New exhibition marks the centenary of ‘votes for women’
October 1, 2018
A new exhibition exploring the role of women during and after the Great War (1914-18) has opened at the Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum. ‘A voice of her own. A women’s place after the Great War’ is open to the public Monday to Saturday, 9.30am -5.00pm, entry is free. The display includes the museum’s most recent acquisition, a rare WSPU Hunger Strike medal belonging to local suffragette Lillian Metge.
The exhibition uses objects and photographs from the Museum’s collection to examine the place of women in society in the aftermath of the war. Although huge numbers of women toiled in munitions factories or nursed at the front and enjoyed new found freedoms, for many these did not last. Even winning the vote in 1918 failed to give women the full voice they had fought for.
At the official opening Alderman Paul Porter, Chair of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council’s Leisure and Community Development Committee, said: “as we mark the centenary of the granting of the votes for women in 1918, it is important that we take time to recognise the important contribution women made to the war effort, at home and on the Front. This year the Council is marking 100 years since the granting of the vote to women. Accompanying the exhibition, discussion panel and film screening, the Council has established a Ladies’ Group, comprising female elected members and the Chief Executive. Councillor Hazel Legge, the group’s chair, welcomed the exhibition, adding “it important that we remember the women who fought hard for the rights we have today, and appreciate the challenges they faced, especially during the Great War.”
Highlights of the exhibition include:
- Lisburn Suffrage Society, the 1914 bombing of Lisburn Cathedral and Lillian Metge’s rare WSPU Hunger Strike medal
- Nursing at the Front and at home, from sphagnum moss to Anna Barbour and Hilden Convalescent Home
- Women and domestic life during the Great War, from the Lusitania to Lisburn’s 11th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles at the Somme
- Votes for women, from Lisburn’s first Guardians to its first female Mayor, Elsie Kelsey
- A lost voice. The place of women on the island of Ireland, north and south, after the war
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