Grantham

Blue plaque granted for Grantham suffragette

A suffragette from Grantham and friend of the Pankhurst family is set to be honoured with a blue plaque.

The move, applied for by Grantham Civic Society to commemorate Mary Anne Rawle was approved by South Kesteven District Council officers last week.

The £550 plaque will be placed on the front of the Grade II Listed Westgate Hall, which is located to the east of Market Place.

The society decided to commemorate Mary after looking for something to do to mark 100 years since women began to get the vote.

Chairman of the civic society Courtney Finn say the group were ‘delighted’ with the news. “It’s lovely. It’s 100-years, it was a major piece of legislation and a fantastic start given the travails that had gone before it.”

Treasurer Ruth Crook was the one to come up with the idea after it was discovered Mary moved to Grantham in 1911.

She said: “Mary was very well-known in the town until she died and was very active in ladies and women’s rights.

“Subsequently people seem to have forgotten about her, so it’s nice to remember someone who took a key part in the women’s movement.”

A mother-of-two Mary was born in Lancashire in 1878. She moved to the town with her husband Francis.

Westgate Hall. Photo: Alan Murray-Rust

A friend of the Pankhurst family, she received a brooch from them after spending time in Holloway Prison after striking a police officer during her campaign trails.

Mary, who stood as a Labour Party candidate both locally and nationally, was the founder member of the Grantham branch of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies.

She was also branch secretary of the Woman’s Co-operative Guild in Grantham and chairman of the Old Age Pensions Association.

Mary died in 1964 and is buried in Grantham Cemetery on Harrowby Road.

The plaque has been funded by South Kesteven District Councillors Adam Stokes, Linda Wootten and Graham Jeal through their community pots.

An example of another plaque the Grantham Civic Society have organised.

Unfortunately, work taking place on Westgate Hall has delayed the plaque being put in place however, it is hoped it will be on display next Saturday, October 13, when Mary’s grandson Mick Rawle will be giving a talk on his grandmother’s life.

The event will take place at 2pm at the Angel and Royal Hotel, in the High Street.

Entry is free, but booking in advance is advised.


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