Pioneering suffragist remembered at her Pudsey school – and in home town

9 January 2020

A pioneering former pupil at a Pudsey school who campaigned for rights of married women in the 19th century could be honoured with a statue in her home town.

Elizabeth Wolstenholme Elmy studied at Fulneck School for two years in the 1840s, but was not permitted to study further. She later worked tirelessly for girls’ education, for women’s right to own property and for their right to vote. 

She campaigned heavily for the rights of married women, influencing the 1886 Infant Custody Act in which women got more rights over their children.

Emmeline Pankhurst dubbed her ‘the brains of the suffragist movement’, and she is listed on the Millicent Fawcett statue in Parliament Square in London.

A team of activists based in Wolstenholme Elmy’s home town of Congleton, in Cheshire, are hoping to commemorate Elizabeth with a bronze statue in the town centre. They say she’s an unsung hero.

London-based British Library of Political and Economic Science yesterday tweeted about her legacy:

In response, Dr Maureen Wright from the University of Chichester tweeted:

“It’s an honour to be EWE’s biographer & Patron of the Lottery funded ‘Elizabeth’s Group’, now fund raising for a statue in her honour. #Suffragette

Fulneck School principal Paul Taylor saw the Tweet, and paid tribute to Wolstenholme Elmy:

“Delighted to see that one of our most illustrious former pupils will have her life celebrated in this way. We named one of our Senior School Houses after her last summer.”

Fulneck School is an independent day and boarding school, situated in the Fulneck Moravian Settlement, in Pudsey. It was founded in 1753.

Article tags

Comment on this article

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.