Campaigners are hoping a ‘forgotten’ figure in the fight for women’s equality will be commemorated in the village where she spent her formative years.
The Hyndburn Labour Women’s Forum is looking to raise funds to erect a plaque in Altham, dedicated to universal suffrage activist, Lydia Ernestine Becker.
Lydia Becker, who spent 27 years living in the village between 1838 and 1865, was an extremely important figure in the campaign for the vote for women - credited with inspiring a 14-year-old Emmeline Pankhurst with a speech to the Manchester National Union in the 1870s.
Founder of the National Society for Women’s Suffrage, the first national group to campaign for women’s right to vote, she was the daughter of Hannibal Leigh Becker, who owned a chemical works in Altham and built the now Grade-II listed Moorside House on Burnley Road as their family home.
The women’s forum has been set up by Kimberley Whitehead, Joan Smith and Hyndburn Labour’s women’s officer, Coun Loraine Cox to mark both International Women’s Day and 100 years since some women were given the vote.
Joan, a former Hyndburn Labour councillor, said: “It is important for women to remember the efforts and sacrifices made by both the suffragettes and suffragists in order to gain the right for women to be allowed to vote.
“Unfortunately the part that many of these heroic women played in the struggle is largely forgotten. Here in Hyndburn it is fitting that we can tell the story of one of these women - Lydia Becker - who spent the formative years of her life in Altham.
“On International Women’s Day, the Hyndburn Labour Women’s Forum are proud to commemorate the work that all women have made and are still making for the cause of equality throughout the world.”
Lydia Becker passed away aged 63 in 1890 and her name is marked on her father’s grave in the grounds of St James’ Church, on West View Terrace, in Altham.
International Women’s Day was celebrated on March 8 and this year’s event marked 100 years since the vote was given to around 8.4 million women over-30 who met certain property conditions.
This was extended to all women over 21 in 1928.