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Exiled Scot Returns to Reveal New History in Rothesay on Votes for Women Centenary. 

A Scottish emigrant to the U.S.A. is returning home to help commemorate the hundred years since the first British women won the vote. She will be speaking on February 6th at the Bute Museum in Rothesay about the campaign that one of the leading suffragette and women’s rights organizations conducted for years from that location. The event is being organised by the  LiveArgyll Libraries service and hosted at Bute Museum.  On February 3rd, she will also be speaking at a commemorative votes for women conference in Cambridge University.  

The speaker is Bernadette Cahill, an M.A. Honours graduate of History from Glasgow University, who was born in Dalmuir and attended St. Stephen’s Primary School and Notre Dame High School, Dowanhill. She will be relating some of the history of the work of the Women’s Freedom League on Clydeside between 1908 and 1933.

She first heard the story she tells during the 50th anniversary of the Act by which the first British women finally won the vote. The tale piqued her interest in Rothesay’s role in helping to win women the right to vote, which culminated with passage of the 1918 Representation of the People Act. The Act received Royal Assent that February 6. All women finally won the vote on the same terms as men only in 1928.

An oral history tape Cahill recorded years later forms the basis of her talk, entitled “‘A Wummin’s place is in the Home!’ - Miss McCann, Madam Lenton and winning women’s equality in Rothesay, 1908-1933.” It utilizes a recording about Miss McCann’s Glasgow Fair job one summer alongside one of the most notorious of the pre-First World War militant Suffragettes.

“Kudos to Rothesay for hosting this talk on such a momentous centenary. The story reveals some Scottish and Rothesay history that has been forgotten, using a primary source that only a couple of people knew existed,” Cahill said. “What’s really interesting about the tape is that it brings the campaign to life in a way I have never encountered elsewhere.

                “It’s sad and frustrating that so much women’s history has been forgotten, while documents and photos have just been discarded when the women have died because people didn’t know how valuable they were – especially when the women were single, as was so often the case,” she said.

She hopes her talk might stir some forgotten memories and lead to the discovery of further unknown sources, particularly photographs of suffragettes in action in Scotland.

Bernadette Cahill is an independent scholar, author of Alice Paul, the National Woman’s Party and the Right to Vote: The First Civil Rights Struggle of the 20th Century, and Arkansas Women and the Right to Vote: The Little Rock Campaigns, (both 2015), with numerous published articles and talks on women’s rights and the United States suffrage movement to her credit. She is currently completing her third history of women’s suffrage in the United States, about the American women’s campaigns for female suffrage 150 years ago.


Eleanor Mckay, LiveArgyll Bibliographic and Local Studies Librarian

Tel: 01369 708663 email:


LiveArgyll Launch Successful

LiveArgyll official launch was held on Monday 2nd October in Helensburgh. Have a look at the official press release here.


LiveArgyll Launch Week

LiveArgyll go-live date is Monday 2nd of October with the official launch happening in Helensburgh. Check out the timetable below for activities in your area on Saturday 7th October when there is an extensive launch programme.

LiveArgyll Launch Open Day/Free Activity Programme - Saturday 7th October 2017

Have a look at our launch programme for events in your area on Saturday 7th October 2017

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