A new garden has been opened at the Pankhurst Centre, the former home of suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst and her family.
Marking 100 years since many women gained the right to vote under the 1918 Representation of the People Act, the garden was unveiled this week, with many supporters there to watch, along with Pankhurst Trust patron Sally Lindsay, the Lord Mayor of Manchester June Hitchen and garden designer Janet Leigh.
Many of those present at the unveiling of the garden were from a group of over 500 backers who got behind the original 2017 crowdfunding campaign which raised over £24,000 for the centre and garden – exceeding the original target by 20%. Now the garden has come to life.
Stockport-based garden designer Janet Leigh has created an Edwardian knot garden to reflect the era in which Emmeline lived in the house with her daughters Sylvia, Christabel and Adela, and where the first meeting of the Women’s Social and Political Union took place on 10th October 1903.
Box hedging suggests the restrictions and confinements many women faced. The white, purple and green plants are the colours of the suffragette movement. Red flowers symbolise the personal sacrifices and the loss of life endured in the fight for equality.
Quotes from the movement are interspersed throughout the space, whilst at the heart of the garden is a suffragette figure crafted from iron.
“When we were planning how to mark the centenary of Votes for Women, a garden seemed like the perfect fit, providing both a lasting tribute to the work of the suffragettes and a living and breathing space of peace and reflection in the city,” said Pankhurst Centre chief executive Gail Heath.
“Janet has done an incredible job of translating the story of the suffragette movement into a wonderfully inventive and visually arresting outdoor space and we can’t wait to share it with everyone who visits us.”