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New exhibition to celebrate the historic role played by the women of Edinburgh in the Suffrage movement

Their Work is Not Forgotten, 8 June – 14 October, Museum of Edinburgh, Free Entry

Bessie Watson, aged 9 is dressed ready to join the Women’s Franchise Procession and Demonstration in October 1909

Marking the centenary year of the first women receiving the right to vote in the UK, a new exhibition is to open at The Museum of Edinburgh charting the significant role the women of Edinburgh played in the suffrage movement. Entitled Their Work is Not Forgotten, the exhibition will look back at Edinburgh’s position as a major site in the seminal suffrage protests and demonstrations of 1909, as women took to the streets to fight for their right to vote through to the modern day movement, providing a timely reflection on a decade of female enfranchisement, exploring what has been achieved and what is still to fight for 100 years on.

The exhibition will showcase Edinburgh’s rich history and contribution to the suffrage movement with a range of objects and images from the Museums & Galleries Collection going on show together for this first time. Highlights include; Bessie Watson’s scarf, images and replica banners from the Great Procession and Women's Demonstration in 1909 through Princes Street, and original sashes worn by the women of Edinburgh who participated in the demonstration. The exhibition will also feature items used in more recent protest activity in Edinburgh, exploring the development of social and political protest in Edinburgh through the years.

In the 2018 Year of Young People, the voices of young women in Edinburgh will be presented as part of the exhibition. A series of workshops will be held at The Museum of Edinburgh in the weeks preceding the exhibition in which women will be encouraged to voice their own thoughts on the role of women in social and political action today, in comparison to the actions of those women who campaigned to bring about the Representation of the People Act in 1909. Banner and flag making will also feature as part of the workshops which will take place on the 27th April , 8th  and 10th June (full details as noted below).

Their Work is Not Forgotten will open just days before Edinburgh once again hosts a major celebration as part of the suffrage movement. On Sunday 10th June, PROCESSIONS will see thousands of women and girls in Edinburgh, alongside Cardiff, London and Belfast take to the streets to commemorate the fight for suffrage and express what it means to be a woman today. PROCESSIONS forms part of the 14-18 NOW programme, in partnership with Artichoke, the UK’s largest producer of art in the public realm.

Councillor Amy McNeese-Mechan, Vice Culture and Communities Convener of the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “Documenting the bravery and struggle of Scottish women who fought long and hard to win the right to vote, this powerful exhibition features an impressive display of protest banners, sashes and photographs from our city’s museum and gallery collection.

“Designed to commemorate the centenary of this historic moment on the road to full gender equality and celebrate the achievements of our female ancestors, the display also contemplates whether their fight is really over, 100 years on.

“I hope visitors of all ages feel empowered by the display, and perhaps even inspired to create their own banners and take to the streets on 10 June to join me and many other women as we channel the suffragette spirit in PROCESSIONS Edinburgh, to prove the work of the suffragettes will not be forgotten.”

Anna MacQuarrie, History Curator with Museums & Galleries Edinburgh said: “Edinburgh’s place as a centre for political and social action is longstanding and our museum collections reflect this. We’re thrilled to be displaying important objects from the suffrage movement in Edinburgh as well as objects from recent political demonstrations held in the city. This exhibition offers an opportunity to reflect on the significant role that women have played at the heart of Edinburgh’s social and political action for over a hundred years. We hope it leaves visitors feeling informed, engaged and asking questions of their own.”



For more information on Their Work will Not Be Forgotten please contact Kate Bouchier-Hayes – 07825 335489 or Susie Gray 07834 073 795

Workshop Details

Museum of Edinburgh

27 April: 2-4pm: Take part in recordings and flag and banner making

Join us at the Museum of Edinburgh at 142-146 Canongate on 27th April 2-4pm for the opportunity to be recorded discussing your views on protest, women’s rights and what the centenary means to you and to take part in a banner and flag making workshop (it is not essential to do both activities).

To take part please book your place by emailing Diana Morton: or phone 0131 529 6365. If you cannot make the afternoon of the 27 April but would like to take part in a recording, do contact us to see if it would be possible to arrange another time.

This activity is free.

8 June: 2-4pm: Flag and banner making workshop

We will also offer another banner and flag making workshop for those hoping to take part in the PROCESSIONS event. This will take place on 8 June 2-4pm at the Museum of Edinburgh. You will be able to visit the exhibition as well as taking part in the activity. This session will not involve any audio recordings.

This activity is free and drop in.

10 June: 10 – 11:30am: Flag and banner making workshop

Additional banner and flag making workshop for those hoping to take part in the PROCESSIONS event will take place on the morning of the event itself, June 10 from 10-11:30am at the Museum of Edinburgh.

This activity is free and drop in.

Venue Details:

Address:                   Museum of Edinburgh, 142-146 Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8DD

Telephone:               0131 529 4143


Twitter:                     @EdinCulture



Opening hours:        Monday to Sunday 10am – 5pm  

Museums & Galleries Edinburgh

Museums & Galleries Edinburgh is a collection of 13 venues and over 200 monuments across Edinburgh. Our vision is to inspire, enthuse and provoke through a shared passion for Edinburgh, Art and History.

In 2016-17, we welcomed more than half a million people to our nine major visitor attractions: the City Art Centre; Lauriston Castle; Museum of Childhood; Museum of Edinburgh; Nelson Monument; People’s Story; Queensferry Museum; Scott Monument and Writers’ Museum.

We house rich and varied collections relating to the historical and cultural life of Scotland’s Capital. Our venues also boast an exciting and vibrant programme of events and exhibitions, offering something for everyone to enjoy.


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