On 7 August 2014 ITV will publish an e-book, Kate Parry Frye: The Long Life of an Edwardian Actress and Suffragette. Based on her prodigious diary, this is my account of Kate Frye’s life and is a tie-in with the forthcoming ITV series ‘The Great War: The People’s Story’. For details of the TV series and its accompanying books see here.
As a lead-up to publication I thought I’d share with you some entries from Kate’s diary from the month before the outbreak of war. Through her day-to-day experience we can see how the war stole up on one Everywoman.
Kate was at this time 36 years old, living in Claverton Street in Pimlico and working in the Knightsbridge headquarters of the New Constitutional Society for Women’s Suffrage. It was now nine years since she had become engaged to (minor) actor John Collins. Her father died in March 1914 and her mother and sister, Agnes, now all but penniless, are living in rented rooms in Worthing. John and Kate have joined them there this weekend.
Saturday July 4th 1914
We 3 had breakfast at 9 and John and I out at 10.30. We sat on the Beach all the morning. [In the evening] On the Pier and saw the performance by the Pierrot Troupe. It made Mother laugh so was a success.
We were not in till 10.15 when we had a large supper.’
Worthing Pier had reopened barely a month before Kate’s visit- on 29 May 1914 – after it had been badly damaged during a storm at Easter 1913.