Mary Maclagen: Rotherham’s Suffrage Pioneer

Published Thursday, 8th March 2018
Councillor Mary Maclagen
Councillor Mary Maclagen

As International Women’s Day is marked, a trail-blazing Rotherham woman has been included in a list of 100 Women’s Suffrage Pioneers.

Mary Maclagen, who was Rotherham’s first ever female councillor, has been included in the list of “Suffrage Pioneers”, compiled nationally.
2018 marks the 100th Anniversary of the Representation of the People Act which extended the vote to women for the first time. A new campaign, Suffrage Pioneers 1918-2018, is celebrating the lives of 100 women and men who were active in the campaign for extending the vote to all women and who went on to use their extended rights of citizenship in a positive way in their local areas. 
“It’s fantastic news that Mary Maclagen has been recognised nationally in this list of Suffrage Pioneers, and I hope we can raise awareness of her pioneering role in the town’s history,” said Cllr Emma Hoddinott, who put forward Mary Maclagen’s name for inclusion.
Cllr Taiba Yasseen, Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Cultural Services and Neighbourhood Working, added: “Our archivists at the Council’s Archives and Local Studies section put in a lot of hard work behind the scenes, delving into their records to learn more about Mary’s extraordinary life and career, and I’d like to thank them for their efforts.
“Women councillors in Rotherham continue the work started by Mary. Today Rotherham has 27 female councillors and I was very proud to become the first ethnic minority woman in South Yorkshire to become a Cabinet Member,” added Cllr Yasseen. 
Mary was elected to represent Clifton Ward in November 1924 securing 642 votes and achieving a majority of just 34 votes. As a councillor Mary sat on the committees for waterworks; housing; public library and museum; allotments; parks and cemeteries; local pension committee and was the vice-chairman of the maternity and child welfare committee.
The Archives and Local Studies team, based at Clifton Park Museum, looks after a wealth of resources which tell the amazing story of Rotherham and its people. 
If you would like to find out more about any aspect of Rotherham’s wonderful history email the team or visit the searchroom at Clifton Park Museum. 
More information about the Suffrage Pioneers campaign can be found at the campaign's website.

Find out more about Archives and Local Studies

Visit the Suffrage Pioneers website