Mrs Priscilla Bright McLaren

Gender: Female

Marital Status: Married

Born: 1815

Died: 1906

Place of birth: Rochdale, Lancashire, England

Education: Quaker schools in York, Southport and London

Occupation: Teaching

Main Suffrage Society: NUWSS

Other Societies: ENSWS; CCNSWS

1866 Petition: Yes

Petition Area: 2 Lower Seymour Street, London, London, England


Other sources:
Elizabeth Crawford, The Women's Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide, 1866?1928 (2001)

Further Information:

Family information: Married Duncan McLaren in 1848, Liberal MP (1865?81) supporting female suffrage.

Additional Information: Priscilla was a member of the Edinburgh Ladies Emancipation Society and, with her stepdaughters Agnes and Grant, signed the 1866 petition. Priscilla was president of the Edinburgh NSWS when it founded in 1867; she was behind (with her husband) a number of motions to raise votes for women in the House of Commons; and she was an executive committee member of the Central Committee of the NSWS (CCNSWS) when it formed. Having taken part in anti-Corn Law demonstrations before, Priscilla recognised the potential impact of large demonstrations, encouraging those in the women's suffrage movement to do the same. She presided over the first of these demonstrations in Manchester (1880), and later in Glasgow and Bradford (1882). By the 1890s, Priscilla was Scottish branch president of the Special Appeals Committee, responsible for the collection of 248,000 signatures in favour of women's suffrage to present to Parliament (1894). She later became an executive committee member of the NUWSS. Throughout the campaign, Priscilla supported and welcomed petitions and deputations where women took their grievances directly to Westminster. She was especially fond of petitions generated and taken by working class women, and often lent them financial support to encourage this.

Other Suffrage Activities: At home in Rochdale with her sisters, Priscilla ran a school, teaching reading, writing and sewing to factory girls employed by her father. In around 1843, she became involved in Anti-Corn Law work, where she learnt much about political demonstrating and organising. Priscilla was involved in other radical causes, sitting on the executive committee of the Ladies National Association for the Repeal of the Contagious Diseases Acts and subscribing to the Married Women's Property Campaign. She was also a vehement supporter of women's entry into medical school. Her stepdaughter Agnes, who also signed the 1866 petition, became a doctor.

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