Suffragette postcards: real photographic portrait

Here is an example of a real photographic postcard issued by a suffrage society – in this case by the Women’s Freedom League. Its subject is Mrs Lilian Hicks (1853-1924) who, with her daughter, Amy, was at that time of its publication a leading member of the WFL – as well as  a supporter of the Church League for Women’s Suffrage, the New Constitutional Society for Women’s Suffrage and the Tax Resistance League.  Both mother and daughter, by then members of the Women’s Social and Political Union,  heeded the call to boycott the 1911 census.

The Hicks’ association with a wide range of suffrage societies, of which I had written a few years earlier in their joint entry in my Women’s Suffrage Movement: a reference guide,  was made manifest in the magnificent collection of badges and awards – including a hunger-strike medal – that many years ago I acquired from a woman to whom they had been indirectly bequeathed. They are now held in a private collection.

Lilian and Amy Hicks lived here, at 33 Downside Crescent, Hampstead. At the other end of the street was the home – probably the rather unhappy home – of Margaret Wynne Nevinson, a fellow member of the Women’s Freedom League. I realised that a bond of friendship existed between the two women when, all those years ago, I recognised – hanging on the wall of the sitting-room in the small cottage of the woman from whom I was buying the collection of Hicks’ memorabilia  – a large painting by Margaret’s son,  C.R. Nevinson. It was in the guise of ‘the mother of the Futurists’ that Margaret went when she attended a dinner given by the Women Writers’ Suffrage League at the Hotel Cecil on 29 June 1914. Unfortunately there is no record of the form of dress that this witty allusion took.

The photograph of Mrs Hicks on this official Women’s Freedom League postcard was taken by Lena Connell and probably issued around 1909/10.

Mrs Lilian Hicks was a member of the Women’s Freedom League

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