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Congleton
Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Elmy Avenue honour for town’s famed suffragist

A Congleton street has been named after a trailblazing suffragist who lived in the town, to ensure that residents will “remember her legacy”.

Miller Homes announced this week that one of the roads on its Turnstone Grange estate in Somerford would be named Elmy Avenue, in honour of Elizabeth Wolstenholme Elmy.

The now-famous campaigner spent her life fighting for the right to an education for girls and for women to get the vote. Elizabeth was the co-founder of the National Society for Women’s Suffrage and the Women’s Emancipation Union and was instrumental in bringing about the Married Women’s Property Act of 1882.

She lived in Congleton from 1874 to 1918 but was only recently put on the map by Elizabeth’s Group. Campaigners raised more than £60,000 for a bronze statue of her in the town centre.

The group also managed to leave Elizabeth’s mark on the new £90m Congleton link road – Wolstenholme Elmy Way – making Elmy Avenue in Somerford the second to be named after her.

Elizabeth’s Group chair Susan Munro said: “We try to do everything in our power to honour the memory of Elizabeth, who did so much for not only Congleton but for the whole country.

“Alongside our statue in the town centre, we feel that Elmy Avenue will really help to solidify her memory in the area and ensure generations to come will remember her legacy.”

Miller Homes donated £200 to Elizabeth’s Group and named other streets on the estate after similarly inspirational women, including Laura Ormiston Chant, a social reformer of the late 19th century.

Mrs Munro added: “We’re so grateful to Miller Homes for making this a reality, alongside supporting our cause with funds, too. English women have much to thank Elizabeth for, and her husband Ben, too. The street name is a fitting tribute to them both.

“I like to think that the girls and young women who live on the estate will think of Elizabeth as they go off to school or work, and remember it was partly her efforts that afforded them the opportunity to do so.”

Clare Noakes, sales director at Miller Homes North West, said: “These women made such contributions to their communities in their time. With Congleton having amazing activists such as Elizabeth written into its history, it felt only fitting to dedicate a street to her memory.”

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