Monday 2nd of July marks the 90th anniversary of the 1928 Representation of the People Act, which gave equal voting rights to men and women at the age of 21 in the United Kingdom. To mark this event, Chester’s Member of Parliament, Chris Matheson, and the Leader of the Council in Cheshire West and Chester, Councillor Samantha Dixon, are jointly organising a small tea party at the Crypt Café in Debenhams on Eastgate Street from 9.30am – 10.30am.
The event forms part of the UK Parliament’s EqualiTeas campaign, which seeks to promote democracy and celebrate equal voting rights in our country. Tea parties had a long tradition in the campaign for equal votes as it was one of the few ways women were allowed to meet without men present, so they could plan and discuss their campaign.
Councillor Samantha Dixon said:
“It is hard to imagine a time when women weren’t allowed to vote – or a time when we couldn’t meet without men present. I am proud to be the first female Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council. Democracy has come a long way in 90 years and this small event is an opportunity to celebrate it.”
The event will be held in the Crypt Café in Debenhams, where the first 90 people who RSVP to email@example.com or on 01244 343 214, will enjoy a free tea or coffee. There will be an opportunity for short speeches from Chris Matheson MP, Cllr Samantha Dixon and Professor Emma Rees of the University of Chester, with a focus on the history of the campaign for equal voting rights here in Chester.
Chris Matheson said:
“Debenhams, or Browns of Chester as it is often known, was owed by the family of Phyllis Brown. Phyllis was Chester’s first woman Mayor and the local leader of the Women’s Freedom League which campaigned for equal voting rights here in Chester. I’m grateful to Debenhams for hosting this event: it is a special opportunity for us to celebrate the democratic process which has allowed me to represent this city – I hope to see you there.”