Kate Frye’s Diary: The Lead-Up To War: 28 July 1914

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’. 

To discover more about the entirety of Kate’s life – her upbringing, her involvement with the suffrage movement, her marriage, her London flats, her life in a Buckinghamshire hamlet, her love of the theatre, her times as an actress, her efforts as a writer, her life on the Home Front during two world wars, her involvement with politics – and her view of the world from the 1890s until October 1958  – download the e-book – £4.99 – from iTunes – http://bit.ly/PSeBKPFITVal. or  £4.99 from Amazon.

KateAs 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 a room at 49 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. For the previous few weeks Kate’s fiancé, John Collins, had been renting  a room in another house in Claverton Street but he has now left for the West Country, to take up a position with a touring repertory company. Kate is feeling rather bereft.

Tuesday July 28th 1914

Jobs of writing and tidying. Out at 2. Lunch at Slaters. Then to Office to work until 5.30. Bus to Victoria – shopping on my way back and a little unfurnished room hunting. Found some very nices ones in a respectable house in Charlwood Place. In 7.30. Meal at 8. Writing till bed at 10.30

A nondescript day – no mention of what she was reading in the newspaper of trouble in Ireland and Europe. But interesting to learn that Kate was contemplating taking an unfurnished room – something more permanent than her Claverton Street digs. All the furniture she possessed was in storage at Whiteleys. She had saved what she considered belonged to her from being auctioned the previous year when the family home, The Plat, and all its contents went under the hammer. In her diary she lovingly listed these few chairs, rugs, bookcases etc. It was little enough – but she longed to have a home of her own and her own furniture about her. Charlwood Place looks very appealing – and could almost be considered Belgravia rather than Pimlico – which would certainly have appealed to Kate. On occasion she had felt unable to reveal that she lived in Pimlico – then a rather declassé area.

See also Campaigning for the Vote: Kate Parry Frye’s Suffrage Diary. Copyright

All the articles on Woman and Her Sphere and are my copyright. An article may not be reproduced in any medium without my permission and full acknowledgement. You are welcome to cite or quote from an article provided you give full acknowledgement.


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