Hereford Cathedral have recently unveiled their Violet Plaques Project which has seen eleven temporary plaques installed across the city in key locations to commemorate moments within the suffragette movement.

The Violet Plaques Project has seen eleven temporary plaques installed across the city in historically relevant locations. The idea for the violet plaques arose during the research phase of the Eastern Cloisters Project, a Heritage Lottery Funded project based within the cloisters of Hereford Cathedral. The aim of the Eastern Cloisters Project is to renovate the area and open them up to the general public for special events and activities. The research phase has uncovered many interesting stories from the archives of the cathedral including the story of the Davises who lived in No 7 The Cloisters.

Sarah Hollingdale, Eastern Cloisters Project Activity Officer, said: “Reverend George Herbert Davis was an Assistant Vicar Choral at the cathedral prior to the First World War. He travelled the country to speak on women’s suffrage and his wife, Ethel May Davis, was Secretary of the Hereford Branch of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). When we discovered that The Davises were so involved with the suffragette movement, it seemed only right to commemorate it. The idea of the Violet Plaque was born and as we researched the suffragette movement in Hereford we uncovered more locations which we felt should be observed.”

 The timing of the project also coincides with the upcoming Three Choirs Festival in Hereford which will see Dame Ethel Smyth’s Mass in D performed as part of the opening night programme on Saturday 28 July. Smyth was a high-profile member of the suffragette movement and the original score of Mass in D is currently on display as part of the Sounds Divine Exhibition in the Mappa Mundi & Chained Library Exhibition at Hereford Cathedral.

Geraint Bowen, Director of Music at Hereford Cathedral & Artistic Director of Three Choirs Festival (Hereford), said: “I very much look forward to presenting a rare performance of Ethel Smyth’s Mass in D on the opening night of the festival. This work has been on my ‘must do at Three Choirs’ list for several years and 2018, commemorating the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, presented a perfect opportunity with Smyth’s links to the suffragette movement”.

Other key locations which will feature the Violet Plaques include the Hereford Times Office, Shire Hall and Herefordshire Archives and Records Centre (HARC). The plaques will be in place until 6 August.

Please feel free to share your pictures with us using #VioletPlaques.

To find out more about the locations of the plaques and the stories behind them you can download the Violet Plaques fact sheet here.