Margaret Ashton

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

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 Withington.[1]

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.[2] She started a Manchester branch of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.[1]


In 1938, some friends and admirers of Aston 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.


  1. ^ a b c Features - Who was Margaret Ashton?, BBC Manchester
  2. ^ Jill Liddington, The Long Road to Greenham: Feminism and Anti-Militarism in Britain since 1820, Virago, 1989

Further reading[edit]