Margaret Ashton

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Margaret Ashton
Born (1856-01-19)19 January 1856
Died 15 October 1937(1937-10-15) (aged 81)
Nationality British
Occupation Politician
Known for First woman City Councillor for Manchester

Margaret Ashton (19 January 1856 – 15 October 1937) was an English suffragist, local politician, pacifist and philanthropist, and the first woman City Councillor for Manchester.

Career[edit]

Margaret Ashton was the first woman to run for election to Manchester City Council, and in 1908 became the first woman City Councillor when she was elected Councillor for Manchester Withington.[1]

As a member of Manchester's public health committee and chair of the maternity and child welfare subcommittee, Ashton endorsed municipal mother and baby clinics and promoted free milk for babies and new mothers. In 1914 she founded the Manchester Babies' Hospital with Dr Catherine Chisholm (1878–1952).[2]

With the outbreak of the first world war in 1914, Ashton was amongst the internationalist minority who split from the NUWSS and the suffragette movement. She was a signatory of the 'Open Christmas Letter', a call for peace addressed in sisterhood "To the Women of Germany and Austria", which was published in Jus Suffragii in January 1915.[3] She started a Manchester branch of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.[1]

Legacy[edit]

In 1938, some friends and admirers of Ashton formed a memorial committee which funded two activities:

In 1982, the Harpurhey High School for Girls was re-opened as Margaret Ashton Sixth Form College.

Margaret Ashton is one of six women on a nomination list for a new public statue in Manchester. The winner, chosen by public vote, will be announced in 2019.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Where I live: Manchester: Who was Margaret Ashton?". BBC Manchester. BBC. 4 July 2006. 
  2. ^ Mohr, Peter. "Ashton, Margaret (1856–1937), local politician and philanthropist". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press 2004–15. Retrieved 21 November 2015. 
  3. ^ Liddington, Jill (1989). The long road to Greenham: feminism and anti-militarism in Britain since 1820. London: Virago. ISBN 9780860686880. 
  4. ^ Stocks, Mary D., "Margaret Ashton Memorial Lecture 20th March, 1941", in Stocks, Mary D., The Victorians, Manchester University Lectures Series, no. 36., Manchester University Press, OCLC 6923286  Preview.
  5. ^ Williams, Jennifer (20 October 2015). "Shortlist of six iconic women revealed for Manchester's first female statue for 100 Years". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 21 November 2015. 

Further reading[edit]