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Special honour for Loughborough's suffragette sisters

Two of Loughborough’s most renowned suffragettes – sisters Kathleen and Nora Corcoran, are to be honoured with a Green Plaque.

A model of a suffragette

The plaque will be unveiled on Thursday 31 October, on Castledine Street in Loughborough, where the sisters lived between 1912 and 1925.

Kathleen and Nora, and their father Dr Thomas Corcoran, were prominent supporters of the women's right to vote and helped to establish what became the suffragette movement in Loughborough.   

The sisters organised many functions to encourage women’s involvement in the movement, and as the local Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) secretary, Kathleen was also responsible for organising meetings of visiting suffragette speakers to Loughborough. 

They were nominated for the award by the Loughborough Labour History Group.  Dr Jill Vincent said: “We were researching local labour history and discovered strong, grass-roots activity and support for women's right to vote.

“Early campaigns for women's suffrage in Loughborough began in the 1870s and included unruly crowds mobbing women speakers and a visit by Emmeline Pankhurst. We hear so much about the leading names it would be easy to think it was a top-down movement. We would be wrong.

“Kathleen and Norah Corcoran were prominent and active, attending marches and, most daringly, refusing to pay the tax on their home. My goodness, those women who fought for the right to vote were brave, and among them were local Loughborough activists and leaders. We strongly believe they deserve to be celebrated by a Green Plaque.”

In addition the sisters also served in the First World War - Kathleen as a Sister and Nora as a nurse in the French Legion of the British Red Cross. They were awarded the British War medal and the Victory Medal for service to the British Committee of the French Red Cross. 

We take our right to vote for granted, but until just over 100 years ago, women were unable to take part in the democratic process.

It is right that we play tribute to brave women such as Kathleen and Nora Corcoran who fought so hard for these freedoms. I am proud to be able to unveil this green plaque in their honour.

Louise Richardson, cabinet member for green plaques.
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