Who was Eliza Wigham ?

5 Jun
Who was Eliza Wigham

Who was Eliza Wigham

Who was Eliza Wigham ? read the banner when a group of us, complete with a ladder, which had been padlocked to the railings of the nearby Café Royal overnight, met at the statute of The Duke of Wellington in Princess Street Edinburgh last week.

Unaware that the Scottish Socialist Party would also be there to get the good people of the city to sign a petition against the proposed government Bed Tax, we rallied our troops and got on with the planned task in hand.

Our luck was in, Colin Fox, their Joint National Spokesperson, microphone in hand, agreed to help our cause by advertising our event. As Heidi, dressed in the period costume of one of our Quaker heroines Eliza Wigham, climbed to the top of the statute of the Duke of Wellington,to tie a banner to the hoof of Wellington’s rearing horse, our message rang loud and clear amongst the assembled crowd. Thank you Colin.

The object of the exercise was to bring into the public eye not only the untimely death of suffragette, Emily Davison, who threw herself in front of the King’s horse at the Epsom Derby 100 years ago, but to honour four unsung Scottish heroines, who campaigned against slavery and played a key role in the fight for women’s rights. Eliza Wigham, Elizabeth Peace Nicholl, Pricilla Bright McLaren and Jane Smeal were all leading lights in the Edinburgh Ladies’ Emancipation Society.

Mission accomplished we retreated to the Café Royal to debrief and share our personal highlights. For Heidi it was the fact that she didn’t actually get arrested. She admitted that she was more scared of that than levitating herself from the ladder onto the plinth, what a modern day activist she is. For myself it was the thrill of finding the ladder still padlocked safely to the railings outside the Café Royal, which, with the help of my other half, was deposited there the night before. The Café Royal has many personal memories for myself as I sat with the Damned Rebel Bitches I flashed back to another life 40 years ago, sitting at the same table, discussing homelessness in Scotland. I was part of a team, including my partner, who set up Shelter the housing charity in Scotland. Definitely a da je vue moment. Lorraine enjoyed briefing Colin Fox our voice on the street, as well as acting the “innocent” when asked by the two policewomen if we had been given permission, she simply gave them a winning smile and carried on regardless. Anne, a seasoned campaigner of Greenham Common ilk, simply enjoyed being part of band of committed women keen to get the message across to the public.

United we stand so watch this space.

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One Response to “Who was Eliza Wigham ?”

  1. Jean Webb February 12, 2014 at 10:40 am #

    PrinCESS Street?

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