A Blue Plaque to commemorate famous Wirral-based author, public speaker, and key figure in the suffragist movement Agnes ‘Maude’ Royden has been unveiled at Frankby Hall, by the Mayor of Wirral Cllr Tony Smith.
Described by Good Housekeeping in 1928 as “the best-known woman preacher in the world”, Maude (as she liked to be known) was born in Mossley Hill, Liverpool in November 1876. She later lived at Frankby Hall with her parents and seven siblings before studying at Cheltenham Ladies College and Oxford University, where she obtained a degree in History.
Maude went on to become a lecturer at Oxford, gaining prominence internationally as a dynamic and influential speaker on women’s rights. In 1911 she became a member of the executive committee for the London Society of Women’s Suffrage, and her name is listed (along with 58 other people who supported women’s suffrage) on the statue of suffragist leader Millicent Fawcett; unveiled in London last year.
In addition to her talents in public speaking, Maude founded the Society for the Ministry of Women in 1929. She later became Britain’s first Doctor of Divinity in 1931 via Glasgow University, and was also given an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by the University of Liverpool in 1935. Agnes Maude Royden died at her home in London on 30 July 1956.
Funded by Wirral Council as part of its programme as Borough of Culture for the Liverpool City Region, the blue plaque is supported by Peter Bolt from Conservation Areas Wirral, which administers the Blue Plaque Scheme in the borough.
Councillor Christine Spriggs, Cabinet Member for Culture and Tourism, said: “It is an honour for everyone who has been involved with recognizing Maude and her astonishing achievements. The blue plaque will live on in her memory in Wirral, where she will always be a part of its history.”