This month I've been working with Leeds Central Library, making a collage timeline mural about the suffragettes who came from or passed through Leeds. The mural also includes celebrated Leeds women throughout history, beginning with a scene of Queen Cartimandua wading over the hills above Leeds, towards the Medieval times and many centuries of women's emancipation. Then to the late 19th and 20th century when a number of Leeds based women and men namely the Ford sisters, Mary Gawthorpe and Leonora Cohen, started talking about women's rights and suffrage before many others elsewhere in the country. The Leeds based suffragists and suffragettes played a particularly vital role in Britain's Suffrage movements, they are often overlooked by the more famous characters such as the Manchester based Pankhursts, but it was their understated voices who created the maelstrom and conversations that helped change the vote and the mindset of the nation, creating opportunities for generations of women, from respected workers to venerable artists, notable politicians and olympic sportswomen.
I've been collecting stories for the past month, if you have any stories about Leeds women and the suffragettes – please email or write in the comments below.
Or visit the project's instagram page: www.instagram.com/leedswomenssuffrage
The mural will be open to the public from early May until June this year.