Annie Kenney (1879-1953), suffragette. Born in Springhead near Oldham to a humble family, Kenney worked from the age of 10 in a local cotton mill. She became a leading member of the suffragette movement. The only working class woman to hold a senior position in the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), she was co-founder with Minnie Baldock of its first London branch. In 1905, she and Christabel Pankhurst interrupted a Liberal rally in Manchester to demand whether Winston Churchill, MP for Oldham, and Sir Edward Grey believed women should have the right to vote. As a result both women were jailed. Lenney was imprisoned 13 times for militant tactics.
This statue depicts Kenney wearing a ‘Votes for Women’ sash, ringing a bell and waving a pamphlet titled ‘Votes for Women’. Her pose was inspired by a passage from her autobiography, ‘I had an orange box and a bell given to me… I was told to hold three meetings every night in different parts of the town or city where we were stationed.’ Her statue stands on a raised pavement to symbolise the orange box.
The sculpture was funded by public subscription, which was organised by the Annie Kenney Memorial Fund committee. It was unveiled to mark the centenary of the Representation of the People Act 1918, which gave certain British women the right to vote.
Location: Outside Town Hall, Oldham, Greater Manchester.