A KIDDERMINSTER historian who became intrigued by the story of women’s suffrage in the town will chart almost 150 years of the movement’s links with the district when she speaks at a special heritage celebration.

Gay Hill will be in costume for a fascinating talk at the town hall on Saturday, September 15 as part of Heritage Day 2018 organised by the voluntary Heritage Opportunities Group.

Actors from the Rose Theatre will set the suffragist scene by re-enacting the march of women’s vote campaigner Emmeline Pankhurst and her supporters through Kidderminster in 1912.

But Ms Hill is baffled by the fact it took more than 30 years to set up a suffragist branch in the town after it showed enthusiastic support for the cause as far back as the 1870s.

She said: “In 1875, 37 years before Mrs Pankhurst came here, there had been a meeting to support female suffrage.

“Many of the town’s prominent residents backed it, especially members of the Kidderminster Liberal Party such as Edward Parry, the owner and editor of the Shuttle at that time.”

She added: “In 1886 the Kidderminster Women’s Liberal Association was formed and a year later a second well-received suffrage meeting was held but it is a mystery why no suffragist branch was formed in the town until after Mrs Pankhurst came in 1912.

”It obviously fulfilled a need as it quickly had 100 members. Perhaps it was the visit of the charismatic Mrs Pankhurst that finally got the town moving after years of talk about suffrage.

“Solving this puzzle will be the aim of my future research.”

Admission is free to all heritage day events and Ms Hill will give her talk twice at 11.30am and 1.30pm.

Costumed actors from the Rose Theatre will recreate Mrs Pankhurst’s visit to the town at 10.30 and 1pm, marching with placards from High Street to the town hall where there will be a public address and speeches.

Younger visitors will be able to make their own suffragette rosettes at an activity table from 11am-1pm and there will be displays by history groups and the Museum of Carpet from 10-4pm.

Films of Kidderminster’s past will be screened by Bill and Dorothy Every at noon and 2.30pm, and there will be guided tours of the historic town hall, court, council chamber and mayor’s parlour.

The Rose Theatre will also` throw open its doors from 10am-2pm for visitors to take a peek behind the scenes and learn more about how local productions are put together.