Rochdale celebrates centenary

One of the most important centenaries in British history.

The Representation of the People Act 1918 was celebrated in Rochdale this week during a special evening at the town hall.

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

The evening concluded with tea, and lively discussions prompted by the debate.

The 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.

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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 has also covered 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 anniversary.

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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, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, community and culture at Rochdale Borough Council said:

“Edna talked very passionately during a fascinating evening, showing us all how communities can create positive change.

The guest speaker was Edna Robinson, in conversation with journalist and radio presenter Helen Nugent (Left to right: Councillor Janet Emsley, Edna Robinson and Helen Nugent)

Following her interview, there were lots of ideas sparked which were discussed around the room.”

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

For more information about this story, contact Rochdale Borough Council’s media team on 01706 926002 or


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