8 March 2022

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We were extremely proud and honoured that our Year 13 student, Lily S, represented us at the official unveiling of the Elizabeth Wolstenholme Elmy statue on International Women's Day (8th March 2022).

Lily joined others on the official parade down Lawton Street to where the statue is now located on Bridge Street. She carried the banner and, following the official opening of the ceremony by Congleton Town Mayor, Cllr Denis Murphy, and speeches from members of Elizabeth’s Group, Lily recited her original poem, 'CW12 2DW,' about Elizabeth (see below). The Baroness Lady Hale of Richmond gave a speech before unveiling the sculpture, marking the start of a day of Victorian celebration, with side stalls featuring traditional games and a Punch and Judy show.

Elizabeth (1833-1918) lived in Congleton Cheshire and was an activist who fought for equality throughout her life. She worked tirelessly for girls’ education, for women’s right to own property and for their right to vote. Elizabeth believed in lobbying - she took part in marches, gave speeches, and created over 1600 petitions and 7000 letters.

The life-size statue, 'Our Elizabeth,' was created by sculptor, Hazel Reeves and funded by Elizabeth's Group, a team of local people who work to raise the profile of Elizabeth. 


CW12 2DW

23 Buxton House.
Who bothers? Peers closely.
Ordinary building: extraordinary history.
A blue sphere of recognition; a cursory stamp bled into red brick
A modest token bestowed by the local civic society.
Another forgotten fragment of English heritage.

23 Buxton House.
Who knows? Inclines to care.
Home sweet 54 year home to an activist driven by equality:
‘The brains of the suffragist movement’.
Heralded by Emmeline Pankhurst- a name
Etched in history, complimenting a name
Whose power and influence have ceased to exist.
The forgotten of the suffragist movement.
Perdita. Oblitus. Ignota.  

23 Buxton House.
Who grants acknowledgement?
Marches and speeches;
1600 petitions and 7000 letters.
A human being with humane beliefs.
For 80 years she fought,
Challenged the patriarchal status quo.
It seems disrespectful
To laud her for ‘women’s lib’, when humanity was what she was fighting for.

23 Buxton House.
Who treasures this history?
Birthplace of the
National Society of Women’s Suffrage;
Office of the pioneer crafting the
Women’s Emancipation Union;
Residence of one listed on the Millicent Fawcett statue,
Parliament Square,
A 185 mile route to equal rights, navigated by determination and rewarded by
Reform rather than recognition.

23 Buxton House.
Who is implicit? Pays homage.
Education. Civil liberty. Marriage.
Our choice. Our freedom. Our truth.
Unattainable luxuries in the 19th Century.
Corset-renouncing crusaders revolutionised tradition and
Freed the female voice.

23 Buxton House.
Who knew? Not me, for shame.
The dawn of change; a mile from my home.
Ironic that the crib for so many letters should be the post office of my mother’s youth.
Buried under sacks of 20th century mail,
7000 ideas started as one.
History shrouded from local women;
Unaware they passed this wellspring of emancipation;
Seeing only simple red brick,
Indebted, but oblivious.

23 Buxton House.
Who knows? Now you do.
One letter.
One belief.
One suffragist.
One blue stamp of approval.

23 Buxton House.
Lost but now found.
Elizabeth Wolstenholme-Elmy.
Constituo. Recordatus. Notissima.


You can find out more about Elizabeth Wolstenholme Elmy and Elizabeth's Group at here

Tags: Community

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