Ninety free cups of tea or coffee are being given away to mark the 90th anniversary of the Act of Parliament which gave equal voting rights to men and women at the age of 21.
The drinks will be enjoyed at a tea party hosted by Debenhams, often referred to by its traditional name of Browns of Chester, that will be attended by city MP Chris Matheson and council leader Samantha Dixon.
Brown’s was owned by the family of Phyllis Brown, who was Chester’s first woman Mayor and the local leader of the Women’s Freedom League which makes the location all the more appropriate.
The tea party takes place at the Crypt Café, between 9.30-10.30am, on Monday, July 2, to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the 1928 Representation of the People Act.
And the event forms part of the UK Parliament’s EqualiTeas campaign, which seeks to promote democracy and celebrate equal voting rights in our country.
Tea parties had a long tradition in the campaign for equal votes as it was one of the few ways women were allowed to meet without men present, so they could plan and discuss their campaign.
Councillor Dixon said: “It is hard to imagine a time when women weren’t allowed to vote – or a time when we couldn’t meet without men present. I am proud to be the first female leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council. Democracy has come a long way in 90 years and this small event is an opportunity to celebrate it.”
The first 90 people who contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01244 343 214 will be able to claim their free tea or coffee on the day at the Eastgate Street department store.
There will be an opportunity for short speeches from Mr Matheson MP, Cllr Dixon and Professor Emma Rees, from the University of Chester, with a focus on the history of the campaign for equal voting rights here in Chester.
Mr Matheson MP said: “Debenhams, or Browns of Chester as it is often known, was owned by the family of Phyllis Brown. Phyllis was Chester’s first woman Mayor and the local leader of the Women’s Freedom League which campaigned for equal voting rights here in Chester.
“I’m grateful to Debenhams for hosting this event: it is a special opportunity for us to celebrate the democratic process which has allowed me to represent this city – I hope to see you there.”