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Durham suffragette recognised as pioneer

Published April 27, 2018 2.01pm


A County Durham woman who fought for the right to vote from a young age has been included in a national list of 100 'suffrage pioneers'.

Suffrage pioneer

Durham County Record Office holds records relating to Connie

Connie Lewcock, nee Ellis, was born in Lincolnshire in 1894 but moved to Esh Winning in 1912 to become a school teacher.

Campaigner

Becoming a suffragist at the age of 14, Connie was involved in many peaceful protests and was active in the Independent Labour Party (ILP) during the First World War, helping to organise munitions workers in Middlesbrough.

She also accused companies supplying meat to the front line of making excessive profits and was charged with making seditious speeches, avoiding prison only because the ILP paid her fine.

Her campaigning also included instructing an accomplice to set fire to a railway building, for which she lost her teaching job.

In later life, Connie served as a city councillor in Newcastle, representing the Benwell Ward from 1960-71, and was awarded an OBE for her public service in 1966.

She died in 1980 after a fall outside her home in West Denton.

Recognition

She was put forward for the Suffrage Pioneer list by Cllr Joy Allen, based on research by archivists at Durham County Record Office. The DCRO holds records on Connie, including a log book mentioning her employment at Esh Winning School.

The list is the culmination of the 'From Suffrage to Citizenship' project led by the Women's Local Government Society which aims to identify and celebrate the lives of 100 women who were active in the campaign for votes and who went on to use their extended rights in a positive way.

It is hoped that the list will inspire young women to get involved in politics and run for public office.

Fascinating story

Cllr Joy Allen, Cabinet member for transformation, said: "This list celebrates the lives of those who campaigned to get women the vote and we are delighted that our bid to have Connie included was successful.

"Working closely with DCRO, we have found out more about her fascinating life and she is just one of a number of women who don't get the recognition they deserve. We hope this list will raise awareness of all she did both in terms of women's rights and public service more generally.

"We are also appealing for any relatives of Connie's to come forward and find out more about her life and to share any information they might have."

Many stories of women's contributions to the First World War can be viewed on the Durham at War website.

 

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