Slice of suffragette history for Manchester High pupils

Former pupil, Rose Dummer, unveiled a replica of the city's forthcoming Emmeline Pankhurst statue, made entirely from cake

Manchester High is the school where Emmeline Pankhurst chose to enrol her three pioneering daughters back in 1893. Rose Dummer created her enormous cake to help pupils mark the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act, when women in this country first had the right to vote. 

The cake featured the purple, green and white colours of the suffragette movement – alongside paraphernalia such as ribbons, rosettes and posters from the legendary ‘Votes for Women’ campaign – and was revealed to pupils in an assembly alongside a very special guest: Dr Helen Pankhurst, women’s rights activist and the great granddaughter of Emmeline. 

Rose, whose journey to create the cake was filmed for Channel 4 programme, Extreme Cake Makers, commented: “I went to Manchester High School back in the eighties and we were always so proud of our suffragette heritage. Whenever I return to the school I am always thrilled to see that the girls who attend today are just as proud and socially aware as we were. 

“It really is incredible to think that just 100 years ago women, half of the population, were treated as second class citizens. The Pankhurst family, and the women who worked alongside them, are crucial players in the history of women’s rights and I am delighted that this cake will celebrate all they achieved and help educate the next generation of women about the sacrifices that were made for us.” 

Claire Hewitt, Headmistress of Manchester High School for Girls, said: “The history of our school is indelibly linked to that of Emmeline Pankhurst and her three daughters. At Manchester High we are determined that the legacy of those women will never be consigned to the history books; pupils here really do live and breathe it and we have a whole host of activities planned for the 100th anniversary of the Act.’

“It’s been wonderful to work with Rose on this project as she is a truly inspirational member of our alumnae community. Not only is she a cake maker extraordinaire, but her previous career saw her become the first female helicopter pilot in the British Army. She, too, is a pioneer who has carved a path for many other women in the armed forces,’ said Claire.