The EqualiTeas party at the Secret Garden Salisbury in Mill Road on Sunday 10 June celebrated the 90th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act 1928, which gave everyone over 21 the right to vote.

In 1918, although all men over 21 got the vote, only women over 30 and with certain property conditions were allowed to vote.

Sunday saw about 50 people drop by – some visiting the Secret Garden for the first time. The Shelley Challenge proved to be, well, challenging with the winner managing to decipher just 46 words of his appalling scrawl from a facsimile of his original manuscript for the Mask of Anarchy (see photograph above). Bearing mind that there are 22 pages of it, not one person managed to get beyond the first page.  They shouldn’t feel too bad, however, because even Mary Shelley had problems reading his writing.  And the three who made out the most words will each receive an annotated copy of the Mask of Anarchy.

None of this would have happened without Becky Twigg (see below holding the EqualiTeas poster), who founded the Secret Garden in 2015, and Salisbury Democracy Café and Salisbury Compass are very grateful to her for allowing us to use this beautiful garden.  We are planning to turn this into an annual event – a bit like the ancient Greek agora, the centre of artistic, spiritual, political and philosophical life of the city.

In the meantime, of course, we will continue to hold our Salisbury Democracy Cafes on the second Saturday in the month from 10am to 12noon in Salisbury Playhouse – all welcome.


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