The Gaskell Society

The Gaskell Society

Celebrating the life and work of Elizabeth Gaskell

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Manchester Meeting – The Great Miss Lydia Becker: Suffragist, Scientist and Trailblazer

Tuesday 1 March, 2022, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm GMT

£5 – £6

To mark International Women’s Day we welcome Joanna Williams, who’ll be talking to us about her new biography of Lydia Becker. 

Fifty years before women were enfranchised, a legal loophole allowed a thousand women to vote in the general election of 1868. This surprising event occurred due to the single-minded dedication of Lydia Becker, unofficial, leader of the women’s suffrage movement in the later 19th century.

Steamrollering her way to Parliament as chief lobbyist for women, she influenced MPs in a way that no woman, and few men, had done before. In the 1860s the idea of women’s suffrage was compared in the Commons to persuading dogs to dance; it was dismissed as ridiculous and unnatural. After her death in in 1890, the campaign was picked up by a woman she had inspired as a teenager – Emmeline Pankhurst – and her younger colleague on the London committee, Millicent Fawcett.

Joanna Williams studied history at Manchester University at undergraduate and postgraduate level. After lecturing history at the Department of Extra- Mural Studies, she taught history at Altrincham Grammar School for Girls. She is also the author of Manchester’s Radical Mayor: Abel Heywood, The Man Who Built the Town Hall.  

Doors open at 1pm – the chapel will be selling tea and coffee and you are most welcome to bring a packed lunch!

The talk – and the Zoom session –  begin at 1.30pm.

Members: £5     Non-members: £6
All are welcome
This hybrid meeting will take place live in person, live over Zoom and a recording will be available for ticket holders after the event.


Tuesday 1 March, 2022
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm GMT
£5 – £6
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Cross Street Chapel
Cross Street,
Manchester, M2 1NL United Kingdom
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