South Norwood Suffragist and Suffragette Plaques

South Norwood Suffragist and Suffragette plaques were unveiled on 21 October 2023

On 21 October 2023 we unveiled two plaques opposite South Norwood Clocktower
to commemorate two special women.

The individual plaques, designed locally by Ken Baker, commemorate two
women, Ethel Fennings, a suffragist, and Mary Pearson, a suffragette, who lived
nearby and were actively involved in the move to acquire the vote for women
early in the 20th century.

Ethel, of the Church League for Women’s’ Suffrage, was the eldest daughter of
a suffragist mother. She was very active in South Norwood particularly during
the years immediately before WW I.  She regularly wrote letters to Norwood
, a local newspaper cogently advocating the right of women to
vote.  The newspaper additionally advertised times on a Friday evening
during May until October when Ethel stood on the base of the Stanley Clocktower
and gave voice to the women’s cause.  It has to be said that her younger
sisters Muriel, Agnes and Jessie as well her father also contributed to the
agitation to acquire the vote. 

Mary Pearson lived nearby.  A member of the Croydon branch of the
Women’s Freedom League, she was, in February 1908, imprisoned in the second class
for nuisance through her attempts to gain an interview with Sir Edward Grey,
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.

Local historian, John Hickman, introduced proceedings at the unveiling
venue.  He thanked those responsible for acquiring funding for the People
for Portland Road project; namely We Love SE25, Stanley Arts and the community
for their donations.

In attendance was the Deputy Civic Mayor, Cllr Appu Srinivasan. Sarah Jones
MP and Carole Roberts (President of Croydon Natural History and Scientific
Society) unveiled the plaques for us. All three talked about these two
courageous women.