Worthing’s Suffragette Story

The Worthing branch of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) was founded and led by Ellen Chapman and had its office on Warwick Street. They travelled to meetings in London and worked closely with groups in Surrey and Sussex and took part in the Suffragist Pilgrimage from Brighton to London in July 1913.

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Ellen Chapman, Worthing’s (and the county’s) first female Mayor in 1920

Worthing also had a branch of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). The town was the scene of much activity conducted by both the militant and the non-violent wings of the movement. But it was in February 1913, The Suffragettes, members of Emmeline Pankhurst’s militant group, organised a meeting at the ‘Kursall’ (now the Dome) which ended in a riot, as protesters threw bags of flour and soot and waved football rattles.

Ellen Chapman became Worthing’s (and the county’s) first female mayor in 1920. She is buried in Broadwater Cemetery, Worthing. There is also a window on the pier in memory of her which was funded by crowdfunding, and revealed earlier in 2018.

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