Mrs. May, the Prime Minister, was in town today to make a speech. Manchester was chosen for this speech because on this day, February 6th 1918, the legislation was passed in the Houses of Parliament to allow women to vote for the first time. It was a partial victory as it was restricted to women over 30 who were married or owned property. On the same day the right to vote was also extended to working class men (not sure how they decided what class you were) so all men over 21 could now vote. But it was a start for women and, I think, by the end of the 1920s it was all equalised and everyone over 21 could vote. Hard to believe, today, that it was ever any different.

Manchester was chosen for this speech because it was here that the idea of ‘votes for women’ began. Mrs. Emmeline Pankhurst, campaigned for it from her home in Nelson Street in what is now the university district. Manchester has always been a hotbed of liberal ideas that the rest of the country took a while to get behind. 

At some point soon a statue of Mrs. Pankhurst will be erected in St. Peter’s Square to mark the event.

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