Lancashire

Centenary of 'controversial' suffragette fire to be marked

blue plaque
Image caption A blue plaque in Winckley Square, Preston, marks where Edith Rigby lived

Unions will mark the centenary of a Preston suffragette burning a lord's home in a "controversial" stand for women's rights.

Edith Rigby, who died in 1948, set fire to Lord Leverhulme's house in Rivington in 1913.

Bolton Unison said Lord Leverhulme was seen at the time as representing a government opposed to women's right to vote.

A blue plaque in Winckley Square, Preston marks where Ms Rigby lived.

A commemoration event organised by Bolton TUC is due to take place at Bolton Town Hall Square at 13:30 BST. A dramatisation of Ms Rigby's life will then be performed in Rivington.

'Increasingly bitter'

Andrea Egan, assistant branch secretary of Bolton Unison, said the "controversial figure" went to "considerable lengths to ensure Lord Leverhulme was out of the country and that there was no one inside the house".

She said: "A hundred years ago women did not have the right to vote. Many of the basic rights that people take for granted today simply did not exist.

"Lord Leverhulme was seen to many as a philanthropist and benefactor to the town. He advocated in favour of workers' pensions and also in support of women's rights on occasions".

She added: "In 1913 many women had become increasingly bitter and wanted to take action into their own hands. Edith Rigby's actions need to be viewed in that context."

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