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Radical women in Sheffield a possible story?


Loyal Member
Hard to firm up the facts but the story reads like this I think though still missing hard facts to directly link Catherine Ash to James Ash.

In 1838 Leeds founded the first Female Radical Association. In 1839 Mrs. Catherine Ash did the same in Sheffield. Her husband James Ash, a joiner and builder contractor was later to become secretary for Sheffield Chartists. They lived for a few years in Randall Street in Neverthorpe. His company later becoming Ash and Son, then Ash Son and Biggin and the company moved to Tudor Square.

The women essentially chartists seemed to have been a large contingent and very active with a lot of chartist and radical speakers coming to speak at their meetings. The hall in Figtree Lane was quite small for such a large group, and the women often found the heat oppressive.

Over the years the other Female Radical groups faded but Sheffield's remained strong and vocal aided by a Radical preacher and Councillor Isaac Ironside who put their views across for them at Council Meetings. In 1851 Anne Knight, a Quaker and campaigner for Abolition of Slavery heard that the womens group were reforming as a political association. Ann who had got fed up of not having a voice at abolitionist meetings had written a pamphlet on women's suffrage, thought these women might be the people she needed to help her. She contacted Isaac Ironside and asked for contact details and was given Eliza Rook's name. Ann Knight suggested that instead of just being a voice through Ironside they needed to think bigger and think nationally and hopefully gather together the remnants of the radical women's groups across the country to petition parliament. Ann's success as an abolitionist campaigner meant she had useful contacts and experience at mounting nationwide campaigns. The women accepted her offer to work with them. Catherine Ash became president of the new Women's Rights Association soon to become the National Women's Right Association.

James Ash Son and Biggin thrived.

However as yet I can find no details of Catherine and James as man and wife, no marriage certificate, no census record, no children. No burial records for either.

Can anyone find any firm evidence to link the 2 together and find me details of their place of birth and when they were born etc. ?

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