The Suffragettes and Annie Kenney

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Local Heroes to be Honoured - Annie Kenney

Saddleworth News February 2017

Oldham Council is set to commemorate two historically significant Springhead heroes.

A heritage sign has been installed in Springhead to commemorate Victoria Cross recipient Sergeant Thomas Steele and famous suffragette Annie Kenney.

Both figures were born in Springhead and made a significant impact across the world – the sign will lay a lasting reminder about their links with Oldham.

Annie Kenney, born in Claytons, Springhead in 1879, was the first ‘working class’ suffragette and a leading figure in the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) for the rights of women.

She started work in a cotton mill in Oldham at the age of 10, and went on to become a leader and organiser of the WSPU, touring England and Wales speaking at rallies on women’s suffrage.

A heritage sign has been attached to the “Welcome to Springhead” road sign on Oldham Road. It is also proposed to do the same on the other two “Welcome to Springhead” road signs.

Councillor Adrian Alexander, Chair of Saddleworth and Lees District Executive, told Saddleworth News: “We wanted to install this sign as a permanent symbol to remember them and where they were born.

“It’s amazing to have two figures from Oldham who were not just an influence to the world, but an inspiration as well.

“I hope everyone who drives or walks past the sign is reminded of the significant history Oldham holds.”

In honour of his outstanding bravery, and to commemorate 100 years since the events, Oldham Council is holding a ceremony at 11am, February 22, at St Anne’s Church, Lydgate.

At the ceremony a commemorative paving stone will be unveiled in honour of Sergeant Steele by Councillor Derek Heffernan, the Mayor of Oldham.

“They came from all walks of life but whatever their background each one showed incredible courage in fighting for our liberty.”