International Women's Day: Peg doll suffragist exhibition goes on display in Wakefield city centre to commemorate historic women's march

An exhibition featuring an army of miniature suffragists has gone on display in Wakefield to mark International Women's Day.

Monday, 8th March 2021, 5:10 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 9:53 am
An exhibition featuring an army of miniature suffragists has gone on display in Wakefield to mark International Women's Day. Photo: Wakefield Council

The display of dolly peg figurines, which has been created by community groups from across Wakefield commemorates The Great Pilgrimage of 1913, which saw a gathering of more than 10,000 women march through Wakefield city centre demanding the right to vote.

It has been created in conjunction with the Forgotten Women of Wakefield project, a grassroots scheme seeking to identify and commemorate the historic women who have helped shape the city.

Coun Denise Jeffery, Leader of Wakefield Council, said: “It is very important that we celebrate these brave women who fought for women to have to right to vote, and to be treated as equals in society.

“I am proud that today we will remember the suffragists and also our ‘Forgotten Women of Wakefield’ who also fought against injustice. I am pleased the display of pop up banner recognises the women to who we have already awarded blue plaques – which honour our remarkable historic women and their achievements.

"And it is great that today, Ann Hurst, will be included on this historic list of notable women.”

The miniature suffragist exhibition is on display at Wakefield Library, visible from the Burton Street windows, and will remain visible to passersby until April 12.

It marks the The Great Pilgrimage march, which arrived in Wakefield in 1913, having passed through Outwood, Leeds and Newcastle.

By the time it reached Wakefield City Centre, over 10,000 people had joined and there was a rally on Chantry Bridge.

The march continued to London the next day and joined up with six other marches from all over the country, to present a petition to the government demanding equal voting rights.

Councillor Jacquie Speight, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: “Many thanks to everyone who’s taken part in this exhibition and created a miniature suffragist

“It is very important that we honour our history on International Women’s Day and recognise the dedication and determination of those who have given so much to fight for women’s rights.”

A new blue plaque, dedicated to "visionary" newspaper editor Ann Hurst, who is credited with helping lead Wakefield's abolitionist movement, has also been unveiled as part of the city's IWD celebrations.

Sarah Cobham Director of Dreamtime Creative, said: "The team and I are absolutely delighted that so many of our Forgotten Women are taking their rightful place in our city's history.

"This exhibition captures not only the spirit of the women from our past and tells their stories so strongly, but also displays the dynamic positive energy of our creative community.

"Our Forgotten Women campaign reinforces and reminds everyone that women have a right to be seen, heard and respected for being themselves across aspects of life."