NOW PUBLISHED: Kate Parry Frye: The Long Life Of An Edwardian Actress And Suffragette



Based on her prodigious diary, this e-book is my account of Kate Frye’s life and is a tie-in with the  ITV series ‘The Great War: The People’s Story’, in which Romola Garai plays Kate. For details of the TV series and its accompanying books see here. Kate appeared in the second episode – which you can now watch here.

To discover more about the entirety of Kate’s life – her upbringing, her involvement with the suffrage movement, 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 from iTunes – or  from Amazon .

Writing up her diary in her miserable rented room in Worthing on 7 August 1914 Kate could not have thought – even in her wildest dreams – and she certainly did on occasion allow herself wild dreams of fame – that one hundred years later YOU would be able to read her life story.

It is something of a fairytale – from the discovery of the boxes of wringing-wet diaries in a north London cellar to the publication of Kate’s story, now available for the World to read at the click of a mouse.  It is a dream realised, not only for the Kate I have got to know so well and who through her diary entries makes us privy to her hopes, but also for myself. To be given the chance to resurrect the story of an ‘ordinary’ woman (though she most certainly was not ordinary to herself) is the culmination of a lifetime of biographical reading.  Moreover it is ‘hidden lives’ -such as Kate’s – that have been of abiding interest.

There is a certain fitness that at a time when the major publishing conglomerates tend, for safety’s sake, to concentrate on the lives of those whose names are already known – for whom a market already exists – that it is a television company, ITV, that is taking a bow at a venture and allowing you to read the life of an ordinary woman. Kate, I am sure, would have been most interested to watch The Great War: the People’s Story. For her entire life she was entranced by the telling of tales – in novels, on the stage, on film, on radio and, in her latter years, on television and it so happens that the one play she succeeded in getting published was set on the Western Front – in the final hour of the Great War.

When editing Kate’s suffrage years as Campaigning for the Vote: Kate Parry Frye’s suffrage diary I did briefly debate (and did so at much greater length in a post – Kate Frye and the Problem of the Diarist’s Multiple Roles)  the ethics of mining a diary and presenting only one aspect of the subject’s life. I have now been able to reconcile any doubts I might have had. Kate’s suffrage diary undoubtedly adds to our understanding of the suffrage campaign and it is now with considerable satisfaction that I am able to present to you Kate’s life in its entirety.

Coincidentally yesterday I spotted a new blog review of Campaigning for the Vote that not only gives a delightfully long review of that book – but also reveals that the writer is longing to know more about Kate and – at the last moment – is pleased to have just downloaded the e-book and begin a deeper acquaintance.


If you are interested to find out more about Kate’s involvement in the women’s suffrage campaign – in a beautifully-produced, highly illustrated, conventional paper book. .In London it is in stock in Foyles, Charing Cross Road, and at the Persephone Bookshop in Lamb’s Conduit Street. and is available by mail order from the publisher –  see  Campaigning for the Vote: Kate Parry Frye’s Suffrage Diary


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.
  1. #1 by Lyn on August 8, 2014 - 10:19 am

    Thank you for including the link to my review. I enjoyed Kate’s diary & I’m looking forward to reading the biography. Hopefully the TV series makes it to Australia one of these days.

    • #2 by womanandhersphere on August 8, 2014 - 2:16 pm

      And many thanks to you for such a considered review of Campaigning for the Vote. I would be very interested to know what you think of the story of Kate’s life.
      Best wishes

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