Mill Girls & Militants



Mill Girls & Militants – a project celebrating Lancashire women’s contribution to the suffrage movement wins National Lottery funding.

A project, Mill Girls & Militants, by leading Lancashire dance development organisation Ludus Dance, has been awarded a National Lottery grant of over £50k to uncover and celebrate the lives of working women from Lancaster, Burnley and Preston a who joined the suffrage movement. Over 100 years ago, mill-girls, pit brow workers, weavers and laundresses of Lancashire joined the fight for women’s suffrage, just a stone’s throw from the start of the women’s suffrage movement in Manchester. Some rallied support in village halls and demonstrated at town halls, while others went to London to join marches and demonstrations.

Ludus Dance will work with women in Lancaster, where the charity is based, Preston and Burnley to create a mass outdoor piece that will be shared with audiences across the country through live performances and a digital VR experience.

Supported through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the project will help Lancashire women to research the extraordinary steps these women took and the sacrifices they made in the fight for social change. They will bring the experiences of these working women to life by working with historians, exploring archive material, hearing specialist talks and visiting exhibitions and historic sights.. Starting this summer, the project will reveal and widely share an often-overlooked part of Lancashire’s heritage in a creative and accessible way.

Artistic Director and Chief Executive Anthony Briggs for Ludus Dance comments: ‘I am thrilled that we will be able to work with women across Lancashire to reveal the unheard stories of the first working women that fought for equal rights. Coming from a northern working-class background, and a member of the LGBTQ community myself, I believe that they helped pave the way for other minority groups to stand up and fight for what they believed to be their truth. And, while it wasn’t a total win for women’s rights in 1918, it was a strong first step towards the rights we all take for granted today. We are extremely grateful to National Lottery players and the Heritage Lottery Fund for granting us the money and time to explore this fascinating aspect of the suffrage movement in Lancashire.’


Mill Girls & Militants is funded by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), with additional financial support from Preston City Council and Lancashire County Council. As well as enabling local women to learn about their heritage and experience high-quality art, the project will provide creative jobs in the area. HLF grants are made possible by money raised by National Lottery players. For further information, contact Laura Worden at

Mill Girls & Militants
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