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  • Location: Bolton, Manchester

The Cotton Town Girls

The Cotton Town Girls

Why a Booktrail?

1910 onwards: A story of female friendship in the tumultuous days of the Suffragette movement…

  • ISBN: 978-1471159596
  • Genre: Historical, Inspired by true events, Sagas

What you need to know before your trail

Sophia Seddon and Grace Thompson are poles apart – the one a member of the notorious Seddons of Plover Street, the other the vicar’s spoilt only child. But their childhood friendship is revived when they find themselves fighting a common cause: women’s rights. And the ties of friendship prove stronger and more enduring than those of background or family, even in the face of danger.

Travel Guide


The novel is set in Bolton although it’s never named but described from memory and research says the author. Much of her research was done at the local library archives.

Vague locations work well as this is the story of suffragettes everywhere and their struggle no matter which side of the tracks they were from – poor or rich. These women worked together to get women the right to vote and for them to be the fully fledged citizens they already were, recognised in law.

The Spinners Hall is where the Weavers Union is held and these community halls, buildings used for gatherings of this kind became very important for the Suffragette cause.


The early part of the story takes place. Of course, the streets and locations are either vague or very different and many no longer exist. But it is evoked with style;

“Life has taken a topsy- turvy turn for the better since Sophie Seddon had cartwheeled into her sedate existence. Plover street was not longer a drab, forbidden territory but an exciting wonderland of back ginnels and snickets, winding around the dark mysterious monolith of Berisford’s Mill which they had christened ‘Dragon Castle”

Leah Fleming

Booktrailer Review

Susan: @thebooktrailer

This is the story of women, their friendships and the ongoing battle in trying to get the right to vote. This was a tough time for women and the fight was one which had many ups and downs. Although the fight was a public one, the real struggle, the every day struggle was behind closed doors and between ordinary women and this is what the novel captures so well.

Do you know the role of Northern mill workers in the struggle and their opinion of what was going on in the wider world? The story of a rich girl and a poor one brought together in the cause as with Sophia and Grace in the novel ? The stories of Londoners are more well known perhaps but the women in the north were only separated by geography not ideology or determination.

These are the kind of stories with historical interest which really fascinate me. What ordinary people went through and how everyday life was affected, how friendships reflected differences of opinion etc. Some of the women in the story went on hunger strike and were the support in other ways behind those who were at the thick of the protests. Imagine living in a small village far from the ‘action’ yet feeling so determined to play your part, you’d join forces with like-minded women to have your voices heard? Such passionate opinions could put pressure on a friendship and this novel looks at that and the wider historical context in general.

It’s a really nice way to commemorate the cause but the way women can come together and support each other. The suffragette story is well known in many ways but this is a behind the scenes story which is always more fascinating to me.

Leah Fleming always manages to put her Northern sparkle on any story she writes of and sprinkles of Northern language, jokes and warm-hearted humour make it a novel to enjoy

This was previously published as The Bread and Roses Society I understand, so check you haven’t read that first! Otherwise, read this.

Booktrail Boarding Pass:  The Cotton Town Girls

Destination : Bolton, Manchester  Author/Guide: Leah Fleming  Departure Time: 1910 onwards

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