Artist: Anne Louise Kershaw

Archive: Oldham

Project: Marjories Lees and the Oldham Womens’ Suffrage Society

I went into Oldham Archives to research Marjory Lees, president of the Oldham Women’s Suffrage Society. I found Dr Olive Clayton, and her lecture `The New Woman Movement’ (1911). Every word of which is relevant now. I found the image of the suffragist procession and wondered…. who’s that girl? What is her story? What is her life? Who is she then? Who is she now?

I listened to tapes of people talking about their childhood, from around the same time as the suffragist campaigning. People suffering extreme poverty, with little or no opportunity before them. Technology has changed (the fact and the sounds weave all around us), but what else? Werneth where Sarah Lees (First female Mayor of Oldham) and her daughter Marjory once lived, now has the fifth highest child depravation rate in the uk. In the 110 years following Sarah Lees there have been 10 female mayors and 100 male mayors of Oldham. Arooj Shah, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in Oldham has spoken publicly about the harrasment/misogeny she has received as a woman in politics. And 2019 is the first year they have had a female mayor, and deputy major. Oldham Chronicle pictured all three women next to statue of Annie Kenney to celebrate. To celebrate what? Slow Progress?

Progress? What Progress. 
It’s Time For Action.  
We Have To Be Heard and We Have To Be There. 



Cissie Millard

Ukranian Woman




Suffragist Procession
Dr Olive Clayton

Dr Olive Claytn abd The New Woman Movement, Oldham Chronicle, December 15th, 1911

All courtesy of Oldham Archive with support from Roger Ivans.

Additional Articles: 

People Are Struggling: The area in Oldham where two thirds of children are living in poverty, Manchester evening News, 15 May 2019 Oldham Set for First Ever Female Mayor and Deputy Mayor, Oldham Chronicle, 21 May 2019


Telephone interview with Arooj Shah, Deputy Leader of Oldham Council.

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