In Keighley Local Studies Library on Saturday 3rd March, retired librarian and celebrated local historian Ian Dewhirst MBE gave a very well received talk about notable Keighley women. The talk was well attended by the many people who had braved the icy conditions to be there.
Thursday 8th March was International Women’s Day and Ian illustrated how Keighley has certainly has had its share of feisty ladies over the years.
The varied selection of ladies included Mrs Emma Groves, temperance advocate and Miss Sandra Dorne, film star. In his talk he spoke also of the late Mollie Sugden who played Mrs Slocombe in the 1970’s sit-com ‘Are You Being Served’. As mistress of the comedy double-entendre she had come a long way from her non-conformist roots at Ingrow.
Throughout history there are many forgotten personalities whose stories can be uncovered by delving into our Local Studies Library collections. The talk featured are some less well-known ladies with unusual stories such as Miss Annie Collett who kept an autograph album while visiting Keighley War Hospital in 1917-1918 and Miss Maud Marks of Keighley Salvation Army who was caught up in the fall of France in 1940.
This year is also the 100th anniversary of reforms to the voting system in 1918 where women over 30 years married to a householder or with a degree were given the vote for the first time.
Mr Dewhirst described the visit of suffragettes, Adela Pankhurst and Mary Kenney to Victoria Park on Sunday May 24th 1908 where the speeches were drowned out by the singing of popular songs. He spoke of the work of women in the First World War which had contributed greatly to their being given the vote.
The talk was accompanied by a display from Keighley Local Studies library collections which will remain in Keighley Local Studies library over the coming weeks.