App brings to life key figures from suffrage movement

A County Antrim town's links to the suffrage movement are being brought into the digital age with the launch of a new app.

Tuesday, 26th November 2019, 5:30 pm
Members of Whitehead Suffragette Society in period costume by Angela Turkington. Photo courtesy of Steve Diamond

The software, devised by members of Whitehead Suffragette Society, is due to be launched this weekend at the town's Victorian Street Fair.

The Society was established last year to mark the centenary of the Representation of the People Act 1918, which gave some women the vote for the first time and paved the way for the introduction of equal voting rights 10 years later.

Members will be launching the app in tandem with a living history re-enactment, featuring key figures from the suffrage movement, during the fair on Saturday.

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Pictured during rehearsals for a November 2018 performance are Suzie Taggart, John Eversley, Josephine Flynn, Roger Brennan, Polly Wilson, Angela Turkington, Jacob Enright and Steve Diamond.

The app was created after the group were approached by Belfast's Linenhall Library and PRONI as part of Peace IV-funded project, Women in the Archives.

Josephine Flynn from the Society explained: "We were given funding to develop the app, which takes people on a walking tour of Whitehead to meet the suffragettes who lived there 100 years ago."

Among these was noted suffragist and author Charlotte Despard, who retired to Whitehead in the 1930s.

"We received some help with the technical aspects of the app from Linehall Library and the Nerve Centre, but the content was researched by us," Josephine added.

Hanni Reinhardt, Josephine Flynn, Polly Wilson, Rachel Newell, Tony McCormack and Suzie Taggart pictured at the Whitehead Summer Festival 2019 walking tour.

"It was a fascinating period of history; Whitehead was a hotbed of suffragette activity and you had these feisty suffragette women fighting for their right to vote."

Visitors to The Old Tea House will be able to hear from some of these intriguing characters as members of the Society perform a series of monologues in period costume.

The event and app launch will take place from 12-5pm this Saturday, November 30.