The great-granddaughter of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst has struck a commemorative 50p coin to mark the centenary of the passing through Parliament of the Representation of the People Act.
Dr Helen Pankhurst was at the Royal Mint in South Wales to mark the moment 100 years ago – on February 6 1918 – when women were finally given the right to vote.
Servicemen over the age of 19, men over 21, and women over the age of 30 and “of property” were allowed to vote in elections for the first time.
Speaking after she had struck a coin, Dr Pankhurst said: “I am really proud that this coin has come out to mark the centenary of the Representation of the People Act.
“It is important the coin depicts men and not just women because it wasn’t just women that were franchises but younger men as well.
“To be able to have a coin in your pocket that commemorates that event… I think Emmeline would have been really proud.
“There is so much to be said about coins and their value in society.
“The suffragettes used to deface coins and there was a penny coin they used to deface with ‘votes for women’ written on it and here we are today in 2018 marking the centenary of the right to vote.
“I think Emmeline would be very amused and proud for how things have changed and she would be remembering those defaced coins.”
The coin was designed by Royal Mint graphic designer Stephen Taylor, who modelled the queuing people on his wife and children.
“My design uses the familiar idea of a British queue, to suggest a line of people waiting to cast their votes at the ballot box,” he said.
“I began with the strong, celebratory pose of the woman holding her ballot aloft, followed by the soldier, the working class man and the suffragette.
“I paid careful attention to their poses and clothing, showing the different classes of society finally being given a political voice after years of struggling to be heard.”
Helen Antrobus, of the People’s History Museum in Manchester, added: “It’s really great to see a Representation of the People Act 1918 50p amongst the new coin designs for 2018.
“I wish it were possible for all of us to carry one in our pockets to carry forward that message of equality first started by the Act 100 years ago, reminding us that we still have work to do.”
Coins bearing the design are likely to be seen in circulation later this year.