2018 marked 100 years since the Representation of the People Act gave voting rights to some women for the first time. Charnwood Arts, in partnership with local organisations and Chorus Theatre, developed the ‘Deeds Not Words Festival’ in May 2018. Earlier in the year, research activities and exhibitions marked the actual granting of the vote. These activities, in partnership with Mike Shuker, the Loughborough Labour History Group and Loughborough Library Local Studies Volunteers led to the publication of a pamphlet and book exploring the local connection to the Suffragette movement. A further event at Loughborough’s annual Picnic in the Park celebrated this landmark moment in British history. The bulk of the work for the project took place between 2018 and early 2019 engaging a diverse range of people of all age groups along the way.

Everyone involved in this year long project funded by then named ‘Heritage Lottery Fund’, would like to thank all those people who contribute to Lottery funds for helping to make this project possible.

The focus for the website is to document the Deeds Not Words project as a whole encompassing the festival and all related activities including the production of books and pamphlets. The website also acts as a repository for the historical learning gained throughout the project to enable future generations to understand the importance of universal suffrage. The aim of the project and the website is to bring into focus the local dimension to the movement for universal suffrage and the importance towns such as Loughborough played in the nationwide campaign.

History was brought to life through an exhilarating mixture of talks, re-creation of historical events, music and storytelling. Amongst the many highlights, we welcomed Professor Patricia Fara from Cambridge University to talk about Science and Suffrage, hosted the Café Chantant music event, recreated Suffragette speeches in Loughborough Town Centre and a guided walk across Loughborough. The centrepiece of the festival was a brand new community play “The Sisters of Castledine Street”. All of the events and activities were developed by and with volunteers inspired by and based on the ininital research by Mike Shuker.

Below is addition of the magazine ‘Heart of three cities’ explaining more about the project. You can also view it in full screen mode by following this link to the issue website

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