A blue plaque in honour of Sophia Goulden has been unveiled by His Worship the Mayor of Douglas Councillor Jonathan Joughin JP at 9 Strathallan Crescent, Douglas, the home to
where the Manx-born women’s suffrage activist retired with her husband, Robert and where she died in 1910.
Sophia Jane Goulden, née Craine, was born in Lonan in 1833. In 1853 she married Robert Goulden at Kirk Braddan and the couple moved to Manchester, where their 11 children were born, among them Emmeline Pankhurst.
In his speech ahead of unveiling the plaque His Worship thanked the owners of 9 Strathallan Crescent, Jamie Sutton and Paula McClean and their family, teenage sons Adam and Dylan and one-year-old Emmeline, for their cooperation in allowing the public ceremony to be conducted outside their home, where Councillors were joined by Members of the House of Keys, representatives of the Friends of Sophia Goulden and the great-grandson of Sophia Goulden, Michael Goulden and his wife, Catriona Graham.
His Worship went on to say that Sophia Goulden was ‘a woman with a vision of a world where women could enjoy equal political rights’ whose influence helped to advance the campaign for women’s suffrage and who inspired her daughter, Emmeline, to become leader of the British suffragette movement.
He added: ‘That this is only the fourth blue plaque the Council has commissioned shows the level of importance the Council places on Sophia Goulden’s contribution to advancing women’s rights.’
In keeping with the theme of women’s empowerment he went on to refer to the Council’s balanced composition of nine female and nine male Councillors and, in closing, said the blue plaque would accord Sophia Goulden lasting recognition and ‘serve as a beacon to inspire others to continue her pioneering work.’