Last chance to see Ada: The Crewe factory girl who fought for women’s rights

By Ryan Parker

10th Feb 2024 | Local News

An exhibition paying tribute Crewe suffragist, Ada Chew, who fought for women's right, is moving to Cheshire College - South & West (Jan Roberts).
An exhibition paying tribute Crewe suffragist, Ada Chew, who fought for women's right, is moving to Cheshire College - South & West (Jan Roberts).

An exhibition paying tribute to a Crewe suffragist who fought for women's rights, is moving to a final venue in the town before leaving the area. 

Hundreds of people have visited the Ada Chew display since it opened at Crewe Market Hall last July and then moved to Crewe Library and Queen's Park café.

Its final destination in Crewe is Cheshire College - South & West, before moving to Burnley.

Hundreds of people have visited the Ada Chew display since it opened at Crewe Market Hall last July and then moved to Crewe Library and Queen's Park café (Jan Roberts).

The Lancashire town is where Ada's daughter Doris, now deceased, ran an arts charity and wrote regularly about her mother's campaigning for women's rights to vote and receive equal pay.

The exhibition tells of the life and times of Ada, born in 1870 as one of 13 children.

Ada was in her 20s when she worked as a tailor and wrote a series of letters to the Crewe Chronicle, under the pseudonym 'A Crewe Factory Girl,' criticising working conditions for women and girls.  

She called for a "living wage, not a dying wage" for women paid less than male counterparts and criticised unfair practices such as charging workers for tea breaks. 

Organisers from the Cheshire Women's Collaboration (CWC) spent months piecing together the display which includes pictures, posters, letters and newspaper cuttings as well aprons, hats and dresses which would have been worn by Ada.

CWC has been overwhelmed by the feedback as they fundraise to place a statue in Crewe town centre as a lasting memorial to Ada.

The exhibition of Ada Chew will be on display at Crewe's Cheshire College - South & West, before moving to Burnley (Ryan Parker).

Crewe mum-of-three Kate Blakemore, CWC chair and trustee of 'A Statue for Ada' fundraising campaign told Nub News: "The response has been fantastic.

"Hundreds have visited at the different venues and now there's a last chance to see the display before it moves on. 

"It will be back at some point in the future, but no date or venue is yet is confirmed."

The exhibition tells how Ada became a prominent suffragist and campaigned for the right for women's vote.

Ahead of her time, she was a vegetarian and one of the first women of her era to go with a double barrel name once married.

Ada went on to run a mail order drapery business. She died, aged 75, in 1945 and is named, along with other suffrage supporters, on the plinth of the Millicent Fawcett statue on London's Parliament Square.

CWC chair and trustee of 'A Statue for Ada' fundraising campaign, Kate Blakemore (Jan Roberts).

Kate, founder of Motherwell Cheshire, added: "Ada is an unsung hero and the exhibition has been just one small step towards gaining her the recognition she deserves. 

"Long term we want to make this a permanent tribute with a statue in Crewe and are planning fundraising events." 

A quiz night raising money for 'A Statue for Ada' takes place at Crewe's Duke of Gloucester pub, Beswick Drive, on Friday 22 March.

READ MORE: Crewe business adds new 'fat freeze' procedure to list of services.

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