women the right to vote.

And now she will finally be recognised with a blue plaque.

The actions of Florence Beaumont will be remembered on International Women’s Day next month, thanks to the Wakefield Soroptimists group.

Miss Beaumont founded the Wakefield branch of the suffrage movement in 1910 and went on to march more than 6,000 campaigners from the city to London to help get women the vote.

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Sarah Cobham of Dream Time Creative.Sarah Cobham of Dream Time Creative.
Sarah Cobham of Dream Time Creative.

She fought all her life for what she believed in and died a year after fulfilling her dream of seeing all women given the vote in the 1928 Equal Franchise Act.

From an early age she had a penchant for championing change and in her obituary in 1929, the National Council of Women’s News wrote, when “asked at the age of fourteen what reform was most necessary, she answered ‘that women should vote’”.

In a speech to the national assembly in 1922 she said that although “half a loaf was better than no bread” the limiting of the vote to married women over 30 was absurd.

She left Wakefield in 1917 and was a senior member of the national suffrage movement until her death.

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Rhe Wakefield Soroptimists group.Rhe Wakefield Soroptimists group.
Rhe Wakefield Soroptimists group.

As part of their celebrations to commemorate their 85th year, Wakefield Soroptimists have been supporting the Forgotten Women project, which is led by Dream Time Creative.

The international organisation, which champions women’s causes, has chosen the Forgotten Women of Wakefield project as its charity of the year.

It has donated £500 to fund the plaque, which will be unveiled following the performance of a play dedicated to the legacy and achievements of the city’s forgotten women. The play, Difficult Women, will be performed at the Mechanic’s Institute on Wood Street on Friday, March 8 and Saturday, March 9, and will be attended by Florence’s great nephews.

Director of Dream Time Creative, Sarah Cobham, said: “We rely on the community getting behind the project to help us fund the plaques and with groups like the Soroptimists helping us, our dream of becoming the first city in the country to get blue plaque parity for women will become a reality.”

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A blue plaque will be unveiled in Florence Beaumont's name.A blue plaque will be unveiled in Florence Beaumont's name.
A blue plaque will be unveiled in Florence Beaumont's name.

The latest blue plaque will finally be placed on a property in Bond Street , where Florence was born in 1876.

Visit www.forgottenwomen to purchase tickets or for more information.

Why we’re backing our women

THE FORGOTTEN Women of Wakefield project aims to gain recognition for the women who shaped the city.

Wakefield is currently home to around 50 blue plaques, each of which celebrates a person, place or event of historical significance.

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Around 20 of these are dedicated entirely to men, but when the project was launched, just four were dedicated to women.

The Express is backing the Forgotten Woman of Wakefield project in seeking recognition for our city’s long-lost women.

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