Wigan pit brow lassie to be honoured with plaque

Rita Culshaw, a former pit brow lassie
Rita Culshaw, a former pit brow lassie

A former Wigan pit brow lass is to be commemorated with a plaque at a women’s history event this week.

Rebel Women is an event organised by the council’s Wigan and Leigh Archives and Local Studies team, which will commemorate the centenary of women over the age of 30 being given the right to vote in parliamentary elections.

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Taking place on Thursday between 10am and 5.30pm at the Museum of Wigan Life, there will be guest speakers including Sylvia Pankhurst’s granddaughter Helen Pankhurst, local historians and Rita Culshaw herself, who will speak about her experiences as a pit brow lass.

The plaque will be unveiled at the event by Wigan Council chief executive Donna Hall, before being installed in a prominent place in the borough yet to be decided.

Rita, who went on to run a successful bridalwear firm, spoke of her experiences at the council’s International Women’s Day event in March this year as part of the council’s #BelieveInHer campaign.

Those who attended were given the opportunity to vote for a person who had made a lasting significance on Wigan’s history.

Rita Culshaw and the pit brow lasses received the most votes, which is why she is being acknowledged with the plaque.

Ms Hall said: “The Rebel Women event is a really interactive, inspirational way to learn about the achievements of people in our history. It promises to be an informative celebration and we are privileged to have both Rita Culshaw and Helen Pankhurst to speak at the event.”

Tickets cost £12 for borough residents and £15 for non-residents with lunch included in the price.

Of the six talks making up the event, Helen Pankhurst will discuss women’s lives and will reflect on the change since some women gained the right to a parliamentary vote in 1918.

Local historian and Wigan and Leigh Archives and Local Studies volunteer, Yvonne Eckersley, will also give a talk about the 50 years of women’s suffrage in Wigan borough between 1868 and 1918.

In addition to this, there will be two short films broadcast focusing on women’s rights in 1915 and 1917.

For more information or to buy tickets, please contact the Museum of Wigan Life on 01942 828128 or email wiganmuseum@wigan.gov.uk