Pioneering Suffragette who loved Littlehampton is honoured

Plaque unveiling for suffragette Cicely Hale at Marina Gardens, Littlehampton. Photo by Derek Martin Photography
Plaque unveiling for suffragette Cicely Hale at Marina Gardens, Littlehampton. Photo by Derek Martin Photography

If you take a walk in Marina Gardens, stop and take a moment to admire a tree which has recently been planted there.

It is to honour the life and achievements of Cicely Hale, a prominent Suffragette who made Littlehampton her home, in the centenary of women getting the vote.

Relatives of Cicely Hale, Gale Burns and Jessica Hallsworth. Photo by Derek Martin Photography.

Relatives of Cicely Hale, Gale Burns and Jessica Hallsworth. Photo by Derek Martin Photography.

The plaque and tree were unveiled on Saturday, by the town mayor Billy Blanchard-Cooper and several of Ms Hale’s relatives.

Gale Burns, 65, from London, is Cicely’s great, great-nephew. He said it was a ‘delightful event’ which reflected his aunt’s love of the town. He said: “She always said she never wanted to live anywhere else.”

Cicely Hale was born in London in 1884 and joined the Suffragette movement after seeing Emmeline Pankhurst talk at Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park, London. She dedicated herself to political research. Mr Burns said she was a ‘very strong minded, adventurous woman who was an inspiration.”

After the First World War, Ms Hale trained as a midwife and helped mothers in the slums of Marylebone and the East End of London.

The plaque for Cicely Hale. Picture: Derek Martin

The plaque for Cicely Hale. Picture: Derek Martin

In 1934, she moved to Littlehampton and became a Girl Guide leader. She was also a columnist for Woman’s Own magazine and wrote books on child rearing.

She never married or had children, and passed away aged 97 in 1981.

The plaque unveiling was preceded by a talk on our town’s Suffragettes by the Littlehampton Civic Society, which was moved to the Millennium Chamber in Manor House due to the large turnout. Angela Tester from the society organised the event and has researched and written a book about Cicely Hale. She said she was ‘thrilled’ by how it went.

Churchill Retirement, which was involved in the plaque unveiling, will be naming the new block of flats in Fitazalan Road Hale Lodge in the Suffragette’s honour.

Angela Tester said the new owners of Cicely’s home in Southlands Court in South Terrace, Littlehampton, had agreed that a blue plaque could be put on their home to commemorate her.