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Ipswich Buses joins women’s festival to mark centenary of voting

PUBLISHED: 19:00 06 October 2018

The new bus named after Constance Andrews was given a send-off at the University of Suffolk, Picture: LUCY TAYLOR/IBC

The new bus named after Constance Andrews was given a send-off at the University of Suffolk, Picture: LUCY TAYLOR/IBC

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The centenary of the first votes being granted to women in Britain was marked by the naming of a bus after the town’s best-known Suffragette as part of a women’s festival at the University of Suffolk on Saturday.

Ipswich Mayor Jane Riley unveils the bus name with University of Suffolk vice-chancellor Prof Helen Langton.Picture: LUCY TAYLOR/IBCIpswich Mayor Jane Riley unveils the bus name with University of Suffolk vice-chancellor Prof Helen Langton.Picture: LUCY TAYLOR/IBC

The bus was named Constance Andrews in a ceremony led by mayor Jane Riley and the vice chancellor of the university Dr Helen Langton.

Constance Andrews, who was born in 1864, was a tireless supporter of women’s right to vote and in 1909 formed the Ipswich branch of the national Suffragette movement, the Women’s Freedom League.

In 1911, she took part in a public protest during the Ipswich Census night in what is now Arlington’s Brasserie in Museum Street.

The “If women don’t count, don’t count women” protest saw around 30 women partying through the night and refusing to fill in the Census document.

Constance AndrewsConstance Andrews

Constance was later sent to prison for not paying a dog licence in another suffragette protest and her release was met by jubilant crowds.

The bus naming ceremony was the official opening of the Ipswich Women’s Voices, Women’s Votes Festival, and was followed by a full day of activities including talks, panels, workshops and craftivism organised by the Ipswich Women’s Festival Group and other local women’s groups.

The Suffragette bus was outside the University all day for people to explore and played host to a special exhibition of 100 Inspirational Suffolk Women occupying all the seats on the double-decker.

The Mayor also chaired a debate on Women in Politics including Ipswich Borough Councillors Shelly Darwin and Liz Harsant, Suffolk County Councillor Caroline Page and local UK Youth Parliament member Meg Day.

Ipswich Buses _ which by chance has the Suffragette colours as its official livery – was pleased to be working alongside Ipswich Women’s Voices, to celebrate (some) women getting the vote 100 years on.

Danielle Devonish, Marketing Manager, said: “We are delighted to be given the opportunity to name one of our buses after such a powerful and inspirational woman.

“Our latest bus livery of purple and green is a perfect match to the suffragette colours. The public will be able to see the bus travelling around our town network from Sunday.”

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