Sue Young Histories

Agnes Pochin 1825 - 1908

September 13, 2008

Agnes Pochin 1825 - 1908 was one of our earliest suffragettes, and the first woman to speak from a platform on this issue.

Agnes Pochin wrote for John Chapman’s _Westminster Review_ under the pseudonym ’Justitia‘. In 1855, John Chapman published Justitia’s The Right of Women to Exercise the Elective Franchise.

Agnes Pochin was a friend of Elizabeth Wolstenholme Elmy, Susan Isabel Dacre, Priscilla Bright McLaren (Agnes’s daughter Laura married Priscilla’s son Charles) and Jacob and Ursula Bright and so many others.

Agnes Pochin was on the Central Committee of the National Society for Women’s Suffrage and a stalwart of the Suffrage campaign. In 1891, Agnes Pochin was a member of the first Council of the Women’s Emancipation Union alongside Mona Caird, Florence Dixie, *Harriet McIlquham and Agnes Sunley. Agnes’ daughter Laura Elizabeth Pochin McLaren was also a staunch feminist activist and she spoke alongside Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1882.

‘Justitia’ was the pseudonym of Agnes Pochin (1825-1908), a suffragist who moved in the same circles as Elizabeth Wolstenholme Elmy and Lydia Ernestine Becker. She was a member of the platform party at the famous meeting in the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, on 14 April 1868, the first to give a public airing to women’s suffrage. This well argued pamphlet was reprinted in 1873 by the National Society for Women’s Suffrage, revealing Agnes Pochin as the author.

Samuel Pochin settled in Croft and built himself Fosse House in the adjoining parish of Cosby, and was joined in 1868 by his elder brother Henry Davis Pochin.

He had moved away from Leicestershire and in 1852 married Agnes, youngest daughter of George Gretton Heap, Esq, of Timperley, in Cheshire. His daughter Laura was born at Manchester in 1855 and his son Percival Gerard at Salford in 1862.

In early middle age Henry Davis Pochin entered into politics as a radical and enjoyed the friendship of John Bright. He was Mayor of Salford 1866-8 before becoming MP for Stafford 1868-9. After his brief Parliamentary career, he joined his brother Samuel in establishing The Croft Stone and Brick Company…

*Harriet McIlquham also wrote for the _Westminster Review_, but in 1898, four years after John Chapman’s death, when his second (common law) wife Hannah was editing the periodical:

Harriet McIlquham’s writing continued in 1898 when the _____Westminster Review_ published a series of articles by her on Mary Astell, Lady Montague Wortley an eighteenth century journalist known as ‘Sophia’ and other enlightenment advocates of women’s rights.


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