St Mary in the Castle celebrated a special anniversary event to coincide with the launch of its fundraising scheme ‘St Mary’s Matters to you!’
Tomorrow (February 16) St Mary in the Castle celebrated the anniversary of Muriel Matters and its new fundraising scheme. St Mary in the Castle manager, Sean Berkley says many famous people have passed through Hastings. “Those that have visited St Mary in the Castle know that it’s one of Hastings’ best hidden gems,” he said.
“After meandering corridors lead behind the restaurant into the former Crypt, a spiral staircase ascends into the beautiful domed Auditorium of the former neo-classical church, carved into the side of Hastings’ West Hill.
“However, few people know that 7 Pelham Crescent, which is now part of this Grade II* listed building was once home to one of the most significant women of the 20th Century, Muriel Matters.”
Matters was a suffragette, lecturer, educator and actress. She was famed for being the first woman to ‘speak’ in the House of Commons, because she chained herself to the grille of the Ladies Gallery that separated women from proceedings and obscured their view. The Police then had no choice but to remove the grille in order to free her.
On February 16, 1909, in another of her endeavours, she took to the sky in an airship inscribed with the words ‘Votes For Women’ to distribute leaflets over the House of Commons, at a time when Sean says ‘the sight of an airship was enough to make people run for their lives!’ He added: “We celebrated the anniversary of this significant moment in the suffragette movement and at the same time launched our fundraising scheme ‘St Mary’s Matters to you!’.
At the event, Judy Rodgers, Mayor of Hastings spoke about Muriel and what the suffragette movement means to her, there was also a small display of photographs of Muriel Matters and a chance to walk around the building, for people to find out more about Muriel and St Mary’s.
Sean says St Mary in the Castle is run by a charity and does not receive any external funding for the upkeep and running of the building.
“We are seeking sponsorship to allow us to make improvements to the building and to continue to put on exciting events. “If you think you can help support St Mary’s, be it though sponsorship, a fundraising event or even a small donation then we would like to hear from you.”
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