Special film screening on to remember founders of Honiton's suffrage movement

PUBLISHED: 15:10 19 January 2016 | UPDATED: 15:10 19 January 2016

Honiton mayor, Caroline Kolek, poses next to a portrait of Juanita Phillips. Ref mhh 02-16AW 7172. Picture: Alex Walton

Honiton mayor, Caroline Kolek, poses next to a portrait of Juanita Phillips. Ref mhh 02-16AW 7172. Picture: Alex Walton

Archant

Plans are being made to mark the showing of Suffragette with events at The Beehive community centre, in Dowell Street.

A special showing of Suffragette will be held this month to remember the founders of Honiton’s suffrage movement.

Plans are being made to mark the showing of the film with events at The Beehive community centre, in Dowell Street.

They will be attended by Caroline Merry de Bayer, the great niece of Honiton’s suffragette founder, Juanita Maxwell Phillips - who became ten times Mayor of Honiton and the first female mayor in the West Country.

Juanita presided at the first suffragist meeting held in Honiton, as well as chairing the Exeter Branch of the Emmeline Pankhurst’s Women’s Social and Political Union. She picketed outside Exeter prison when Mrs Pankhurst was held there.

The following morning, Juanita joined Mrs Pankhurst at the Great Western Hotel on her release and saw her on the London train to attend a suffrage meeting. A blue plaque in Honiton High Street claims Juanita was arrested several times for her suffrage activities, and this is still being researched.

The event at The Beehive is set to be hosted by Honiton’s mayor, Caroline Kolek - who will launch a ‘Mayor’s Fund’ for the restoration of a portrait of Juanita.

Mrs Kolek said: “I am very pleased to be associated with this event to mark Honiton’s suffragettes during my time as mayor.

“Mrs Phillips would no doubt have been delighted that a hundred years after she was campaigning for women to have the vote, we have a town council with so many women members.

“In fact, for the first time, we now have more women members than men. It will be an historic occasion and I hope we raise sufficient to restore Mrs Phillips’ portrait.”

A special meeting to remember Honiton’s suffragettes will be held before the film, and women are being invited to wear hats and costumes similar to those worn by suffragettes, along with sashes and ‘Votes for Women’ posters.

The film will be shown at The Beehive at 7.30pm, on Friday, January 29. The meeting will begin at 6pm, including a lecture, exhibition and book signing.

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