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Rochdale celebrates centenary

26 June 2018

One of the most important centenaries in British history – the Representation of the People Act 1918 – was celebrated in Rochdale last week during a special evening at the town hall.

'EqualiTeas – Celebrating 90 years of voting equality' was staged to mark the milestone which paved the way to all men and women over 21 gaining the right to vote 10 years later.

Guest speaker was Edna Robinson, in conversation with journalist and radio presenter Helen Nugent, discussing democracy and the power of people in the 21st century. Edna is Chairman of the People's Powerhouse, a movement which aims to bring about sustainable prosperity to communities in the north of England.

'A fascinating evening'

A variety of thought provoking topics were discussed and debated, ranging from how social media can help make more active citizens, the importance of supporting families and embracing the ageing process. The Northern Powerhouse was also covered as well as equality and how it has to be about equality for men as well as women.

There was music from local ladies' choir, Cantare, singing The Pankhurst Anthem, commissioned by BBC Radio 3 to mark the centenary.

The women's choir, Cantare.

The evening concluded with tea – a nod to the leading suffrage organisations which used tea parties and tea shops as central elements in their campaigning, to increase awareness, discuss tactics and raise money.

Councillor Janet Emsley, our cabinet member for neighbourhoods, community and culture said:

"Edna talked very passionately during a fascinating evening, showing us all how communities can create positive change. Following her interview there were lots of ideas sparked which were discussed around the room."

Helen Nugent speaking.

 EqualiTeas was part of a national programme of events to mark 2018's important milestones for democracy.