Helensburgh Heroes produced the medal for their Women of All Ages Project which celebrates the Centenary of some women being granted the right to vote in the UK, and in memory of local suffragette and activist Eunice Murray, to ensure that the bravery and determination of women such as Eunice is never forgotten.
In 1918 the Representation of The People Act was passed, which gave the franchise to property-owning women aged over 30 (8 million of them) and all men the right to vote, it was not until 1928 that all British women gained the same voting rights as men. One key, often overlooked, woman who was at the heart of this sea change was Cardross born Eunice G Murray.
When we look back at the suffragette movement and that period in our history we tend to recall the Pankhursts, Emily Davison or Nancy Astor and we overlook the contribution made, particularly in Scotland by Eunice and others. She was an extremely important and active figure in the movement and one who deserves similar recognition.
Murray was born in January 1878 and joined the Women’s Franchise League in 1908. She was soon appointed as its secretary for the whole of Scotland and became its leading figure in Glasgow. She was opposed to undemocratic nature of the Women’s Social and Political Union, however she was arrested in 1913 for addressing a crowd outside Downing Street after attending the ‘International Woman Suffrage Alliance’. In 1918, the year the Representative of The People Act was passed, Eunice Murray was the first woman (and the only one) to stand in the first election opened to women in Scotland.
Eunice was a prolific writer and produced many books. She dedicated her 1930 book ‘Scottish Women of Bygone Days’ to ‘To the Women of All Ages who Defied Convention and Held Aloft the Banner of Progress”.
Helensburgh Heroes commemorated Eunice’s life with their project by creating a book written by 100 local women of all ages, entitled: ‘To the Women of All Ages by Women of All Ages’.
The women of Helensburgh and Lomond were invited to write about their female role models. Each contributor wrote a maximum of 300 words about their inspirational nominee and as a thank you for participating, they received a copy of the book together with the specially commissioned Vote 100/Eunice Guthrie Murray commemorative medal that we produced. The medals were presented at a special event held in Helensburgh on 21 January 2019, the 141stanniversary of Eunice Guthrie Murray’s birth.
Helensburgh Heroes was founded by a small group in 2018. Their mission is to make every member of the community feel that they are of aware of their worth and that they have a valuable contribution to society to make, and we believe that the use of inspirational men and women with local connections as role models has a major role to play in achieving this.
The ‘Women of All Ages’ Vote 100/Eunice Guthrie Murray commemorative medal was created in silver with a semi-proof finish and measured 50mm. The obverse of the medal features an image of Eunice, the dates of her life and death and the statement ‘To Women of All Ages’.
The reverse of the commemorative medal features the Helensburgh Heroes logo and their ‘celebrating the past, inspiring the future’ moto. In addition and in dedication to the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, the reverse states: ‘Who defied convention and held aloft the banner of progress’ 1918 – 2018.