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Suffrage Stories: Suffragettes and Tea Rooms: Suffragette Tea from Suffragette China

WSPU china – ‘Angel of Freedom’ design, 1909

A week of posts on ‘Suffragettes and Tea Rooms’ cannot end without looking at the tea rooms that the suffragette societies themselves ran – in their shops and at their fund-raising bazaars – and the china they commissioned in which to serve that tea .

The best known of the fund-raising events is probably the WSPU exhibition held at the Prince’s Skating Rink at Knightsbridge in May 1909. There the tea room was run by Mrs Henrietta Lowy, with help from her four daughters and another young upper-class suffragette, Una Dugdale. In the spirit of exuberance and professionalism that marked this the first of the WSPU’s fund-raising bazaars, a decision was taken – presumably reasonably well in advance of the Exhibition – to commission a Staffordshire pottery – H.M. Williamson of Longton – to make the china from which the tea would be served in the Exhibition’s Tea Room.

The white china has strikingly clean, straight lines, rimmed in dark green and with angular green handles. The shape is, I am sure, a Williamson standard – but how very different the WSPU pieces look from, say, Williamson’s Rosary design–in which pink and grey ribbons and roses are applied to the same shape and every edge is gilded. In contrast, the WSPU china design is pared back, almost stark.

It is more than likely that, from the range offered by Williamson, Sylvia Pankhurst chose this shape, keeping the design simple so that the ‘angel of freedom’ motif that she had designed specifically for the Exhibition should be shown to best effect. Each piece of the tea service carries this motif; behind the angel and accompanying banner and trumpet, are the initials ‘WSPU’ set against dark prison bars, surrounded by thistle, shamrock, rose – and dangling chains. At the end of the Exhibition, the china – tea pots, cups, saucers, tea plates,  sugar bowls etc – was offered for sale, made up into sets of 22 pieces. Many years ago, early in my ephemera-dealing days I bought – and, of course, immediately sold – a comprehensive service. Although I have subsequently sold individual pieces of the china, I have never again seen such a complete set. Ah well.

Pieces of this design are held in archives such as the Museum of London and the Women’s Library – but one variation design is not, as far as I know, represented in any public collection.

This cup – its design based on Sylvia Pankhurst’s ‘portcullis’ motif which, used on the WSPU’s ‘Holloway brooch’, can be dated to the spring of 1909 – came from a collection that also contained items of the ‘angel of freedom’ china. I bought this wonderful haul some years ago at auction and, although the provenance was not divulged by the auctioneer, I am pretty sure that the china had once been belonged to Mrs Rose Lamartine Yates who held fund-raising teas for the Wimbledon WSPU on the lawn of Dorset Hall, her 18th-century Merton house. This  ‘portcullis’ cup does not carry any maker’s mark but, as the shape is identical to the Williamson pieces, I think we can be pretty certain that they probably also made this. As, in the early 19th-century, when women set their tea trays with ‘anti-slavery’ china, so in  the early 20th, suffragettes who bought these tea services  could – like Mrs Lamartine Yates – use them as propaganda tools -promoting the movement, most elegantly, in a bid to convert their ‘anti’ neighbours.

 I have only ever had in stock – and that only fleetingly – this cup and saucer (see left), part of the third identifiable range of WSPU-commissioned china. I believe, however, that the People’s Palace in Glasgow holds a similar two pieces . They formed part of the Scottish version of the Prince’s Rink tea service, commissioned from the Diamond China Co, another Longton pottery, for use at the refreshment stall at the Scottish WSPU Exhibition held in Glasgow at the end of April 1910. Here the ‘angel of freedom’ is allied, on white china, with the Scottish thistle, handpainted, in purple and green, inside transfer outlines. After the exhibition this china, too, was sold  – Votes for Women, 18 May 1910, noting that ‘a breakfast set for two, 11s; small tea set 15s , whole tea set £2, or pieces may be had singly’. It will hardly surprise readers to learn that WSPU china – now so very rare – commands a very high price.  But what a wonderful addition a piece would make to any suffrage collection.

Although the china they used was probably more basic, some of the shops and offices run by both suffragette and suffragist societies offered their members – and the general public – a tea room. For instance, the Birmingham NUWSS office at 10 Easy Row included a shop at which tea could be taken and suffrage papers read. And the Glasgow WFL shop, at 302 Sauchiehall Street, as befitting the city  in which Miss Cranston perfected the art of the tea room, served tea in its ‘artistic hall’, decorated in the WFL colours. (By the way, when in Glasgow do not fail to visit the De Luxe Room in The Willow Tea Rooms, also on Sauchiehall Street, originally designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh for Miss Cranston  – it may be a reconstruction, but it’s lovely).

As a final thought, the WSPU not only sold their own china, but also their own tea – much advertised in Votes for Women. Unfortunately, the only reference I have ever come across to anyone buying the tea was an aside by Mary Blathwayt, who noted in her diary that she had had to return a bag that was ‘off’ to the Bath WSPU shop. But I am sure that merely reflects the fact that the hundreds of satisfied customers had no need to comment and I will end this sequence of posts by conjuring up the image of a WSPU tea party, cucumber sandwiches sitting delicately on the elegant  WSPU plates, as the assembled company receive WSPU tea into their WSPU cups from the WSPU pot. How, then, could the ensuing conversation be of anything other than ‘Votes for Women’?

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Suffrage Stories: Suffragettes and Tea Rooms: From ‘Sheltered Anonymity’ to Sites of Protest

Advertisement for Alan’s Tea Rooms in ‘Votes for Women’.

Last week’s posts on ‘Suffragettes and Tea Rooms’ were based on the research I had done for the item that aired on Woman’s Hour on 4 September. The posts gave details of a few of the London tea rooms and restaurants – – some of them vegetarian – that we know were favoured by suffragettes. I had been curious to know more about the reality – the geographical position and the look of the interiors – of the cafes whose names are scattered through the columns of the suffragette newspapers. I had wondered ‘Why were suffragettes attracted to one place rather than another?’ ‘Whose businesses were they?’ – and hope that in last week’s posts I have, at least partially, answered these questions. In the absence of any other information, I was pleasantly surprised by how much detail could be gleaned from such superficially dull sources as rate books and the files of liquidated companies. I now have a much clearer image in my mind – as I walk around London – of the places in which militant activity was discussed – and indeed practised – by suffragettes a hundred years ago.

Corner of Alan’s Tea Rooms – as pictured in ‘The Idler’, 1910

For political movements need sheltering spaces – of all sizes – in which those involved can exchange views. In the 19th century women could attend the hundreds of formal suffrage meetings and conscious-raising talks that were held in Britain’s town halls and assembly halls – or, if suitably couth,  the ‘drawing-room’ meetings held in the houses of the better-off. But until the late 1880s there were very few places outside the home in which respectable women could congregate – for refreshment  – to meet their friends – or to discuss politics. The coffee houses, chop houses, ale houses and public houses that had for centuries enabled men to congregate, do business and eat and drink – had been socially barred to respectable women. It was only towards the end of the century that middle-class women were able to move independently– without any vestige of social censure – out of the home and around the streets of the metropolis.  One practical element lining the path to freedom was a new type of business – the café, tea room or restaurant designed with women in mind. These were places that women could visit – either alone or in company – where their presence was not seen as an invitation to molestation –  where they could eat and drink – and, most importantly, use the lavatory –  without breaking any social taboos.

Kate Frye – suffrage organizer and frequenter of restaurants and tea rooms

That there were indeed still taboos around the presence of a woman in some places of public refreshment, even as late as 1911, is evident in one of the entries from Kate Frye’s diary. (My edition of her suffrage diary, Campaigning for the Vote, will be published in the autuimn). She is staying in a hotel in a small Norfolk market town, while organising meetings for a suffrage society. :

22 March 1911 ‘Came in, had my lunch [in the hotel dining room] in company with four motorists. It is funny the way men come in here and, seeing me, shoot out again and I hear whispered conversations outside on the landing with the waitress. Then they come in very subdued and make conversation one to another and try not to look at me. Awfully funny – they might never have seen a woman before – but I suppose it does seem a strange place to find one.’

For, by the 1900s, the situation in larger towns and cities had changed. When not out organising meetings in the provinces, Kate lived and worked in London and there she paid daily visits to cafes, restaurants and tea rooms where she never felt out of place. Aimed particularly at the woman shopper – or woman clerical worker – here she could feel comfortable – both physically and mentally. Some of the cafes were part of chains – such as the ABC, founded in the 1880s, and Lyons in 1894. For a rare photograph of a Lyons interior – dating from the 1920s -see here.  These chains catered for upper-working-class and lower- middle-class women who could enter their premises with equanimity and sit in sheltered anonymity at separate tables – and be served, not by waiters, but by waitresses. Kate Frye, belonging to a slightly higher strata of society, favoured rather smarter chain restaurants – such as Slaters’ – or tea rooms such as Fullers’. However it was in a Lyons tea room close to Parliament Square that she sat on the evening of 21 November 1911 with a group of suffragettes who were poised to embark on the smashing of the windows of government offices.

And quite apart from the chains, the first decade of the 20thcentury saw a proliferation of small refreshment rooms – ‘Tea Rooms’ – that were even more closely aimed at a female clientele. These were likely to be run  – as were Alan’s Tea Rooms and the Tea

Advertisement for The Tea Cup Inn in ‘Votes for Women’.

Cup Inn – by a woman or a couple of women friends – and allowed women, who may have had no training in anything other than ‘home responsibilities’, the possibility of running a business, while at the same time allowing other women the ability to enjoy the freedom of moving around the city – or town – by providing a space in which they could pause for refreshment. 

As we have seen, a few London tea rooms and restaurants were particularly favoured by suffragettes – as, similarly, were they in provincial towns. In Newcastle, Fenwick’s cafe was the venue of choice of the group of women, including Dr Ethel Bentham and Lisbeth Simm, set up the ‘Drawing-Room Cafe’ meetings where women could meet to discuss discuss politics. In Nottingham  the WSPU held meetings at Morley’s Cafe, a teetotal establishment, originally opened to provide an alternative to the pub. In Edinburgh the Cafe Vegetaria was particularly favoured by the local Women’s Freedom League society – and it was on its premises on the night of 2 April 1911 that suffragettes gathered – as they did at the vegetarian Gardenia in London – to evade the census enumerator

A year later, however, although so popular with women, tea rooms were not immune from the effects of the 1 March 1912 WSPU window-smashing campaign. Two ABC shops were attacked – one in The Strand and one in Bond Street – here is the photographic evidence.  

When, from the end of 1913, the WSPU campaign became ever more desperate, the tea rooms and restaurants that women had made their own themselves became sites of protest. On December 20th a suffragette dining at the vegetarian, suffrage-sympathising,  Eustace Miles restaurant was able to make a long speech castigating the government’s treatment of suffragette prisoners – and was, so The Suffragette reported,  listened to with eager attention, while her companion distributed leaflets. And althougb the management did eventually ask the speaker to stop she was allowed to continue with her ‘meeting’ and, afterwards, to remain in the restaurant. However, most cafes were not so amenable. When, on the same day, at Fullers’ in Regent Street, a woman began to address the crowded restaurant from the gallery and her two companions showered down leaflets, they were very quickly asked to leave. The newspaper report reveals that the subject of the woman’s address was a comparison of the treatment by the government of Sir Edward Carson and Ulster rebels with that meted on suffragettes. A few days later, when another interruption took place at Fullers’, the management had their answering tactic in place; the orchestra immediately struck up to drown out the speaker.

Soon after, The Suffragette reported an incident at a Lyons Corner House when a woman rose and spoke for a few moments – amid both applause and criticism. When two uniformed Lyons men tried to drag her roughly from the building they met with determined opposition and she finally left, the paper reported, with quiet dignity- escorted to the exit –to murmurs of  ‘Isn’t she plucky’.

These protests carried on all through the spring and summer of 1914. Although similar interruptions were made in churches and theatres, it is singularly apposite that customers in tea rooms and restaurants, as they ate their lunch or tea, should have had their attention drawn to the forcible feeding of suffragette prisoners. In fact one of the very last militant action came at the end of July 1914 when women interrupted lunch at the Criterion Restaurant, imploring customers to attend a meeting to be held by Mrs Pankhurst in Holland Park. That, I think, was the final WSPU rally, before the outbreak of war in early August put an end to militancy.

Even as restaurants came under attack there were still some establishments that felt it worthwhile to advertise in The Suffragette.  One such was one I had not come across before – Molinari’s Restaurant at 25 Frith Street in Soho., which advertised (January 1914) that they would ‘donate 5 % of their takings to the Cause for suffragists who wear the badge.’  Molinari’s was still advertising in suffrage papers in 1915 and I was amused to discover that in the 1920s the Home Office reported that its proprietor, Angelo Molinari, was the proprietor of ‘doubtful’ restaurants – suspected of running brothels in upstairs rooms.  Thus, although the credentials of such suffrage-sympathising refreshment rooms as Alan’s Tea Rooms, the Eustace Miles and the Gardenia are beyond reproach, there were always those commercial operators prepared to take advantage of trusting suffragettes. I suspect, though, that the atmosphere of Molinari’s was not that of Alan’s Tea Rooms Angelo Molinari was not often called to donate any percentage of their profits to the Cause.

.Here is link to Woman’s Hour ‘Suffragettes and Tea Rooms’ item aired on 4 September. It begins at c 27 mins – and is available for 2 more days only.


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WALKS/Suffrage Stories: Suffragettes and Tea Rooms: The Eustace Miles Restaurant – and the Tea Cup Inn

The Gardenia Restaurant, subject of yesterday’s post, was by no means the only vegetarian restaurant favoured by suffragettes. Close by, at 40-42 Chandos Place, at the western end of Covent Garden, was the rather more famous – and successful – Eustace Miles Restaurant.

Eustace Miles was a Cambridge-educated health guru – a real tennis player – prolific author – and vegetarian. He opened the restaurant, with his wife, Hallie, – as a ‘Food Reform’ restaurant – in May 1906, a few months after their marriage. Among the restaurant’s  shareholders were his close friend, the writer E.F. Benson, the headmaster of Eton, Bernard Shaw and his wife, Dr Helen Wilson, a Sheffield-based doctor and suffragist, and Mrs Ennis Richmond, a suffragette who ran West Heath, a progressive school in Hampstead.

Ellen Terry’s daughter, Edith Craig, who lived nearby in Bedford Street, sold Votes for Women from a pitch outside the Eustace Miles. It was a sensible spot to choose; vegetariansm and suffragism went hand in hand for those whom H.G. Wells characterized – caricatured – in Ann Veronica  as ‘a small but energetic minority, the Children of Light’, for whom ‘ everything…was  “working up”.. “coming on” – ‘the Higher Thought, the Simple Life, Socialism, Humanitarianism’.

Opening just as the WSPU arrived in London, the Eustace Miles grew up alongside the suffragette movement. In March 1907 the WSPU chose it as the venue for a breakfast celebrating the release from Holloway of the prisoners who had been arrested when taking part in the deputation from the first Women’s Parliament. Similar breakfasts were also held there– including, a year later, one for women who had taken part in the pantechnicon raid on Parliament. (another suffragette episode hijacked by Wells for use in Ann Veronica – see my article, The Woman’s Bond of Freedom’: H.G. Wells, Ann Veronica and the suffragettes, published in the 2011 edition of The Wellsian, the journal of the H.G. Wells Society.)

Comic card – one of a series – poking gentle fun at the ‘Simple Life’ suffragettes

As with Alan’s Tea Rooms and the Gardenia, so the Eustace Miles had a space to rent – an offer taken up, on occasion, by those giving women-related talks. The Eustace Miles, however, went one better than the other two, offering their ‘Simple Life’ audiences ‘ozonized air’ to breathe as they listened to, for example in 1912, Miss Hoskyns-Abrahall lecture on ‘The Religion of the Great Mother’, to the accompaniment of a lantern show operated by Vera Holme. In January 1910 the Men’s Political Union for Women’s Enfranchisement held its inaugural meeting at the Eustace Miles – the owner surely being a member of the MPU –  and in October 1914 it was the venue for committee meetings of the  United Suffragists.

The Eustace Miles was by all accounts an attractive place in which to lunch or dine; Kate Frye – by no stretch of the imagination a vegetarian – often ate there – as readers of my Campaigning for the Vote: Kate Parry Frye’s Suffrage Diary  will discover. The restaurant did very well during the First World War – when meatless cookery was more or less a necessity – staying in business for over 30 years.

Alas, Hallie Miles’ Untold Tales of Wartime London, the source of the words spoken by Alison Steadman in The Great War: The People’s Story, is out-of-print.  But for much more about the life and times of Kate Frye do read  Kate Parry Frye: the long life of an Edwardian actress and suffragette. In this I tell the whole story of Kate – and of John Collins, her soldier husband. For details see here. I hope you will find it a Good Read.


Teacup Inn

While not specifically a vegetarian café, the Teacup Inn, much frequented by suffragettes, made sure that its vegetarian credentials were mentioned in its advertisements in the WSPU paper, Votes for Women –  ‘Dainty luncheons and Afternoon teas at moderate charges. Home cookery. Vegeterian dishes and sandwiches. Entirely staffed and managed by women.’ The café was opened in January 1910 in Bank Buildings, Portugal Street, just off Kingsway, in a new building in area that was, as I have stressed in recent posts, still under development

The Tea Cup Inn occupied a ground-floor shop and basement in the building – then, as it name suggests – mainly given over to a bank – and now occupied by the Chaplaincy of LSE. In this photograph, taken c 1915, I am sure, after peering at it with a magnifying glass, that a sign ‘Tea Cup Inn’ is visible,  hanging just above the smart open-topped car.

The site today of the Tea Cup inn

When it opened its owners were Mrs Alice Mary Hansell (c 1859-1923) and Miss Marion Shallard. However Miss Shallard quickly disappears and the rate books from then on show Mrs Hansell as sole proprietor. She had been born in Yorkshire, was about 52, and long a childless widow when she opened the café. Her husband, a traveller for a coal factor, had died in 1897, leaving only £87. I do not know what Mrs Hansell was doing  in the intervening years – the 1901 shows her a visitor, with ‘no occupation, in a household in the Lake District..

Once the cafe was opened – certainly by April 1910- Mrs Hansell lost no time in advertising the Tea Cup Inn in Votes for Women – taking care to mention its proximity to the WSPU office in Clement’s Inn. In 1912 the WSPU  moved to Lincoln’s Inn House in Kingsway, making the Teacup Inn probably the nearest place of refreshment. I am pretty certain that Mrs Hansell was a member of the WSPU; in 1909 someone of that name advertised in Votes for Women a cottage to let in Henley, but I have not been able to find conclusive evidence. Unfortunately I cannot trace her on the 1911 census – perhaps this is an indication that she was taking part in the boycott, but it may just be that her name has been mistranscribed. After the 1912 Peth-Pank split, the Teacup Inn advertised at least once in the Pankhurst paper, The Suffragette – in June 1914 – stressing: ‘Kitchens open for inspection’.

Across Portugal Street, the Tea Cup Inn faced the London Opera House (now the site of the Peacock Theatre).  This theatre had opened in November 1911 and, again, handily situated for the WSPU office, was the scene of many suffrage meetings. One can imagine that the Tea Cup Inn may well have benefited from the thirsts engendered by a rousing rally.

Mrs Hansell continued running the Tea Cup Inn until her death in 1923. Her estate amounted to £2098 – which might suggest that, as her husband had left so little, she had made some money from her business. It would be good to think so.

More ‘Suffragettes and Tea Rooms’ posts to come….

Here is the link to Woman’s Hour (4 Sept) podcast that includes the item on ‘Suffragettes and Tea Rooms’ (starts c 27 mins).

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WALKS/Suffrage Stories: Suffragettes and Tea Rooms: The Gardenia Restaurant

6 Catherine Street – home of the Gardenia Restaurant c 1908-13

The Gardenia Restaurant, at 6 Catherine Street, Covent Garden – off the north-western curve of the Aldwych – was, between c 1908 and 1913, a vegetarian cafe much frequented by suffragettes. Unlike Alan’s Tea Rooms – in Oxford Street – and the Criterion – at Piccadilly Circus – the Gardenia was situated in the heart of militant suffrage territory. The Women’s Freedom League headquarters lay just south of the Strand in Robert Street and those of the WSPU just to the east of Aldwych in Clement’s Inn.

The Gardenia was opened c 1908 by Thomas Smith, a young man from Morpeth, who lived with his wife and two children in rooms above the restaurant. By early 1910 it would seem that the Gardenia was in some financial difficulty because it was then formed into a limited company with three additional directors. Two of these were from the Newcastle area – and were presumably known to Smith. One was Herbert Joseph Armstrong – a chartered accountant. The other, the major shareholder, was Godfrey Hastings, a photographer from Tynemouth, a member of a Quaker family, educated at Ackworth, the Quaker boarding school in Yorkshire. The third director was Richard James, who published – and sold – temperance and vegetarian books from the Central Temperance Rooms in Paternoster Row. It would, therefore, seem safe to deduce that those running the Gardenia were advocates of vegetarianism and temperance in particular –   and of social reform in general.

As I emphasise in my post on the part played by the Aldwych Skating Rink in the 1911 census boycott, this area of London was undergoing extensive redevelopment at the beginning of the 20th century.  No 6 Catherine Street, a tall, rather dramatic, building, had been erected in 1905 and it is likely that the Gardenia was one of its first tenants. Its frontage of stone-banded red brick echoes that used in the construction of no 2 – which was designed in 1902 by the editor of the Builder, as offices for the journal. By now this corner of Covent Garden was taking on a rather Arts and Craftsy look – making it just the place for a vegetarian restuarant.

Unlike the Criterion – or even Alan’s Tea Rooms – I have been unable to find any image to tell us what the interior of the Gardenia looked like. However the file in the National Archives giving details of  the 1913 winding up of the company does contain a list of the company’s assets – including the restaurant’s fittings. From this I think it would be safe to say that the general impression of the interior was of mahogany and mirrors. – long mahogany serving counters and quantities of  mirrors. The rooms were lit with electroliers – some four-branched and others three. Customers sat at tables, marble-topped on metal stands – rather like those used today by Pizza Express.

Having noted that the Gardenia’s financial situation was somewhat precarious, one imagines that the company’s directors would have been keen to develop a niche clientele to boost passing trade. And so it was; the company accounts reveal  that they hired out upper rooms in the building to societies whoe interests would seem to coincide with their own – for instance, to the Syndicalists, to a Vegetarian Club, to the National Union of Shop Assistants, and to the University Fabian Society.

The militant suffrage societies also figure regularly in the Gardenia’s accounts as customers for the hired rooms. In her autobiography, My Own Story, Mrs Pankhurst refers to the Gardenia as a place where many WSPU breakfasts and teas were held – and the accounts show specific hirings of rooms by the WFL (for instance,7 March 1912, 5 guineas). In fact the Gardenia seems to have been a particular favourite with the WFL, which did its best to advertise the delights of the restaurant. The Gardenia was included in The Vote Directory –the WFL newspaper’s list of recommended retailers – and was written up in the 6 May 1911 issue when – in the course of a suffragists’ shopping day – the author has tea at the Gardenia – ’a fragrant cup of tea and some cress sandwiches made with Hovis bread’ – [Hovis was also advertised in The Vote]’ –reporting that ‘she would eat no other.’In 1912 the WFL rented a room in the Gardenia in which to hold its weekly discussions – on such subjects as ‘Jane Eyre and its relation to the Woman’s Movement’ and Mrs Brownlow on ‘Local Government’ and on 17 February 1912 three of the Gardenia’s floors were hired by the WFL for a fundraising sit-down supper, with dancing and performances by the Actresses’ Franchise League.

It was doubtless no hardship for suffragettes to attend such suppers; a vegetarian restaurant would have been particularly popular with suffragettes – many of whom had embraced this cause – and the associated anti-vivesectionist campaign – along with that of women’s rights. For Leah Leneman’s excellent article on the subject –  ‘The Awakened Instinct; vegetarianism and the women’s suffrage movement in Britain’ – see here.

For its part the Gardenia management was clearly committed to the suffragette cause over and above its use as a source of income. The directors were prepared on occasion, to turn a blind eye to the use to which the WSPU put its rooms.  Thus, on 2 April 1911 –  census night – the Gardenia’s management allowed the restaurant to be used by suffragettes attempting to evade the enumerator. One census schedule for 6 Catherine Street shows Thomas Smith, the manager, in his flat there that night with his wife and two children, together with the restaurant manageress, two waitresses, a male chef, female cook, a male baker and a kitchen maid. But a separate Gardenia schedule, completed by the Census Office from information supplied by the police,  shows that the restaurant was packed with 200 women and 30 men. These defiant evaders had moved to the Gardenia at c 3.30 am for breakfast, having spent the earlier part of the night in the Aldwych Skating Rink.

A year later the Gardenia again played its part in a dramatic WSPU publicity campaign when, on the night of 4 March 1912, women taking part in a WSPU-organinised window-smashing campaign gathered there. In her autobiography Mrs Pankhurst notes that the police thought that about 150 women went to the Gardenia that evening, arriving in twos and threes from a large meeting at the London Pavilion at Piccadilly Circus. They were followed to the restaurant by a number of detectives who then waited around outside in Catherine Street And what was it that the women were doing in the Gardenia?

At the ensuing trial Miss Jessie McPherson, a still-room maid, testifed that on the following day, 5 March, she found a dozen on so stones – on one of which was written ‘Votes for Women’ – lying in a grate in a big room on the second-floor. Godfrey Hastings, the Gardenia’s major shareholder, gave evidence that the room had been engaged by the WSPU for the afternoon and evening of 29 February and 1 and 4 March – at a charge of 45 shillings on each occasion.

The evidence pointed to the Gardenia as the WSPU’s ammunition arming station.  Once they had received their supply of stones, the suffragettes led the police a merry dance.

One policeman testified that he followed Miss Wolff van Sandau and Miss Katie Mills as they left the Gardenia, went to an ironmonger’ shop in Covent Garden and then walked to Westminster, along Victoria Street to the Howick Street Post Office, where the former broke a window with a hammer and the latter with stones. It transpired in court that it was at the Covent Garden ironmongers, with the policeman in tow, that they had bought the hammer.

Another policeman reported that on 4 March he waited outside the Gardenia Restaurant for three women [Nellie Crocker, Miss Roberts and Miss Taylor]. When they emerged he followed along the Strand, to Charing Cross and then on District Line to Royal Court Theatre. A few minutes after the performance began they left and went along to 9 King’s Road – a post office – where they smashed the plate glass windows with three hammers.

Another policeman followed Elizabeth Thompson and another woman from the Gardenia to Parliament Square,where Miss Thompson threw a stone at a window of Home Office.

There does not appear to have been any legal repercussions for the Gardenia but, sadly,  despite support from the suffrage movement, the business could not be made to pay and the restaurant closed in March 1913.

However 6 Catherine Street today still has a primary connection to the food trade – as the home of the Food and Drink Federation. The FDF were very generous in allowing access to their building in order to record a section of the Woman’s Hour item on ‘Suffragettes and Tea Rooms’ in the rooms where the WSPU plotted their militancy over tea and brown rice.

Here is a link to Woman’s Hour iPlayer that includes item on ‘Suffragettes and Tea Rooms’ .

See also here, here, here, and here

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WALKS/Suffrage Stories: Suffragettes and Tea Rooms: The Criterion Restaurant, Kate Frye, and the Actresses’ Franchise League

Criterion Restaurant and Piccadilly Circus c 1910

The glamorous Criterion Restaurant lies at the heart of theatreland, facing onto Piccadilly Circus. Owned by Spiers and Pond, it had been built, together with the adjoining theatre, in 1874 and during the last century and a quarter has undergone many changes – although now restored to glory. Before the First World War Spiers and Pond’s empire encompassed railway refreshment rooms as well as other large London restaurants, such as the Holborn, at the north end of Kingsway, the setting for many breakfasts held by the WSPU to celebrate the release of their prisoners from Holloway.

The Criterion today

Although the Criterion has now only one restaurant – on the ground floor – in its Edwardian heyday it offered many more spaces – not only in which to dine – but also for hire; the Victoria Hall and the Grand Hall, on the first floor, were two such spaces. The Grand Hall, magnificently decorated, ran across the front of the building, overlooking Piccadilly Circus. The lavish interiors were very much a hallmark of the Spiers and Pond establishments –  renowned especially for the high standard of their ladies’ cloakrooms – a point, I would imagine, our suffagists and suffragettes would have appreciated.

The Actresses’ Franchise League was founded at the end of 1908 and by the spring of 1909 began to hold its meetings at the Criterion, which was conveniently placed so as to allow its members to spend the afternoon listening to rousing speeches and yet be close at hand to give their own performances in the evening. By all accounts the meetings were extremely well attended, the AFL having no trouble in filling either of the two main halls.

Kate Frye on tour in J.M. Barrie’s ‘Quality Street’.

Kate Frye (whose post-1911 suffrage diary, Campaigning for the Vote, is published by Francis Boutle ), was a proud member of the AFL, having spent two or three years treading the boards of provincial theatres. Her diary entries allow us to eavesdrop on some of those Criterion meetings.

‘Friday April 2nd 1909

Out at 2 o’clock – bus to Piccadilly Cicus and to the Actresses’ Franchise League meeting at the Criterion Restaurant. Miss Eva Moore was receiving and gave me a gracious handshake and Ada Moore was there. Also Eve, Mr Stanger [a sympathetic Liberal MP] and Miss [Frances] Sterling I heard speak. Lady Strachey was in the Chair and Lady Grove had spoken. I also heard Miss [Lillah] McCarthy, the Treasurer, speak and Miss Adeline Bourne, the Secretary, and I went up and spoke to Mr Stanger after the meeting.. His wife was also there. It was a huge meeting – no end of the profession there and they seemed enthusiastic but I have never got much faith in them. …

Friday February 4th 1910

Started off about 1.45 for the Victoria Hall Criterion Restaurant – went by bus. We went early as we wanted a good seat to see Miss  Pankhurst. The place was packed before they began at 3 o’clock. Miss Granville took the chair and Miss Adeline Bourne as Secretary and Miss Maud Hoffman as Treasurer spoke in a more or less business-like fashion and Lt Col Sir something Turner spoke – an old dodderer. I could hardly keep my face straight he looked in such a loving fashion at the ladies but of course the thing of the afternoon was Christabel Pankhurst. She is a little wonder. So young and girlish looking – I suppose she is only 22 or 23 with such a charming way with her. She spoke very nicely too. It was not a brilliant speech but she was suiting herself to her audience I have no doubt – but it was so sincere and so fair. I have only heard her once before – at the Albert Hall – and one cannot judge like that – so I am glad to have been at such close quarters with her. She is not really pretty – has a crooked mouth and bad chin but her eyes are nice and she has a pretty forehead. Her hair was very untidy and I think would suit her so much better done low than on top in an ugly little knob. But though so faulty her face lights up so when she speaks and she has such a charming way with her that is very superior to mere prettiness….

Friday November 4th 1910

A bitterly cold day –had lunch then left at 1.15 – took a bus to Oxford Circus and went to steward at The Actresses’ Franchise League meeting at The Grand Hall Criterion. It was great fun.. A Mrs Fagan was in the Chair, Lady Constance Lytton, Mrs Pertwee , Mr Cecil Chapman and Mr M Campbell-Johnston were the speakers.. Then, amongst the audience, Hilda Fletcher – an old Ben Greet companion – the girl who helped me with the Banner at the second march and I chatted to lots of people – made 17/6 and had great fun. Two old gentlemen who were very taken with the Actresses and attending their first Suffrage meeting were most amusing.

Friday December 16th 1910

Changed my dress – at 2.15 bus to Oxford Circus and walked to the Criterion – to the Birthday Tea of the Actresses’ Franchise League. It was packed – a huge success. Eva Moore recited, Bertha Moore and daughter sang.’

The Criterion was used by women’s societies other than those campaigning for suffrage. Here is a photograph of a Women Writers’ Dinner held in the Grand Hall in 1900.  Of the suffrage societies, it would seem that the AFL was the most regular user of the Criterion, although in April 1909 the WSPU held a breakfast there for released prisoners and in February 1910 and June 1911 the Women Writers’ Suffrage League held meetings in the Victoria Hall.  It is interesting to note that on 26 October 1911, when the International Women’s Franchise Club held a dinner at the Criterion, a vegetarian option was chosen by a fairly high proportion of the guests –  25 out of the 130 who attended.

Although the suffrage sympathisers who attended such meetings  were overwhelmingly middle class, one would like to  imagine  (as one can in a blog) that, through their association with, perhaps, the AFL, less well-off women would have had the opportunity to luxuriate in the splendid surroundings of the Criterion, enjoy a wash and brush up in the opulent Ladies’, and fill up on the tea that brought the afternoon to a close.

Here is the link to Woman’s Hour (4 Sept) podcast that includes item on ‘Suffragettes and Tea Rooms’.

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Rooms Of Their Own: Victorian and Edwardian Women’s Clubs: Tea and Shopping

 ‘Is it not possible for ladies to possess a Club which will not afford too striking a contrast with the splendours of St James?’ So wrote Frances Power Cobbe in the early 1870s. She continued,  ‘Are not the female members of the families of those who frequent those palaces never to have a place of resort, where the rooms and appointments shall be at least as airy and handsome as those of their own homes, and where it may be a healthful and pleasant change for them to pass now and then a few hours of leisure?’ She then commented that whenever the idea was mooted ‘the poverty of women, as regards ability to incur any unusual expense, become curiously revealed..’ – that is, women who appeared wealthy, ‘lapped in excessive luxury, provided for them by the affection of husbands and fathers’ actually had no money of their own to expend on such a project and the affectionate husbands and fathers would not, she assumes, be prepared to give their money towards providing a club for their wives and daughters.

We have seen in previous posts how, after 1870, clubs for women had, indeed, been opened. Although many of these, like the Somerville, University or Writers’, were particularly aimed at working middle-class women.  What Frances Power Cobbe was envisaging was the opening of clubs on a par of grandeur with the gentleman’s clubs, such as the Athenaeum or Carlton.  Within 20 years her plea had, to some extent, been answered.  Such clubs did open: their  existence may owe something to the passing of the Married Women’s Property Act, which gave women greater control over their own funds.

However opulent the late-19th-century ladies’ clubs they never competed for territory with the gentlemen. Ladies’ clubs tended to group to the north of Piccadilly, close to the shopping areas of Oxford, Bond and Regent streets, leaving the southern side to the men.

The first of these ‘ladies’ clubs’ was the Alexandra, which opened in Grosvenor Street in 1884, its membership restricted to those eligible to attend Court, a not so subtle indication that divorcées were unwelcome. Adopting for its name that of the Princess of Wales ensured its eminent respectability; there was no hint of the blue-stocking here. Men were not allowed to enter, even as visitors. a rule that Amy Levy regretted in her article, ‘Women and Club Life’, published in Woman’s World, 1888. The club was large and extremely comfortable, residential for short visits only, but with accommodation for accompanying ladies’ maids.

Dinner at the Empress Club

Dinner at the Empress Club

The Empress Club, founded in Dover Street in 1897, named for the Queen-Empress herself, was even grander than the Alexandra, boasting two drawing room -offering a choice between the Louis Quinze or the Venetian style -, a dining room, a lounge, a smoking gallery and a smoking room, a library, a writing room, a tape machine for news, a telephone, and a staircase decorated with stained glass windows depicting Shakespeare’s heroines.

On the night of the 1901 census Otho Oliver, the owner and club secretary, was living on the premises, together with a female manager and a large domestic staff, comprising around 40 female and 12 male servants (including an engineer). There were around 30 women guests staying at the club, as well as several family groups, including husbands.

Princess Bamba Duleep Singh and her daughters, Sophia and Catherine, were leading members of the Empress Club

Princess Bamba Duleep Singh and her daughters, Sophia and Catherine, were leading members of the Empress Club

At one time the Empress had 70 bedrooms available to its  2700 members. However,  on the night of the 1911 census  the number of live-in staff had shrunk to 25 and only 14 guests – all women – were registered as staying the night.

Otho Oliver (1868-?), the owner of the Empress, was the younger brother of Gilbert Oliver (1867-?) In 1891  Gilbert had been a ‘perfume manufacturer’,  but in 1894 founded the ‘Ladies’ Tea and Shopping Club’,’to provide for ladies of social position the comforts and convenience that men have found in their clubs for years past.’ I am not sure that the Oliver brothers would themselves have been eligible to join a gentleman’s club, but they clearly knew what the ladies wanted. In 1899 the Tea and Shopping Club had transformed itself into the rather more imposingly named ‘New County Club’,  with premises at both 21 Hanover Square – with 30 rooms – and 84 Grosvenor Street.

Ladies' day at the Bath Club, 1920

Ladies’ day at the Bath Club, 1920

Next door to the Empress, at 34 Dover Street, women were able to make use of the facilities of the Bath Club, which had been founded in 1894. However, they were not allowed to use the Dover Street entrance but had to access the club through a ‘ladies’ entrance’ in Berkeley Street. The club’s main emphasis was on sport particularly, as it name suggests, swimming.

Dover Street was favoured for clubs. At no 31 Mrs Jennie Cornwallis-West (aka the mother of Winston Churchill) founded the Ladies’ Athenaeum for ladies interested in politics, arts, literature and music and a little earlier the Ladies’ Imperial – for women members of the Conservative and Unionist parties – had opened at nos 17 and 18.

A little to the north the Alexandra Club (no 12) was later joined on Grosvenor Street by the Ladies’ Empire Club at no 69.  The Ladies’ Automobile Club, which had been founded in 1903 when the Automobile Club (later the RAC) refused to admit women, eventually moved to Brook Street. It drew its members from the class that could not only afford to motor but  were sufficiently daring to do so.

And it is clubs for the more socially and politically daring that the next ‘Rooms of their Own’ post will discuss.

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WALKS/Suffrage Stories: Suffragettes and Tearooms: Alan’s Tearooms

A corner of Alan’s Tea Rooms, as illustrated in ‘The Idler’, 1910.

One of the London tearooms most popular with suffragettes and suffragists was Alan’s Tea rooms at 263 Oxford Street. In my Women’s Suffrage Movement: a reference guide,I suggested that the owner, ‘Mr Alan Liddle’, while not charging the rent of the room for such meetings, doubtless made his profit from the sale of the accompanying tea and buns, conjuring up the image in my mind of a suave male entrepreneur cashing in on the need of campaigners for a safe haven in which to meet in Central London. How mistaken I was.

What I did not then realize, and my researches have only recently revealed, was that the owner was not ‘Mr Alan Liddle’, but ‘Miss Marguerite Alan Liddle’ (1873-1946), the daughter of a Shropshire solicitor. It would seem that she chose to be known by her second, presumably a family, name, signing her will, for example, as ‘M. Alan Liddle’.  She does not seem to have taken a direct part in the suffrage movement, but certainly did lend her support, first advertising in the WSPU newspaper, Votes for Women, in, I think, the issue of 31 December 1908.. However, a little research has revealed that she was the sister of Helen Gordon Liddle (note, again, the use of a family name, in this case their mother’s maiden name) who was an active member of the Women’s Social and Political Union. Helen was the author of The Prisoner, one of the more sought-after suffragette memoirs, describing the month she spent in Strangeways prison, Manchester, in October and November 1909.

Although her sister, Alan, already knew of the WSPU and Votes for Women, Helen writes that she herself only became aware of the WSPU in February 1909 when she read about a deputation to Parliament led by Mrs Pethick-Lawrence. In June 1909 she was a member of one of the deputations sent to the Prime Minister and was arrested – but not prosecuted. She wrote ‘my time was not my own to give absolutely to the WSPU’ –she was a teacher of music and singing – but she did spend three weeks in Edinburgh in September helping to prepare for grand demonstration there. In October she protested at a Cabinet Minister’s meeting in Manchester and was ejected. The next night, 20 October, women were excluded from the meeting – so she broke a post office window in protest, for which she was sentenced to one month’s imprisonment with hard labour in the third division. Her companion in this was Emily Wilding Davison, whose will she had witnessed earlier that day. In her book she states that she wanted to describe the atmosphere of prison and its effect upon a prisoner who is forcibly fed. So, while Alan Liddle was advertising her luncheons etc in Votes for Women her sister was on hunger strike in Strangeways.

Alan Liddle had opened the Tea Room in November 1907 in a building on the south side of Oxford Street, very slightly to the west of  Oxford Circus, and, as was mentioned in advertisements, ‘three doors away from Jays’. This was a large fashion store on the south-western quadrant of Oxford Circus, the site now occupied by a Benetton store. So, as a business, it was certainly very centrally placed, its only drawback being that it was not on street level but on the first floor. Presumably customers entered through a door to one side of the shop front (which was the dry cleaners Achille Serre) and went up a staircase – which might be thought of as something of a deterrent as there was a wealth of competition from other cafes, tea rooms and restaurants around.

For instance, there was a Liptons refreshment room at no 265-7, another restaurant at 269, a Lyons tea room at nos 277-81 and an ABC at no 283. So I am imagining that Alan Liddle felt the necessity to carve out a niche market – to attract customers through the door and up the stairs – over and above any passing trade – who might find it easier to enter one of the larger, ground-floor cafes close by. And I imagine that the niche market she aimed at was ‘the suffragette’.

I don’t know what Marguerite Liddle did before setting up the teashop – when she was 34 – or who was in her friendship circles.  In 1911, unlike her sister, Helen, she did complete a census return. This shows her, a ‘proprietoress of tea rooms’, living at 8a Holland St, Kensington as a lodger in the apartment of Miss Emilie Chapman, a nurse. She ran the tearooms until about 1916.

Besides suffragettes, she also sought to attract women out clothes shopping in the West End – the obvious clientele. In 1910 the ‘Vanity Pages’ of The Idler, a popular magazine, edited by Jerome K. Jerome, Mrs Edward Talbot, while discussing clothes shopping in Conduit St and New Bond St , wrote ‘We then had the nicest little luncheon, with the comforting knowledge that everything was homemade, at Alan’s Tea Rooms (263 Oxford St) for the modest sum of 1/6.We send you a sketch and a menu, so you can see for yourself. The rooms are charmingly decorated; one is set apart for smoking, while another, which is large and sunny, can be hired for At Homes and meetings. You can lunch, also, for a shilling, and for afternoon tea Alan’s popularity is undoubted.’

I was curious to know what Alan’s Tea Room looked like and managed to find a photograph of that block of Oxford Street -now redeveloped -that revealed that the red brick building was probably built in the 1860s. The first-floor room looking over Oxford Street had a semi-circular arcaded window – rather Venetian in style. It was an amazing piece of luck that Mrs Talbot accompanied her piece in The Idler with a small line drawing of a corner of Alan’s Tea Rooms. So we can see that the room had a ceiling cornice above a frieze of garlands. The walls were probably papered with a small-patterned wallpaper. There was a plain, early-19thc-style fireplace and panelling under the window. The windows were draped with two sets of curtains. One was a set of short – to the sill – lightweight material ones – and then, over these, there were heavy drapes – probably velvet- looped back at the sides. There was a vase of flowers on the mantelpiece and a picture over it. The furniture was sort of arts and crafts. The tea table, covered with a table cloth, shown is of the ‘gipsy’type – typically Edwardian – with slightly splayed legs. The chairs were high stick-backs – perhaps with rush seats. The Luncheon menu (for one shilling) was:

Puree aux haricots

Madras Curry

Boiled Chicken and Bacon

Potatoes and Cauliflower

Chocolate Cream


Mushroom Toast

Café Noir

Advertisements revealed that luncheons cost 1s or 1s 6d (served between 12 and 2.30) and Teas were set at 4d, 6d and 1s. Mention was made of the food being home-made – so perhaps we can assume that there was a kitchen on the premises – and that Alan employed a cook – as well, probably, as at least one waitress?

In another 1910 issue of The Idler there was another ‘editorial’ piece in The Vanity Pages:

‘Hostess [ie the questioner, who as asked for suggestion of a place in central London to hold an ‘At Home’]. I’m always pleased to be of any help if I can, in your case I know of the very place you want. At Alan’s Tea rooms, 263 Oxford St, there is a nice room available for at Homes. It is large, sunny and charmingly furnished, and can be hired at a moderate figure.’

This would have been the room hired by suffrage societies – for whom, as I have mentioned, it was advertised that no charge was made. And the societies did take advantage of the offer. The Tax Resistance League held its first members’ conference there on 14 November 1910, the Catholic Women’s Suffrage Society its inaugural meeting in March 1911, the Forward Cymric Union –a militant Welsh suffrage society– held monthly meetings (c 1912) at Alan’s, attracting 50 to its first meeting. Visits of individual women to the Tea Room are, of course, very much more elusive to pinpoint – though we do know that on 26 July 1913, at the end of the NUWSS Suffrage Pilgrimage, Margory Lees and her companions went there for dinner.

Alan Liddle ran her Tea Rooms for about nine years – probably until 1916 – provinding pleasant surroundings and home-cooked food to members of both wings of the suffrage campaign.

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Suffrage Stories: Anti-Suffrage Sneaks And Their Stealthy Stickering

Below is an item that I found in a postcard album compiled by Mrs Louisa Thomson Price, one of the leaders of the Women’s Freedom League.

Anti SuffrageMrs Thomson Price acquired this sticker at a ‘Anti-Suffrage campaign’ demonstration held on 16 July 1910 in Trafalgar Square  – during which men mingled with the crowd and stickered ‘well-known women suffragists’ with ‘Votes for Women Never’ slogans.  The Daily Telegraph, in describing the demonstration, particularly remarked on ‘the large number of suffragists and supporters of “votes for women” who were in attendance’,  commenting that ‘the militant Suffragists utilized the occasion as a great opportunity for doing propaganda work among the enemy.’

While Mrs Thomson Price declared that this stealthy stickering was ‘typical of the methods of the ‘Men’s League for Opposing Women’s Suffrage’, The Daily Telegraph reveals that ‘a most effective ending to the afternoon was the march past of the WSPU Drum and Fife Band playing ‘The Marseilles’. Well, that was certainly a more open spoiler.

This anti-suffrage demonstration was held a few days after the suffrage Conciliation Bill had passed its second reading in the House of Commons and  a week before the WSPU’s massive 23 July rally in Hyde Park.  The suffrage campaigners’ hopes were high -and the anti-suffragists were presumably just a little nervous. They need not have worried – for on the very day of the Hyde Park spectacular the prime minister, Asquith, informed Lord Lytton, chairman of the Conciliation Committee that the Conciliation Bill would progress no further than parliamentary session. It was yet another example of how difficult it was to get the political machine to change gear if those in the engine room were not minded to operate the levers.

Mrs Louisa Thomson Price (1864 -1926) was the daughter of a Tory military family but from an early age rebelled against their way of thinking and became a secularist and a Radical. In 1888 she married John Sansom, a member of the executive of the NSS.From c 1886  she worked as a journalist – as a political writer, then a very unusual area for women, and drew cartoons for a radical journal, ‘Political World’. She was a member of the Council of the Society of Women Journalists. After the death of her first husband, in 1907 she married George Thomson Price.

Louisa Thomson Price was an early member of the Women’s Freedom League, became a consultant editor of its paper, The Vote, and was a director of Minerva Publishing, publisher of the paper.  She took part in the WFL picket of the House of Commons and was very much in favour of this type of militancy. In her will she left £250 to the WFL. and £1000 to endow a Louisa Thomson Price bed at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital.




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Kate Frye’s Diary: A Visit To Ditchling And Tea With Eric Gill, 1910

In January 1910 Kate Frye is paying a short visit to Ditchling in Sussex, staying with her dear cousin, Abbie, and her husband, Basil Hargrave, at their home, Chichester House, 11 High Street, Ditchling. Eric Gill, engraver, calligrapher, printmaker, typeface designer and sculptor had settled in Ditchling in 1907, attracting a community of craftsmen – and women – to the village.

Abbie was a prolific novelist, who wrote under the name of  ‘L. Parry Truscott’.

Ditchling, East Sussex, 1912 by G.D. Elms. Ditchling Museum, courtesy of Public Catalogue Foundation and BBC Yuur Paintings

Ditchling, East Sussex, 1912 by G.D. Elms. Ditchling Museum, courtesy of Public Catalogue Foundation and BBC Your Paintings

Here we can see the parish church, St Margaret of Antioch, where Kate endured a ‘long dull sermon’. Abbie and Basil are both buried in the churchyard.

Eric Gill’s house, Sopers, was at 28 High Street. Much later, in 1930, Abbie’s son, Truscott Hargrave (b 1911) was to become secretary to the Saint Dominic’s Press, founded by Gill (who had by then left Ditchling).

Mr Wheelwright, whom Kate found ‘one of the most bitter and arrogant conservatives’, was William Wheelwright, an Australian-born worker in silver and copper. His wife, Helen Maud, was a Gloucestershire-born artist.

Dr Edwin Habberton Lulham, a medical doctor practising in Ditchling and Brighton, was also a poet and lecturer. He appears to have been living away from Ditchling at the time of Kate’s visit, his cottage available for rent. In 1911, when the census was taken, he was living in Margate . See here for more about him

From Kate’s Diary

Saturday 22 January 1910

Abbie busied herself after breakfast and I sat over the fire and read the papers and then wrote a couple of letters before helping Abbie arrange the dining room and drawing room for the afternoon. Then just before 12 o’clock we went out for an hour’s walk towards the Downs. We took the sheepdog, Bay, with us – he is at present the latest addition to the family party at Chichester House. Lunch at 1 o’clock – then we did a few more jobs – and Alice the maid began laying the tea and we put out the cakes and at 3 o’clock we went up and changed our dresses as the party commenced punctually at 4 o’clock.

We were 23 in all. only 3 men. Basil, the Vicar and the man, Mr Gill, who read the paper to start the debate. It was quite a clever paper – but he did not make it interesting really and it was not a popular subject – ‘The arts and crafts in the home’ – very few made any remarks at all and they were very far wide of the mark for the most part – some of them were very amusing. A Mr Davidson was really killing and the Vicar so pious. Basil’s speech was really the best as it did raise some points but no one took them up. It was over and everyone had gone soon after 6 o’clock.

Eric Gill

Eric Gill

Abbie hastened on the dinner – we changed our things again for walking apparel, had dinner about 7 o’clock – and then went off to a political meeting in the schools – but as a great concession by the Vicar (a rabid Conservative) to the Liberal Candidate, Mr Basil Williams. The place was very full of those who thought otherwise and they were so noisy they were a great trouble to the speaker. There were very few of his supporters there and I should think I was the only Liberal woman in the place. It is a most Tory village.

I much enjoyed the meeting but I must say I did not admire the spirit of some of the ‘hecklers’. One man who I found out was a friend of Abbie’s afterwards – a Mr Wheelwright was a fearful nuisance. There was a very good free-trade speaker first but he rather lost his temper with the folk and absolutely showed his teeth at them. Mr Basil Williams came on later from another meeting. A nice looking man and he spoke quite well. But he does not stand a chance – it is wonderful to get men to contest such seats, I think. A great crowd was waiting to hiss and boo him as he left in his motor car. What an ungrateful lot – to boo one of the party who gave them political emancipation.

Sunday January 23rd 1910

To the Parish Church where they have a pew by right with Chichester House. A bawling choir and a long dull sermon – but a beautiful old building. then for an hour’s walk. The roads very slippery until the rain started which it did just as we neared home. We went over Dr Lulham’s cottage which he has very nicely furnished but rather crowded. I should like to take it one day for a few weeks and stay in Ditchling.

Tidied ourselves and Mr and Mrs Wheelwright came to tea. I found him one of the most bitter and arrogant conservatives and Tariff Reformers I have ever come across and we talked politics all the time nearly and they stayed till quite 7 o’clock. I don’t think I could do with him myself – or with her for that matter. I do hate prejudice to that extent – but they are great friends here.’

See here for details of the published edition of Kate’s diary – Campaigning for the Vote.

The Ditchling Museum of Arts and Crafts has just re-opened after a major refit. See here for new opening hours and here for some of the Museum’s past projects.

Ditchling Museum of Arts and Crafts

Ditchling Museum of Arts and Crafts

For the Eric Gill Society see here.

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Suffrage Stories: Women’s Tax Resistance League Sale, Hampstead, May 1914

Mrs Thomson Price's goods being sold

The photograph above was taken on Monday 18 May 1914 at the sale in Hampstead of goods belonging to Mrs Louisa Thomson Price and others – all of whom had refused to pay their tax. ‘No Taxation Without Representation’ was the motto of the Tax Resistance League.

The Vote  (the paper of the Women’s Freedom League with which Mrs Thomson Price was closely associated) reported (22 May 1914) ‘At Hampstead on May 18 a large group of tax resisters had their goods sold at Fitzjohns Estate Auction Rooms. They were Mrs Thomson Price, Mrs and Miss Hicks, Mrs How Martyn , Mrs Milligan, Mrs Hartley, the Misses Collier, and the Misses Dawes Thompson. A procession with a band marched from Finchley Road station to the auction rooms at Swiss Cottage and after the sale an excellent meeting was held at the corner of the Avenue Road. From a gaily decorated wagonette speeches were made by Mrs Thomson Price, Mrs Nevinson and Mrs Kineton Parkes, explaining the reason of the protest.

Below is the note made by Louisa Thomson Price on the reverse of the photographic postcard.

Reverse of photo

Mrs Louisa Thomson Price was born Louisa Catherine Sowdon in 1864 and died in 1926. She was the daughter of a Tory military family but from an early age rebelled against their way of thinking and became a secularist and a Radical. She was impressed by Charles Bradlaugh of the National Secular Society. In 1888 she married John Samson, who was a member of the executive of the NSS. She worked as a journalist from c 1886 – as a political writer, then a very unusual area for women, and drew cartoons for a radical journal, ‘Political World’. She was a member of the Council of the Society of Women Journalists. After the death of her first husband, in 1907 she married George Thomson Price. She had no children from either marriage.

Louisa Thomson Price was an early member of the Women’s Freedom League, became a consultant editor of its paper, The Vote, and was a director of Minerva Publishing, publisher of the paper. She contributed a series of cartoons to The Vote, which were then produced as postcards. The ‘Jack Horner’ cartoon was also issued as a poster for, I think, the January 1910 General Election. Louisa Thomson Price took part in the WFL picket of the House of Commons and was very much in favour of this type of militancy. In her will she left £250 to the WFL. and £1000 to endow a Louisa Thomson Price bed at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital.

I have a very rare suffrage artefact – a Women’s Freedom League postcard album once owned by Mrs Thomson Price -for sale in my catalogue 185.

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Rooms Of Their Own: Victorian and Edwardian Women’s Clubs: A Practical Demand

In ‘The Ladies’ Clubs of London’, an 1899 article, the journalist Dora Jones identified ‘the evolution of the independent professional woman’ as the catalyst in the explosion of women’s clubs, writing:’ The modern professional woman, be she artist, journalist, clerk, doctor, teacher, or nurse, living as she often does in rooms in the suburbs, needs some fairly central haven of refuge where she can drop in, when she has a spare hour, for a rest, a cup of tea, and a glance at the newspapers. She is probably an intelligent woman, with a keen interest in everything that affects the interests of her sex, and she likes to have a place open to her where she may have a chance of meeting those like-minded and of discussing questions of common interest. And, unfortunately, she is very likely to be a lonely woman, and there is no loneliness which presses one more cruelly than the isolation of a great city.’ Dora Jones concentrated her researches on clubs, such as the Somerville, the University Women’s, the Pioneer, and the Writers’, where women such as she described might be found. In the early days the clubs were open during the day and in the evenings but did not offer members residential facilities.

The Somerville Club (named for Mary Somerville) had been founded in 1878 and by 1888 was based in utilitarian premises above an ABC cafeteria in Oxford Street, later moving to Hanover Square. It always hovered on the edge of financial disaster, its membership subscription kept low in order to appeal to the poorer, working, middle-class woman. The Somerville allowed her a respite from cramped lodgings, the prospect of mildly radical lectures and discussions on subjects such as ‘Rousseau ‘and ‘Poets and Poetry as Moral and Spiritual Teachers’.

 The University Women’s Club, or the University Club for Ladies as it was originally termed, aimed  to ‘afford facilities of intercourse for Women educated at the Universities’, its members initially drawn mainly from Girton and Newnham, with some from Oxford and a few from London, particularly from the London School of  Medicine for Women. By late 1886 premises had been opened in New Bond Street, in a setting of Morris wallpapers and Chippendale chairs, and subscriptions taken to various weekly and monthly papers and to a circulating library. By 1896 the club had 270 members.

The minute books of the University Women’s Club (and it is the only club whose committee books are extant) reveal the prosaic details of running such an enterprise. For instance in 1890, when the club had no cooking facilities of its own, relying on meals supplied by an outside restaurant, there were complaints that the tariff was limited and that ‘a chop was not always wanted’. Writing of the club in 1888 Amy Levy (a graduate of Newnham) commented that ‘the mingled sense of independence and esprit de corps which made college life at once so pleasant and so wholesome are not wanting here in the colder, more crowded regions of London club-land’. However, in 1890 when a fortnightly house dinner was instituted, presumably to encourage greater camaraderie, the minutes record that these dinners were not largely attended.

From 1902 gentlemen were welcomed as guests. The resolution allowing this pointed out that ‘it was very inconvenient to members who lived in lodgings, and perhaps had only one room, not to be able to ask a gentleman to their Club’. On the night of the census, at a time when the club was at 4 George Street, Hanover Square, three members were recorded as staying there that night – one was a teacher, one a hospital nurse and the third of ‘private means’.

The minutes emphasise that the club’s purpose was social only. This is the only one of the 19th-century women’s clubs to survive, although, alongside a programme of social activities, it is nowadays quite happy to host the occasional lecture.


The apotheosis of the clubs associated with the new breed of ‘strong-minded’ women was the Pioneer. This had opened in 1892, by 1894 was ensconced at 22 Bruton Street, the home of Mrs Emily Massingberd, its founder, and had around 400 members, who, in order to eliminate class differences, were, while in the club, identified by their membership number.

Dora Jones commented that ‘Country ladies who have heard it whispered that there is a smoking room at the Pioneers’ still, I believe, mention the place sometimes with bated breath, as the resort of alarming beings with short hair, strident voices, and unbecoming garments of a masculine cut. A visit to the club some afternoon would make short work of these preconceptions. For a woman to succeed in the battle of life at the present time, she must be neither a “frump”, nor a “crank”’.  However, writing in the feminist journal, Shafts, in January 1894 its editor, Mrs Margaret Shurmer Sibthorpe, declared it was her intention to adopt Rational dress and that she meant ‘to go freely to and fro in it wherever my business may call me, to appear in it at my club (the Pioneer), and at many places of public resort.’ Moreover, Viscountess Harberton, a co-founder of the Rational Dress movement was a member of the Pioneer.

That the Pioneers, whether or not ‘alarming beings’, welcomed independence of mind may be seen in the club’s programme of debates, each of which was preceded by a club dinner.

Had she been attending a debate at the Pioneer?

In 1893 the summer session included ‘Why should not women vote?’, ‘Will socialism benefit women’, and ‘Should women marry?’.

Although the Pioneer continued well into the 1920s there seems to have been some doubt in 1897, after the death of Mrs Massingberd, as to whether it would continue, many members leaving to join the Grosvenor Crescent Club (15 Crosvenor Crescent). This also catered for the professional working women, by 1900 boasting not only a telephone, but also an exchange telegraph to provide stock market reports. However, on the night of the 1911 census there were five woman members staying at the club, none of whom claimed to have any paid occupation, looked after by an ample staff.

In London most of the Victorian and Edwardian ladies’ clubs tended to be located in the shopping, feminine area south of Oxford Street, north of Piccadilly and west of Regent Street. Not only were they conveniently situated for shopping and socialising, but the fact that they were in an acceptably feminine area appears successfully to have negated the masculinity inherent in the idea of the club.

A Friday ‘At Home’ at the Writers’ Club

However in 1892 the Writers’ Club, founded to provide a social and working centre for women authors and journalists, did open its doors in an essentially masculine area, Norfolk Street, just off the Strand. Based in Hastings House, a building sheltering many small businesses associated with publishing and journalism, the club comprised a reception room (originally decorated with what Dora Jones affectionately terms ‘a greenery-yallery tinge’), a dining room, an occasional room, and a writing room, where silence was enforced in order that members might work and which was well supplied with works of reference. The Writers’ Club held a Friday house tea, which Dora Jones described as having come ‘to rank among the most interesting gatherings of literary London. Some leading light in the women’s world fills the place of hostess, and many of the most distinguished personalities of the day are to be met. A well-known ornament of these gatherings, the author of Joanna Traill [Annie E. Holdsworth], and some other powerful and intensely modern books, has introuduced a description of them into her latest work.’ Philip Gibbs in his novel Intellectual Mansions, 1910, also gives a vibrant description of the Literary Ladies’ Club (which he based in ‘Arundel Street’, clearly a nod to Norfolk Street), clearly based on his experience of the Writers’ Club house teas.

Lyceum Club 1908

However the food provided by the Writers’ Club was indifferent, the surroundings rather shabby and in 1904 a group with higher aspirations broke away to form the Lyceum Club. This was the first woman’s club to brave the male club land of Piccadilly, initially taking over premises that had formerly housed the Imperial Services Club. Its founder, Constance Smedley, recorded that the Lyceum was intended for ladies engaged with literature, journalism, art, science and medicine, who required ‘a substantial and dignified milieu where [they] could meet editors and other employers and discuss matters as men did in professional clubs: above all in surroundings that did not suggest poverty’. The Lyceum had a library, an art gallery in which the work of members was displayed, 35 bedrooms and employed hairdressers and sewing maids. The club had international aspirations and branches were soon formed in Berlin, Paris, Rome and Florence – and is still in existence – the International Association of Lyceum Clubs.

These were all clubs that aspired to cater for the professional working woman or the woman interested in social and political affairs. However, once the tacit barrier against women forming clubs was broken, another style of club, more akin to that of the men, made its appearance. I shall discuss these in a future post.

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Rooms Of Their Own: Victorian And Edwardian Women’s Clubs: Hesitant Beginnings

Rooms of Their Own:Victorian and Edwardian Women’s Clubs

‘The Ladies’ Reading Room’ – the genesis of the woman’s club, c. 1858, as it appeared in an advertisement in Barbara Bodichon’s guide book, ‘Algeria Considered as a Winter Residence for the English.’

‘The multiplying of women’s clubs, and the accompanying facilities for social intercourse, is distinctly a latter-day feature of London society. Twenty years ago they were practically unknown: today they are to be met with on all sides. They are a sign of the times; women have awakened to the fact that they want something outside their domestic and home duties’. Thus observed a Lady’s Realm journalist in 1898. One might, indeed, go further and state that, 20 years earlier, not only were clubs for women practically unknown, but that the concept was all but inconceivable.

During the first three-quarters of the 19th century economic and social regulation had kept the majority of middle-class women in a family home, either that of their birth, that of a relative or that of their marriage. For those who had neither such support nor the wealth to maintain their own house-hold, the alternative was a life spent in rented rooms. Such lodgings controlled a woman’s social life just as strictly as any family. Under this regime there was little opportunity for women whose interests did not coincide with those of their family to make contact with one another. What were required were places in which women could relax in company, but yet be beyond society’s reproach.

In the mid-19th century the idea of ‘the club’ was synonymous with ‘a man’s club’, a development of the 18th-century coffee house where men gathered to discuss the news of the day. By the mid-19th century the number of clubs, their popularity and comforts had increased apace. Club culture was firmly established among the middle and upper classes, but was absolutely a male culture. The story of how women managed to create a parallel tradition is yet another strand in the history of women’s emancipation.

The idea had first been mooted in 1857 when Bessie Parkes and Barbara Bodichon thought of opening a club room on the same premises as that of the feminist journal they planned to publish. Initially their aim was very modest, merely to provide a room in which to make available the magazines and papers they knew women of cultivation but limited means would like to read but could not otherwise afford.

The club room did materialise, by 1860 known as the Ladies’ Institute. It was housed in premises in Langham Place, just north of Oxford Street, comprising a Reading Room, open from 11 in the morning to 10 at night, a Luncheon Room and a room for the reception of parcels. The latter was a boon for women travelling into central London to shop at the new department stores. Thus the club provided rest and recreation not only for London’s many middle-class working women, such as daily governesses, who were likely to be living alone in lodgings, but also for her like-minded, but more leisured, sister.

Needless to say the club room’s opening did not pass without criticism. The Saturday Review commented, ‘If all that is meant is a lounge for the unprotected female, in which she can daily meet her like-minded and strong-minded sisterhood to discuss the Divorce court till half-past one, and then console the inner woman with sandwiches and sherry, we can only hint to the ladies that this may be a mistake.’ However, despite this reprimand, the Ladies’ Institute proved popular for the seven years of its existence. The general subscription was one guinea a year, but for the category described as ‘professional ladies’ – such as daily governesses – it was reduced by half.

The Ladies’ Institute closed in 1867 but its spirit continued in the Berners Club, which opened in Berners Street, again just north of Oxford Street, and continued in existence until almost the end of the century. In the 1870s it shared premises and personnel with the leading London suffrage society. It followed the pattern set by the Ladies’ Institute, was principally aimed at working, middle-class women, had a reading room, a drawing room and a dining room and was open until 10.30 each evening.

From the 1880s, once the idea had been shattered that clubs were only for men, women’s clubs multiplied, two distinct types emerging. There were those that followed the tradition set by the Ladies’ Institute and the Berners, appealing to independent-minded working women, and those that provided ‘tea and shopping facilities’, social in their aims and fashionable in their membership.

I will consider both types of clubs in future posts.

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Suffrage Stories: Kitty Marion, Arson, A Route Taken – And A Touch Of Solipsism

On Sunday 2 November the Radio 3 Sunday Feature told – very briefly – the story of Kitty Marion, music-hall artiste, suffragette, and arsonist.

At the planning stage the producer was kind enough to invite me to contribute to the programme – with the brief to discuss something of Kitty’s suffragette activities. The  most notorious of these – or, at least, the most publicly known – was the burning down of the stadium at the Hurst Park racecourse at Molesey. This she did with the aid of an accomplice, Clara (Betty) Giveen. You can read how and why they acted as they did in –  Suffrage Stories: Kitty Marion, Emily Wilding Davison And Hurst Park

Hurst Park racecourse ran alongside the Thames just across the river from Hampton Court and although much of it was sold for redevelopment in the 1960s, the remaining open space and the layout of roads and fields have changed  little in the past 100 years, making it worthy of a visit for a spot of location radio. It was decided, therefore, that we should retrace the arsonists’ footsteps.

I offered to drive our little party  from central London to Molesey, a journey that I know like the back of my proverbial hand. For the road that leads down to Hampton Court passes the house on Twickenham Green where I grew up and which remained in my family for over 50 years.Moreover, during my schooldays I had made the journey between Twickenham Green and Hampton every day – for the first few years on that now all but forgotten vehicle, the trolley bus.

By way of a detour and for my younger readers - the 667 trolleybus en route from Twickenham to Hampton Court

By way of a detour and for my younger readers – the 667 trolleybus en route from Twickenham to Hampton Court

Now, in September 2014, our destination was Molesey Cricket Club, which lies, as it did in 1913, next to the erstwhile racecourse. In her unpublished autobiography Kitty mentions that, having left the road, she and Betty crossed a cricket field and so, leaving the cricket club car park, we made our way down a ditch (I with much less agility than my younger companions), through brambles and  into the open sunshine of Hurst Park.

Hurst Park pk cat 182


We looked over towards where the racecourse stadium had once stood and imagined the scene – as shown in this photograph –  revealed by the light of day on Monday 9 June 1913. The fire set by the two women had taken hold very quickly, rather taking them by surprise, and they, with the gas mains exploding, throwing up fountains of fire, they had fled the scene.

I was particularly interested in the next stage of Kitty and Betty’s night excursion. For a long time I had suspected that their journey on foot might have taken them past 15 The Green, Twickenham, but I had never before had occasion to research the matter. That their destination had been a house close to Kew Gardens Station was well known – but what roads had they taken to get there?

In fact the newspaper reports of their trial provide the answer. For they had been spotted at various points on their journey – the sight of two young(ish) women walking unaccompanied through the night had not gone unremarked. The first sighting – by a tramdriver – was at 12.45 am on the road between Hampton Court and Hampton and the second, most importantly, was at Fulwell, which lies between Hampton and Twickenham.

Twickenham Green c 1920s. The scene is still remarkably unchanged. No 15 is just out of the picture on the right - the house identical to the one on the right here. (Photo courtesy of Twickenham Museum)

Twickenham Green c 1920s. The scene is still remarkably unchanged. No 15 is just out of the picture on the right. The house is identical to the one shown on the right here. (Photo courtesy of Twickenham Museum)

So, there it was – a proof that satisfied me. For from Fulwell the direct route took them right past Twickenham Green – probably along the very pavement you see on the right of the above photograph.

Kitty and Betty continued through Twickenham Junction and East Twickenham, crossed over the river and  were next seen in Richmond at 2.50 am. Alerted to the fire, the police at Hampton Court had sent constables on bicycles to scour the roads. This clearly produced no immediate result but  telegraphic messages had also been sent out to all police stations which may be why, in the early hours of the morning, police in Richmond and Kew were on the look out for likely suffragette suspects.

Making no attempt to keep out of sight, Kitty and Betty were walking along Kew Road when, at the corner of Pagoda Avenue, they attracted the attention of a policeman . He followed them down to Lower Mortlake Road where, as they seemed to be lost, he questioned them. They then wandered through the streets, with the police constable following, until in the end he it was who pointed the way to their destination – West Park Road.

Police in this area may well have been on particular alert because suffragettes had recently damaged plants in the Kew Gardens orchid house  and had set the tea room alight.  A middle-aged, middle-class suffragette, Ella Stevenson, who lived in Cumberland Road, a few streets away from West Park Road, had in March been found guilty of putting phosphorous into the post box at post office in Richmond’s main street, George Street . Edwy Clayton, a scientific chemist whose home, ‘Glengariff’, in Kew Road Kitty and Betty had walked past – was at this very moment on trial at the Old Bailey on a charge of conspiracy connected with the Kew Gardens tea room and other WSPU arson attacks.

Thanks to the producer’s iPhone map, we were better equipped than Kitty and Betty and, weaving our way through the Kew streets, arrived with little difficulty at what had been their ‘safe house’. This in 1913 was the home of Dr Casey and his wife, Isabella, and daughter, Eileen. The two women were dedicated suffragettes and Mrs Casey’s action in allowing a key to her house to be in the possession of Kitty Marion, a woman she did not know, seems to have shocked the court at the subsequent trial even more than the arson itself.

Thanks  to the spontaneous kindness of the present owner we were able to record briefly inside the atmospheric Edwardian villa – noting original interior fittings – such as the fireplace with the overmantle mirror in which Kitty must surely have glanced as she and Betty waited for what they must have expected – the knock of a policeman on the door.

The knock of course did come, Kitty and Betty were tried, found guilty of arson and sentenced. Kitty went on hunger strike and was released under the Cat and Mouse Act on a couple of occasions. On the second she was taken to Nurse Pine’s Nursing Home at 9 Pembridge Gardens in Kensington (she mentions ‘Piney’ in her autobiography) from where, after a decoy was employed, she escaped.

Nurse Catherine Pine ran her nursing home in this large Kensington villa

Nurse Catherine Pine ran her nursing home in this large Kensington villa

From then until her re-arrest in January 1914 Kitty Marion was on the run, working, as she put it, to ‘communicate with the government’. It was a dangerous time.


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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I can conduct small groups on tailor-made ‘Suffragette’ walks in London.  Email me –  – to discuss your requirements.

In 2013 the Women’s Library@ LSE (once the fondly-remembered Fawcett Library) reopened inside the LSE Library.

For visitors to the Women’s Library looking to take a break from their labours there are many sites of interest around the LSE that relate directly to the Woman’s Cause.

The following posts (perhaps accessed on the move from tablets or smart phones) will, I hope, help to bring the area alive for you.

Where And What Was Clement’s Inn?

The St Clement’s Press

The Suffragette 1911 Census Boycott: Where And What Was The Aldwych Skating Rink?

Where And What Was The ‘Votes For Women Fellowship’?

Suffragettes and Tea Rooms: The Gardenia Restaurant

Suffragettes and Tea Rooms: The Eustace Miles Restaurant And The Tea Cup Inn

The Raid On WSPU Headquarters, 1913

What Would Bring Campaigning Women to Buckingham Street, Strand?

Mrs Ayres Purdie, Kingsway And (Alas) Covent Garden Tube Station

Millicent Fawcett and Queen Elizabeth I

Lincoln's Inn House 2013, former headquarters of the WSPU

Lincoln’s Inn House 2013, former headquarters of the WSPU

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Books And Ephemera By And About Women for Sale: Catalogue 201








Woman and her Sphere

Catalogue 201



 See # 31A


Elizabeth Crawford

5 Owen’s Row

London EC1V 4NP



Index to Catalogue

Suffrage Non-fiction: Items 1-7

Suffrage Biography: Items 8-13

Suffrage Ephemera: Items 14-65

Suffrage Ephemera from the Isabel Seymour Collection 66-85

Suffrage Postcards: Real Photographic: Items 86-133

Suffrage Postcards: Suffrage Artist: Items 134-136

Suffrage Postcards: Commercial Comic: Items 137-156

General Non-fiction: Items 157-322

General Biography: Items 323-387

General Ephemera: Items 388-508

General Postcards: Items 509-516

Music Hall Sheet Music & Postcards: Items 517-530

General Fiction: Items 530-614

Women and the First World War: Items 615-623

Suffrage Non-fiction


  1. CRAWFORD, Elizabeth Art and Suffrage: a biographical dictionary of suffrage artists Francis Boutle 2018

Discusses the lives and work of over 100 artists, each of whom made a positive contribution to the women’s suffrage campaign. Most, but not all, the artists were women, many belonging to the two suffrage artists’ societies – the Artists’ Suffrage League and the Suffrage Atelier. Working in a variety of media – producing cartoons, posters, banners, postcards, china, and jewellery – the artists promoted the suffrage message in such a way as to make the campaign the most visual of all those conducted by contemporary pressure groups. Mint – NEW

[14963]                                                                                                                  £20.00

  1. DOBBIE, B.M. Willmott Dobbie A Nest of Suffragettes in Somerset: Eagle House, Batheaston Batheaston Society 1979

The story of the Blathwayt family and their involvement in the women’s suffrage movement – copiously illustrated by the photographs taken by Col Blathwayt. Soft covers – fine condition – quite scarce

[14905]                                                                                                                  £35.00

  1. METCALFE, A.E. Woman’s Effort: a chronicle of British women’s fifty years’ struggle for citizenship (1865-1914) B.H. Blackwell 1917

Essential for suffrage studies – the nearest thing there is to a contemporary study of the WSPU.  In very good condition – and very scarce. In very good condition – with the remains of the dustwrapper present…though in pieces. On the free front endpaper a previous owner has noted ‘St Cath burninng p 288’ – referring to the arson attack on St Catheriine’s Churcch, Hatcham

[14896]                                                                                                                  £95.00

  1. MORGAN, David Suffragists and Liberals: the politics of woman suffrage in Britain Basil Blackwell 1975

Fine in d/w

[12133]                                                                                                                  £15.00

  1. PAXTON, Naomi Stage Rights!: the Actresses’ Franchise League, Activism and Politics 1908-58 Manchester University Press 2018

Naomi Paxton has mined a wide range of sources to demonstrate the society’s many facets over its long life. Paxton analyses the networks that contributed to the cohesiveness of the AFL, noting that, with members of leading theatrical families, such as the Moores and the Forbes-Robertsons, prepared to take the lead, less well-established AFL members had the assurance of influential allies. An excellent contribution to ‘suffrage studies’. Mint

[14902]                                                                                                                  £30.00

  1. STRACHEY, Ray The Cause: a short history of the women’s movement in Great Britain G. Bell 1928

This copy belonged to Lord McGregor – author of ‘Divorce in England’, a book that includes a very useful bibliography of works on women’s rights. He has laid in the book a collection of newspaper cuttings, from the 1950s to 1970s, relating to the position of women. The copy of the book is in good condition – but he had bought it as an ex-library copy and has added a few pencilled notes on the back pastedown. An interesting association copy.

[12059]                                                                                                                  £55.00

  1. HOLDSWORTH, W..A. The Married Women’s Property Act 1882 George Routledge 1882

A study of the 1882 Married Women’s Property Act, by a Gray’s Inn lawyer. In his introduction he hails it as ‘undoubtedly one of the most important measures of social legislation to which Parliament has of recent years given iits assent. Laid in is a copy of the 1882 Act itself, together with an 1893 Act to Amend the Married Women’s Property Act, 1882. In good condition

[14900]                                                                                                                  £55.00


Suffrage Biography


  1. (DUNIWAY) Ruth Barnes Moynihan Rebel for Rights: Abigail Scott Duniway Yale University Press 1983

Abigal Scott Duniway (1834-1915), American suffragist, journalist, and national leader.  Fine in d/w

[1205]                                                                                                                      £5.00

  1. (KENNEY) Annie Kenney Memories of a Militant Edward Arnold 1924

Annie Kenney’s autobiography. Published in the WSPU colours – purple cloth, with white and green stripes. – the cloth covers have suffered from damp – but internally the book is in very good, clean, tight condition. A very scarce book

[14907]                                                                                                                SOLD

  1. (LYTTON) Lady Betty Balfour (ed) Letters of Constance Lytton William Heinemann 1925

Inlaid are cuttings about Lady Constance and an intriguing photograph of  a portrait of her in which she is wearing both her hunger-strike medal and a ‘Holloway’ brooch. It’s not an image that I’ve seen before.  Purple cloth cover, with design by Sylvia Pankhurst in purple, white and green (to match the cover of ‘Prisons and Prisoners’), is a little knocked and rubbed – internally good

[14085]                                                                                                                  £80.00

  1. (MILL) John Stuart Mill Autobiography Longmans, Green 1873

First edition in original green cloth. Internally very good – a little wear at top and bottom of spine

[14974]                                                                                                                  £75.00

  1. (MONTEFIORE) Dora Montefiore From a Victorian to a Modern E. Archer 1927

Autobiography of a life-long member of the awkward squad – suffragist and socialist.  Very good – scarce

[14914]                                                                                                                £120.00

  1. (SHARP) EVELYN SHARP Unfinished Adventure: selected reminiscences from an Englishwoman’s life John Lane 1933

Evelyn Sharp was a ‘New Woman’ – novelist, journalist and active suffragette. This is her autobiography. Very good -blue cloth covers slightly faced and small nick at top of spine –  scarce

[14912]                                                                                                                  £70.00

Suffrage Ephemera


  1. AINSLIE, Kathleen Votes for Catharine Susan and Me Castell Bros, no date (c 1910)

Most delightful children’s picture book – containing all the stereotypes of the militant suffrage campaign depicted in the most droll, disarming and attractive fashion. As far as I know it is the only children’s book centred on the suffrage campaign – and I love it..I have done some research on the author/artist – about whom nothing seems to be known – and discover that she was born in 1858, one of the several children of the vicar of Langport, Somerset. It would seem that it was only after his death in 1903, after which she lived with her mother, whose name, interestingly, was Catharine Susan, that Kathleen produced about a dozen children’s books. In 1911, around the time ‘Votes for Catharine Susan and Me’ was published, mother and daughter were living at Broadstone in Dorset. She apparently published nothing more and died in 1936.

The illustrations in this copy are beautifully crisp – wonderful colour (it was printed in Bavaria) – and the book, in pictorial wrap-around cover, is in goodish condition although the pages have been strengthened some time in the past wiith discreet taping to strenthen the slimspine.. An ink inscription on the title page reads ‘K.P.’ from ‘J.M.A.’

[14906]                                                                                                    SOLD


Appropriately this lovely bookplate is attached to a copy of  Edward Gordon Graig’s book ‘Nothing or The Bookplate’, with a handlist by E. Garrick, J.M. Dent, 1931. Among Craig’s many pursuits was the art of bookplate design and this edition includes 25 of  bookplates he designed for, among other, his mother, Ellen Terry, his sister Edith Craig, Pamela Colman Smith, and Isadora Duncan.

After the end of the First World War Vera Holme was part of ‘Greengates’ artiistic community in Kirkcudbrightshire which centred on Jessie M. King, which explains the commissioning of the bookplate – which references Vera (presumably) as a Joan of Arc figure

First edition thus (an edition with more bookplates had been published by Chatto & Windus in 1924).  Like that edition, this was printed at the Curwen Press. In very good condition, no dustwrapper. Vera Holme’s bookplate is in fine condition.

[14971]                                                                                                     SOLD

  1. CAHILL, Richard Staunton A Lecture on Woman’s Rights, Cockermouth, 1888

The painting depicts a woman in neat, plain attire standing on a platform addressing an (unseen) audience. Behind her is a poster that reads ‘A Lecture on Woman’s Rights Will be Delivered [?] in the Lecture Hall of the Young Men’s Christian Association Cockermouth on Wednesday Mrs Smith.’

The painting is signed by the artist Richard Staunton Cahill and is dated 1888.

I can certainly place the artist, Irish-born though he was, very close to Cockermouth in the late 1870s/early 1880s.

The artist: -Richard Staunton Cahill – born c 1827 in Co Clare. Son of Charles Staunton Cahill who, in 1828/9, was a leading supporter of Catholic Emancipation and of Daniel O’Connell (the Liberator)

In 1850 Richard Cahill entered the Royal Hibernian Academy. He lived in Dublin but by 1863 had moved to London and then by 1875 was living in Nottingham and teaching at the Government School of Art there. He still had a Nottingham address in 1877 but by 1879 when he submitted works to the Royal Hibernian Academy of Arts his address was given as ‘Keswick’.

In the 1881 census he was living, with his sister, Agnes, in a boarding house in High Street, Crosthwaite. He gave his occupation as ‘artist’, ‘master School of Art’ – so it is possible that he was still employed in Nottingham and spent holidays in Cumberland.

In 1882 when he submitted works to the Irish Exhibition of Arts and Manufactures in Dublin his address was again given as ‘Keswick’.

On 24 March 1883 ‘The Graphic’ printed a poem Cahill had written protesting against the threat to ‘Lakeland’ posed by the new railway and roads. He must have been closely associated with Canon Rawnsley (who was about to move into Crosthwaite Vicarage) and the Lake District Defence Society. With his nephew (I think) C.S. Cahill, Richard Cahill wrote several songs – ‘Songs of the Lake’ – including ‘Beautiful Keswick’ and ‘Charming Windermere’.

As to the subject of the painting: – I know of a couple of women’s suffrage lectures given in Cockermouth in the early years of the suffrage campaign. On 1872 Friday 24 May 1872 a travelling speaker, Jessie Craigen, gave a lecture on ‘Women’s Rights at the Court House, Cockermouth – but I know from written descriptions that Jessie Craigen was large and blowsy – the antithesis of the neat figure in this painting.

Lydia Becker, the leader of the women’s suffrage meeting in Manchester, held a meeting in Cockermouth on Tuesday 17 January 1882 – but, again, her features are very distinctive and these are not they. For full details of the 19th century women’s suffrage campaign in Cumberland see my Women’s Suffrage Movement: a regional survey p 24.

I suspect that the woman lecturer is in fact Miss Mary Smith of Finkle Street in Carlisle, whose ‘Autobiography of Mary Smith: schoolmistress and non-conformist’ was published in 1892.  For many years Mary Smith ran a girls’ school from her home and was renowned for giving Penny Readings.

In 1868 she initiated a correspondence with Lydia Becker, who addressed her in a letter of 20 May 1868, as ‘Mrs Smith’.

On 2 April 1869, with Mary Smith’s encouragement, Miss Becker gave a ‘woman’s rights’ lecture in Carlisle, which was followed by the founding of the Carlisle branch of the National Society for Women’s Suffrage, with Mary Smith as its honorary secretary. The Carlisle branch was still in existence until at least 1872 but then fades from view.

In her autobiography Mary Smith is at pains to describe how she bought ‘plain and comfortable clothing’, writing ‘Nor was I ever ashamed of being plainly dressed’. One who knew her commented that ‘not unfrequently her dress was decidedly antiquated and old fashioned.’ The figure in the painting cuts a very neat figure, attired certainly in plain and comfortable clothing. Mary Smith’s Autobiography does not include any representation of her, alas, but I feel as certain as one can be – with no absolute proof – that it is she who is delivering the ‘Woman’s Rights’ lecture from that platform. I have, as yet, been unable to find a newspaper report of the lecture.

Mary Smith died in 1891 and had been ill for a few years before – so I rather think that the lecture had taken place considerably earlier than the date given on the painting. By 1888 (by which time Cahill can be found at a London address) ‘Woman’s Rights’ was no longer really the term that would be used. The suffrage campaign had been making some headway and by 1888 the term ‘women’s suffrage’ would have been more likely to have been used than ‘woman’s rights’, which was more of a 1870s usage.

The painting – oil on canvas – is in very good condition.

[13698]                                                                                                 SOLD

  1. CAZALET, Thelma Mrs Pankhurst

An article about Mrs Pankhurst by Thelma Cazalet (MP for Islington East) in ‘The Listener’ (6 Nov 1935) in a series ironically titled ‘I Knew A Man’. See also item ??. A 4-pp article – including photographs. The late-lamented ‘The Listener’ was a substantial journal in those days – this issue is 55 pages – in goodish condition – the front page is present but detached.

[14454]                                                                                                                  £20.00


Single-sided leaflet (22cm high x 14cm wide) giving details of the main events of Mission Week. In good condition

[14541]                                                                                                                  S0LD


photographed by Lena Connell, 50 Grove End Road, London NW. The close-up photograph is mounted on stiff card, which carries the logo of the Suffrage Shop and the words ‘Published by the Suffrage Shop’.Her name has been scratched on the emulsion, presumbably by the photographer, and Cicely Hamilton has signed the image, which probably dates from late-1909/1910. In fine condition – overall 20 cm high x 13 cm wide.

[14167]                                                                                                                £180.00

  1. DYSON, Will Cartoons The Daily Herald 1914

A Second Collection of cartoons drawn by the celebrated Australian cartoonist, Will Dyson (1880-1938), and published in ‘The Daily Herald’. Among the 40 are 6 directly related to the suffrage campaign. In fair condition  the middle 2pp have come loose from the staples and the edges are a little rubbed. Could be broken up and the prints framed individually. Large format – 36 x 26 cm – paper covers

[13801]                                                                                                                  £85.00

  1. ELMY, Elizabeth Wostenholme Woman’s Franchise: the need of the hour ILP 2nd ed, no date [1907]

A campaigner for women’s suffrage since the mid-1860s, she had put aside a lifetime’s aversion to party politics and joined the Manchester ILP in 1904. This article was originally published in the ‘Westminster Review’. In her concise style she analyses the events of the previous 40 years and demands that Liberal MPs who profess to support women’s suffrage honour their pledges. Very good – withdrawn from the Women’s Library

[15002]                                                                                                                  £65.00


‘Great Newspapers Reprinted’ facsimile, published c 1974 – the Emily Wilding Davison memorial issue. A nefarious dealer has attempted to remove the ‘British Museum Library’  stamp that indicates that this is reprinted from the original – but I can assure you that this is a facsmilie not the real thing! Fine

[14434]                                                                                                                  £20.00


See # 23


designed by Sylvia Pankhurst and was awarded to members of the WSPU who had been imprisoned. It was first mentioned in the WSPU paper, ‘Votes for Women’, on 16 April 1909 and was described as ‘the Victoria Cross of the Union’. [It pre-dated the Hunger-Strike medal]. The design of the brooch is of the portcullis symbol of the House of Commons, the gate and hanging chains are in silver, and the superimposed broad arrow (the convict symbol) is in purple, white and green enamel. The piece is marked ‘silver’ and carries the maker’s name – Toye & Co, London, who were also responsible for the hunger strike medals. The brooch is in fine condition. A very scarce item

[14881]                                                                                                             £5,000.00


Budapest June 15-20 1913. This is a small advertising paper label/stamp (it has a sticky back) for the Congress – showing two graceful women stretching their arms, to hold hands across the globe. The type-face is very 1913. A pretty and interesting memento of the last pre-war international women’s gathering. Fine -amazingly ephemeral – and  unusual. With the background printed in blue

[14505]                                                                                                                  £85.00


to Willoughby Dickinson MP, dated 21 May 1914, written from her London home, 43 Belgrave Sq., in support of his Amendment to the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Bill then before Parliament. As she writes ‘ seek to enact that no woman can be forced to accept a foreign nationality against her will’ and that she had ‘brought this subject before many meetings of Women’s Liberal Associations and have never failed to secure a unanimous vote as to the desirability of this change’. She also included a note: ‘lady Aberconway desires to direct your attention to the position of Married women under the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Bill…She hopes that you will support those amendments to this Bill which give to British women who marry Aliens the right to retain British nationality.’ The Amendment failed. Laura McLaren had been campaigning for women’s suffrage since her youth in the early 1870s. Dickinson was an active supporter of women’s suffrage and women’s interests throughout his parliamentary career. Excellent mss letter and note – fine condition

[14976]                                                                                                                  £75.00



studio photograph by W & D. Downey, no date (probably 1880s). Mounted – very good image – with narrow strip at left-hand edge of mount where it may have been fixed in an album

[14365]                                                                                                                  £40.00


studio photograph by W & D Downey, 57 & 61 Ebury Street, London, together with a printed brief biography.

[14029]                                                                                                                  £40.00

  1. MISS MORGAN, OF BRECON The Duties of Citizenship Women’s Local Government Society c 1912

Extracts reprinted from a paper read at the Annual Conference of the National Union of Women Workers, Manchester, October 27th 1896. By the time this leafet was issued Miss Morgan had been Mayor of Brecon, 1911-12. 4-pp – good – withdrawn from the Women’s Library

[13833]                                                                                                                    £5.00

  1. NATIONAL LEAGUE FOR OPPOSING WOMAN SUFFRAGE Mr J.R. Tolmie’s Reply to Mr L. Housman’s Pamphlet NLOWS no date (1913)

The pamphlet of Laurence Housman’s to which this refers is ‘The Physical Force Fallacy’. Pamphlet no 37 issued by the National League for Opposing Woman Suffrage. 4-pp – very good

[13145]                                                                                                                  £65.00


See # 30


circular, enamel. The upper half is red and carries the words ‘National Union Of”, the middle horizontal section is white with ‘Women’s Suffrage’ and the bottom half is green with ‘Societies’. The maker’s name is W.O. Lewis of Howard St, Birmingham. In very good condition – ready to wear

[14879]                                                                                                                £750.00


celluloid and tin (?) circular badge in the NUWSS colours of red, white and green. ‘National Union of’ is written around the upper (red) arc with ‘Societies’ around the bottom (green) half – and ‘Women’s Suffrage’ cross central (white) band. Original paper label at back – ‘NUWSS Parliament Chambers 14 Gt Smith St Westminster’ – dates the badge to between 1911 and 1917. In fine

[14884]                                                                                                                SOLD


            WOODEN SHIELD

Across the top of the shield a painted banner, in red on white, reads ‘NUWSS North-Eastern’ with the number ’25’ encircled in green on the right-hand side. Underneath is painted the well-known NUWSS ‘tree’ showing the branches of the NUWSS federations, each with a number attached, these relating to the number of societies that comprised each federation.The ’25’ indicates that at this time the North-Eastern Federation was composed of 25 societies. Eighteen federations are shown, suggesting to me that the shield dates from c 1913. ‘Founded 1867’ is painted at the base of the ‘tree’. The shield is 53.5cm  (21″) at its widest and is 49cm (19.5″) high – a substantial object. I wonder if every federation had a similar shield? The NUWSS paper, ‘Common Cause’, 22 March 1918, reveals that when decorating the Queen’s Hall for the ‘Victory’ celebrations, there were 21 federation shields available, ‘with heraldic devices’ –so quite different from this one with the NUWSS ‘tree’ image. A shield certainly unique to the North-Eastern Federation – in good condition.

[14890]                                                                                                                      £4000      



Copper plate, obviously positioned at the entrance to a building, directing visitors to a branch of the NUWSS ‘Law Abiding First Floor’. Most unusual. The NUWSS was always keen to emphasis its ‘Law abiding’ nature to distinguish it from the militant WSPU. Most unusual – I’ve never seen another such item. In good condition.

[14955]                                                                                                            SOLD


  1. PANKO

A suffragette card game, first mentioned in ‘Votes for Women’ in December 1909. The advertisement claimed ‘Not only is each picture in itself an interesting memento, but the game produces intense excitement without the slightest taint of bitterness’. The illustrations on the cards are by E.T. Reed, a ‘Punch’ cartoonist and the manufacturer was Messrs Peter Gurney Ltd. The cards in this set are in good condition – held in a rather battered slipcase. But rather unusually, a real bonus, the orignal Rules sheet is present.  All in all an excellent example of the merchandise generated by the suffragette movement.

[14945]                                                                                                    SOLD


sittting at a desk –  turning three-quarters on to the camera, her costume probably dating from c 1907. Photograph  15cm wide x 20cm  high (6″ x 8″) is mounte. There is some slight white spotting on the surface of the image

[14935]                                                                                                                  £30.00


5 March 1913.’The Majesty of the Law’ is the caption. Blind Justice stands with the scales in one hand and her sword wrapped round with a cloth labelled ‘Hunger Strike’. A house is in flames in the background. Full-page -very good

[14319]                                                                                                                  £12.00


13 March 1912, full-page, suffragettes wield hammers in the background as Roman-type matron, bearing a paper labelled ‘Woman’s Suffrage’ comments ‘To think that, after all these years, I should be the first martyr’. the heading is ‘In the House of Her Friends’.

[14322]                                                                                                                  £12.00


21 January 1912 – full page – ‘The Suffrage Split’. Sir George Askwith (the charismatic industrial conciliator), as ‘Fairy Peacemaker’, has tamed the dragon of the Cotton Strike – and Asquith, wrestling to keep a seat on the Cabinet horse turns to him ‘Now that you’ve charmed yon dragon I shall need ye to stop the strike inside this fractious gee-gee.’

[14323]                                                                                                                  £12.00


30 Nov 1910, scene is a suffragette demonstration, ‘Votes for Women’ flags flying. Two young street urchins observe and comment.  Caption is ‘Man of the World (lighting up), “Well ‘ave to give it ’em, I expect, Chorlie”‘. Half-page illustration

[14324]                                                                                                                  £12.00


24 June 1908. ‘The Militant Sex’. Haldane, the secretary of state for war, attired as Napoleon, comments on the serrried ranks of women marching behind him, banners aloft – to the WSPU’s ‘Woman’s Sunday’ rally in Hyde Park and thinks ‘Ah! if only I could get the men to come forward like that!’ A full-page illustration

[14330]                                                                                                                  £12.00


18 April 1906. ‘A Temporary Entaglement’ – a scene from ‘Vanity Fair’. Sir Henry Campbell Bannerman as Josh Sedley holds the wool as The Suffragette (aka Becky Sharp) winds it into a ball. The allusion is to the news that ‘The Prime Minister has promised to receive a deputation on the subject of Female Suffrage after Easter’. Full-page cartoon by Bernard Partridge

[14333]                                                                                                                  £12.00


5 October 1927. As a young woman takes her gun from the ghillie an elderly gentleman (the Conservative Party) looks concerned and remarks ‘I hope she’s got enough ‘intuition’ not to let it off in my direction’. The remark is explained: ‘The question of extended suffrage for women [ie for those between 21 and 30] [in whose ‘intuition’ Mr Baldwin reposes so much confidence will be raised in the approaching Conference of the Conservative Party]. Full page

[14334]                                                                                                                  £12.00


23 May 1928. A gentleman identified as Lord Banbury kneels in a ring (it’s an allusion to the Royal Tournament which was doubtless on at the time) and opens his umbrella to defend himself against the horde of cloche-hatted women who are rushing towards him carrying their flag for the ‘Equal Franchise Bill’. In the debate on the Representation of the People Act on 21 May 1928 Lord Banbury had attempted to move its rejection. Full-page cartoon – good – one corner creased

[14335]                                                                                                                  £12.00


17 January 1906. ‘The Shrieking Sister’. The Sensible Woman (with her fur stole around her neck) addresses the dishevelled ‘suffragette’ (with a ‘Female Suffrage’ flag tied to her umbrella) – ‘You – help our cause? Why, you’re its worst enemy!’ They are standing outside a hall that advertises ‘Great Liberal Meeting’. A full-page Bernard Partridge cartoon

[14336]                                                                                                                  £12.00


18 June 1913. ‘Atmosphere of distrust at a garden party owing to rumour that a militant is present’. Love the stylish 1913 clothes – but all – men and women  and children – are all looking over their (literal and proverbial) shoulders. Half-page cartoon

[14341]                                                                                                                  £10.00


26 March 1913. ‘Burglary Up-To-Date’. Burglar has taken his swag from a safe and now writes ‘Votes for Women’ across the jemmied door. Half-page cartoon – good condition

[14343]                                                                                                                  £10.00


19 March 1913. At a railway wayside halt the stationmaster asks the signalman to keep an eye on ‘the ole gal on the platform’ while he has his dinner. The signalman doesn’t think she’ll come to any harm but the stationmaster explains ‘I’m not thinkin’ of ‘er ‘ealth. I’m thinkin’ about my station. She might want to burn it down.’ Half-page cartoon – very good

[14344]                                                                                                                  £10.00


5 March 1913. ‘The child is daughter to the woman’ is the caption. Suffragette mother returns after a strenuous day and is expecting some important correspondence. Her daughter, however, reveals she has torn up the letters to provide a paperchase for her dolls. Mother expostulates: ‘..Haven’t I often told you that letters are sacred things?’ A comment on suffragette attacks on post-boxes. A half-page cartoon – very good

[14345]                                                                                                                  £10.00


5 February 1913. ‘How Militant Suffragettes Are Made’. A cheeky caddie explains to a visiting golfer that the old green they are passsing gets flooded and ‘so they’ve give it up to the lydies.’ A half-page cartoon – very good

[14347]                                                                                                                  £10.00


29 January 1913. ‘Rag-Time in the House’ is the caption. Members of the government are enjoying the ‘Suffrage Free & Easy Go As You Please’ dance.  Asquith, with an ‘Anti’ label, is keeping an eye on Lloyd George (wearing a ‘Pro’ armband) jitterbugs with Sir Edward. The sub-text is ‘Sir Edward Grey’s Woman Suffrage Amendment produces some curious partnerships’. Full-page cartoon – very good

[14349]                                                                                                                  £12.00


23 June 1912. ‘Votes for Men and Women’ is the caption. John Bull is sitting comfortably and turns round as Nurse Asquith enters carrying a baby labelled ‘Franchise Bill’. In answer to JB’s query ‘she’ replies: ‘Well, Sir, it’s certainly not a girl, and I very much doubt if it’s a boy’. The government’s Franchise and Registration bill was given its first Reading on 18 June 1912. Full-page cartoon – very good

[14350]                                                                                                                  £12.00


27 March 1912. A young suffragette is standing on a table addressing a crowd: ‘I defy anyone to name a field of endeavour in which men do not receive more consideration than women!’ A Voice from the Crowd retorts: ‘What about the bally ballet!’  A half-page cartoon – very good

[14351]                                                                                                                  £10.00


7 December 1910. ‘Voter’s Vertigo’ is the caption. It is the second general election of 1910 and the voter is all in a tizz..muddling up all the campaign slogans..(e’g. ‘don’t tax the poor man’s dreadnought’ and ‘home rule for suffragettes’). A quarter of a page cartoon – very good

[14352]                                                                                                                    £8.00


24 December 1908. Two male Anti-suffragists, perhaps lounging at the Club, are talking about the suffrage campaign. One says ‘The idea of their wantin’ to be like us!’ while the other agrees ‘Yes, makin’ themselves utterly ridiculous’. Half-page cartoon – very good

[14354]                                                                                                                  £10.00

  1. PURPLE WHITE AND GREEN MARCH The Woman’s Press 1910

Sheet music for this WSPU-inspired marching song. Words and Music by R.H.P, Arranged for piano by W. Vivian Hatch. ‘R.H.P’ was Reginald Henry Pott (1870-1957), hon treasurer of the Men’s League for Women’s Suffrage and a stockbroker. William Vivian Hatch (b c1857) was a sometime ‘music professor’. Both men lived in Kensington. The March begins; ‘Hark! to the Fiife Hark! to the drum double U.S.P.U…’ The March was first heard at the 18 June 1910 WSPU ‘Prison to Citizenship’ procession through London and was then played by bands during the 23 July 1910 procession. The cover carries the WSPU’s purple, white and green colours. 8pp In very good condition – with one nick in the bottom right-hand corner – not affecting any text. Most unusual…I don’t think I have ever seen a copy of this music before.

[14970]                                                                                                                SOLD


is the caption to this full page George Belcher cartoon, published in the Tatler on 12 August 1908. Two impoverished old women are talking in the street – a unconsciously joky exchange – which is the amusing part  for the audience of the day (I won’t go into the rather laboured humour which, if it has any suffrage relevance, is only to mock woman’s supposed illogicality)- but what is interesting to us is that one of the old dears is standing holding an advertising bill for the magazine, ‘New Age’, on which the roughly sketched in legend reads something like ‘A Suffragette’s reply to Belfort Bax.’. For the book that sparked off the debate in New Age see item ? Bax had published an article ‘Feminism and Female Suffrage’ in the issue for 30 May, to which Millicent Murby had written a reply that appeared in the issue of  6 June, to which Bax had made a riposte in the issue of  8 August. Single page – very good

[12661]                                                                                                                  £15.00

  1. SPALDING, Frances (ed) The Charleston Magazine: Charleston, Bloomsbury and the Arts Charleston Trust issue 19, Spring/Summer 1999

Includes an article ‘A Rich Network of Associations: Bloomsbury and Women’s Suffrage’, written by me (seems a very long time ago). Also an article on Frank Rutter that touches on his suffrage sympathies – and other interesting articles. A much lamented magazine. Fine – card covers

[12652]                                                                                                                  £12.00

See # 56 – Banner with attached label


AN AMAZING FIND – a banner bearing the legend ‘Votes for Women in 1912’ The banner was created for the 14 July 1912 demonstration organised by Sylvia Pankhurst in Hyde Park to mark Mrs Pankhurst’s birthday.Still  attached to it is a luggage-type label bearing the information ‘Platform 2′ Votes for Women 1912’. This, however, doesn’t refer to a railway platform but to the Hyde Park Platform 2, chaired by Georgina Brackenbury at which the speakers were Mrs Cameron Swan, Mrs Massy and Miss Amy Hicks. The banner is 193 cm (76 inches) at its widest x  111 cm (44 inches) high, with a machine-stiched pocket running down the right-hand side into whiich a stiffening rod was presumably inserted. Small rings have been hand-sewn to the top and the bottom of this pocket. The left -hand side of the banner is shaped as a sideways ‘V’ – all the better to flutter in the wind. The material is a cream cotton and the lettering is painted on in green.

‘Votes for Women’, 19 July 1912, p 686 gives details of those who worked on the banners for the demonstration. The main work was carried out in the studio in the garden of 2 Phillimore Terrace, Kensington, the home of Mrs Ferguson, mother of Rachel. Particular mention is made of Norah Smyth, who ‘was responsible for 100 flags wiith painted mottoes’ and of Olive Hockin, who took over when Norah was absent. Could either of them have painted this banner?

With another similar, the banner was discovered some years ago by a vintage clothes dealer at the bottom of a bag of garments she had purchased from a house in Old Brompton Road, Chelsea..In nearly 100 years they hadn’t moved far. I wonder who had taken them home from Hyde Park?

The banner is in surprisingly good condition – in that it is intact, no moth holes, the painted lettering is still quite bright. The marks that it does show are consonant with having been carried in a great demonstration – a little muddied  and marked..

[14921]                                                                                                           £8,400.00


Saucer (12.25cm) made by Williamsons of Longton for the WSPU in 1909, initially for use in the refreshment room of the Prince’s Skating Rink Exhibition and then sold in aid of funds. The white china has strikingly clean, straight lines and is rimmed in dark green. Each piece carries the motif, designed by Sylvia Pankhurst, of the ‘angel of freedom’ blowing her trumpet and flying the banner of ‘Freedom. In the background are the intitials ‘WSPU’ set against dark prison bars, surrounded by the thistle, shamrock and rose, and dangling chains. For more information on the WSPU china see my website – This piece originally belonged to a well-known suffragette. In fine condition

[14750]                                                                                                                £450.00

See # 58


Side plate (17 cm) made by Williamsons of Longton for the WSPU in 1909, initially for use in the refreshment room of the Prince’s Skating Rink Exhibition and then sold in aid of funds. The white china has strikingly clean, straight lines and is rimmed in dark green. Each piece carries the motif, designed by Sylvia Pankhurst, of the ‘angel of freedom’ blowing her trumpet and flying the banner of ‘Freedom. In the background are the intitials ‘WSPU’ set against dark prison bars, surrounded by the thistle, shamrock and rose, and dangling chains. For more information on the WSPU china see my website – This piece originally belonged to a well-known suffragette. In fine condition

[14756]                                                                                                                £800.00


See # 59


Cup, saucer and small plate made by Williamsons of Longton for the WSPU in 1909, initially for use in the refreshment room of the Prince’s Skating Rink Exhibition and then sold in aid of funds. The white china has strikingly clean, straight lines and is rimmed in dark green with a green handle to the cup. Each piece carries the motif, designed by Sylvia Pankhurst, of the ‘angel of freedom’ blowing her trumpet and flying the banner of ‘Freedom. In the background are the intitials ‘WSPU’ set against dark prison bars, surrounded by the thistle, shamrock and rose, and dangling chains. For more information on the WSPU china see my website – One each of cup, saucer and plate – a trio – together- in very good condition

[14894]                                                                                                             £2,000.00

  1. SYLVIA PANKHURST Humanity The Women’s International Matteotti Committee Oct/Nov 1932

Issue No 1. Sylvia Pankhurst founded the Women’s International Matteottii Committee in 1932 ‘to undertake the humanitarian task, too long delayed, of freeing from intolerable persecution the widow and children of the murdered Italian Member of Parliament, Giacomo Matteotti…Whilst devoting ourselves immediately to this urgent cause, the Committee iis not unmindful of the heart-rending cries of diistress which arise from the political prisoners in the dungeons and the penal islands of Italy.’ Manifestation of Sylvia’s fight against Italian fascism. This may have been the only issue. A copy is held in the British Library but I cannot discover any other institutional holding. Comprises 4 large paes – with punch holes down the left-hand margin, not affecting any text. Very scarce

[14972]                                                                                                      SOLD



Advertisement for Plasmon Oats, showing the hunger striker in her cell, a bowl of oats – and its packet – on bench beside her. The vapour is steaming towards her spelling out the message ‘(V)Oats for Women’. The young woman is dressed in a white blouse with purple and green trim and a purple skirt trimmed in green, so the message that she is a suffragette is not missed. A prison guard looks through a barred window into the cell to view the effect of this hot, nourishing dish (round the rim of the bowl is written ‘70% more nourishment than any other oats’.  Plasmon was a proprietory dried milk that was added to various products including oats..hence, Plasmon Oats. The artist was Anita Reed, who was born in Finsbury Park in 1891 and in 1911 (around the time of this item) was still only 20. On the 1911 census she is described as an artist and was living at home in Twickenham with her parents and younger brother. There is not much information available about her..but by 1925, still an artist, she had emigrated to Canada, to where returned at the end of that year after a visit to the Twickenham home.

I think thisversion of the image dates from the 1960s, reproduced on a calendar, from which it has been removed and tben framed – the frame now rather riickety. The poster is 30cm x 18cm and, with the wooden frame, the item measures 33cm x 22 cm. Another example of the adaptability of a suffragette trope. I note that the V & A holds an example of the image which is described as a ‘poster’, although their catalogue doesn’t give dimensions. In good condition – most unusual

[14909]                                                                                                                  £60.00


This issue of the part-work ‘History of the 20th Century’ includes a section on the suffrage campaign – written by Trevor Lloyd (author of ‘Suffragettes International’). Paper covers – large format

[14074]                                                                                                                    £5.00

  1. THE MARLBOROUGH THEATRE, Holloway Road, London

Theatre programme for the Boxing Day 1910 performance of ‘The Musical, Mirthful, Spectacular Pantomime DICK WHITTINGTON’ – a most appropriate choice as Dick Whittington is very much a local hero in Holloway. In this production the cook to Alderman Fitzwarren is ‘Eliza, a Suffragette’, played by Dan Crawley (1872-1912), an Irish comedian who had considerable success as a pantomime dame.  Clearly at this time the idea of a ‘suffragette’ was a good fit for a cross-dressing humourous character. Incidentally, the Marlborough Theatre was designed by the renowned Frank Matcham and had opened in 1903. The programme is packed with advertisements for local businesses, including one for the Dimoline Piano Co whose owners were members of the WSPU and regular advertisers in ‘Votes for Women’. In good condition, with decorative cover

[14439]                                                                                                                  £35.00


supplement to ‘The Graphic’, 1885, heralding the supplements to be issued in Nov and Dec 1885 on ‘Parliamentary Elections and Electioneering in the Old Days’. As its advertisement for the series The Graphic has chosen to use George Cruickshank’s ”The Rights of Women; or a view of the hustings with female suffrage, 1853.’ We see on the hustings the two candidates –  ‘The Ladies’ Candidate’- Mr Darling’ and ‘The Gentleman’s Candidate – Mr Screwdriver – the great political economist’. Elegant Mr Darling is surrounded by ladies in bonnets and crinolines – Mr Screwdriver by ill-tempered-looking boors. The audience contains many women accompanied, presumably, by their husbands who are holding aloft a ‘Husband and Wife Voters’ banner. Another banner proclaims the existence of ‘Sweetheart Voters’ and riding in their midst is a knight in armour holding a ‘Vote for the Ladies’ Champion’ pennant. There do not appear to be many supporters of the opposition.

Single sheet 28 cm x 20.5 cm – a little foxed around the edges of the paper but barely afffecting the good, clear image of Crucikshank’s cartoon.

[13690]                                                                                                                £160.00


commemorative WSPU tissue paper souvenir  – ‘ ‘Official Programme for the Great Demonstration’ in Hyde Park’ on 21 June 1908 – reproducing portraits of the speakers -including Mary Gawthorpe, Annie Kenney, Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, Emmeline Pankhurst, Adela Pankhurst, and Nellie Kenney. At the centre of the piece is a map of Hyde Park, showing the positions of the 20 platforms for the speakers. Printed by Mrs S. Burgess, Buckingham Street, Strand. The border is of purple violets and green leaves – fitting in with the WSPU’s new colour scheme, first revealed on this occasion. A supremely ephemeral piece- in very good condition – colours bright – slight crease down thc centre where it was once folded. Would look great framed

[14891]                                                                                                                £950.00

Suffrage Ephemera from the Isabel Seymour Collection

Marion Isabella Seymour [known as Isabel Seymour] (1882-1968) was born in Mayfair, London, the eldest child of Charles Read Seymour (1855-1935), a barrister, and Marion Frances Violet Seymour [née Luxford] (1855-1900). In 1891 the Seymour family lived at The Elms, Hartley Wintney, Hampshire. Isabel now had two younger brothers and a sister and the household was attended by a governess, six servants, and a coachman. Another sister was born in 1893. Charles Seymour was a Justice of the Peace and chairman of the parish council.

At the beginning of the 20th century the family moved to a new house, Inholmes Court, Hartley Wintney, designed for them in 1899 by an architect friend, Robert Weir Schulz. The move may have taken place just after the death of Isabel’s mother on 21 October 1900.

In 1902 Charles Seymour remarried. His new wife, Adelaide Bentinck, the daughter of a Hampshire neighbour, was 28 years old, only about eight years older than Isabel. There were to be two more children of this second marriage.

We know nothing of Isabel’s education other than she was fluent in German and that her spelling in English could be a little erratic. She was probably educated at home for a time by a series of governesses – of which one may perhaps have been German? Her slightly younger sister, Elinor, was a pupil at a girls’ boarding school at Southbourne, Hampshire, in 1901 and it may be that Isabel did attend that school, or a similar establishment, for the final years of her education.

There is no trace of Isabel in the 1901 census; it may be that she was abroad.  It is likely that at this stage of her life Isabel was supported by her father but that, later, as his finances grew more precarious (he only left c £600 when he died in 1934), she did have to provide something towards her own living costs. Certainly, by the time Isabel Seymour became involved with the WSPU she was living In London, at an address, 36 Chenies Street Chambers [address sourced from a letter from her in the Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 29 November 1907] that was just the place for a young woman such as her. For these ‘Ladies’ Residential Chambers’, the brainchild of Millicent Fawcett’s sister, Agnes Garrett, were intended for ‘educated working women’, a place where they could have their own room(s) away from the indignities of the boarding house. [I write extensively about the ‘Ladies’ Residential Chambers’ in my Enterprising Women: the Garretts and their circle ­– and there is one rather idiosyncratic article about the establishment on my website – see] So Isabel was among others similarly minded, who, although most probably pro-suffrage, were less likely to be sympathisers of the WSPU but, rather, to be in favour of the constitutional methods of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies.


Items in Isabel Seymour’s collection suggest that she had joined the WSPU no later than mid-1906, probably earlier. Isabel Seymour was interviewed by Antonia Raeburn for The Militant Suffragettes, a book she had begun working on in 1964, although it was not published until 1973, five years after Isabel Seymour’s death. Raeburn described her as ‘a young friend of the Pethick Lawrences [who] came to work in the office [at Clement’s Inn] when it first opened. The fact that she was friendly with the Pethick Lawrences might suggest that Isabel Seymour had been involved in some kind of ‘mission’ or ‘social’ work. Certainly in 1904, when still living at home in Hampshire, she had been appointed as an assistant visitor to the children of the local Workhouse.

Interviewed by Antonia Raeburn, for her book, The Militant Suffragettes (1973), Isabel Seymour described the early days in Clement’s Inn:

‘It was very happy-go-lucky – envelope addressing, and the almost daily tea party. Mrs Pankhurst used to descend but she wasn’t permanently there. I remember the sort of feeling that she was still a bit of an outsider. But of course Christabel was always at Clement’s Inn. The Pethick Lawrences had put the spare room of their flat at her disposal. They really were like overshadowing guardian angels.’

As a full-time worker for the WSPU Isabel Seymour would have been paid; the general rate seems to have been £2 a week. By 1907 her skill as a suffrage speaker had been recognised and, as well as speaking at London meetings, she went on tours around the country, visiting Scotland on several occasions, where she was always particularly well received. In 1909 she was congratulated on her excellent German when on a WSPU speaking-tour of Germany, which she followed up with a speech in Brussels. In 1910 she took her suffrage tour to Austria and Hungary. In a reported speech in her home village of Winchfield in Hampshire she particularly mentioned ‘the benefits derived by women who had the franchise in New Zealand and Australia and she conclude by appealing to all to think over this question in their minds seriously, and ask themselves whether as women they did not wish to leave the world better than they found it, so that the next generation should have to enter the arena of the labour market handicapped and with little or no protection as was the case now. Many of them had given up ease, money, and even their lives for this great cause, because they saw the great wrongs under which many of their sisters laboured. Their cause was going forward, and truth, justice, liberty, and progress would certainly win.’ [Votes for Women, 14 April 1911 p 462]

From her earliest days with the WSPU Isabel Seymour was ‘Hospitality Secretary’, which involved finding accommodation for country members who came to London to attend meetings and demonstrations. As WSPU militancy increased in 1909 and more and more women were imprisoned and then went on hunger strike, she handed over this post to another WSPU activist and instead became ‘Prisoners’ Secretary’. Thus more onerous task involved dealing with all aspects of WSPU imprisonment – attempts to get bail, the treatment of prisoners once incarcerated, dealing with enquiries from prisoners’ families, keeping track of prisoners and their sentences, informing readers of Votes for Women of the prisoners still held in any one week, and helping organise the ‘release’ demonstrations.

It is not known when she left England but in September 1916 Isabel Seymour was living in Canada, her address being the Okangan Gate Ranch, Enderby, British Columbia. Other than that she was living there with a friend, it is not clear what had brought her to Enderby, a very small town, with a population of 700+ in 1921, However, on 15 September 1916 Isabel Seymour wrote a letter to the Woman’s Dreadnought ( a paper edited by Sylvia Pankhurst) revealing that ‘yesterday I became a voter’. She explained how the British Columbia had ‘decided to have a Referendum on “Women’s Suffrage and Prohibition” – the first Referendum ever held here. There has been but little time to carry propaganda out, and therefore this vote has come as the result of the genuine conviction on men’s part that we have earned our vote I may say that the work the women have done in England since the war had a great effect on the result here. Personally I have been speaking on the platforms of both candidates in our constituency, and they were only pleased to have me. There has been no opposition at all and I never met any man who was going to vote against the suffrage. We have had encouragement and help all the time.

I never thought to get a vote here; when we came it was so far away and no one cared. How is the W.S.F.? If I ever come back to England I shall come and work for you, but now I feel as if my work were starting out here…’

However Isabel Seymour did not remain in Canada but returned to England after the death of the friend with whom she lived. She sailed into Southampton from New York, on 27 December 1920 and by March 1922 was elected a member of the Hampshire County Council, as representative of the St Paul and St Thomas ward in Winchester. She was now living in the town, with her father and step-mother in Bereweeke House, a large Edwardian house standing in spacious grounds. She remained a councillor for many years, serving for some time on the Education Committee, taking a special interest in trying to achieve equality for women head-teachers.

Isabel’s father died in 1934 and it is likely that the Bereweeke household then broke up. Certainly by 1939 Isabel, still a county councillor, was living with Dorothy Pearce, an old friend from Hartley Wintney, at Littlemount, 7 Bassett Row, Southampton. After Dorothy’s death in 1963 Isabel continued to live in the house until her own death in 1968. Emmeline Pethick Lawrence had remained a friend all her life, leaving Isabel Seymour a bequest in her will.


The following items all once belonged to Isabel Seymour.



Large single sheet, printed and published by Francis & Co (stalwart supporters of the suffrage movement)containing the 7 stanzas of this exuberant paean to the resouceful suffragettes – mouthed by the politicians of the day. Josephine Gonne (1867-1917) was the wife of Charles Melvill Gonne, a ‘Member of the Men’s Political Union for Women’s Enfranchisement. The photo of Capt Gonne being escorted by two policemen during the ‘Black Friday’ tumult in Nov 1910 was reproduced as a WSPU postcard.. This lengthy ditty must date from 1909/1910 as there is a mention of the hunger strike. ‘We’ve seen them punched and beaten/On the finngers breasts, and ribs,/ And trodden on by horses,/And shut in noisome cribs,/…etc. Most unusual – I’ve never seen ‘Next!’ before. In good condition

[14873]                                                                                                    SOLD


A form asking for the recipient to sign the Declaration – ‘I am desirous that women should vote in Parliamentary elections on the same terms as men’ -that was drawn up by Clementina Black in 1906. ‘Ever woman signing must either be or have been engaged in: Work for money; work for a philanthropic, social, or eductional kind; artistic, scientific or literary work. In the event it was signed by 257,000 professional and other women. This is a rare survivor – 1 sheet rather marked

[14855]                                                                                                                £150.00


Leaflet printing a letter sent by the London Central Committee of the WSPU to the editor of ‘The Tribune’, noting that the WSPU were raising a ‘propaganda fund of £1000’ and explaining that ‘our organization consists of women of all classes working shoulder to shoudler to secure the enfranchsement of their sex’. ‘In the Canning town branch alone 150 women are pledged to go to prison if need be, and the same spirit prevails in all the branches.’ This must have been one of the first WSPU appeals for money – because Sylvia Pankhurst has put her name to the letter as hon sec. and, although Emmeline Pethick Lawrence is treasurer, the WSPU office has not yet been opened in Clement’s Inn. In good conditon – a little creasing around the edges

[14861]                                                                                                                £250.00



8.30 to 11.30. Long 4-page white card with deckle edges, printed in green, the front giving the names of the WSPU Committee, with Edith How Martyn as hon sec, and names of the Reception Committee – who included Viscountess Harberton, Mrs Cobden Unwiin, Mrs Cobden Sanderson, Mrs Pankhurst, Elizabeth Robins, and Mary Neal. Page 2 gives the programme for the evening – with addresses by Christabel Pankhurst and Annie Kenney (‘formerly of the Lancashire Cotton Operators’ Union’). Page 3 gives Announcements of Forthcoming Events – which were to conclude with a Public Meeting on the Sunday evenin in the Caxton Hall. Page 4 is a rhyming alphabet – beginning ‘A stands for Asquith who sought the back door!/B is for Banner he cowered before/C is for Constables, ‘stalwart’ and strong/D Deputation they hustled along/ etc etc. A most unusul and attractive card dating from the early days of the WSPU. In very good condition

[14826]                                                                                                                £500.00


A glossy press photoraph of a policeman in uniform with two other men, possibly plain-clothes police, standing in front of Clement’s Inn. The sign for the Fabian Society is clearly shown – and the basement Fabian Society was next door to the basement WSPU office. On the reverse is the date Oct 13th 1908. The police were searching for Christabel and Emmeline Pankhurst after they had urged the public to ‘Rush the House of Commons’.

[14815]                                                                                                                £180.00


Single printed sheet issued at the time of the 1909 Bermondsey by-election by 9 male supporters of women’s suffrage, including H.N. Brailsford, Laurence Housman and Dr Hector Munro. In view of the treatment that women suffrage prisoners were receiving at the hands of the Liberal government, they appealed to voters ‘to see to it that whatever else may happen at this particular bye-election, the Government candidate is left at the bottom of the pile.’ In fact it was the Labour candidate that took that position, though the Liberal was beaten into second place by the Conservative candidate. In good contion, a little creased and nicked around the edges. Unusual – and very scarce

[14875]                                                                                                                £200.00



See # 72



WOMEN’S EXHIBITION AND SALE OF WORK AT THE PRINCE’S SKATING RINK, KNIGHTSBRIDGE, May 13th to 26th (inclusive) 2.30pm to 10pm each day’ 4-ppleaflet, printed in purple, white and green, describing the 12 Political Peepshows – from No 1 Legal Robbery ‘Taxation without Representation is Robbery’ – set in Downing Street where the Right Hon Ll…G..Chancellor of the Exchequer is picking the woman’s pocket. Policeman: Stop, thief. ll…G..Why? It is only a woman.’…to No 12 The Winner This represents the Suffragette yacht, steered by Christabel, ust passing the winning post,, while the Government boat is far in the rear.’ So interesting to see the description of each of these models, which otherwise can seem rather mysterious. In very good  condition – extremely scarce

[14865]                                                                                                                £800.00


At the Rehearsal Theatre, Maiden Lane, Strand, WC on Saturday January 15 at 7.45 An Entertainment given by the Drummers’ Uniion Proceeds to be given to the WSPU A Fairy Play entitled ‘The Dream Lady; by Netta Syrett. A new Suffrage Play ‘The Reforming of Augustus’ – also a Cockney Dialogue. Those taking part were Miss Rachel Ferguson, Irene and Janet McLeod, Hzel Roberts and Walter Cross  and others. Irene McLeod was 18 at the time and her sister Janet, and Rachel Ferguson (whose entry I wrote for the ODNB) were 17. Single sheet, in good condition except for small tear at bottom edge. Any material related to the Drummers Union is extremely scarce

[14871]                                                                                                                £300.00


at the Portman Rooms, Baker Street, London W on Friday, December 8th [1911]. This was the elaborate fair organised by Sylvia Pankhurst, for which the stall holders were dressed in 18th-c costume. Red card, printed in black. Most unusual.

[14819]                                                                                                                £300.00


8-pp pamphlet printing the ‘Old London Cries to be sung at the Opening Ceremony every day, For this fund-raising fair Sylvia Pankhurst had designed 18th-c costumes for the stall-holders – but I hadn’t realised there was a vocal dimension to the scene. Here are set out the stallholders’ cries, taken from a range of ballads, nursery rhymes and rounds -someone had been busy researching. A wonderful find – in fine condition (slight rusting on the staples) – extremely scarce

[14868]                                                                                                                £800.00


writing ‘on behalf of a large number of working women to ask that you will give us an interview before the discussion on Votes for Women takes place in the House of Commons…..etc’ In fair condition – wth nicks around the edges and one slight tear with no loss of text

[14857]                                                                                                                £100.00


The meeting was held at 3 St George’s Court, Gloucester Road, London SW7 (‘By kind permission of Mrs Goulden Bach’). The speaker was Adeline Bourne. Ada Goulden Bach was Emmeline Pankhurst’s sister. Plain white card in fine condition- an unusual survivor



See # 78



4-pp leaflet issued to give notice of the ‘Memorial Service’ in St George’s Street, Hart Street, Bloomsbury that was the culmination of the procession through the London streets on 14 June 1913. The actual funeral ceremony took place in Morpeth. The leaflet carries on its cover the portrait of EWD in graduate cap and gown and inside, on one page, a short article ‘Why did she stop the King’s Horse?’ [the answer given is ‘ awake the conscience of the people, a human life would be needed as sacrifice’] and on the other ‘A Petition to the King’ [‘..she offered up her life as a PETITION TO THE KING’]. On the back page are the details of the Memorial Service and the list of hymns to be sung – including ‘Fight the Good Fight’ – 4 verses of which are printed. There is no publisher to the leaflet – ie it does not carry the WSPU imprimatur. I wonder who organised its printing? In most unusually fine conditionthe one

[14813]                                                                                                                £500.00


cyclostyled notes, perhaps produced by Isabel Seymour as the WSPU’s Prison Secretary, detailing the arrests and punishment meted out on Lady Constance both as herself and as,, in disguise, as Jane Warton. It’s not clear what was the purpose of the document – it may have been intended for newspaper editors

[14850]                                                                                                                £100.00



Good quality white card, printed in red and black – and headed ‘Votes for Women’. The printed verse is taken from a poem ‘Egypt’ by the Rev J.M. Neale, published in 1858. It was presumably chosen because of its words of exhortation, which include, ‘Go Forward!/Forward, when all seems lost, and the cause looks utterly hopeless;/Forward, when friends fall off, and enemies gather around thee;/ ‘etc In fine condition – extremely rare

[14866]                                                                                                                £300.00

  1. PANKHURST, Christabel Broken Windows WSPU

Leaflet in which Christabel Pankhurst justified the actions taken by the ‘militant suffragists’ on 1 March 1912 – when they took part in a mass window-smashing demonstration. An extremely interesting and important statement. Double-sided leaflet (26cm high x 19cm wide) – in very good condition – with and c a few nicks

[14863]                                                                                                                £150.00


11 questions concerning his behaviour re introducing a Government measure for Manhood Suffrage in 1913…Among the many other pertinent questions ‘Why do you expect us to accept your personal and unofficial advocacy of Woman Suffrage as a substitute for united and offiicial action on the part of the Government as a whole? In good condition – some creasing. 2-sided leaflet, printed in purple

[14858]                                                                                                    SOLD


4-page programme for one of the 8 matinée performances in April and May 1907 of this so-popular play, staged at the Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, under the joint management of John Vedrenne and Harley Granville Barker,. The programme includes the cast list, of course, and a notice that ‘At these Matinées, Ladies are earnestl requested to remove Hats, Bonnets, or any kind of head dress. This rule is framed for the benefit of the audience…’   Kate Frye (suffrage diarist) saw the play on 16 April and wrote in her diary ‘I loved the piece – it is quite fine – most cleverly written and the characters are so well drawn. Needless to say the acting was perfection as it generally is at the Court Theatre and the second act – the meeting in Trafalgar Square – ought to draw the whole of London. I was besides myself with excitement over it ‘  This is presumably Isabel Seymour’s own programme, folded into her pocket or handbag and then kept for the rest of her life.In good condition – exteremely scarce

[14864]                                                                                                                £800.00


will be resumed on Friday the 26th inst at 4 Clement’s Inn, at 7.45 sharp – short cyclostyled notice – to which Winfred Mayo has added a comment ‘Will you enlare on this & say how necessaryy it is for us to get new speakers etc.’ A glimpse behind the WSPU scenes. 1 sheet – a little creased

[14852]                                                                                                                £100.00


Large flyer printed in purple, white and green – with Sylvia Pankhurst’s ‘angel of freedom’ device. The quotes are from Lord Beaconsfield [Disraeli in 1873], the Marquess of Salisbury in  1888 and 1896 and the Right Hon A.J. Balfour 1892. All the comments were in support of women’s enfranchisement, so I assume the leaflet was aimed at Conservative voters. No date – but post-1908. In fair condition – some creasiing and right edgee is chipped with one slight tear into text [with no loss]

[14838]                                                                                                                £100.00


Suffrage Postcards – Real Photographic



The card was photographed and published by F. Kehrhahn & Co, supporters of the WSPU. I’ve seen a photograph of the poster actually on an advertisiing hoarding, but here it is used, I imagine, as a publicity card for the demonstration. The poster shows photographs of the main 20 – recognisable – speakers and gives detaiils of the arrangements for the demonstration. In very good condition though a little faded- unposted – very scarce

[14892]                                                                                                    £140.00 SOLD


Bournemouth held a Carnival celebrating 100 years of its existence on July 1910. It was an extravagant affair with numerous ‘grotesque cars’ taking part. Among them was one devoted to that most topical of figures, the suffragette. The ‘Western Daily Press’, 8 July 1910, commented on the ‘bevy of suffragettes with enormously swollen heads’ and here they are, photographed on the day.on a postcard published by Harvey Barton & Son Ltd, Bristol. Fine, unposted

[14747]                                                                                                                  £55.00


real photographic postcard- issued by the ‘Women’s Social and Political Union’. She is sitting at her desk looking at a book.  Glossy photograph by Lafayette. This card was purchased in the International Suffrage Shop at 15 Adam St, just off the Strand and was sent to France by Helene Putz, who lived at 10a Belsize Parade, Haverstock Hill, London NW. The 1911 census finds her living there, aged 60, and working as a foreign correspondent – dealing with patent medicines. The message, written in French, tells the recipient that Lady Con is another of the important women working ‘pour la franchise’.

[14694]                                                                                                                £120.00


Portrait photograph of Gladys Keevil ‘National Women’s Social and Political Union, 4 Clement’s Inn, WC’. The photographer was Lena Connell, who, in an interview in the Women’s Freedom League paper, ‘The Vote’, dated her involvement with the suffrage movement to this commission – photographing Gladice Keevil soon after her release from prison in 1908. Gladice was considered one of the prettiest of the WSPU organisers. You can read about her in my ‘Reference Guide’.  In fine conition – unposted. Unusual

[14918]                                                                                                                £120.00


Mrs Cobden Sanderson is shown, head and shoulders, in profile on this most unusual card. The photo is by Max Parker and the caption is: ‘Mrs Cobden Sanderson. Women’s Freedom League’. I would imagine that this is quite an early card -c 1908. Fine – unposted

[14965]                                                                                                                £180.00


Full-lenth portrait by F. Kehrhahn of Bexleyheath.- captioned ‘Mrs Pankhurst’ She is wearing a WSPU badge and holds a dangling lorngnette in one hand while the other rests on an open book, is wearing a WSPU badge. Very good – unposted

[14536]                                                                                                                £120.00


real photographic postcard of one of the suffrage campaigns most earnest workers and one of the WSPU’s earliest supporters. The photograph was taken in May 1907 when the WSPU-nominated photographer called at her home.  A postcard from the Postcard Album compiled by Women’s Freedom League members Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson.. Fine – unposted – scarce

[14932]                                                                                                                £120.00

  1. THE WOMEN’S GUILD OF EMPIRE Banner Making for the Great Demonstration, April 17th 1926

The Women’s Guild of Empire organized a demonstration at the critical time just before the General Strike to protest against ‘strikes and revolutionary activity in industry’. The march, which brought women (including, wrote Elsie Bowerman to the editor of ‘The Spectator’, ‘wives of working women who have had personal experience of strikes’) from all regions of the country to London, ended with a Mass Meeting in the Albert Hall, with Mrs Flora Drummond in the chair.The photograph shows Mrs D inspecting banners – ‘Efficiencey and Enterprise’ and another, the wording partially hidden, which may say ‘Best within the Empire’ (??) Issued by the Women’s Guild of Empire c 1926. Fine – unposted – unusual

[13686]                                                                                                                  £95.00

  1. THE WOMEN’S GUILD OF EMPIRE Mrs Flora Drummond – Controller-in-Chief

Card published c 1926 by The Women’s Guild of Empire, from its headquarters at 24 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1.  Fine -unposted –  unusual

[13685]                                                                                                                  £95.00


placard is planted beside young girl standing on a barrel under the Trafalgar Square lion. A policeman walks in the background. One of a posed photographic Raphael Tuck series. Fair – a little creased – posted

[13663]                                                                                                                  £25.00


Head and shoulders photographic portrait – wearing a square-necked dress and with her hair up in her characteristic knot. Captioned ‘Miss Christabel Pankhurst. The National Women’s Social and Political Union. 4 Clement’s Inn, WC’. Published by Sandle Bros. Fine – unposted

[14572]                                                                                                                  £80.00


photographed in the flower-bedecked straw bonnet given to her by Frederick Pethick Lawrence. The bonnet trails long ribbon ties – very romantic. I always thought this choice of bonnet very interesting. Christabel certainly looks very young and pretty in it – but the look in her eyes is pretty steely. Pethick Lawrence selected this image to be used as the frontispiece for Christabel’s posthumous autobiography, ‘Unshackled’. I think the image dates from 1909.  A postcard from the Postcard Album compiled by Women’s Freedom League members Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson. Fine – unposted – scarce

[14617]                                                                                                                £180.00


real photographic postcard – headed ‘Votes for Women’ of ‘Countess Russell Member of National Executive Committee Women’s Freedom League’. The card depicts Mollie Russell photographed in a studio setting.. She was the second wife of Frank Russell, 2nd Earl Russell, the elder brother of Bertrand. Mollie was described by George Santyana as ‘a fat, florid Irishwoman, with black curls, friendly manners and emotional opinions: a political agitator and reformer.’ The photograph in no way belies the physical description. She and Russell were divorced in 1915.  A postcard from the Postcard Album compiled by Women’s Freedom League members Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson. Fine – unposted – scarce

[14612]                                                                                                                  £50.00


Captioned ‘Mrs Pethick Lawrence. The National Women’s Social and Political Union, 4 Clements Inn, WC’ – she is wearing a coat with a heavy fur collar and lapels and is standing with her hands in her pockets. Published by Sandle Bros. A postcard from the Postcard Album compiled by Women’s Freedom League members Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson. In fine condition – unposted

[14571]                                                                                                                  £80.00


The photo is captioned ‘Mrs Pethick Lawrence Joint Editor of ‘Votes for Women’, Honorary Treasurer, National Women’s Social and Political Union. 4 Clement’s Inn.’ The photographer, F. Kehrhahn, has an entry in my ‘Art and Suffrage: a biographical dictionary of suffrage artists’. Fine – unposted

[14574]                                                                                                                  £80.00


real photographic postcard- issued by the ‘Women’s Social and Political Union’. She is sitting at her desk looking at a book.  Glossy photograph by Lafayette.  A postcard from the Postcard Album compiled by Women’s Freedom League members Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson. Fine – unposted

[14603]                                                                                                                £120.00


Alison Neilans was an organizer for the Women’s Freedom League. In this photograph she is wearing the WFL’s Holloway badge. She served several terms of imprisonment and during one in 1909 went on hunger strike. Issued by the Women’s Freedom League, this is a very scarce card.  A postcard from the Postcard Album compiled by Women’s Freedom League members Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson. Fine – unposted

[14561]                                                                                                                £180.00


Captioned ‘National Union of Women’s Social and Political Union, 4 Clement’s Inn, WC’. She is wearing a brooch that may have been designed by   C.R. Ashbee.  A postcard from the Postcard Album compiled by Women’s Freedom League members Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson. Fine – unposted

[14599]                                                                                                                  £80.00


‘Member of the Executive Committee of the Women’s Freedom League, 1 Robert St, Adelphi, London WC’. The photograph is by Elliot and Fry – published by the London Council of the Women’s Freedom League.  A postcard from the Postcard Album compiled by Women’s Freedom League members Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson. Fine – unposted

[14600]                                                                                                                £180.00


member of the National Executive Committee, WFL. office 18 Buckingham Street, Strand, London. 30 Gordon Street, Glasgow.’ An early card – published by the Women’s Freedom League not long after their break with the WSPU and before they moved into their Robert Street office. Cicely Hamilton faces straight on to the camera.  A postcard from the Postcard Album compiled by Women’s Freedom League members Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson.. Fine – unposted – scarce

[14633]                                                                                                                £180.00


photographed by the Rotary Photograaph Co. Not exactly a ‘suffrage postcard’ but she was, of course, a supporter and this postcard is from the Postcard Album compiled by Women’s Freedom League members Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson. Fine – unposted

[14611]                                                                                                      £30.00 SOLD


Photograph by Foulsham and Banfield, headed ‘Votes for Women’ and captioned ‘Women’s Freedom League’ 1 Robert St, Adelphi, London W.C.,’ She wears, I think, the WFL ‘Holloway’ badge at ther throat and, certainly, a WFL flag brooch on her bosom. She had joined the WSPU in London in 1907, working for some time in the London office and then as a peripatetic organizer  before leaving the WSPU to do the same kind of work for the Women’s Freedom League.  A postcard from the Postcard Album compiled by Women’s Freedom League members Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson. Fine – scarce – unposted

[14643]                                                                                                                £180.00


photographed by Lena Connell. In this studio photograph Sarah Benett is wearing her WFL Holloway brooch; she was for a time the WFL treasurer. She was also a member of the WSPU and of the Tax Resistance League. The card was published by the WFL and is from the Postcard Album compiled by Women’s Freedom League members Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson.

[14631]                                                                                                                £180.00


Christabel was on trial, charged with inciting crowds to ‘rush’ the House of Commons – but she and the Pethick Lawrences look very cheerful. Published by Sandle Bros for the National Women’s Social and Political Union.  A postcard from the Postcard Album compiled by Women’s Freedom League members Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson. Fine – unposted – scarce

[14646]                                                                                                                £180.00


Women’s Freedom League, 1 Robert Street, Adelphi, London WC. She had been a member of the WSPU, and, as such had endured one term of :imprisonment, before helping to found the WFL in 1907. She is, I think, wearing her  WFL Holloway brooch in the photograph. Card, published by WFL, is from the Postcard Album compiled by Women’s Freedom League members Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson..Fine – unusual – unposted

[14636]                                                                                                                £180.00


Headed ‘Women’s Freedom League’ and captioned: ‘Offices 18 Buckingham St, Strand, London 30 Gordon St, Glasgow.’ She is sitting in a carved armchair – wearing her WFL ‘Holloway’ brooch.  A postcard from the Postcard Album compiled by Women’s Freedom League members Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson.. Fine – unposted

[14650]                                                                                                                £180.00


Headed ‘Votes for Women’ and captioned ‘Women’s Freedom League. Offices: 1 Robert Street, Adelphi, London WC’. Bettina Borrmann Wells was born in Bavaria c 1875 and in 1900 married an Englishman, Clement Wells. She joined the WSPU in 1906- but by 1908 had left to join the WFL. She was imprisoned for 3 weeks in Oct 1908 after demonstrating at Westminster.  The Hodgson Collection contains a (different) postcard from Bettina Borrmann Wells to ‘Miss Hodgson’ asking for help with ‘special work’, which may be the picketing  She later spent much of her life in the US. A striking photo- she’s rather magnificently dressed.  A postcard from the Postcard Album compiled by Women’s Freedom League members Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson. In fine condition -unusual –  unposted

[14563]                                                                                                                £180.00


Headed ‘Votes for Women’ and captioned ‘Mrs Borrmann Wells. A  Suffragette at Work in Prison’. Women’s Freedom League. 1 Robert Street, Adelphi, London WC. Here Bettina Borrmann Wells is dressed in prison clothes and is washing the floor of her ‘prison cell’- with bucket and cloth to hand. One in the series of cards produced by the WFL to show their leading members in day-to-day activities. This was probably produced after Mrs Borrmann Wells had been imprisoned in Oct 1908.  A postcard from the Postcard Album compiled by Women’s Freedom League members Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson. In fine condition – unusual

[14564]                                                                                                                £180.00


photographed in profile  -seated. A psotcard from the Postcard Album compiled by Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson. Fine – unposted

[14580]                                                                                                                  £60.00


studio photograph. She is seated and facing the camera, looking wry. No photographer, publisher or suffrage affiliation given. A postcard from the Postcard Album compiled by Women’s Freedom League members Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson. Fine – unposted

[14591]                                                                                                                  £60.00


photographed – and the card published – by Mrs Albert Broom. A lovely photograph – Mrs D is sitting, three-quarters on (the National Portrait Gallery holds a copy of this postcard). A postcard from the Postcard Album compiled by Women’s Freedom League members Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson. Most unusual. Fine – unposted

[14596]                                                                                                                £180.00


photographed by Alice Barker of Kentish Town Road and published by the Women’s Freedom League. A head and shoulders portrait in profile. A postcard from the Postcard Album compiled by Women’s Freedom League members Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson. Fine – unposted

[14592]                                                                                                                  £80.00


photographed by M.P. Co (Merchant’s Portrait Co). ‘President, The Women’s Freedom League, 1 Robert Street, Adelphi, London W.C.). She is sitting in an armless chair – with her left arm leaning on a table.  A postcard from the Postcard Album compiled by Women’s Freedom League members Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson. Fine – unposted

[14616]                                                                                                                  £60.00


head and shoulders portrait by Merchants Portrait Co. She is facing straight at the camera and would appear to be wearing a length of WFL ribbon at her neck. Published by the WFL.   A postcard from the Postcard Album compiled by Women’s Freedom League members Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson. Fine – unposted

[14632]                                                                                                                  £80.00


photographed by M.P.Co (Merchant’s Portrait Co) as ‘Hon. Sec Women’s Freedom League’. It seems to me that for this photograph she wearing the ‘Holloway’ badges issued to erstwhile prisoners by both the WSPU and the WFL.  A postcard from the Postcard Album compiled by Women’s Freedom League members Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson. Fine – unposted

[14609]                                                                                                                £180.00


Hon Sec Women’s Freedom League, ARCS, BSc – photographic postcard headed ‘Votes for Women’. Photographed by Ridsdale Cleare of Lower Clapton Road. A postcard from the Postcard Album compiled by Women’s Freedom League members Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson. Fine – unposted

[14594]                                                                                                                £180.00


is standiing on the pavement – under a striped awning – about to enter a cab. This photograph was taken on same occasion as #14619 – and Mrs Pethick Lawrence and Christabel have probably preceded her into the cab. I have the idea that they have just left a suffrage meeting – perhaps at the Queen’s Hall.  A postcard from the Postcard Album compiled by Women’s Freedom League members Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson. Fine – unposted – scarce

[14620]                                                                                                                £180.00


no photographer or publisher given. She sites in a high-backed chair wearing a dress with heavily embroidered sleeves and bodice. Her right hand rests on her cheek.  A postcard from the Postcard Album compiled by Women’s Freedom League members Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson. Fine – unposted

[14640]                                                                                                                £120.00


headed ‘Votes for Women’ – captioned ‘Women’s Freedom League’ – she is wearing her WFL ‘prisoner’s badge’ and a WFL ‘flag badge’.  A postcard from the Postcard Album compiled by Women’s Freedom League members Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson.  Very good – unposted – scarce

[14598]                                                                                                                £180.00


‘Founder and Hon sec, National Women’s Social and Political Union, 4, Clement’s Inn, Strand, WC’ – photograph of Mrs Pankhurst by Schmidt, Manchester – probably dating from c 1908- certainly after the Women’s Freedom League broke away from the WSPU in the autumn of 1907.  Mrs P may be wearing a circular ‘Votes for Women’-type badge – but it is pale in colour and merges into her embroidered blouse. The card is captioned ‘Votes for Women’. Fine- unusual – unposted

[14575]                                                                                                                  £60.00


photographed by Lena Connell. An unusual card – it isn’t captioned ‘Votes for Women’ aand makes no mention of the WSPU. Mrs Pankhurst is seated, three-quarters on to the camera, with her hands clasped in front of  her. I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen this card before. It was included in the Postcard Album compiled by Edith, Grace and Florence Hodgson. Fine – unposted

[14579]                                                                                                                £180.00


photographed by Lena Connell. An unusual card – it isn’t captioned ‘Votes for Women’ aand makes no mention of the WSPU – however  Mrs Pankhurst, who is seated, three-quarters on to the camera, with her hands clasped in front of  her, is wearing what looks like a WSPU badge. I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen this card before. It was included in the Postcard Album compiled by Edith, Grace and Florence Hodgson. Fine – unposted

[14589]                                                                                                                £180.00


photograph by Jacolette.  Her ‘Holloway Prison’ brooch is pinned to her artistic blouse. A postcard from the Postcard Album compiled by Women’s Freedom League members Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson. Fine – unposted

[14595]                                                                                                                  £60.00


‘National Women’s Social and Political Union, 4, Clement’s Inn, Strand, WC’ – photograph of Mrs Pankhurst by Schmidt, Manchester – probably dating from c 1908- certainly after the Women’s Freedom League broke away from the WSPU in the autumn of 1907.  Mrs P may be wearing a circular ‘Votes for Women’-type badge – but it is pale in colour and merges into her embroidered blouse. The card is captioned ‘Votes for Women’.  A postcard from the Postcard Album compiled by Women’s Freedom League members Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson., Fine- unusual – unposted

[14637]                                                                                                                  £80.00


A lovely photographic head and shoulders portrait of her – captioned ‘Mrs T Billington-Greig Hon Organising Sec Women’s Freedom League 1 Robert St, London WC’. The photo is by Brinkley and Son, Glasgow. Fine – unposted – unusual

[14573]                                                                                                                £120.00


photographed by Lena Connell, sold by the Suffrage Shop (‘temporary offices, 31 Bedford St, Strand, WC’). A postcard from the Postcard Album compiled by Women’s Freedom League members Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson. Fine – unposted

[14593]                                                                                                      SOLD


published in Rotary Photographic Series. A rather angelic-looking muscular Christian – and fervent supporter of women’s suffrage. He spoke out against the White Slave Trade.  A postcard from the Postcard Album compiled by Women’s Freedom League members Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson.. Fine – unposted

[14652]                                                                                                                  £65.00


‘Arrested August 19th, 1909’ They are shown wating outside 10 Downing Street as part of the campaign to picket the Prime Minister in a vain attempt to force him to accept a petition. Fine condition – scarce – unposted

[14567]                                                                                                                £180.00




Suffrage Artists’ Cards



‘I’m not dnyin’ the women are foolish. The Almighty made ’em to match the men.’ Mrs Poyser is a character from ‘Adam Bede’ – a woman with a rough exterior and a heart of gold. Here is is indicating the House of Commons (‘the men’) as she holds up her ‘No Taxation without Representation’ standard. The card was published by the Artists’ Suffrage League and was posted in, I think, June 1909 to Miss Allwood at the Dairy College, Kingston, Derby, and the sender notes ‘Bought this at a Woman’s Suffrage Garden Fete.’ Fair – a little creased – unusual

[14024]                                                                                                                  £85.00


Postcard by C. Hedley Charlton, printed and published by the Artists’ Suffrage League. For information on C(harlotte) Hedley Charlton see my ‘Art and Suffrage: a biographical dictionary of suffrage artists.A postcard from the Postcard Album compiled by Women’s Freedom League members Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson. Fine – unposted

[14655]                                                                                                                £120.00


is the caption to a card by Isabel Pocock. She wears a ‘Votes for Women’ sash and holds a banner proclaiming ‘Political Power’. The reference in the caption is, of course, to Charlotte Bronte’s ‘Shirley;. Underneath the image Mr Sympson (a character from ‘Shirley’) in the guise of John Bull says ‘Are you a young lady?’

Shirley (Girl of the Period) ‘I am a thousand times better – I am an honest woman and as such I will be treated.’ The card was published by the Suffrage Atelier c 1909.  A postcard from the Postcard Album compiled by Women’s Freedom League members Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson. Fine – unposted – scarce

[14654]                                                                                                                £150.00


Suffrage Postcards: Commmercial Comic



Black and white postcard by Donald McGill – suffragette, holding on to her ‘Votes for Women’ banner, is carried into the Police Court by a policeman – her bottom very much to the fore – her umbrella fallen to the ground. Good –  posted in Battersea on, I think, 24 December 1906

[13603]                                                                                                                  £45.00


The suffragettes are canvassing on the doorstep.  The artist is Arthur Moreland; the publisher is C.W. Faulkner. Very good – unposted

[13649]                                                                                                                  £45.00


The suffragette is in the dock. Artist is Arthur Moreland; publisher C.W. Faulkner. Very good – unposted

[13648]                                                                                                                  £45.00


Battered cat…showing that here was no limit to how the idea/word’suffragette’ could be interpreted by commercial postcards artist in the pre-1914 period. Good condition – unposted

[14893]                                                                                                                  £10.00


The suffragette is interrupting a meeting. Artist is Arthur Moreland; publisher is C.W. Faulkner. Fair – unposted

[13650]                                                                                                                  £35.00


says harrassed dad as his wife walks out the door, leaving him to care for the babies. On the wall is a ‘Votes for Women’ poster. This is an American card sent from Washington to Illinois – but the message carried in the picture is very similar to those of British cards

[13999]                                                                                                                  £35.00


presumably the result of enfranchising women – Wife wields poker as her husband crawls out from under the tea table. She says, ‘Come along, come along, come along do, I’ve been waiting here for you’. Good – posted from London to Wincanton on 24 June 1911

[14096]                                                                                                                  £10.00


‘A slight engine trouble causes a delay – but is soon remedied’ is the caption. The artist/publisher is Reg Carter – in the ‘Sorrows of Southwold’ series. There are a number of joky cards about the Southwold train. In this one a suffragette sitting in a tree is taking advantage of a breakdown to lob a bomb – shouting ‘Votes for Women’. Very good

[14933]                                                                                                                  £35.00


A Wet Day in Camp – a stream runs through the sodden tent – as the suffragette pair sit on fence reading ‘Why we women want votes’. One in a series pub by C.W. Faulkner.Good – a little foxing around the margins not affecting the image. The card is typewritten from Rhodes on 10 Oct 1913 and the jokey message is congratulatng the recipient on impending nuptials. But how odd to take a suffragette card such as this to Rhodes with you. I suppose it’s just possible ‘Rhodes’ could have been a house name – but I’m not convinced. It must have been sent inside an envelope as their is no postmark

[14691]                                                                                                                  £30.00

  1. THE SUFFRAGETTE Addresses a meeting of Citizens

A card from a Raphael Tuck series. ‘the Suffragette’ – masculinized, wild-eyed, and wearing a boater and tie harangues a few snotty-nosed childrenIn Raphael Tuck ‘The Suffragette’ Good – posted in 1908

[13620]                                                                                                                  £45.00


Mrs Speaker sits enthroned – attended by a woman bearing the mace. During the years of the suffrage campaign opponents, while appalled at the thought that if women were given the vote there might one day be women members in the House of Commons, felt that the idea of a woman Speaker was just too ridiculous to contemplate. Good  – posted to ‘Miss Horning, Waterloo House, Southchurcch Avenue, Southend-on-Sea’ who my researches reveal as ‘Miss Ethel Horning’, the daughter of a grocer. I think the card was posted in 1910 (by ‘Elsie’, who lived in Enfield) when she would have been c 22 years old.

[14449]                                                                                                      £45.00 SOLD

  1. VALENTINE SERIES:COMPARISONS The Attitude of Politicians towards Women’s Suffrage

1) At Election Time (when the politician willingly accepts a petition) 2) At Westminster (when a policeman holds the suffragette back as she tries to present a petition to an MP). Staged photographic scenes in colour. Very good -uncommon – unposted

[13808]                                                                                                                  £38.00


Printed in red and balck on white – policemen have a suffragette flat on the ground – while other comrades demosntrate around. Good – has been posted, but stamp removed

[13605]                                                                                                                  £45.00

  1. VALENTINE SUFFRAGETTE SERIES Give Us a Vote Ducky! Oh do, There’s a Dear

wheedle three women as they make up to an aging gent. The caption reads ‘Why not try the Good Old Way?’ The sender has added little ink comments of her own (at least I think the sender was a woman). Good. Posted on 17 August 1907.

[13606]                                                                                                                  £45.00

  1. VALENTINE SUFFRAGETTE SERIES Safe in the Arms of a Policeman

Printed in red and black on white – dishevelled viragos are carried away by red-faced policemen. Good

[13604]                                                                                                                  £45.00

  1. VALENTINE’S SERIES The Visiting Magistrate (Scene, In Holloway Prison)

Magistrate: ‘What can I do for you? Have you any complaints to make?’ Suffragette: ‘Yes, I have one demand – Votes for Women’. Staged photographic scene in colour. Very good – unposted

[13813]                                                                                                                  £38.00

  1. VALENTINE’S SERIES:COMPARISONS Comparisons are Odious

1) The male political prisoner (sits in his cell equipped with bookcase, wine and cigar) 2) The female political prisoner (the suffragette sits in her bare cell holding her duster and skilly).Staged photographic scenes in colour. Very good – uncommon – unposted

[13809]                                                                                                                  £38.00

  1. WHEN WOMEN VOTE: Washing Day

Father is in the kitchen bathing baby, while his wife and her friends sit in the parlour playing cards and eating chocolates – commenting ‘Yes, my old man is a lazy old wretch’. And that’s what will happen when women have the vote. Mitchell and Watkins series. Posted in 1908

[13636]                                                                                                                  £45.00


‘I’m going a-voting Sir,’ she saud. ‘And who shall you vote for, my pretty?’ ‘That Duck in plus fours, kind sir’, she said’. The Flapper Vote. Young lady in short skirt and cloche hat has singled out the best-looking of the candidates as her choice. The artist is Donald McGill. Unposted – but probably dates from 1928 – around the time of the election at which women under 30 could vote for the first time. Very good

[14531]                                                                                                                  £10.00


And this is the Minister weary and worn/Who treated the Suffragette with scorn,/Who wanted a Vote, and (a saying to quote),/ Dared him to tread on the tail of the coat/If the bold Suffragette determined to get,/Into ‘THE HOUSE’ that man built.’ The Minister is surrounded by elegant suffragettes – with the House of Commons in the background. A postcard from the Postcard Album compiled by Women’s Freedom League members Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson. Fine – unposted

[14657]                                                                                                                  £55.00


General Non-fiction



Fine – many photographs

[5485]                                                                                                                    £15.00

  1. AHMED, Leila Women and Gender in Islam Yale University Press 1992

Fine in d/w

[10512]                                                                                                                  £15.00

  1. ALLEN, Jennifer (ed) Lesbian Philosophies and Cultures State University of New York Press 1990

Paper covers – very good

[5164]                                                                                                                      £5.00

  1. ALLSOPP, Anne The Education and Employment of Girls in Luton, 1874-1924: widening opportunities and lost freedoms Boydell Press/Bedfordshire Historical Record Society 2005

Examines the education of Luton girls and its relationship with employment opportunities. Mint in d/w

[10963]                                                                                                                  £20.00

  1. ANDREWS, Maggie The Acceptable Face of Feminism: the Women’s Institute as a social movement Lawrence & Wishart 1997

Soft covers – mint

[9533]                                                                                                                      £9.00

  1. Anon The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Shopping Retail Trading Standards Association no date [1935]

‘How to be sure of getting value for money. How to be sure of distinguising good quality from bad. How to be sure of paying the right price.’ Card covers – very good

[13564]                                                                                                                  £10.00

  1. ANON You And I Cookery Book: an effort to meet a need in the cheapest form Birling Publishing Co no date [1930s?/1940s?]

A spin-off of the ‘You and I’ magazine, published in connected with the YWCA. ‘Over 1000 carefully seleccted household hints and reccipes’. I can’t work out when this was published – it contains several recipes with ‘War-time’ in their titles – but am not sure if this is looking back to WW1 or whether it was published during WW2. But others seem to use a surprising amount of sugar and eggs for cooking in a time of strict rationing. But, whenever, ‘Economy’, was the watchword. Paper covers – front cover present but detached – back cover missing

[13577]                                                                                                                    £2.00

  1. BARRATT, Alexandra (ed) Women’s Writing in Middle English Longman 1992

In Longmans Annotated Texts series. Soft covers – fine

[11954]                                                                                                                  £10.00

  1. BASCH, Françoise Relative Creatures: Victorian women in society and the novel Schocken Books 1974

Very good

[13467]                                                                                                                    £4.00

  1. BEER, Janet Kate Chopin, Edith Wharton and Charlotte Perkins Gilman: studies in short fiction Palgrave 1997 r/p

Focusses on a wide range of short fiction by these three women writers. Hardovers – fine

[11769]                                                                                                                  £12.00

  1. BENJAMIN, Marina (ed) Science and Sensibility: gender and scientific enquiry 1780-1945 Basil Blackwell 1994

An interesting collection of essays, Soft covers – mint

[11668]                                                                                                                  £18.00

  1. BERNAU, Anke Virgins; a cultural history Granta 2007

Hardcover – fine in fine d/w

[11911]                                                                                                                    £7.00

  1. BERRY, Mrs Edward And MICHAELIS, Madame (eds) 135 Kindergarten Songs and Games Charles and Dible, no date [1881]

‘These songs are printed to supply a want in English Kindergartens’ – the music is, of course, included – as are movement instructions. Mme Michaelis ran the Croydon Kindergarten. Very good

[9035]                                                                                                                    £48.00

  1. BLAIR, Kirstie Form & Faith in Victorian Poetry & Religion OUP 2012

By assessing the discourses of church architecture and liturgy the author demonstrates that Victorian poets both reflected on and affected ecclesiastical practices – and then focuses on particular poems to show how High Anglican debates over formal worship were dealt with by Dissenting, Broad Church, and Roman Catholic poets and other writers. Features major poets such as the Browning, Tennyson, Hopkins, Rossetti and Hardy – as well as many minor writers. Mint in d/w (pub price £62)

[13693]                                                                                                                  £35.00

  1. BLAKELEY, Georgina and BRYSON, Valerie (eds) The Impact of Feminism on Political Concepts and Debates Manchester University Press 2007

Soft covers – mint

[11549]                                                                                                                  £10.00

  1. BLOCH, R. Howard Medieval Misogyny and the Invention of Western Romantic Love University of Chicago Press 1991

Soft covers – fine

[11978]                                                                                                                  £18.00

  1. BLOOM, Stanley The Launderette: a history Duckworth 1988

Soft covers – very good

[10201]                                                                                                                    £3.00

  1. BOARD OF EDUCATION Special Reports on Educational Subjects vol 15 HMSO 1905

‘School Training for the Home Duties of Women. part 1 The Teaching of “Domestic Science” in the United States of America’. Exhaustive – 374pp – paper covers – withdrawn from the Women’s Library.

[12182]                                                                                                                  £10.00

  1. Boucé, Paul-Gabriel (ed) Sexuality in 18th-century Britain Manchester University Press 1982

Includes essays by Roy Porter, Ruth Perry and Pat Rogers – among others. Very good in d/w

[11034]                                                                                                                  £24.00

  1. BROOKE, Christopher The Medieval Idea of Marriage OUP 1989

Fine in fine d/w

[11985]                                                                                                                  £15.00

  1. BROWN, Marie Sweated Labour: a study of homework Low Pay Unit 1975 (r/p)

Full of real-life stories as well as facts and figures. 26pp – fine in paper covers

[13112]                                                                                                                  £10.00

  1. BRUMBERG, Joan Jacobs Fasting Girls: the history of anorexia nervosa Vintage 2000

Soft covers – fine

[11925]                                                                                                                    £8.00

  1. BURMAN, Sandra (ed) Fit Work for Women St Martin’s Press (NY) 1979

Presents a collection of papers which discuss the origins of the domestic ideal and its effects on activities usually undertaken by women. Fine in d/w

[12111]                                                                                                                  £12.00

  1. BYRNE, Katherine Tuberculosis and the Victorian Literary Imagination CUP 2010

Explores the representations of tuberculosis in 19th-century literature and culture. fears about gender roles, degeneration, national efficiency and sexual transgression all play their part in the portrayal of ‘consumption’, a disease which encompassed a variety of cultural associations. Mint in d/w (pub price £55)

[13430]                                                                                                                  £35.00

  1. CADBURY, Edward, MATHESON, M. Cecile and SHANN, George Women’s Work and Wages: a phase of life in an industrial city University of Chicago Press 1907

US edition of this study of women’s work in Birmingham. Good – inner hinge a little loose

[8076]                                                                                                                    £50.00

  1. CAIRNES, J.E. Political Essays Macmillan 1873

The Irish economist John Cairnes had long been a friend of Henry Fawcett, both part of the Blackheath circle centring on John Stuart Mill. When Millicent Fawcett (aged 23) published her ‘Political Economy for Beginners’ in 1870 Cairnes took it seriously, reviewed it and wrote to her ‘I have just finished my study of your useful little book and send you by this post my notes upon it. You will find I have some serious controversies with you.’ Three years later, when he published ‘Political Essays’, he sent Millicent a copy – inscribing it ‘MG Fawcett from the author’. A ‘From the Author’ slip has survived the handling of the last 140 years – and Millicent Fawcett has added her delightful bookplate to the front pastedown. However, an inquisitive inspection reveals that not all the pages are cut. Latterly the book was in the library of O.R. McGregor (Professor Lord McGregor of Durris) author of ‘Divorce in England’ which had, for its time, 1957, an excellent bibliography – revealing the author’s wide interest in ‘women’s history’. The front board is detached -. otherwise a good copy – and a very interesting association cop

[11785]                                                                                                                £150.00

  1. CALVERTON, V.F. and SCHMALHAUSEN, S.D. (eds) Sex in Civilsation Macaulay Co (NY) 1929 (reprint)

With an introduction by Havelock Ellis. Contributors include Beatrice Forbes-Robertson Hale, Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Margaret Sanger. Good – 719pp – heavy

[12650]                                                                                                                  £12.00

  1. CHASE, Ellen Tenant Friends in Old Deptford Williams and Norgate 1929

With an introduction from the work of Octavia Hill. Ellen Chase (1863-1949) was an American who in 1886 came over from Boston to work with Octavia Hill. The book begins with a chapter describing ‘The management of houses on the Octavia Hill plan’ and ends with ‘Notes on house management’ – in between are descriptions of life in the slum ‘courts’ of Deptford. This copy bears the ownership inscription of ‘Elizabeth Sturge 2 Durdham Park Bristol’ (a house that, incidentally, now bears a blue plaque recording her occupancy) – one of Bristol’s pioneers in the field of women’s suffrage and women’s education Very good – scarce

[13804]                                                                                                                  £85.00

  1. CHENEY, Paul, MACKAY, Fiona and McALLISTER, Laura Women, Politics and Constitutional Change: the first years of the National Assembly for Wales University of Wales Press 2007

Soft covers – mint

[11580]                                                                                                                  £12.00

  1. CLARK, Margaret Homecraft: a guide to the modern home and family Routledge, 3rd ed 1978 (r/p)

The author was senior adviser for Home Economics for Derbyshire. The book was a textbook, suitable for school Home Economics courses. First published in 1966. Soft covers – very good

[10288]                                                                                                                    £6.00

  1. CLARKE, Norma The Rise and Fall of the Woman of Letters Pimlico 2004

Soft covers – fine

[11882]                                                                                                                    £5.00

  1. CLARKE, Patricia The Governesses: letters from the colonies 1862-1882 Hutchinson 1985

Fine in fine d/w

[12463]                                                                                                                    £7.00

  1. COHEN, Monica Professional Domesticity in the Victorian Novel: women, work and home CUP 1998

Offers new readings of narratives by Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Dickens, George Eliot, Emily Eden etc to show how domestic work, the most feminine of all activities, gained much of its social credibility by positioning itself in relation to the emergent professions. Soft cover – fine

[12419]                                                                                                                  £25.00

  1. CONDITIONS: FIVE The Black Women’s Issue 1979

Co-edited by Lorraine Bethel and Barbara Smith. Paper covers – good

[2875]                                                                                                                      £3.00

  1. CRAIG, Elizabeth Housekeeping Collins 1947

With many photographs. In ‘Elizabeth Craig’s Household Library’ series. Good in torn d/w

[13047]                                                                                                                    £8.00

  1. CRAWFORD, Elizabeth Enterprising Women: the Garretts and their circle Francis Boutle 2009 (r/p)

Pioneering access to education at all levels for women, including training for the professions, the women of the Garrett circle opened the way for women to gain employment in medicine, teaching, horticulture and interiior design – and were also deeply involved in the campaign for women’s suffrage. Soft covers, large format, over 70 illustrations. Mint – new book

[14966]                                                                                                                  £25.00

  1. CUNNINGTON, C. Willett Feminine Attitudes in the Nineteenth Century William Heinemann 1935


[2558]                                                                                                                    £15.00

  1. DAVIS, Natalie Zemon Society and Culture in Early Modern France Polity Press 1998 (r/p)

Soft covers – fine

[11944]                                                                                                                  £14.00

  1. DAVISON, Peter The Fading Smile: poets in Boston from Robert Lowell to Sylvia Plath W.W. Norton 1994

Soft covers – fine

[12031]                                                                                                                  £12.00

  1. DEAN-JONES, Lesley Ann Women’s Bodies in Classical Greek Science OUP 1996

Soft covers – fine

[11865]                                                                                                                  £15.00

  1. DEMOOR, Marysa Their Fair Share: women, power and criticism in the ‘Athenaeum’, from Millicent Garrett Fawcett to Katherine Mansfield, 1870-1920 Ashgate 2000


[11667]                                                                                                                  £25.00

  1. DINNERSTEIN, Dorothy The Rocking of the Cradle and the Ruling of the World Women’s Press 1987

Soft covers – fine

[11937]                                                                                                                    £7.00

  1. DINSHAW, Carolyn and WALLACE, David (eds) The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Women’s Writing CUP 2003

Soft covers – fine

[11857]                                                                                                                  £12.00

  1. DON VANN, J. and VANARSDEL, Rosemary T. (eds) Periodicals of Queen Victoria’s Empire: an exploration University of Toronto Press 1996

Fine in fine d/w

[9600]                                                                                                                    £18.00

  1. DOODY, Margaret Anne The True Story of the Novel Fontana 1998

Aims to prove that the novel is an ancient form – with a continuous history of 2000 years. Soft covers – very good

[10562]                                                                                                                    £5.00

  1. DOYLE, Mark Fighting like the Devil for the sake of God: Protestants, Catholics and the origins of violence in Victorian Belfast Manchester University Press 2009

Soft covers – mint

[11693]                                                                                                                  £13.00

  1. DUBY, Georges Medieval Marriage: two models from 12th-century France John Hopkins University Press 1991 (r/p)

Soft covers – fine

[11984]                                                                                                                  £12.00

  1. DUBY, Georges Women of the Twelfth Century: vol 1: Eleanor of Aquitaine and Six Others Polity Press 1997

Soft covers – fine

[11860]                                                                                                                    £7.00

  1. DYHOUSE, Carol Feminism and the Family in England 1880-1939 Basil Blackwell 1989

Soft covers – very good

[11224]                                                                                                                  £12.00

  1. ELLIS, Mrs Sarah Stickney The Select Works Henry G. Langley (New York) 1844

Includes ‘The Poetry of Life’, ‘Pictures of Private Life’, ‘A Voice From the Vintage, on the force of example addressed to those who think and feel’

Good in original decorative cloth

[11234]                                                                                                                  £48.00

  1. EVERGATES, Theodore (ed) Aristocratic Women in Medieval France University of Pennsylvania Press 1999

Soft covers – very good

[11979]                                                                                                                  £17.00

  1. FINDLAY, J.J. (ed) The Young Wage-Earner and the Problem of His Education: essays and reports Sigwick and Jackson 1918

For ‘His Education’ read also ‘Hers’. The essays include: ‘From Home Life to Industrial Life: with special reference to adolescent girls, by James Shelley, prof of education, University College, Southampton; ‘The Young Factory Girl’ by emily Matthias, superintendent of women employees, the Phoenix Dynamo Manufacturing Co, Bradford and the reports include: ‘Working Girls and Trade Schools (London)’ by Theodora Pugh and ‘The Sons and Daughters of Farming Folk’ by J.J. Findlay. Very good

[8026]                                                                                                                    £25.00

  1. FLESHER, Caroline McCracken The Doctor Dissected: a cultural autopsy of the Burke & Hare murders OUP 2012

Canvasses a wide range of media – from contemporary newspaper accounts and private correspondenc to Japanese comic books and videogames to analyse the afterlife of the Burke and Hare murders and consider its singular place in Scottish history. Mint in d/w (pub price £41.99)

[13434]                                                                                                                  £28.00



  1. FREVERT, Ute Women in German History: from bourgeois emancipation to sexual liberation Berg 1989

Fine in d/w

[5066]                                                                                                                      £8.00

  1. FRYE, Susan And ROBERTSON, Karen (Eds) Maids and Mistresses, Cousins and Queens: women’s alliances in early modern England OUP 1999

A collection of essays exploring how early modern women associated with other women in a variety of roles, from alewives to midwives, prostitutes to pleasure seekers, slaves to queens, serving maids to ladies in waiting…’. Fine

[7435]                                                                                                                    £28.00

  1. GLUCK, Sherna Berger and PATAI, Daphne (eds) Women’s Words: the practice of oral history Routledge 1991

Explores the theoretical, methodological, and practical problems that arise when women utilize oral history as a tool of feminist scholarship. Hardback – fine in d/w

[11532]                                                                                                                  £15.00

  1. GUBAR, Marah Artful Dodgers: reconceiving the golden age of children’s literature OUP 2009

Mint in d/w (pub price £34.99)

[11702]                                                                                                                  £28.00

  1. HACKER, Sally Pleasure, Power & Technology: some tales of gender, engineering and the cooperative workplace Unwin Hyman 1989

Explores attitudes to work and leisure, suggesting ways in which feminist principles can be used to make work life more egalitarian and more humane. Soft covers – very good

[6739]                                                                                                                      £8.00

  1. HASLETT, Caroline Teach Yourself Household Electricity English Universities Press, 3rd ed 1953

‘It is but a short span in time since electric cookers and fires, vacuum-cleaners and washing-machines were timidly approached novelties, since electricity in the home meant electric light and little else; yet see to-day how far the well-electrified home outstrips these meagre limitations, how commonplace a sight is a well-equipped kitchen’. Good in torn d/w

[14121]                                                                                                        £5.00 SOLD

  1. HASLETT, Caroline (ed) The Electrical Handbook For Women The English Universities Press Ltd, 3rd ed 1939

Packed with information – diagrams and photographs. Very good in chipped d/w

[14122]                                                                                                                  £12.00

  1. HASTE, Cate Rules of Desire: sex in Britain: World War 1 to the present Pimlico 1992

Soft covers – very good

[10519]                                                                                                                    £8.00

  1. HAYS, H.R. The Dangerous Sex: they myth of feminine evil Methuen 1966

Good in chipped d/w

[10380]                                                                                                                    £6.00

  1. HELSINGER, Elizabeth Et Al (eds) The Woman Question: Social Issues, 1837-1883 Manchester University Press 1983

Volume II of ‘The Woman Question: Society and Literature in Britain and America, 1837-1883’. Fine

[12150]                                                                                                                  £15.00

  1. HENNEY, E. And BYETT, J.D. Modern Home Laundrywork Dent, new, revised ed 1965

‘The most authoritative book of its kind available to teachers, students and housewives.’ Good in chipped d/w

[10225]                                                                                                                    £6.00

  1. HESSELGRAVE, Ruth Avaline Lady Miller and the Batheaston Literary Circle Yale University Press 1927

An 18th-century Bath literary salon. Lady Miller was the first English woman to describe her travels in Italy. Fine

[3020]                                                                                                                    £55.00

  1. HILDEGARD OF BINGEN Selected Writings Penguin 2001

With introduction and notes by Mark Atherton. Soft covers – fine

[11853]                                                                                                                    £6.00

  1. HOFFMAN, P.C. They Also Serve: the story of the shop worker Porcupine Press 1949

Soft covers – very good

[13728]                                                                                                                    £8.00

  1. HOLCOMBE, Lee Wives and Property: reform of the Married Women’s Property Law in 19th century England University of Toronto Press 1983

Paper covers – fine

[7330]                                                                                                                    £12.00

  1. HOLDSWORTH, Angela Out of the Doll’s House: the story of women in the 20th century BBC 1988 (r/p)

Paper covers – very good

[4809]                                                                                                                      £5.00

  1. HORSFIELD, Margaret Biting the Dust: the joys of housework Fourth Estate 1997

Mint in d/w

[10183]                                                                                                                    £5.00

  1. HOUSMAN, Laurence Ploughshare and Pruning-Hook: ten lectures on social subjects Swarthmore Press 1919

A collection of papers, originally given as lectures – including ‘What is Womanly?’ (1911) and ‘Art and Citizenship’ (1910).  Very good in d/w

[1322]                                                                                                                    £10.00

  1. JAMES, Selma Sex, Race and Class Falling Wall Press 1975

Paper covers – withdrawn from the Women’s Library

[13193]                                                                                                                    £5.00

  1. JAMIESON, Mrs A History of France, from the earliest periods to the beginning of the year 1834 W. Edwards (London) 1834

Fair internally – boards cracked

[2776]                                                                                                                      £8.00

  1. JEFFREYS, Sheila The Spinster and Her Enemies: feminism and sexuality 1880-1930 Pandora 1985

Soft covers – fine

[12445]                                                                                                                    £8.00

  1. JOHNSON, Sheila Et Al Working Lives Brighton and Hove Community Resource Centre, no date 1980s

Elderly Brighton working-class residents look back on their lives. Soft covers – 60pp -very good

[10420]                                                                                                                    £4.00

  1. JOHNSON-ODIM, Cheryl And STROBEL, Margaret (eds) Expanding the Boundaries of Women’s History: essays on women in the third world Indiana University Press 1992

Examines the situation of women in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Middle East. Soft covers – mint

[6380]                                                                                                                    £10.00

  1. KAUFFMAN, Linda Discourses of Desire: gender, genre, and epistolary fictions Cornell University Press 1986

Fine in fine d/w

[11881]                                                                                                                  £25.00

  1. KEDDIE, Nikki And BARON, Beth (eds) Women in Middle Eastern History: shifting boundaries in sex and gender Yale University Press 1991

The first study of gender relations in the Middle East from the earliest Islamic period to the present. Fine in d/w

[10511]                                                                                                                  £15.00

  1. KENEALY, Arabella Feminism and Sex-Extinction E.P. Dutton & Co (NY) 1920

Anti-feminist eugenicist polemic. US edition is scarce. Very good internally – cloth cover a little bumped and rubbed

[12107]                                                                                                                  £25.00

  1. KERTZER, David and BARBAGLIO, Marzio (eds) Family Life in the Long Nineteenth Century 1789-1913 Yale University Press 2002

A collection of essays under the headings: Economy and Family Organization: State, Religion, Law and the Family; Demographic Forces; Family Relations. 420pp Heavy. Mint in d/w

[11037]                                                                                                                  £18.00

  1. KESSLER-HARRIS, Alice Gendering Labor History University of Illinois Press 2007

Soft covers – mint

[11578]                                                                                                                  £12.00

  1. KIDD, Alan and NICHOLLS, David (eds) Gender, Civic Culture and Consumerism: middle-class identity in Britain 1800-1940 Manchester University Press 1999

Soft covers – very good

[11759]                                                                                                                  £12.00

  1. KING, Brenda Silk and Empire Manchester University Press

A study of the Anglo-Indian silk trade, challenging the notion that Britain always exploited its empire. Mint in d/w (pub price £55)

[9845]                                                                                                                    £25.00

  1. KING, Jeanette Women and the Word: contemporary women novelists and the Bible Macmillan 2000

Studies of work by, among others, Sara Maitland, Michele Roberts, Alice Walker and Toni Morrison. Fine in fine d/w (pub price £70)

[11912]                                                                                                                  £25.00

  1. KIRBY, Joan (ed) The Plumpton Letters and Papers CUP for the Royal Historical Society 1996

Letters addressed mainly to Sir William Plumpton (1404-80) and his son, Sir Robert (1453-1525). Good in marked d/w- but has perhaps been exposed to damp at some point

[10954]                                                                                                                  £10.00

  1. KIRKHAM, Margaret Jane Austen, Feminism and Fiction Harvester 1983

Soft covers – fine

[12415]                                                                                                                  £10.00

  1. KRAEMER, Ross Shepard Her Share of Blessings: women’s religions among pagans, Jews, and Christians in the Greco-roman world OUP 1993

Soft covers – fine

[11915]                                                                                                                  £12.00

  1. KRISTEVA, Julia Black Sun: depression and melancholia Columbia University Press 1989

Soft covers – fine

[11923]                                                                                                                  £12.00

  1. KRISTEVA, Phyllis Tales of Love Columbia University Press 1987 (r/p)

Translated by Leon S. Roudiez. discusses the conflicts and commonalties among the Greek, Christian, Romantic, and contemporary discourses on love, desire, and self. Soft covers – fine

[11917]                                                                                                                  £12.00

  1. LARSEN, Timothy A People of One Book: the Bible and the Victorians OUP 2011

Case studies of representative figures, from Elizabeth Fry to Florence Nightingale, from C.H. Spurgeon to Grace Aguilar to demonstrate the scripture-saturated culture of 19th-century England. Mint in d/w (pub price £76)

[13407]                                                                                                                  £25.00

  1. LASDUN, Susan Making Victorians: The Drummond Children’s World 1827-1832 Weidenfeld & Nicolson 1981

CHECK – WRITE BLURB. Fine in fine d/w

[13260]                                                                                                                  £10.00

  1. LEE, Julia Sun-Joo The American Slave Narrative and the Victorian Novel OUP 2010

Investigates the shaping influence of the American slave narrative on the Victorian novel in the years between the British Abolition Act and the American Emancipation Proclamation – and argues that Charlotte Bronte, Elizabeth Gaskell, Thackeray and Dickens integrated into their works generic elements of the slave narrative. Mint in d/w (pub price £40)

[13436]                                                                                                                  £15.00

  1. LERNER, Gerda The Creation of Feminist Consciousness: from the middle ages to 1870 OUP 1993

Hardcover – fine in fine d/w

[11921]                                                                                                                  £13.00

  1. LLEWELYN DAVIES, Margaret (ed) Life As We Have Known it by Co-operative Working Women Virago 1977

First published in 1931- with an introduction by Virginia Woolf.  Soft covers – good

[13729]                                                                                                                    £5.00

  1. LLEWELYN DAVIES, Margaret (ed) Maternity: letters from working women collected by the Women’s Co-operative Guild Virago 1984 (r/p)

First published in 1915. Soft covers – very good

[12143]                                                                                                                    £8.00

  1. LOFTIE, W.J. A Plea for Art in the House: with special reference to the economy of collecting works of art, and the importance of taste in education and morals Macmillan 1879 (r/p)

First published in 1876 – around the same time as Rhoda and Agnes Garrett’s book in the same series ‘Art at Home’ – and evincing many of the same touchstone’s of taste in home decoration. Goodish – a little rubbed and bumped

[13338]                                                                                                                  £18.00

  1. MCCANN, Jean Thomas Howell and the School at Llandaff D. Brown (Cowbridge) 1972

Good – ex-university library

[10608]                                                                                                                  £15.00

  1. MCCRACKEN, Peggy The Romance of Adultery: queenship and sexual transgression in old French literature University of Pennsylvania Press 1998

Fine in fine d/w

[11976]                                                                                                                  £38.00

  1. MALMGREEN, Gail Neither Bread nor Roses: utopian feminists and the English working class, 1800-1850 John L. Noyce (Brighton). 1978 (r/p)

A ‘Studies in Labour’ pamphlet – 44pp. Soft covers – very good

[9147]                                                                                                                    £15.00

  1. MALOS, Ellen (ed) The Politics of Housework Allison & Busby 1980

Fine in d/w

[1819]                                                                                                                      £4.00

  1. MANNIN, Ethel Practitioners of Love: some aspects of the human phenomenon Hutchinson 1969

A study of ‘Civilised Man’s inordinate capacity for the biological and psychological process called “falling in love”‘. Perhaps Ethel Mannin is ripe for reappraisal. Very good in d/w

[2689]                                                                                                                      £3.00

  1. MARKS, Lara Metropolitan Maternity maternity and infant welfare services in early 20th century London Rodopi 1996

Soft covers – fine

[11624]                                                                                                                  £22.00

  1. MARTIN, Jane Women and the Politics of Schooling in Victorian and Edwardian England Leicester University Press 1999

Mint (pub price £65)

[10781]                                                                                                                  £35.00

  1. MASON, Michael The Making of Victorian Sexuality OUP 1994

Fine in d/w

[10599]                                                                                                                  £14.00

  1. MEWS, Hazel Frail Vessels: woman’s role in women’s novels from Fanny Burney to George Eliot Athlone Press 1969

Very good in d/w

[3801]                                                                                                                    £12.00

  1. MILLER, Robert Researching Life Stories and Family Histories Sage 2000

Covers methods and issues involved in collecting and analysing family histories, and collecting and analysing life histories. (pub. price £24.99)

[11520]                                                                                                                  £15.00

  1. MOI, Toril Sexual/Textual Politics Methuen 1995

Soft covers – very good

[10542]                                                                                                                    £7.00

  1. MOLE, Mrs A. And WATERMAN, Miss Alys 20th Century Cookery: how to cook by electricity British Electrical Development Association, revised ed no date (1930s)

‘An indispensable handbook for the Housewife or Cook, giving recipes of 100 dainty dishes which can be prepared without trouble and at small cost.’ Instructions for using electrical equipment – cooker, refrigerator and water heater – and recipes. Card covers – very jazz age – good internally – covers a little rubbed and paper missing from narrow spine

[10213]                                                                                                        £8.00 SOLD

  1. MOORE, Lucy Liberty: the lives and times of six women in revolutionary France HarperPress 2006

Soft covers – uncorrected proof copy

[10520]                                                                                                                    £4.00

  1. MUMM, Susan (ed) All Saints Sisters of the Poor: an Anglican Sisterhood in the 19th century Boydel Press/Church of England Record Society 2001

A history of the Sisterhood that was founded by Harriet Brownlow Byron in 1850 to work in the slums of Marylebone – but then spread its net much wider. This volume comprises material drawn from the Sisterhood’s archives. V. interesting. Mint

[10964]                                                                                                                  £30.00

  1. NODDINGS, Nel Women and Evil University of California Press 1989

‘Examines several theological, philosophical, and psychological associations of women with evil in order to propose a counter-definition of evil from the perspective of women’s experience.’ Soft covers – fine

[11913]                                                                                                                  £15.00

  1. NORWICH HIGH SCHOOL 1875-1950 privately printed, no date [1950]

A GPDST school. Very good internally – green cloth covers sunned – ex-university library

[9612]                                                                                                                    £15.00

  1. OSBORNE, Honor And MANISTY, Peggy A History of the Royal School for Daughters of Officers of the Army 1864-1965 Hodder & Stoughton 1966

Good – ex-university library

[10609]                                                                                                                  £12.00

  1. PALMER, Beth Women’s Authorship and Editorship in Victorian Culture OUP 2011

Draws on extensive periodical and archival material to bring new perspectives to the study of sensation fiction in the Victorian period. Mint in d/w (pub price £60)

[13432]                                                                                                                  £35.00

  1. PATTEN, Marguerite The Victory Cookbook Imperial War Museum 1995 (r/p)

‘Over 200 recipes which helped the nation celebrate on that special day and right up to the end of rationing in 1954’. Packed with illustrations. Soft covers – very good

[10328]                                                                                                                    £8.00

  1. PEACH, Linden Contemporary Irish and Welsh Women’s Fiction: gender, desire and power University of Wales Press 2008

The first comparative study of fiction by late 20th and 21st-century women writers from England, Southern Ireland and Wales. Soft covers – mint

[11572]                                                                                                                  £15.00

  1. PEDERSEN, Frederik Marriage Disputes in Medieval England Hambledon 2000

The records of the church courts of the province of York, mainly dating from the 14th c, provide a welcome light on private, family life and on individual reactions to it. Hardcovers – fine in fine d/w

[11977]                                                                                                                  £25.00

  1. PHILLIPS, Margaret Mann Willingly to School: memories of York College for Girls 1919-1924 Highgate Publications 1989

Good in card covers – though ex-library

[13124]                                                                                                                  £10.00

  1. PICHLER, Pia Talking Young Femininities Palgrave 2009

Explores the spontaneous talk of adolescent British girls from different socio-cultural backgrounds. Hardovers – mint ( pub price £50)

[11525]                                                                                                                  £30.00

  1. POOVEY, Mary Uneven Developments: the ideological work of gender in mid-Victorian England Virago 1989

Paper covers – fine

[13730]                                                                                                                  £12.00

  1. PORTER, Elisabeth Peacebuilding: women in international perspective Routledge 2007

Hardcovers – mint

[11567]                                                                                                                  £20.00

  1. PUCKETT, Kent Bad Form: social mistakes and the nineteenth-century novel OUP 2008

Mint in d/w

[11711]                                                                                                                  £25.00

  1. RAI, Shirin The Gender Politics of Development: essays in hope and despair Zed Books 2008

A comprehensive assessment of how gender politics has emerged and developed in post-colonial states. Soft covers – mint

[11556]                                                                                                                  £12.00

  1. RANKE-HEINEMANN, Uta Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven: women, sexuality and the Catholic church Penguin 1990

Soft covers – very good

[11901]                                                                                                                    £7.00

  1. RAPPOPORT, Jill Giving Women: alliance and exchange in Victorian culture OUP 2012

examines the literary expression and cultural consequences of English women’s giving from the 1820s to the First World War – in the work of Charlotte Bronte, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Elizabeth Gaskell and Christina Rossetti – as well as in literary annuals and political pamphlets. Through giving, women redefined the primary allegiances of teh everyday lives, forged public coalitions, and advanced campaigns for abolition, slum reform, eugenics, and suffrage. Mint in d/w (pub price £45.99)

[13413]                                                                                                                  £32.00

  1. RENDALL, Jane The Origins of Modern Feminism: women in Britain, France and the United States 1780-1860 Macmillan 1985

Soft covers – very good

[9461]                                                                                                                    £15.00

  1. RICHARDS, S.A Feminist Writers of the Seventeenth Century David Nutt 1914

Sees the work of French feminist writers of the 17th century, particularly of Francois Poulain de la Barre, as the cradle of the movement for the emancipation of women. Good

[2676]                                                                                                                    £28.00

  1. ROBERTS, Alison Hathor Rising: the serpent power in ancient Egypt Northgate 1995

Soft covers – fine

[11866]                                                                                                                    £8.00

  1. ROBINS, Gay Women in Ancient Egypt British Museum Press 1993

Soft covers – fine

[11867]                                                                                                                    £6.00

  1. ROWBOTHAM, Sheila Women, Resistance and Revolution Allen Lane 1972

Very good in chipped d/w

[1834]                                                                                                                    £10.00

  1. SALES, Roger Jane Austen and Representations of Regency England Routledge 1996

Soft covers – mint

[11362]                                                                                                                  £15.00

  1. SANKOVITCH, Tilde French Women Writers and the Book: myths of access and desire Syracuse University Press 1988

Soft covers – fine

[11883]                                                                                                                    £8.00

  1. SCARLET WOMEN Scarlet Women Collective August 1978

Newsletter of the Socialist Feminist Current. Issue 8. Very good

[11324]                                                                                                                    £4.00

  1. SCHWARTZ, Rosalind (ed) Women at Work Institute of Industrial Relations, Uniiversity of California 1987

A collection of research papers addressing the changing role and expertise of women in the workplace. Soft covers – very good

[6876]                                                                                                                      £8.00

  1. SEAGER, Joni Earth Follies: feminism, politics and the environment Earthscan 1993

Soft covers – fine

[8708]                                                                                                                      £8.00

  1. SEARLE, Arthur (ed) Barrington Family Letters 1628-1632 Royal Historical Society 1983

In the main letters to Lady Joan Barrington, the focal point of the extended family, the dowager and respected matriarch on a recognisable early 17th-century pattern. Very good

[10955]                                                                                                                  £12.00

  1. SEIDLER, Victor The Achilles Heel Reader: men, sexual politics and socialism Routledge 1991

Paper covers – mint

[5302]                                                                                                                      £5.00

  1. SHIRAZI, Faegheh Velvet Jihad: Muslim women’s quiet resistance to Islamic fundamentalism University Press of Florida 2009

Hardcovers – mint in d/w

[11615]                                                                                                                  £20.00

  1. SIDDLE, David J. (ed) Migration, Mobility and Modernization Liverpool University Press 2000

In series ‘Liverpool Studies in European Population’. Essays include ‘Motives to Move: Reconstructing Individual Migration Histories in early Eighteenth-Century Liverpool’ and ‘Mobility Among Women in Nineteeth-century Dublin’. Soft covers – mint

[11670]                                                                                                                  £10.00

  1. SLATER, Michael The Great Dickens Scandal Yale University Press 2012

How Dickens sought to cover up his relationship with Ellen Ternan. Mint in d/w (pub price £20)

[13420]                                                                                                                    £8.00

  1. SONBOL, Amira El Azhary (ed) Women, the Family, and Divorce Laws in Islamic History Syracuse University Press 1996

18 essays covering a wide range of material. Soft covers – fine

[10484]                                                                                                                  £12.00

  1. SPENDER, Dale Invisible Women: the schooling scandal Women’s Press 1989

Pioneering research on sexism in education.  Paper covers – mint

[1667]                                                                                                                      £2.00

  1. STAFFORD, H.M. Queenswood: the first sixty years 1894-1954 privately printed 1954

History of the school. Good – ex-college library

[9643]                                                                                                                    £12.00

  1. STAFFORD, William English feminists and their opponents in the 1790s; unsex’d and proper females Manchester University Press 2002

Fine in fine d/w (pub. price £45)

[11757]                                                                                                                  £25.00

  1. STANLEY, Liz Et Al (eds) Auto/Biography: Bulletin of the British Sociological Association Study Group on Auto/Biography (1993)

Vol 2, no 1 ‘Research Practices’. Soft covers – fine

[10494]                                                                                                                    £9.00

  1. STARK, Freya East is West Century 1986

Her war-time experiences in Egypt, Palestine and Syria. First published in 1945. Soft covers – very good

[10557]                                                                                                                    £5.00

  1. STEINER, Wendy The Trouble with Beauty Heinemann 2001

Explores the 20th century’s troubled relationship with beauty. Hardcover – fine in fine d/w

[11929]                                                                                                                  £12.00

  1. STENTON, Doris Mary The English Woman in History Allen & Unwin 1957

Good reading copy – ex-library

[8440]                                                                                                                    £15.00

  1. STEVENS, John Medieval Romance: themes and approaches Hutchinson University Library 1973

Hardcover – fine in fine d/w

[11945]                                                                                                                  £15.00

  1. STONE, Dorothy The National: the story of a pioneer college Robert Hale 1976

History of the pioneering domestic economy training college – The National Training College of Domestic Subjects. Fine in d/w

[8231]                                                                                                                    £12.00

  1. SUTHERLAND, Elizabeth Five Euphemias: women in medieval Scotland 1200-1420 Constable 1999

Two hundred years of Scottish history, through the lives of five women, all related, and all called Euphemia. Fine in d/w

[9329]                                                                                                                    £12.00

  1. TAYLOR, James Boardroom Scandal: the criminalization of company fraud in 19th-century Britain OUP 2013

Mint in d/w (pub price £60)

[13435]                                                                                                                  £38.00

  1. TAYLOR, Jane Contributions of Q.Q. Jackson & Walford 5th ed, 1855

The majority of these essays were first published in the ‘Youth’s Magazine’, between 1816 and 1822.  Good in original cloth

[1699]                                                                                                                    £15.00

  1. THAPAN, Meenakshi (ed) Transnational Migration and the Politics of Identity Sage 2005

Focuses on Asian women’s experience of immigration, and the impact this has on their identity in the context of transnational migration. Soft covers – mint

[10134]                                                                                                                  £10.00

  1. TODD, Janet Gender, Art and Death Continuum (NY) 1993

Mint in d/w

[3972]                                                                                                                    £14.00

  1. TOMAN, John Kilvert’s World of Wonders; growing up in mid-Victorian England Lutterworth Press 2013

Presents the diarist Francis Kilvert as a typical mid-Victorian, excited by the scientific and tchnological forces ushering in the modern world. Describes the diarist’s upbringing and education to show the origins of his outlook. Soft covers – mint (pub price £25)

[13419]                                                                                                                  £18.00

  1. TWEEDIE, Jill In the Name of Love Granada 1980

Soft covers – good

[9441]                                                                                                                      £3.00

  1. TYLECOTE, Mabel The Education of Women at Manchester University 1883 to 1933 Manchester University Press 1941

With a newscutting obituary of Dame Mabel Tylecote laid in. Good – scarce

[13139]                                                                                                                  £40.00

  1. UGRESIC, Dubravka Have A Nice Day: from the Balkan War to the American Dream Cape 1994

A view of American life through the eyes of a famous Croatian writer. Soft covers – fine

[10306]                                                                                                                    £7.00

  1. VALENZE, Deborah The First Industrial Woman OUP 1995

Examines the underlying assumptions about gender and work that informed the transformation of English society, and in turn, ideas about economic progress. Charts the birth of a new economic order resting on social and sexual hierarchies which remain a part of our contemporary lives. Soft covers – mint

[10786]                                                                                                                  £15.00

  1. VICINUS, Martha A Widening Sphere: changing roles of Victorian women Methuen 1977

Soft covers – very good

[7646]                                                                                                                    £23.00

  1. WATERS, Kristin (ed) Women and Men Poltical Theorists: enlightened conversations Blackwell 2000

A sourcebook,  including the work of women – such as Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Astell – as well as that of  Locke, Rousseau, Mill etc. Soft covers – mint – large format – 374pp

[6006]                                                                                                                    £10.00

  1. WILSON, Philip K (ed) Childbirth: Vol 3: Methods and Folklore Garland Publishing 1996

An anthology of key primary sources centring on methods of childbirth -covering ‘Painless Childbirth’ from the 18th century onwards; ”Caesarian Sections’ and ’20th Century Natural Childbirth’ and ‘Oral Traditions and Folklore of Pregnancy and Childbirth’  A single volume from a 5-voume series. Fine – 433pp

[11065]                                                                                                                  £25.00

  1. WINSTEAD, Karen (ed) Chaste Passions: medieval English virgin martyr legends Cornell University Press 2000

Soft covers – very good

[11983]                                                                                                                    £9.00

  1. WOLPE, Anne-Marie Some Processes in Sexist Education Women’s Research and Resources Centre 1977

Explorations in Feminism series no1977. Soft covers – very good

[6635]                                                                                                                      £8.00

  1. WOODS, Edgar & Diana Things That Are Not Done: an outspoken commentary on popular habits and a guide to correct conduct Universal Publications, no date (1937)


[10612]                                                                                                                  £12.00

General Biography


  1. (ALLEN) John C. Hirsh Hope Emily Allen: medieval scholarship and feminism Pilgrim Books (Oklahoma) 1988

Biography of an American medieval scholar, born in 1883 – who spent time at Newnham. Fine

[11995]                                                                                                                  £15.00

  1. (AMBERLEY) Bertrand and Patricia Russell (eds) The Amberley Papers: the letters and diaries of Lord and Lady Amberley Hogarth Press 1937

The epitome of radical liberalism in the mid-19th-century. Both died tragically young. Good

[11044]                                                                                                                  £45.00

  1. (ARNOLD-FOSTER) T.W. Moody and R.A.J. Hawkins (eds) Florence Arnold-Foster’s Irish Journal OUP 1988

She was the niece and adopted daughter of W.E. Foster.  The journals covers the years 1880-1882 when he was chief secretary for Ireland.  Fine in slightly rubbed d/w

[1043]                                                                                                                    £10.00

  1. (BEALE) Elizabeth Raikes Dorothea Beale of Cheltenham Constable 1908


[11045]                                                                                                                  £15.00

  1. (BEETON) Kathryn Hughes The Short Life and Long Times of Mrs Beeton Harper 2006

Excellent biography. Soft covers – fine

[10918]                                                                                                                    £6.00

  1. BELL, Alan (ed and with an introduction by) Sir Leslie Stephen’s ‘Mausoleum Book’ OUP 1977

Intimate autobiography written for Stephen’s immediate family after the death of his wife, Julia, the mother of Vanessa and Virginia. Very good in d/w

[13199]                                                                                                                  £12.00

  1. (BEWICK) Jenny Uglow Nature’s Engraver: the life of Thomas Bewick Faber 2006

Hardcover – fine in fine d/w

[11894]                                                                                                                  £10.00

  1. (BURNEY) Janice Farrar Thaddeus Frances Burney: a literary life St Martin’s Press 2000

Soft covers – very good

[10546]                                                                                                                    £8.00

  1. CHAPMAN, Barbara Boxing Day Baby QueenSpark Market Books 1994

She was born in Brighton on Boxing Day in 1927. Soft covers – 34pp – very good

[10402]                                                                                                                    £4.00

  1. (CLIVE) Mary Clive (ed) Caroline Clive: from the diary and family papers of Mrs Archer Clive (1801-1873) Bodley Head

Life among the ‘Landed Gentry’ – beautifully edited by Mary Clive – who had the knack. Good in rubbed d/w

[11101]                                                                                                                  £10.00

  1. CRAWFORD, Anne et al (eds) Europa Biographical Dictionary of British Women: over 1000 notable women from Britain’s Past Europa 1983

Soft covers – 536pp – fine

[12408]                                                                                                                  £10.00

  1. (DE STAEL/CONSTANT) Renee Winegarten Germaine de Stael and Benjamin Constant: a dual biography Yale University Press 2008

Hardcovers – fine in fine d/w

[11963]                                                                                                                  £12.00

  1. (DERBY) Angus Hawkins The Forgotten Prime Minister: the 14th Earl of Derby: Achievement, 1851-1969 OUP 2008

Mint in d/w

[11701]                                                                                                                  £16.00

  1. DUNFORD, Penny A Biographical Dictionary of Women Artists in Europe and America since 1850 Harvester 1990


[10850]                                                                                                                  £35.00

  1. (EDEN) Violet Dickinson (Ed) Miss Eden’s Letters Macmillan 1919

Born, a Whig, in 1797. Her letters are full of social detail. In 1835 she went to India with her brother when he became governor-general. Very good

[9339]                                                                                                                    £28.00

  1. (GAUTIER) Joanna Richardson Judith Gautier: a biography Quartet 1986

Biography of French woman of letters – and muse. Soft covers – fine

[12432]                                                                                                                    £6.00

  1. (GOYA) Julia Blackburn Old Man Goya Jonathan Cape 2002

Follows Goya through the last 35 years of his life. Very good in d/w

[10975]                                                                                                                    £8.00

  1. (HALDANE) Elizabeth Haldane From One Century to Another Alexander Maclehose 1937

She was born in 1862, into an eminent Scottish Liberal family – an interesting autobiography by one who was at the heart of things. Good – cover marked – remains of Boots Library label

[14375]                                                                                                                  £12.00

  1. (HAMMOND) Mrs John Hays Hammond A Woman’s Part in a Revolution Longmans, Green 1987

The ‘Revolution’ was the Boer War – her husband was imprisoned by the Boers. Good

[6083]                                                                                                                    £30.00

  1. (HARRISON) Amy Greener A Lover of Books: the life and literary papers of Lucy Harrison J.M. Dent 1916

Lucy Harrison (a niece of Mary Howitt) studied at Bedford College, then taught for 20 years at a school in Gower St (Charlotte Mew was a pupil at the school and v. attached to Miss Harrison) and then became headmistress of the Mount School, York. Good – pasted onto the free front end paper is a presentation slip from the editor, Amy Greener, to Mary Cotterell

[11054]                                                                                                                  £18.00

  1. (HOWARD) Elizabeth Jane Howard Slipstream: a memoir Macmillan 2002

Fine in d/w

[10523]                                                                                                                    £8.00

  1. (HOWE) Valarie Ziegler Diva Julia: the public romance and private agony of Julia Ward Howe Trinity Press International 2003

Hardcover – fine in fine d/w

[11892]                                                                                                                  £10.00

  1. (JAMESON) Clara Thomas Love and Work Enough: the life of Anna Jameson Macdonald 1967


[12070]                                                                                                                  £10.00

  1. (JAMESON) G.H. Needler (ed) Letters of Anna Jameson to Ottilie von Goethe OUP 1939

Very good internally – cover marked

[12451]                                                                                                                  £20.00

  1. (JEBB) Alice Salomon Eglantyne Jebb   Union Internationale de Secours Aux Enfants 1936

Short study in French. Paper covers – 53pp – very good

[13170]                                                                                                                    £5.00

  1. (LEIGH) Michael and Melissa Bakewell Augusta Leigh: Byron’s half-sister – a biography Chatto & Windus 2000

Hardcovers – fine in fine d/w

[12012]                                                                                                                    £8.00

  1. (LIDDELL) Simon Winchester The Alice Behind Wonderland OUP 2011

‘Using Charles Dodgson’s published writings, private diaries, and of course his photographic portraits, Winchester gently exposes the development of Lewis Carroll and the making of his Alice.’ Mint in d/w

[14962]                                                                                                                    £6.00

  1. LONGFORD. Elizabeth Eminent Victorian Women The History Press 2008

First published in 1981. This edition with an introduction by Judith Kazantzis. Soft covers – mint

[11729]                                                                                                                    £5.00

  1. (MACAULAY) Jane Emery Rose Macaulay: a writer’s life John Murray 1991

Soft covers – fine

[11888]                                                                                                                    £6.00

  1. MARTINDALE, Hilda Some Victorian Portraits and Others Allen & Unwin 1948

Biographical essays of members of her circle – including Adelaide Anderson, factory inspector. Very good in d/w

[6071]                                                                                                                    £18.00

  1. (MARTYN) Christopher Hodgson (compiler) Carrie: Lincoln’s Lost Heroine privately published 2010

A biographical anthology of works relating to Caroline Eliza Derecourt Martyn, socialist. Soft covers – fine

[14222]                                                                                                                  £10.00

  1. MAVINGA, Isha McKenzie And PERKINS, Thelma In Search of Mr McKenzie: two sisters’ quest for an unknown father Women’s Press 1991

An intriguing search to find their black father – their mother was white and Jewish. Soft covers – good

[10418]                                                                                                                    £5.00

  1. (MAYNARD) Catherine B. Firth Constance Louisa Maynard: mistress of Westfield College Allen & Unwin 1949

Very good  – scarce

[11033]                                                                                                                  £15.00

  1. (MONROE) Fred Lawrence Guiles Norma Jean: the tragedy of Marilyn Monroe Mayflower 1971

Paper covers – good

[2816]                                                                                                                      £2.00

  1. (MONTGOMERY) Mary Rubio and Elizbeth Waterston (eds) The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery: vol 1 1889-1910 OUP 1985

Fine in very good d/w -424pp – heavy

[12426]                                                                                                                  £15.00

  1. (MORGAN) Sydney Lady Morgan Passage From My Autobiography Richard Bentley 1859

‘The following pages are the simple records of a transition existence, socially enjoyed, and pelasantly and profitably occupied, during a journey of a few months from Ireland to Italy.’ Good – in original decorative mauve cloth

[13675]                                                                                                                  £18.00

  1. NEWNHAM COLLEGE REGISTER 1871-1950 privately printed

packed with biographical information on students and staff.   Soft covers – 2 vols – good – although backing on vol 1 is coming unstuck and outermost cover of vol II is missing- internally very good – scarce

[11776]                                                                                                                  £40.00

  1. (NICE) Miranda Seymour The Bugatti Queen: in search of a motor-racing legend Simon & Schuster 2004

Romantic life of Helle Nice, who set land-speed records for Bugatti in the 1930s. Fine in d/w

[10532]                                                                                                                    £8.00

  1. (NIGHTINGALE) Lynn McDonald (ed) Florence Nightingale’s European Travels Wilfrid Laurier Press 2004

Her correspondence, and a few short published articles, from her youthful European travels. She is an excellent observer and reporter. Fine in d/w – 802pp

[11112]                                                                                                                  £45.00

  1. (ORIGO) Caroline Moorehead Iris Origo: Marchesa of Val d’Orcia John Murray 2000

Hardcovers – fine in fine d/w

[12007]                                                                                                                    £6.00

  1. PARRY, Melanie (ed) Chambers Biographical Dictionary of Women Chambers 1996

Soft covers – fine – 741pp – heavy

[12421]                                                                                                                  £10.00

  1. (PASTON) Helen Castor Blood and Roses Faber 2004

A family biography tracing the Pastons’ story across three generations. Mint in mint d/w

[11981]                                                                                                                    £8.00

  1. (PLATH/HUGHES) Diane Middlebrook Her Husband: Hughes and Plath: a marriage Little,Brown 2004

Fine in fine d/w

[12020]                                                                                                                    £8.00

  1. (PUREFOY) G. Eland (ed) Purefoy Letters 1735-1753 Sidgwick & Jackson 1931

The letters of Elizabeth Purefoy (1672-1765), whose husband died in 1704, and her son, Henry Purefoy.  Elizabeth Purefoy was, as her epitaph recorded, ‘a woman of excellent understanding, prudent and frugal’ and her letters are full of domestic detail.  Very good – two volumes

[9338]                                                                                                                    £40.00

  1. (RODWAY) Angela Rodway A London Childhood Virago 1985

First published in 1960, reissued with a new introduction by the author. Growing up in working-class north Islington in the 1920s and 1930s. Soft covers – fine

[14925]                                                                                                                    £8.00

  1. (RUSKIN) Mary Lutyens (ed) Young Mrs Ruskin in Venice: the picture of society and life with John Ruskin 1849-1852 Vanguard Press (NY) 1965

Very good in d/w

[13200]                                                                                                                  £12.00

  1. (SEEBOHM) Victoria Glendinning A Suppressed Cry: life and death of a Quaker daughter Routledge 1969

The short, sad life of Winnie Seebohm, smothered by her loving family. She enjoyed a month at Newnham in 1885, before returning home and dying. Good in d/w – though ex-library

[4276]                                                                                                                      £4.00

  1. SICHERMAN, Barbara et al (eds) Notable American Women: The Modern Period Belknap Press of Harvard University Press 1980

Soft covers – 773pp – heavy – very good

[12418]                                                                                                                  £12.00

  1. (SIMPSON) Morrice McCrae Simpson: the turbulent life of a medical pioneer Birlinn 2011

The discoverer of ‘the blessed chloroform’ and, as such, an important figure in ‘woman’s sphere’. Soft covers – mint

[13433]                                                                                                                    £5.00

  1. (SLATE/SLAWSON) Tieri Thompson (ed) Dear Girl: the diaries and letters of two working women 1897-1917 The Women’s Press 1987

Letters and diaries of two women whose friendship was played out against the background of the suffrage movement. Paper covers – very good

[13731]                                                                                                                    £6.00

  1. (SOYER) Ruth Cowen Relish: the extraordinary life of Alexis Soyer, Victorian celebrity chef Weidenfeld 2006

Chef and kitchen designer to the Reform Club and reformer of army catering. Mint in d/w

[9824]                                                                                                                      £8.00

  1. (ST TERESA OF AVILA) St Teresa of Avila by Herself Penguin Classics 1957 (r/p)

Soft covers – fine

[11950]                                                                                                                    £6.00

  1. STARK, Freya The Coast of Incense: autobiography 1933-1939 John Murray 1953

Covers her travels in Egypt, the Middle East and South Arabia. Good in chipped d/w

[10564]                                                                                                                    £6.00

  1. (STEAD) Chris Williams Christina Stead: a life of letters Virago 1989

Soft covers – fine

[11891]                                                                                                                    £8.00

  1. (STOWE) Joan Hedrick Harriet Beecher Stowe OUP 1994

Soft covers – fine

[11991]                                                                                                                    £9.00

  1. (STUART) Hon. James A. Home (ed) Letters of Lady Louisa Stuart to Miss Louisa Clinton David Douglas (Edinburgh) 1901 & 1903

Two volumes – complete set. The first volume covers the period 1817 to 1825 and the second volume (called ‘Second Series’) that from1826 to 1834. Society observed. Very good – two volumes together

[13335]                                                                                                                  £38.00

  1. (TENNYSON) James O. Hoge Lady Tennyson’s Journal University Press of Virginia 1981

Fine in d/w

[9675]                                                                                                                    £18.00

  1. (TREFUSIS/SACKVILLE-WEST) Mitchell Leaska & John Phillips (ed) Violet to Vita: the letters of Violet Trefusis to Vita Sackville-West Mandarin 1989

Paper covers – fine

[4855]                                                                                                                      £8.00

  1. (TROUBRIDGE) Jaqueline Hope-Nicholson (ed) Life Amongst the Troubridges: journals of a young Victorian 1873-1884 by Laura Troubridge John Murray 1966

Very good in rubbed d/w

[9324]                                                                                                                    £10.00

  1. (TUCKER) Agnes Giberne A Lady of England: the life and letters of Charlotte Maria Tucker Hodder & Stoughton 1895

The standard biography of a popular children’s and religious writer – who spent the later years of her life as a missionary in India.  Good – though ex-university library

[9599]                                                                                                                    £28.00

  1. (TUDOR) Maria Perry Sisters to the King deutsch 2002

Lives of the sisters of Henry VIII – Queen Margaret of Scotland and Queen Mary of France. Soft covers – fine

[12024]                                                                                                                    £4.00

  1. WALLER, Maureen Sovereign Ladies: the six reigning queens of England John Murray 2007

Soft covers – mint

[11023]                                                                                                                    £6.00

  1. (WARWICK) Charlotte Fell-Smith Mary Rich, Countess of Warwick (1625-1678), her family and friends Longmans, Green 1901

Very good

[1754]                                                                                                                    £45.00

  1. (WOLLSTONECRAFT) Janet Todd (ed) The Collected Letters of Mary Wollstonecraft Allen Lane 2003

Mint in d/w

[10787]                                                                                                                  £25.00

  1. (WORTH) Edith Saunders The Age of Worth: courtier to the Empress Eugenie Longmans 1954

Interesting social history. Good – though ex-Boots library, with label pasted on to front cover.

[4013]                                                                                                                      £5.00


General Ephemera




Motion for second reading of the bill, published in Hansard, HMSO, 25 Feb 1977

[4023]                                                                                                                      £2.00


1894 to 1921, with respect to the expenses of the medical attendance of masters and seamen suffering from Venereal Disease. Single-sided sheet

[12562]                                                                                                        £1.00 SOLD


Withdrawn from the collection of the Association of Moral and Social Hygiene. The Act is marked ‘see page 829’ – and on that page the act is concerned with the ‘Rape, Abduction, and Defilement of Women’. 24-pp – good

[12555]                                                                                                                    £5.00


This badge belonged to one of the Hodgson sisters, whose suffrage collection featured in Catalogue 198. The badge is brass and blue enamel with a lion’s head below the initials A.B.E.E. The exhibition was held at Wembley Park from April 1924 to October 1925

[14937]                                                                                                      £10.00 SOLD

  1. ASSOCIATION OF ASSISTANT MISTRESSES Education Policy; with special reference to Secondary Education no date (early 20th c)

4-pp leaflet – good – ex-Board of Education library

[14163]                                                                                                                    £5.00


A paper given by Miss C.L. Thomson at the 1907 Annual Meeting of the Association. 16-pp pamphlet – good – ex-Board of Education library

[12706]                                                                                                                    £8.00

  1. BASTARDY ACT, 1923

Withdrawn from the Women’s Library. 6pp – good

[14989]                                                                                                                    £4.00

  1. BINFIELD, Clyde Belmont’s Portias: Victorian nonconformists and middle-class education for girls Dr Williams’ Trust 1981

The 35th Friends of Dr Williams’s Library Lecture. Paper covers – 35pp – good – scarce

[9158]                                                                                                                    £18.00


Third Report (July 1938) and Fourth Report (Oct 1938) of the Burnham Committee on Scales of Salaries for Teachers in Secondary Schools. Card covers – good – withdrawn from the Women’s Library. Together

[12263]                                                                                                                    £4.00

  1. BOARD OF EDUCATION Reorganisation of Public Elementary Schools in England and Wales 1937-38 HMSO 1939

‘Statistics for the area of each local education authority showing numer of departments on 31 march 1938 by type of department, number of pupils, aged under 11 and 11 and over respectively, in each type of department together with summaries, by type of area, for England and Wales’. Paper covers – 64pp – good

[12540]                                                                                                                    £8.00


Memorandum of the Articles of Association, and by-laws of the British Medical Association, together with a few other items sent with a letter, dated 17 July 1922, welcoming Dr Gladys Stableforth, Moorfields, Fenham, Northumberland as a member of the BMA.

[8762]                                                                                                                      £3.00

  1. BRITISH MEDICAL ASSOCIATION Report of Committee on Industrial Health in Factories BMA 1941

43-pp wartime report – paper covers – good – withdrawn from the Women’s Library

[12334]                                                                                                                    £3.00

  1. CENSUS OF SCOTLAND 1911 VOL II Report of the Twelfth Decennial Census of Scotland HMSO [1913]

Missing front blue paper cover and some pages at end that cover talbels XLVI-LI – but 562pp are present and correct. Withdrawn from the Women’s Library

[12385]                                                                                                                  £15.00

  1. CHARITY ORGANISATION REVIEW Vol X (New Series) July To Dec 1901 Longmans, Green 1902

half-yearly bound volume of the COS’s own magazine. Very good

[9244]                                                                                                                    £28.00

  1. CHARITY ORGANISATION SOCIETY D.R. Sharpe Centralised Registration of Assistance COS 1911

Paper read on 31 May 1911 at the Annual National Conference of Charity Organisation Societies. Paper covers – 14pp pamphlet – good – unusual

[9236]                                                                                                                    £18.00

  1. CHARITY ORGANISATION SOCIETY H. Holman A Restatement of the First Principles of Charity Organisation Work COS 1912

Paper read on 21 May 1912 at the 21st Annual National Conference of Charity Organisation Societies, Manchester. Paper covers – 24pp – good – unusual

[14100]                                                                                                                  £25.00

  1. CHARITY ORGANISATION SOCIETY J.W. Pennyman The Cost of Good Work COS 1895

A Paper read at the Cheltenham Charity Organisation Conference. ‘How shall we estimate the cost of good work? To do this we shall have to realise what is meant by good work, and to consider the special needs of our locality.’ A discussion of the financial costs of local charity. COS Occasional Paper No 57. 6-pp – unusual

[14099]                                                                                                                  £18.00

  1. CHARITY ORGANISATION SOCIETY Miss Pike Friendly Visiting and Personal Service COS 1911

Paper read on 1 June 1911 at the Annual National Conference of Charity Organisation Societies. Paper covers – 11pp – good – a little foxing – unusual

[9238]                                                                                                                    £20.00

  1. CHATTERJEE, GLADYS Subjects Relating to the Royal Commission on Marriage and Divorce Moore and Tomlinson Ltd 1953

A bibliography of works consulted by the Royal Commission – with an introduction by Gladys Chatterjee of Lincoln’s Inn

[14993]                                                                                                                    £4.00

  1. CHURCH OF ENGLAND MORAL WELFARE COUNCIL The Threshold of Marriage: a practical guide for all who intend to be married in church The Church Assembly 1949

Paper covers – 36pp – withdrawn from the Women’s Library

[12548]                                                                                                                    £2.00


First Report on the running of Citizen House, which opened in Sept 1913 as an educational and social centre. The Report, dated March 1915, gives details of the societies, such as the National Union of Women Workers, the Workers Educational Association, Girl Guides – and, since the beginning of the war, the Committee of Women Patrols and the Aid  Coordination Committee. The Wardens were Helen Hope and Mary de Reyes. Packed full of information about the good works being done in Bath. In very good condition – 16pp – card covers

[14978]                                                                                                                  £18.00

  1. COHEN, Lesley Women’s Organisations in Great Britain 1985/86 Women’s National Commission 1985

Soft covers – 84-pp – very good

[12534]                                                                                                                    £3.00

  1. COMMISSION OF ENQUIRY INTO INDUSTRIAL UNREST: Report of the Commission for Wales HMSO 1917

50pp – good reading copy – bound into later card covers – ex-Board of Education Library

[13215]                                                                                                                  £12.00


1) Criminal Justice Adminstration Act, 1914 – ‘An Act to diminish the number of cases committed to prison, to amend the Law with respect to the treatment and punishment of young offenders, and otherwise to improve the administration of criminal justice’.- 36pp – good; 2) Criminal Justice Act, 1925 – ‘An Act to amend the law with respect to the administration of criminal justice in England, and otherwise to amend the criminal law’ – 44pp – good; 3) Criminal Justice Act, 1948 – ‘An Act to abolish penal servitude, hard labour, prison divisions and sentence of whipping ‘etc – 110pp – good. Together

[12557]                                                                                                                    £5.00


Withdrawn from the Women’s Library. 6pp – good

[14990]                                                                                                                    £4.00

  1. DAILY MIRROR 2 October 1940

The headline is ‘First Women to win GM’. – describing the actions that had led to three A.R.P. women being awarded the George Medal for Valour. Very good

[10719]                                                                                                                    £4.00

  1. DAVIES, Dilys The Problem of Girls’ Education in Wales Association for Promoting the Education of Girls in Wales 1887

‘An Address delivered before the Welsh National Society of Liverpool, on January 13th 1887’. ‘The need of education is never felt more keenly than by the woman whose faculiteis have been undeveloped by wise guidance in childhood, and who is thrown unexpectedly on her own resources to fend for herself, and earn an honest living’. Very sensible. 14-pp pamphlet – very good – but with foxing

[14524]                                                                                                                  £18.00

  1. DEPARTMENTAL COMMITTEE ON THE TRAINING APPOINTMENT AND PAYMENT OF PROPBATION OFFICERS Report of the Departmental Committee on the Training, Appointment and Payment of Probation Officers HMSO 1922

Paper covers – 32pp – fair – withdrawn from the Women’s Library

[12292]                                                                                                                    £2.00

  1. DISINHERITANCE The Remedies of Lord Astor’s Bill

an article reprinted from ‘The Observer’, Sept 6, 1928. ‘Lord Astor introduced a Bill in the House of Lords last session to modify, to a limited extent, the right of arbitrary disinheritance possessed by spouses and parents in England and Wales and occasionally exercised.’ Double-sided sheet – good

[12561]                                                                                                                    £1.00


Runs from issue 1, 5 May 1849 to issue 156, 24 April 1852. Very good condition – half leather and marbled boards. Each vol

[8594]                                                                                                                    £38.00


Withdrawn from the Women’s Library – 16pp – good

[14995]                                                                                                                    £4.00

  1. EQUAL PAY CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE AND STATUS OF WOMEN COMMITTEE Equal Pay: a reply to the chancellor of the Exchequer 1947

Double-sided leaflet – creased and nicked

[12273]                                                                                                                    £1.00


  1. EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK Equal Pay Campaign Committee 1944

‘The question of Equal Pay for Equal Work will shortly come up for discussion in Parliament…’Small 4pp leaflet

[14999]                                                                                                                    £2.00

  1. EQUAL RIGHTS FOR WOMEN International Women’s Year, 1975 UN Office of Public Information 1974

Details of the UN’s plans for their work on equal rights in 1975. Good – 16pp – withdrawn from the Women’s Library

[14991]                                                                                                                    £2.00


founded in 1985, aa news and current affairs magazine aimed at ‘real women’. Issues:

1991 July/Aug

1992 Oct, Nov, Dec/Jan 1993;1993, Feb, April, March, May, June, July, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov Dec/Jan 1994; 1994, Feb, March, April, May, June, July, Aug, Sept,  Oct, Nov, Dec/Jan 1995;1995 Feb, March, April, May, June, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec/Jan 1996;1996 May

In good condition. Each

[14923]                                                                                                                    £8.00


Small metal Vesta case with a map of India shown in hold a small box of matches. During World War I, Lord Willingdon, the governor of Bombay, created the India War & Relief Fund (Bombay Branch) two which all the native and princely states neighbouring the Bombay Presidency contributed, along with the people of the Bombay Presidency. Lady Willingdon was president of the Women’s Branch. it is thought these little vesta cases were given to soldiers leaving India on their way back to Britain. In good condition – unusual

[14979]                                                                                                                  £25.00


Two of the Federation’s annual reports. First Annual Report (Oct 1935-Sept 1936), 6pp; Fourth Annual Report (October 1938-Dec 1939), 12pp. Both soft covers, both very good. Together

[13329]                                                                                                                  £12.00


A collection of photograph and over 20 letters relating to Julia Harriet Grubbe (1845-1907), the daughter of John Eustace Grubbe, magistrate, parliamentary agent and sometime mayor of Southwold. A very large page carries 11 photographs of Julia, covering the whole of her life. In the 1880s/90s, from which period most of the letters (all written to her) date, she lived with her parents and four unmarried siblings in Park Lane, Southwold. A study of the letters gives an insight into the concerns of a woman of her class and time. In very good condition

[14212]                                                                                                                  £45.00


Withdrawn from the Women’s Library. Good – 12pp

[14988]                                                                                                        £5.00 SOLD


Page from ‘The Buiilding News’ (18 March 1892) showing the new building for the school, at Park Road, Bolton, opened by Millicent Fawcett on 8 May 1891. The building, now, I think, demolished was in an ‘olde Englishe’ style, with half-timbering  and an oriel window to the assembly hall. The page includes plans for the Ground and First floors, showing the disposition of classrooms, wcs etc. Very good

[14898]                                                                                                                  £25.00

  1. HILL, Charles H. E. Memorandum on the National Service Acts, 1939-41 and other emergency legislation prepared for the War Resisters’ International War Resisters’ International 1942

16-pp pamphlet – withdrawn from the Women’s Library

[12367]                                                                                                                    £4.00

  1. HMSO Factories (No 2) Bill HMSO 1926

Concerned with working conditions. 102pp – lacking paper covers – withdrawn from the Women’s Library

[12300]                                                                                                                    £2.00

  1. HMSO National Advisory Committee on the Employment of Older Men and Women HMSO

The First Report, Oct 1953 and Second Report, Dec 1955. Paper covers – good – withdrawn from the Women’s Library. Together

[12277]                                                                                                                    £4.00

  1. HMSO A Study of the Factors which have operated in the past and those which are operating now to determine the distribution of women in industry 1930

Paper covers – very good – 33pp

[3638]                                                                                                                    £18.00


‘An Act to amend the alw as to the duration and recovery of aliment for, and the custody of, illegitimate children in Scotland, and for other purposes connected therewith.’ 4-pp – good – withdrawn from the Women’s Library.

[12565]                                                                                                                    £1.00


March 8th 1959. Single sheet advertising ‘Celebration at Holborn Hall’. Good

[2320]                                                                                                                      £2.00


photograph of her- head and shoulders – by Elliott and Fry. Has been someone’s pin-up – pin mark at top of card – well clear of photograph. Fair

[11205]                                                                                                                  £10.00

  1. KLEIN, Viola Employing Married Women Institute of Personnel Management 1961

Paper covers – 52pp – good – withdrawn from the Women’s Library

[14996]                                                                                                                    £5.00


Programme of classes for 1957-58 – 12pp

[7225]                                                                                                                      £2.00

  1. McMILLAN, Margaret The Future of Our Young People Co-operative Union 1911

Paper covers – 12pp – good – ex-Board of Education library

[12743]                                                                                                                  £12.00

  1. MATERNAL MORTALITY Report of Meeting held at Central Hall, Westminster, on October 30, 1928 Maternal Mortality Committee 1928

Held at a time when there was still one maternal death per 250 births. Withdrawn from the Women’s Library. 30 pp – good, though front cover detached and torn

[14987]                                                                                                                    £8.00

  1. MINISTRY OF LABOUR AND NATIONAL SERVICE Time Rates of Wages and Hours of Labour HMSO 1952

Covers every type of employment for coal mining to cinema usherette. Paper covers – 248pp

[12298]                                                                                                                    £8.00

  1. MINISTRY OF RECONSTRUCTION Report of the Women’s Advisory Committee on the Domestic Service Problem together with reports by sub-committees on training, Machinery of distribution, organisation and conditions HMSO 1919

Among those involved in the committee were Margaret Tuke, Winifred Mercier, Clementina Black, Katherine Furse, Mrs C.S. Peel, and the Marchioness of Londonderry. The recommendations cover training, contract of service, scale of wages, employment exchanges and registry offices.  Probably missing blue paper covers, otherwise very good -36pp

[14994]                                                                                                                  £20.00

  1. MRS SARAH BURGESS – PRINTER Souvenir and History of Opening of Parliament by the King and Queen Wed Feb 14th 1912

Mrs Burgess was the printer of souvenir tissue napkins, sold from her shop just off the Strand to street hawkers and then bought from them by those  viewing the great events of the day.In this case the 1912 opening of Parliament. For more about Sarah Burgess see a post on my website – This tissue is in very good condition

[14980]                                                                                                      £30.00 SOLD

  1. MRS SARAH BURGESS – PRINTER Souvenir and Programme of the Opening of the Festival of Empire by their Majesties the King and Queen at the Crystal Palace, May 12th 1911.

Mrs Burgess was the printer of souvenir tissue napkins, sold from her shop (which at this time was in Artillery Lane, Bishopsgate) to street hawkers and then bought from them by those  viewing the great events of the day.In this case the 1911 Festival of Empire – with portraits of King George V, Queen Alexandra and, I assume,the young Prince Edward. For more about Sarah Burgess see a post on my website – This tissue has a tear in the bottom right-hand corner, which doesn’t affect text but does split one of the numerous union flags that frame the piece

[14985]                                                                                                                  £15.00

  1. MRS SARAH BURGESS – PRINTER Souvenir in Commemoration of Queen Alexandra’s Inspection of the Great Boy Scout Rally on the Horse Guards’ Parade, Saturday June 13th 1914

Mrs Burgess was the printer of souvenir tissue napkins, sold from her shop just off the Strand to street hawkers and then bought from them by those  viewing the great events of the day.In this case a 1914 Boy Scout Rally. For more about Sarah Burgess see a post on my website – In good condition – one nick on the right-hand margin.

[14981]                                                                                                                  £20.00

  1. MRS SARAH BURGESS – PRINTER Souvenir in Commemoration of the Anniversary of Armistice Day and President Poincare Visit to London, 11 November 1919

Mrs Burgess was the printer of souvenir tissue napkins, sold from her shop just off the Strand to street hawkers and then bought from them by those  viewing the great events of the day.In this case the first anniversary of the Armistice – with full details of Poincare’s visit and of the Armistice Day procession to the Cenotaph and then to Westminster Abbey. For more about Sarah Burgess see a post on my website – This tissue is in good condition.

[14982]                                                                                                      £30.00 SOLD

  1. MRS SARAH BURGESS – PRINTER Souvenir in Commemoration of the Inspection of the Indian Troops by their Emperor King at Buckingham Palace, 2nd August 1919

Mrs Burgess was the printer of souvenir tissue napkins, sold from her shop just off the Strand to street hawkers and then bought from them by those  viewing the great events of the day.In this case the 1919 Inspection of Indian troops – with portraits of the King and Queen and details of the Indian troops’ movements through London. For more about Sarah Burgess see a post on my website – This tissue is in very good condition.

[14984]                                                                                                                  £30.00

  1. NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GIRLS’ CLUBS Clubs and Club Making University of London Press 1943

A history – and then 13 chapters on how to run a club. Soft covers – 104pp – good – ex-Board of Education library

[12747]                                                                                                                  £25.00


Paper covers – 24pp – good – withdrawn from the Women’s Library

[12296]                                                                                                                    £3.00


for Ethel Leach, a member of the Amalgamated Association of Card, Blowing and Ring room Operatives c1912. Ethel Leach lwas born in 1898 and lived at

2 Alder Street, Bolton, with her parents (her father was a basketmaker) and her brother and sister. When the 1911 census was taken she was 13 and still at school – but by the time this Contribution Book was issued she was a ‘Cardroom Operative;. The 8 printed pages of the book detail the Table of Weeklly Contributions, Contributions Paid, and the Benefits that will accrue.- as well as much detail about the operation of the National Health Insurance at that time. An unusual item. Card covers – very good

[14975]                                                                                                                  £12.00

  1. NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE The National Health Service (Service Committees and Tribunal) Regulations 1948 HMSO 1948

30-pp – good – withdrawn from the collection of the Association for Moral and Social Hygiene – good – with some marginal pencilled emphases.

[12551]                                                                                                                    £1.00

  1. NATIONAL UNION OF FAMILY ASSOCIATIONS World Congress for Family and Population 1947

The Congress was held in Paris in June 1947. Paper covers – good – withdrawn from the Women’s Library

[12532]                                                                                                                    £3.00

  1. NATIONAL UNION OF WOMEN’S TEACHERS How Equal Pay would Help Industry and Decrease Unemployment   NUWT 1930s?

Single page leaflet, published by the National Union of Women teachers- fine

[10735]                                                                                                                    £8.00

  1. NOBLE WOMEN; Windows in the Lady Chapel Liverpool Cathderal Liverpool Cathedral (no date)

Booklet describing the stained glas window, designed by James Hogan in 1921 and painted by A.A. Burcombe of Whitefriars Studios. The ‘noble women’ included those with Liverpool connections, such as Jemima Clough, Josephine Butler and Agnes Jones, as well as ones, such as Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Christina Rossetti, who did not. 16-pp – card covers – very good

[12237]                                                                                                        £4.00 SOLD


Paper covers -67 pp – with photographs – with drawn from the Women’s Library

[13173]                                                                                                                    £3.00


programme for the production of ‘Paola and Francesca’ by Stephen Phillips staged by George Alexander at the St James’s Theatre in March 1902. The cast included Elizabeth Robins, Henry Ainley, Lilian Braithwaite and Evelyn Millard. The programme conmprises, as well as the cast list, a long history of the story of Paola and Francesca, notes on the costumes, the scenery, and the music. Good condition

[14423]                                                                                                                    £5.00


1) Decision of Industrial Court July 1927: Manipulative Grades – Post Office. In the course of the claims and counter claims sets out all the grades and pay of Post Office workers. Paper covers, 212pp ; 2) Report of the Committee on the Inland Telegraph Service 1927, pub 1928. Paper covers – 28pp. Two items – good – together

[12541]                                                                                                                    £3.00


Paper covers – 8-pp – good – withdrawn from the Women’s Library

[12554]                                                                                                                    £1.00


33-pp foolscap Report – together with – ‘A Rough Record 1858-1935 on the work of the Association for Moral and Social Hygiene, in connection with the British Army in India’ – 8-pp foolscap report. In good condition – withdrawn from the Women’s Library. Together

[12353]                                                                                                                  £12.00


The Committee included Margery Fry. Good – 50pp – withdrawn from the Women’s Library

[14380]                                                                                                                    £5.00


edited by W.T. Stead. the first volume, January-June 1890. As Stead spotted, here was a gap in the market, enabling the interested observer to keep a finger on the pulse of the world. With v useful indexes to articles in current periodicals. Very good

[3887]                                                                                                                    £25.00

  1. RICH, Adena Women Under Our Immigration and Naturalization Laws 1949

The post-war US position. Reprinted from ‘The Social Science Review’ – self covers – fair – withdrawn from the Women’s Library

[12382]                                                                                                                    £2.00

  1. SACKVILLE-WEST, Vita Knole National Trust 1952

National Trust guide to Knole, with a catalogue of pictures and biographical notes of painters by Robin Fedden. Includes 8 b & w photographs. Soft covers – fine

[5470]                                                                                                                      £5.00


Newsletter of the Socialist Feminist Current – issue for April 1978

[8189]                                                                                                                      £1.00


Newsletter of the Socialist Feminist Current. Issue for August 1978

[8191]                                                                                                                      £1.00


Debate in the House of Commons on Profumo’s resignation, 17 June 1963. Harold Wilson: ‘..There is something utterly nauseating about a system of society which pays a harlot 25 times as much as it pays its prime minister….’ Another of Britain’s great moments. Poor condition, partially disbound..but it’s all there.

[15003]                                                                                                                    £4.00

  1. SENIOR, Mrs Nassau Pauper Schools HMSO 1875

‘Copy ”of a Letter addressed to the President of the Local Government Board by Mrs Nassau Senior, lately an Inspector of the Board, being a reply to the observation of Mr Tufnell, also a former inspector upon her report on pauper schools’. This was a follow-up to Mrs Senior’s 1874 report.

24pp – large format – disbound.

[10457]                                                                                                                  £28.00

  1. SOUTHWARK HOUSING ASSOCIATION LTD Fifth Report Southwark Housing Association May 1937

Paper covers – 20-pp – with a map, a photograph and lots of names of subscribers. Very good

[12247]                                                                                                                    £4.00


Founded in 1972 and running until 1992. I have the following issues for sale:     1981 112, 113 ; 1982 114 to 125 ;1983 126, 128, 131, 133, 135- 137 ; 1984 138 to 149; 1985 150-157;

1986 167;1 987 177  In good condition – each

[14885]                                                                                                                    £8.00

  1. STANDING JOINT COMMITTEE OF WORKING WOMEN’S ORGANISATIONS Working Women Discuss – Population, Equal Pay, Domestic Work WWO no date (1946)

Paper covers – 24pp – good – withdrawn from the Women’s Library

[14997]                                                                                                        £2.00 SOLD

  1. STUDY GROUP ON DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN Towards Equality: Women and Social Security Labour Party 1969

Interim report of a joint National Executive Committee: Parliamentary Labour Party Study Group on Discrimination Against Women, which was begun in 1967. Paper covers – very good

[1991]                                                                                                                      £4.00


An Act to amend the Law relating to the Summary Jurisdiction of Magistrates in reference to Married Women.  Paper covers – 8pp – good. Together with ‘ Summary Jurisdiction (Separation and Mainenance) Bill to Amend the Married Women (Maintenance) Acts 1895 and 1920, and section 5 of the Licensing Act, 1905. Paper covers – 6pp – good. And An Act to amend the Law relating to Separation and Maintenance Orders, 1925 – paper covers – 4pp. All withdrawn from the Women’s Library. Together

[12563]                                                                                                        £2.00 SOLD

  1. TEACHERS’ GUILD Helps to Self-Help for Teachers by Assurance and Investment through the Teachers’ Guild 1901

Paper covers – 28pp – good – ex-Board of Education Library

[13221]                                                                                                                    £8.00


Reports for 1896-1897; 1897; 1899; 1900; 1901-1902; 1904-1905; 1905-1906; 1906; 1907-1908; 1908; 1909-10; 1910; 1911-12. The Guild represented both male and female teachers. With much detail of local branches. Each Report c 90pp, in original paper covers (the occasional cover present, but detached) – all in good condition. Together – 13 items

[13217]                                                                                                                  £80.00

  1. TEACHERS’ GUILD OF GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND List of Members Alphabetically Arranged 1913

Names and addresses – very useful. Women teachers appear to be in the majority. Soft covers – good – ex-Board of Education Library

[13218]                                                                                                                  £15.00


The second number of the ‘Acland Chronicle’ recording the work of the Acland Club for boys and girls that was associated with the Women’s University Settlement. Good in original wrppers – ex-Board of Education library

[12684]                                                                                                                    £8.00


After Mr Schlesinger’s death in 1965 the name of Radcliffe College’s Women’s Archive was changed to honour that of ‘the first scholar to draw the attention of the historical profession and the public to “The Role of Women in American History”‘. The Report gives an account of new acquisitions and new buildings. Paper covers – 28pp – good – withdrawn from the Women’s Library.

[12535]                                                                                                        £2.00 SOLD


3 of these annual lectures: 1) No 5 Mary Stocks, Josephine Butler and the Moral Standards of Today, 1961; 2) No 6 T.C.N. Gibbens, The Clients of Prostitutes, 1962 and 3) A Summary of the Tenth Alison Neilans Memorial Lecture given by Dr R.D. Catterall, 1967.  Paper covers – in good condition, withdrawn from the Women’s Library. Together

[12337]                                                                                                                  £10.00


A list of  the  costumes, tables, charts, photographs, maps and lantern slides that were available for hire by teachers. Interesting. Paper covers – 20pp – fair – ex-Board of Education Library

[13219]                                                                                                                    £8.00

  1. THE FIRST REPORT OF THE BRISTOL REFUGE SOCIETY for the restoration of females who have unhappily fallen from virtue, ending 6 month 30, 1815; with a list of subscribers  facsimile of the edition printed for Philip Rose, Broadmead 1815

An interesting publication – full of names and address of donors and subscribers. Many Bristol worthies – but also their associates from around the country. A very well produced facsimile. Paper covers – very good

[10463]                                                                                                                  £18.00

  1. THE GREAT PARTNERSHIP Women’s Liberal Federation 1949

‘Being a report of the Enquiry Committee on Women’s Position in the Community set up by the Executive Committee of the Women’s Liberal Federation at the request of the Chairman of the Liberal Party Organisation’. Paper covers – 40pp – very good

[2879]                                                                                                                      £2.00

  1. THE HOUSEHOLD WASH A collection of modern postcards all associated with the household wash. 26 of the cards are reproductions of late-19th and early-20th century advertisements for e.g.Sunlight Soap, Recitts Blue, Rinso, Vim Persil etc. 8 cards are reproductions of various washing days. 2 cards are typograhical 1980s humour with a washing-day theme. Together with an original advertising 6-pp fold-out leaflet for E.G. Bentford’s Washing, Wringing and Mangling Machines. The leaflet is printed on both sides – showing, therefore, 12 of their lines of stock. The firm was based in Brighton – the leaflet dates from, I think, the beginning of the 20th century. The postcards are all unused and unposted. The advertising leaflet is in good condition. As a collection

[11626]                                                                                                      £25.00 SOLD

  1. THE HOUSING AND SLUM PROBLEM Questions and Answers Burrup, Mathieson & Co 1933

Paper covers -12pp – good – withdrawn from the Women’s Library

[12246]                                                                                                                    £4.00

  1. THE LEAGUE OF SERVICE Report, 1910-1911

‘The League of Service exists to bring such influences to bear upon the physical conditions and the homes of the chidlren of the nation that each child may at least begin life with a fair chance of attaining full development.’ The Report details the League’s work – in London only – with centres at King’s Cross, Marylebone and Battersea, each with its own ‘Mothers’ Dining Room’. Paper covers – 20pp -very good – ex-Board of Education library

[12737]                                                                                                                  £15.00

  1. THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF WOMEN OF GREAT BRITAIN Handbook 1960-61 National Council of Women 1961

Packed with names and addresses. Soft covers -56pp – fine

[12319]                                                                                                                    £3.00


Includes a report of a wife offered for sale at ‘the new Islington cattle market’. She fetched 26s.

[14067]                                                                                                                  £20.00

  1. THE TEACHERS’ GUILD OF GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND Scheme of Proposed Teachers’ Guild Friendly Society (Sickness and Accident Fund) 1897

Insurance for teachers. The contributions for women teachers is set higher arising ‘from the fact that amonst women the frequency, if not the duration of sickness, is very much greater than amongst men of coresponding ages, and to provide for both on the same terms would be inequitable and unsafe.’ Soft covers – 12pp – good – ex-Board of Education Library

[13220]                                                                                                                    £8.00

  1. THE UNITED NATIONS AND THE STATUS OF WOMEN a survey of United Nations work to promote the civil and political rights of women UN 1961

Soft covers – 34pp – good condition – withdrawn from the Women’s Library

[14992]                                                                                                                    £2.00

  1. THE WOMEN’S BRANCH FEDERATION Fifth Annual Report, 1912-13

‘Affiliated to the Social Institutes’ Union’ – ‘unites existing Clubs and Social Institutes for women and girls of the industrial community by promoting amongst them mutual interest and friendly intercourse.’ Good – in original wrappers – 16pp – 2 photos -ex-Board of Education lbirary

[12744]                                                                                                                  £12.00

  1. THE WOMEN’S BRANCH FEDERATION Sixth Annual Report, 1913-14

‘We can only conclude by saying that we have endeavoured to raise the standard of London Working Girls by encouraging them to take pleasure in interesting study, and employ their leisure hours in healthy and wholesome recreation.’ With details of all the affiliated Clubs. Paper covers -with photographs – 16pp – good – ex-Board of Education library

[12745]                                                                                                                  £14.00

  1. THE WOMEN’S LEAGUE OF SERVICE Report, 1911-1912

The League of Service was now renamed – and, in addition to those detailed in the 1910-11 Report, now had Centres in Hammersmith, Croydon and Bristol. Paper covers – 34pp – very good – ex-Board of Education library

[12738]                                                                                                                  £15.00


This tissue doesn’t bear any information about its printer – so is probably not the work of Mrs Sarah Burgess, who was responsible for so many similar items. The tissue shows an image of the V & A, together with a portrait of King Edward VII – and union flags – together with details of the procession to the Museum and some brief details about its structure. In good condition

[14986]                                                                                                      £15.00 SOLD

  1. TOWN POLICE CLAUSES ACT, 1889 An Act to amend the provisions relating to Hackney Carriages of the Town Police Clauses Act, 1847 HMSO 24 June 1889

Withdrawn from the Associaiton for Moral and Social Hygiene Collection, the Women’s Library. 4-pp – good

[12547]                                                                                                                    £2.00

  1. UNIVERSITY TRAINING FOR WELFARE WORK IN INDUSTRY & COMMERCE A Report issued by the Joint University Council for Social Studies P.S. King 1921

‘The Joint University Council for Social Studies has for its object the co-ordination and development of the work of Social Study Departments in connection with the Universities of Great Britain and Ireland. The Hon Sec of the Council was Elizabeth Macadam. Among the members of the committee was Rose Squire. Paper covers – 18pp – good – withdrawn from the Women’s library

[12546]                                                                                                                    £6.00

  1. WARWICK, The Countess Of Unemployment: its causes and consequences Twentieth Century Press, no date (c 1906)

Pamphlet – 16pp – first published as two articles in the ‘Daily Mail’  in Feb 1906. Good internally. The rather grubby pink paper covers – with a v glamourous photograph of the author – are present  – heavily chipped – but detached. Scarce

[14117]                                                                                                                  £45.00

  1. WIGHTMAN, Clare Women At Work and In Society Modern Records Centre, Warwick University, 2nd ed 1991

Gives sources for the subject in the Warwick Modern Records Centre. Paper covers – fine

[7541]                                                                                                                      £4.00

  1. WILKINS, Mrs Roland The Training and Employment of Education Women in Horticulture and Agriculture Women’s Farm and Garden Association 1927

Soft covers – 52pp – good – ex-Board of Education Library

[13213]                                                                                                                  £20.00


‘The object of this bill is to secure that, in the distribution of the estate of a testator or testatrix, a surviving husband or wife and any surviving children who are of an age necessitating parental support shall have a statutory right to certain provision out of the estate in order to secure the funds necessary for their maintenance.’ Paper covers – 14pp – withdrawn from the Women’s Library – good

[12564]                                                                                                                    £2.00

  1. WOMAN AT HOME (Annie S. Swan’s Magazine) Hodder & Stoughton 1894

Includes chapters from Annie Swan’s  ‘Elizabeth Glen, M.B.; the experiences of a lady doctor’, as well as the usual wide range of interviews, articles -including fashion, cookery and house furnishing, and stories. Good – hundreds of pages!

[13692]                                                                                                                  £18.00

  1. A WOMAN’S RIGHT TO CHOOSE Abortion Law Reform Association Why we must fight the Abortion (Amendment) Bill and how to go about it

20-pp pamphlet giving ‘Some Information about the Abortion (Amendment) Bill’ – and including a ‘List of Members of Parliament who voted AGAINST the Bill’s Second Reading, 7 Feb 1975)

[13197]                                                                                                                    £8.00


1994 Spring, vol 5, no 1; Autumn vol 5, no 2; Winter vol 5, no 3

1995 Summer vol 6, no1; Autumn vol 6, no 2; Winter, vol 6, no 3

1996  Spring vol 7, issue 1; Autumn vol 7, no 2; Winter vol 7, no 3

1997 Sprng vol 8, no 1; Autumn vol 8. no 3

In very good condition – each

[14929]                                                                                                                    £8.00

  1. WOMEN IN REBELLION, 1900 Two Views on Class, Socialism and Liberation ILP 1973

Contains reprints of two pamphlets: ‘Working Women and the Suffrage’ by Mrs Wibaut (translated into English and pub in England in the 1890s) and ‘Women’s Freedom’ by Lily Gair Wilkinson. Soft covers – very good

[7867]                                                                                                                      £5.00

  1. WOMEN & LITERATURE, VOL 3, NO 2 Fall 1975

This issue contains the 1974 Bibliography of Women in British and American Literature, 1660-1900 – and articles on ‘The “Female Virtuoso” in early 18th-c English drama’, on  Willa Cather, and on Wollstonecraft, Godwin and Rousseau. Soft covers – very good

[7868]                                                                                                                      £6.00

  1. WOMEN’S EMPLOYMENT FEDERATION Careers: a memorandum on openings and trainings for girls and women 1964

The 21st ed. Soft covers – 146pp – very good – withdrawn from the Women’s Library

[12281]                                                                                                                    £5.00

  1. WOMEN’S EMPLOYMENT FEDERATION Memorandum on Openings and Trainings for Women WEF 1936

Opportunities for women – from Accountancy to Youth Leadership. Paper covers – good -20pp

[12270]                                                                                                                  £15.00

  1. WOMEN’S EMPLOYMENT FEDERATION Women Want to Work: some notes on prospects, training and finding work for the older woman with a good educational background WEF 1964

Paper covers – 44pp – good – withdrawn from the Women’s Library

[12271]                                                                                                                    £4.00

  1. WOMEN’S GROUP ON PUBLIC WELFARE Loneliness: an enquiry into causes and possible remedies National Council of Social Service revised ed 1964

An interesting snapshot of one aspect of the early 1960s. Soft covers – 72pp – good – withdrawn from the Women’s Library

[12552]                                                                                                                    £5.00


Founded in 1985. Issues for sale:

1986 June, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec/Jan 1987

1987 Feb, March, April, May, June, July

In good condition – each

[14924]                                                                                                                    £8.00

  1. WOODFIELD 1951

Leaflet – folds out to three pages – with one separate page – a brochure for ‘Woodfield’ – a home for children. This is the type of home that doesn’t exist any longer – where parents left their children while they were abroad or otherwise engaged – rather than an orphanage or home for disturbed children. Woodfield was the home of Major and Mrs Whitelocke. ‘Our aim is still to provide at Woodfield the sort of nursery life which was a commonplace in our own childhood, and which made British Nannies so famous throughout Europe that no household of rank was considered complete without one.’

[11792]                                                                                                                    £5.00

  1. WRIGHT, Helena Marriage Modern Churchman’s Union no date (1920s?)

No 8 in ‘ a series of ten booklets dealing with religious matters of current interest.’ Good -20pp – withdrawn from the Women’s Library

[12265]                                                                                                                    £2.00

General Postcards


  1. BEDFORD COLLEGE The Common Room

Real photographic card – I can see a print of G. F.Watts’ ‘Hope’ among the pictures – and is that a portrait of Emily Penrose over the fireplace? I’m not sure. Very good – printed in Berlin so probably dates from pre-1914 – unposted

[13254]                                                                                                                  £10.00


American actress (1884-1970). From the Hodgson sisters’ collection. In very good condition, with traces of adhesive on the reverse

[14744]                                                                                                                    £4.00

  1. CLARK’S COLLEGE, CIVIL SERVICE Preparing for the Lady Clerk’s G.P.O. Exam

Photographic postcard of the young women preparing for this exam which, if they passed, offered a chance of bettering themselves. Very good – unposted

[9233]                                                                                                                    £12.00


American actress (1883-1971). From the Hodgson sisters’ collection. In very good condition, with traces of adhesive on the reverse.

[14746]                                                                                                                    £4.00


photograph of the actress and singer (1876-1953). A card from the Hodgson sisters’ collection. On the reverse is written in pencil ‘Ophelia’ suggesting the image shows her in ‘Hamlet’ in which she played Ophelia in 1905. In very good condition – with traces of adhesive on the reverse.

[14743]                                                                                                                    £4.00


American actress (1868-1940).. In very good condition, with traces of adhesive on the reverse. From the Hodgson sisters’ collection.

[14745]                                                                                                                    £4.00


English actress and opera singer (1877-1955) – photograph by Ralph Dunn of 63 Barbican, London EC. Because the word ‘Amasis’ is written in pencil on the revers of the card, I think it dates from around 1906/7 when Ruth Vincent was appearing in the lead role. In very good condition, with traces of adhesive on the reverse. In very good condition – from the Hodgson sisters’ collection

[14742]                                                                                                                    £4.00


English actress (1875-1933). In very good condition – with traces of adhesive on the reverse – from the Hodgson sisters’ collection.

[14741]                                                                                                                    £4.00

Music Hall Sheet Music and Postcards



poses in top hat and tails – with cigar. A latter-day music-hall actress, she has signed her photograph – which was taken in Jersey in 1964

[10700]                                                                                                                    £5.00

  1. MISS ELLA SHIELDS B. Feldman 1914

sings ‘Just One Kiss – Just Another One’ and is photographed in top hat and tails on the cover of the sheet music. The song was written by William Hargreaves and Dan Lipton. Very god

[10675]                                                                                                                    £7.00

  1. MISS ELLA SHIELDS Campbell, Connelly & Co 1925

sings ‘Show Me the Way to Go Home’, written by Irving King, and is photographed as an awkward young man on the cover of the sheet music. Good

[10678]                                                                                                                    £6.00

  1. MISS ELLA SHIELDS Lawrence Wright 1925

sings ‘When the Bloom is On the Heather’ and is photographed in top hat and tails on the cover of the sheet music. Very good

[10681]                                                                                                                    £6.00

  1. MISS ELLA SHIELDS Francis, Day & Hunter 1927

sings ‘I’m Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover’ and is photographed in close up on the cover wearing her top hat and white bow tie. Fair – some marks on cover

[10682]                                                                                                        £5.00 SOLD

  1. MISS ELLA SHIELDS Lawrence Wright 1929

sings ‘Home in Maine’ and is photographed in sailor attire on cover of sheet music. Good

[10688]                                                                                                                    £6.00

  1. MISS HETTY KING Francis, Day & Hunter 1908

sings ‘I’m Afraid to Come Home in the Dark’ and is photographed on the cover of the sheet music in extravagantly elegant top hat and tails. Very good

[10684]                                                                                                                    £7.00

  1. MISS NORA DELANEY Lawrence Wright 1929

sings ‘Glad Rag Doll’ and is photographed in male evening dress on the cover of the sheet music. Good

[10687]                                                                                                                    £5.00


photographic postcard of her in waistcoat and trilby, together with a cigarette card of woman in male evening dress. Good – card posted in 1907

[10695]                                                                                                                    £6.00


photographic postcard of her in male attire. Very good – posted in 1906

[10693]                                                                                                                    £5.00


as she signs in ink (real signature) a photograph of herself in evening dress. She was an acclaimed male impersonater in the early 20th century. Fine

[10697]                                                                                                                    £7.00

  1. VESTA TILLEY Francis, Day & Hunter 1905

sings ‘Who Said, “Girls”?’. Sheet music featuring photograph on cover of Vesta Tilley in smart male attire. The ditty begins: ‘One day on a Western claim/Miners vow’d their lives were tame, For in that lonel spot there seldom girls had been.’ Good

[10670]                                                                                                                    £7.00

  1. VESTA TILLEY Francis, Day & Hunter 1896

sings ‘He’s Going In For this Dancing Now’, sheet music, written by E.W. Rogers. Very good – except that the front cover is semi-detached

[10672]                                                                                                                    £5.00


modern reproduction of postcard photograph of her as man-about town. Fine

[10698]                                                                                                                    £3.00


General Fiction – including Poetry


  1. AITKEN, David Sleeping with Jane Austen No Exit Press 2000

Facetious crime novel. Soft covers – very good

[12417]                                                                                                                    £4.00

  1. ANON ( W.R.H. Trowbridge) The Grandmother’s Advice to Elizabeth T. Fisher Unwin 1902

‘Suggested by the ‘Visits of Elizabeth’  by Elinor Glyn.’ Paper covers – good

[3078]                                                                                                                      £6.00

  1. BAILLIE, Joanna A Series of Plays in which it is attempted to delineate the stronger passions of the mind Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, & Brown, a new edition 1821

A handsome set – newly rebound in cloth

[2509]                                                                                                                    £60.00

  1. BARKER, Pat Double Vision Penguin 2005

A novel centring on a war reporter returning from Afghanistan. Soft covers – fine

[10468]                                                                                                                    £3.00

  1. BINKLEY, Phyllis Et Al (eds) Amazon Expedition: a lesbian feminist anthology Times Change Press 1973

Includes articles by Joanna Russ and Ti-Grace Atkinson. Paper covers – good

[13294]                                                                                                                    £3.00

  1. BLATCHFORD, Robert A Bohemian Girl and Mr Ginnis Clarion Newpaper Co Ltd 1901 (r/p)


[2957]                                                                                                                    £18.00

  1. BOWERING, Marilyn Visible Worlds Flamingo 1999

A novel. Soft covers – very good

[10050]                                                                                                                    £2.00

  1. BRACKENBURY, Alison Bricks and Ballads Carcanet 2004

Poems. Soft covers – mint

[9854]                                                                                                                      £3.00

  1. BREEN, Jennifer (ed) Women Romantic Poets 1785-1832: an anthology J.M. Dent 1992

Soft covers – very good

[10905]                                                                                                                    £5.00

  1. BRONTE, Emily Wuthering Heights OUP 2009

Text edited by Ian Jack, with an introduction and additional notes by Helen Small. In World’s Classics series. Soft covers

[11721]                                                                                                                    £4.00

  1. CARUS-WILSON, Mrs Ashley Thora: memoirs of a nineteenth-century woman Hodder & Stoughton 1896

A section from a larger work, ‘Tokiwa and Other Poems’. Good – with library stamp

[4590]                                                                                                                      £4.00

  1. CLIFT, Charmian Walk to the Paradise Gardens Harper & Bros (NY) 1960

First US edition of this Australian novel. Very good in very good d/w, which is slightly chipped at top and bottom of spine

[12458]                                                                                                                  £25.00

  1. DAWKINS, Cecil Charleyhorse Pandora 1986

Hardcovers – fine in fine d/w

[5728]                                                                                                                      £4.00

  1. DOLARO, Selina Bella-Demonia: a dramatic story Henry J. Drane (c.1890)

[2853]                                                                                                                      £8.00

  1. DONNELLY, Jennifer A Gathering Light bloomsbury 2004

Set in the Adirondack mountains at the beginning of the 20th century. Soft covers – fine

[10478]                                                                                                                    £3.00

  1. DUGDALE, Sasha Notebook Carcanet 2003

Poems. Soft covers – mint

[9485]                                                                                                                      £6.00

  1. DUNSFORD, Cathie Ao Toa: Earth Warriors Spinifex 2004

A New Zealand eco-thriller. Soft covers – mint

[10137]                                                                                                                    £5.00

  1. EL SAADAWI, Nawal The Circling Song Zed Books 1989

A novel. Soft covers – fine

[9897]                                                                                                                      £5.00

  1. FLETCHER, Beryl The Blood Wood Gain Spinifex 1999

An Australian novel. Soft covers – fine

[10053]                                                                                                                    £4.00

  1. FLETCHER, Beryl The House at Karamu Spinifex 2003

A New Zealand novel. Soft covers – mint

[10136]                                                                                                                    £5.00

  1. FYFIELD, Frances Safer Than Houses Little, Brown 2005

A London sort-of detective novel. Fyfield’s character is Sarah Fortune – ex-lawyer. Soft cover – large format – fine

[10471]                                                                                                                    £3.00

  1. GALGOCZI, Erzsébet Another Love Cleis Press 1980

‘In 1959, In Budapest, a communist opposing the Soviets is an outlaw, a lesbian unthinkable, and Eva Szalánczky’s got the police on her back…’Soft covers – very good

[13461]                                                                                                                    £2.00

  1. GALLOWAY, Janice (ed) Meantime: looking forward to the millennium: an anthology of women’s writing Polygon 1991

Collection of short stories, poems and essays based loosely around what was then the approaching millenium. Soft covers – fine

[10899]                                                                                                                    £5.00

  1. GASKELL, Elizabeth Cranford OUP 2011

With introduction by Dinah Birch. Soft covers – mint

[13428]                                                                                                                    £4.00

  1. GAWSWORTH, John (ed) The Poetry Review, March-April 1951

Contributors include A.E. Coppard and Viola Meynell. Soft covers – good

[7266]                                                                                                                      £2.00

  1. GEE, Sue Earth & Heaven Review 2000

Soft covers – fine

[10479]                                                                                                                    £3.00

  1. GEE, Sue The Mysteries of Glass Review 2004

Soft covers – fine

[10477]                                                                                                                    £3.00

  1. GLAZER, Daphne The Last Oasis Sumach Press 1992

A collection of stories about ordinary working people struggling with moments of change or revelation. Soft covers – very good

[10042]                                                                                                                    £4.00

  1. GRAHAM, Jorie Never Carcanet 2002

Poems. ‘Filled with the spirit of Virginia Woolf, Elizabeth Bishop and Gerard Manley Hopkins, the poems also wrestle with the ghosts of Darwin and Lamarch, minutely analysing individual moments of consciousness.’ Soft covers – fine

[9473]                                                                                                                      £8.00

  1. GREGORY, Philippa A Respectable Trade HarperCollins 1995

A novel set in Bristol in 1787 – a Bristol booming on the back of the slave trade. Proof copy – fine

[10466]                                                                                                                    £8.00

  1. HALL, Sandi Rumours of Dreams Spinifex 1999

A novel. Soft covers – fine

[7555]                                                                                                                      £3.00

  1. HITE, Shere The Divine Comedy of Ariadne and Jupiter Peter Owen 1994

Mint in d/w

[5462]                                                                                                                      £3.00

  1. HUGHES, Ted Wolfwatching Faber 1989

Soft covers – very good

[12032]                                                                                                                    £4.00

  1. HULL, Gloria T. Healing Heart: poems 1973-1988 Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press 1989

Soft covers – mint

[9911]                                                                                                                      £5.00

  1. INGELOW, Jean Poems George Routledge, no date (c 1900??)

Good – cloth covers faded

[3609]                                                                                                                      £3.00

  1. IRWIN, Hadley We Are Mesquakie, We Are One Sheba 1984

A story of the Mesquakie, American Indians. Paper covers – fine

[5731]                                                                                                                      £4.00

  1. KANE, Sarah Complete Plays Methuen Drama 2001

Introduced by David Greig. Comprises ‘Blasted’, ‘Phaedra’s love’, ‘Clansed’, Crave’, ‘4.48 Psychosis’, ‘Skin’. Soft covers – fine

[12029]                                                                                                                  £10.00

  1. KOPPLEMAN, Susan (ed) Old Maids: short stories by 19th-century US women writers Pandora 1984

Soft covers – very good

[8122]                                                                                                                      £7.00

  1. LEHMANN, Beatrix Rumour of Heaven Methuen, 2nd ed 1935


[4120]                                                                                                                      £7.00

  1. LEHMANN, John (ed) The London Magazine Nov 1956

Contributions from Mary Hutchinson, Colin Wilson and John  Wain. Paper covers – very good

[8743]                                                                                                                      £3.00

  1. LEVERSON, Ada Love’s Shadow Chapman & Hall 1950

Reprint of the 1908 edition. Good

[3086]                                                                                                                      £4.00

  1. LINGARD, Joan Encarnita’s Journey Allison & Busby 2005

A novel interweaving the life of the writer Gerard Brenan – who arrives in Yegen, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, in 1920 –  with that of Encarnita, a young Spanish woman. Other Bloomsberries, Lytton Strachey, Dora Carrington, the Woolfs and Lytton Strachey, pass in and out. Soft covers – fine

[10465]                                                                                                                    £4.00

  1. LUTYENS, Mary So Near to Heaven Michael Joseph 1943

Good in torn d/w

[8352]                                                                                                                      £8.00

  1. MACDONALD, M.P. Trefoil: the story of a girl’s society Thomas Nelson no date (c 1908?)

An Australian (Melbourne) girls’ story. Good

[2489]                                                                                                                      £5.00

  1. MACPHEE, Kona Tails Bloodaxe Books 2004

Poems. Soft covers – mint

[9484]                                                                                                                      £6.00

  1. MARCHANT, Bessie Juliette the Mail-Carrier Collins (r/p), no date

Set in Nova Scotia – young Juliette comes good – taking over the position as mail carrier in her element-battered home region. Sunday School prize dated 1924. Very good

[8047]                                                                                                                      £8.00

  1. MARTIN, Valerie The Unfinished Novel and Other Stories Weidenfeld & Nicolson 2006

Soft covers – fine

[10469]                                                                                                                    £4.00

  1. MARTZ, Sandra (ed) If I Had a Hammer: women’s work in poetry, fiction and photographs Papier-Mache Press 1990

Soft covers – mint

[6777]                                                                                                                      £6.00

  1. MEADOR, Betty Inanna: Lady of the Largest Heart: poems of the Sumerian high priestess, Enheduanna Univversity of Texas Press 2000

Soft covers – very good

[9469]                                                                                                                    £10.00

  1. MEW, Charlotte The Farmer’s Bride The Poetry Bookshop, 3rd imp 1929

Very good internally – cover sunned around edges

[7693]                                                                                                                    £18.00

  1. MILLER, Isabel The Love of Good Women Black Swan 1988

A novel. Soft covers – very good

[10036]                                                                                                                    £3.00

  1. MINER, Valerie Movement Methuen 1985

A novel, with introduction by Susan Griffin. Good reading copy – ex-library in d/w

[8780]                                                                                                                      £3.00

  1. NOEL, Lady Augusta From Generation to Generation Elkin Mathews 1929

First published in 1879. Very good

[2838]                                                                                                                      £5.00

  1. OLDHAM, June A Little Rattle in the Air Virago 1990

Soft covers – very good

[8775]                                                                                                                      £4.00

  1. PARKER, Derek (ed) An Anthology of Erotic Prose Abacus 1981

Soft covers – good reading copy

[9904]                                                                                                                      £2.00

  1. PAULL, M.A. Rhoda’s Reform Nelson no date (c 1905?)

Fair – one plate loose

[2842]                                                                                                                      £3.00

  1. PIKE, G. Holden Daughters of the Flower Market: a story of four London bouquetieres Religious Tract Society, no date (c 1900?)

Bears a 1904 (boys’) school prize label. Contains a wealth of social observation – and line-drawings

[3612]                                                                                                                      £4.00

  1. PROCTER, Adelaide Anne Legends and Lyrics Bell & Daldy, 14th ed 1872

Poems by a leading member of the Langham-Place group.  very good – leather, with gilt decorations and all edges gilt

[1585]                                                                                                                    £15.00

  1. QUINN, Anthony Half the Human Race Cape 2011

‘London. In the sweltering summer of 1911, the streets ring to the cheers of the new king’s coronation, and to the cries of suffragist women marching for the vote. One of them is the 21-year-old daughter of a middle-class Islington family fallen on hard times…Forced to abandon her dream of a medical career she is now faced with another hard choice – to maintain lawful protest against an intransigient government or to join the glass-breaking militants in the greatest cause…’ I was, I must admit, surprised to find it engaging and intelligent – rather more convincing than many of the early 20th-century suffragist novels. And there’s a man and cricket in there as well. A good read. Mint in mint d/w – signed by the author

[12485]                                                                                                                  £12.00

  1. ROBERTS, Denis Kilham (ed) Penguin Parade no. 1 Penguin Aug 1938 (reprint)

Soft covers – very good

[7263]                                                                                                                      £3.00

  1. SHARP, Mrs William (ed) Women’s Voices: an anthology of the most characteristic poems by English, Scotch and Irish women Walter Scott 1887

Includes the work of Margaret, Duchess of Newcastle, Lady Winchelsea, hester Piozzi, Anna Letitia Barbauld, Helen Maria Williams, Sara Coleridge, harriet Martineau, Mary Howitt, Mary Cowden-Clarke, Isa Craig-Knox, Augusta Webster, Violet Fane, Emily Pfeiffer, Mathilde Blind, E.H. Hickey, Constance Naden, Amy Levy, Ellice Hopkins and Katherine Tynan – and many others. Covers (leather-type) embossed with the insignia of Magdelen College School, Wainfleet, Lincolnshire – and inside is an inscription to Annie Abraham who was given the book as a Divinity Prize in 1888. Annie (1876-1934) was the daughter of a local farmer, in 1901 was a teacher in a school at Matlock, Derbyshire, and by 1911 had moved to teach at a girls’ school in Newport, Monmouthshire, whee she remained until her death. Good – a little rubbed – all edges gilt.

[14977]                                                                                                                  £12.00

  1. SHAW, Bernard An Unsocial Socialist Virago 1988 (reprint)

Paper covers – fine

[5492]                                                                                                                      £2.00

  1. SHERWOOD, Mrs The Happy Family Houlston & Sons, new edition no date

A little tract – paper covers. Fine

[3607]                                                                                                                      £5.00

  1. SIGOURNEY, Mrs (ed. F.W.N. Bailey) The Poetical Works of Mrs L.H. Sigourney G. Routledge 1857

Neatly rebound in cloth

[2428]                                                                                                                    £10.00

  1. SINCLAIR, May The Dark Night Macmillan (NY) 1924

‘A novel in unrhymed verse. Number 330 of 350 copied signed by the author. This copy is further inscribed by May Sinclair ‘To dear Alys with love’.  Fine internally, cover a little marked. No d/w

[14973]                                                                                                                  £65.00

  1. SNELL, Roy Norma Kent of the WACS Whitmand Publishing Co (Wisconsin) 1943

In the ‘Fighters for Freedom’ series. Norma Kent joined the Women’s Army Corps, never left mainland America, but had lots of adventures and did her part to win the war! Good in d/w

[2448]                                                                                                                    £18.00

  1. SOUEIF, Ahdaf In the Eye of the Sun Bloomsbury 1992

‘The Great English Novel about Egypt’/’The Great Egyptian Novel About England’. Very good in d/w. 791pp – heavy

[9927]                                                                                                                      £8.00

  1. SPENDER, Dale The Diary of Elizabeth Pepys Grafton 1991

Elizabeth gives her account of life with Samuel. Soft covers – very good

[11232]                                                                                                                    £8.00

  1. SWAN, Annie S. Aldersyde: a Border story of seventy years ago Oliphant, Anderson, & Ferrier 1885 (r/p)

Good reading copy – cover marked

[9697]                                                                                                                      £8.00

  1. SWAN, Annie S. Carlowrie: or, among Lothian folk  Oliphant, Anderson and Ferrier, no date, reprint (1890s?)

Good reading copy

[9696]                                                                                                                      £8.00

  1. TAYLOR, Kate Madame Proust and the Kosher Kitchen Vintage 2004

Enjoyable novel, Canadian literary researcher in Paris – parallel portraits of old and new worlds. Soft covers – fine

[10470]                                                                                                                    £4.00

  1. TENNYSON, Mary H. A Cruel Dilemma Warne, no date r/p (c 1895)


[3066]                                                                                                                      £4.00

  1. THE LONDON MERCURY April 1935

Includes a couple of poems by Sylvia Townsend Warner. Soft covers – good

[8561]                                                                                                                      £8.00

  1. TYTLER, Ann Fraser Leila At Home T. Hatchard 1852

‘A continuatation of ‘Leila in England’. Good in new cloth binding

[3047]                                                                                                                    £15.00

  1. VARGAS, Fred The Three Evangelists Harvill Secker 2006

Translated from French by Sian Reynolds. ‘Fred Vargas’ is, in fact, a Frenchwoman, an historian and archaeologist by profession. A detective novel set in Paris. Soft covers – large format – fine

[10472]                                                                                                                    £4.00

  1. WALKER, Alice By the Light of My Father’s Smile Women’s Press 1998

A novel.- ‘A story of requited love, crossing over, and the sexual healing of the soul’. Fine in d/w

[14812]                                                                                                                  £12.00

  1. WHITTLE, Tyler The Young Victoria: a novel Heinemann 1971

Good in d/w – though ex-library

[6521]                                                                                                                      £3.00

  1. WOOD, Mrs Henry A Life’s Secret R.E. King, no date (r/p)

Reading copy

[8360]                                                                                                                      £2.00

  1. WOOD, Mrs Henry Mrs Halliburton’s Troubles Richard Bentley 1893

Good reading copy

[2863]                                                                                                                      £4.00

  1. WOOD, Mrs Henry The Red Court Farm Macmillan 1908 (r/p)

Good reading copy

[4449]                                                                                                                      £3.00

  1. WOOD, Mrs Henry Roland Yorke Richard Bentley 1896

Good reading copy

[6190]                                                                                                                      £6.00

  1. WOOLFE, Sue Leaning Towards Infinity Women’s Press 1998

A novel. Soft covers – mint

[7565]                                                                                                                      £4.00

  1. YONGE, Charlotte M. A Book of Golden Deeds T. Nelson, no date, reprint

Good reading copy

[9698]                                                                                                                      £5.00

  1. YONGE, Charlotte M. The Dove in the Eagle’s Nest Macmillan 1908 (r/p)

Very good

[9700]                                                                                                                      £6.00


Women and the First World War


  1. CROFTON, Eileen The Women of Royaumont: a Scottish women’s hospital on the Western Front Tuckwell Press 1997

Excellent study. Soft covers – very good

[14225]                                                                                                                  £12.00

  1. DOUGLAS-PENNANT, Violet Under the Search-Light: the record of a great scandal Allen & Unwin 1922

In June 1918 Violet Douglas-Pennant was appointed Commandant, Women’s Royal Air Force – only to be dismissed two months later ‘by direction of Lord Weir and Sir Auckland Geddes on the advice of Lady Rhondda, who acted without enquiry on secret information supplied to her, as well as to Mr Tyson Wilson MP, and Miss P. Strachey, by Mrs Beatty and others’. How intriguing. The book takes 463 pp to cover the ‘scandal’. Douglas-Pennant wrote it as her self-justificatory account of events “so that my name & honour may at last be vindicated.” Includes recollections of her ten weeks’ in charge, a Who’s Who of the personalities involved & full details of the House of Lords Inquiry into her dismissal. Good

[14129]                                                                                                                  £85.00

  1. HUTTON, I. Emslie With a Woman’s Unit in Serbia, Salonika and Sebastopol Williams and Norgate 1928

A doctor, she began working with the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in 1915, first in France and then in the east.  With 13 photographs – 302pp -very good – very scare

[14901]                                                                                                                  SOLD

  1. (THURSTAN) Violetta Thurstan Field Hospital and Flying Column: being the journal of an English nursing sister in Belgium and Russia G.P. Putnam’s 1916 (r/p)

Very good – very scarce

[14910]                                                                                                                  £65.00

  1. BIBESCO, Princesse La Revue de Paris extrait du numero du 15 mai 1934: Lettres de Combattants Anglais Paris 1934

A lengthy review, in French, of ‘War Letters of Fallen Englishmen (Lettres de guerre d’hommes anglais qui sont tombès) compiled by Laurence Housman. She reviews it at length (24pp), quoting from letters of both the well -known (Julian Grenfell, Edward Tennant) and the unknown. The intriguing Princess Bibescco (nèe Elizabeth Asquith, daugher of  H.A. Asquith) was a novelist of some repute,Very good – paper covers – offprint of the journalpaign

[14964]                                                                                                                  £10.00


– mainly women  -pose for the photographer. They are wearing their caps and the triangular-shaped munition workers badge can be seen pinned to many of the overall dresses. Young men sit at the front – displaying the fruits of their labours – shells.There were a number of munitions factories in Bradford, including the Low Moor munitions factory that suffered a large explosion in 1916. There’s no clue as to the name of the factory in the photograph. The card bears the imprint of the Belle Vue Studios, Bradford – which was one of the best-known in the city and was in business until 1985. Good condition – appears to have been cut down by about 1 cm at some time

[14442]                                                                                                                  £35.00

  1. YOUR KING & COUNTRY WANT YOU a woman’s recruiting song  Chappell & Co 1914

Sheet music – words & music by Paul A. Rubens. The cover is illustrated by John Hassall. ‘The entire profits from the sale of this song will be devoted to Queen Mary’s “Work for Women” Fund’. ‘Oh! we don’t want to lose you but we think you ought to go. For your King and your Country both need you so; We shall want you and miss you but with all our might and main. We shall cheer you, thank you, kiss you when you come back again’. Makes the spine creep. 6-pp – very good

[14390]                                                                                                                  £38.00

  1. DENNYS, Joyce And GORDON, Hampden, and TINDALL, M.C. Our Hospitals A.B.C. John Lane no date (c. 1916)

VAD’s alphabet – by one of them.  Joyce Dennys did the delightful illustrations to match the humourous verses. Very good – grey paper boards – with two small marks (tea/coffee??)  on the cover- internally the images are fresh and sharp

[14899]                                                                                                                  £70.00

  1. MARCHANT, Bessie A Girl Munition Worker: a story of a girl’s work during the Great War Blackie [no date -1st ed 1916?]

Novel of the First World War. May be first edition, as no publishing details are given, but has gift inscription for Christmas 1919 from ‘Mother’ to ‘Miss N. Goodwin’. The lovely pictorial cover is clean and bright – in very good condition – very scarce

[14913]                                                                                                                  £60.00

You can pay me by cheque or (if from overseas) at, using my email address as the payee account, or by direct bank transfer


In case you are interested in books I have written (and still in print) they are ~


Art and Suffrage: a biographical dictionary of suffrage artists discusses the lives and work of over 100 artists, each of whom made a positive contribution to the women’s suffrage campaign. Most, but not all, the artists were women, many belonging to the two suffrage artists’ societies – the Artists’ Suffrage League and the Suffrage Atelier. Working in a variety of media –producing cartoons, posters, banners, postcards, china, and jewellery – the artists promoted the suffrage message in such a way as to make the campaign the most visual of all those conducted by contemporary pressure groups.

In the hundred plus years since it was created, the artwork of the suffrage movement has never been so widely disseminated and accessible as it is today, the designs as appealing as they were during the years before the First World War when the suffrage campaign was at its height. Yet hitherto little has been known about most of the artists who produced such popular images. Art and Suffrage remedies this lack and sets their artistic contribution to the suffrage cause within the context of their reanimated lives, giving biographical details, including addresses, together with information on where their work may be seen.

With over 100 illustrations, in black-and-white and in colour.

Published by Francis Boutle     Soft cover                                                £20






















Kate Parry Frye: the long life of an Edwardian actress and suffragette

Published by ITV Ventures as a tie-in with the series: ‘The Great War: The People’s Story’ this e-book tells Kate’s life story from her Victorian childhood to her brave engagement with the Elizabethan New Age. For details see here (and many more posts on my website).

Available to download from iTunes or Amazon




The Women’s Suffrage Movement 1866-1928: A reference guide

Elizabeth Crawford

‘It is no exaggeration to describe Elizabeth Crawford’s Guide as a landmark in the history of the women’s movement…’  History Today

Routledge, 2000 785pp paperback £74.99 – Ebook £70




The Women’s Suffrage Movement in Britain and Ireland: a regional survey

Elizabeth Crawford

Crawford provides meticulous accounts of the activists, petitions, organisations, and major events pertaining to each county.’ Victorian Studies

Routledge, 2008 320pp paperback £30

     Ebook           £26


Enterprising Women: the Garretts and their circle

Elizabeth Crawford

‘Crawford’s scholarship is admirable and Enterprising Women offers increasingly compelling reading’ Journal of William Morris Studies

For further details see here

Francis Boutle, 2002 338pp 75 illus paperback £25

Copies of all of these books may be bought direct from the publishers or from me or ordered from any bookshop (terrestrial or online)

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Suffrage Stories: The First Women General Election Candidates, 1918: Margery Corbett Ashby

21 November 2018 marked the 100th anniversary of the passing of the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act, by which women were for the first time able to stand for election as members of Parliament.

It was only earlier in the year, on 6 February, that some women (over 30 and fulfilling a small property qualification) had at long last been granted the parliamentary vote and now, as the Great War had come to an end, women actually had the prospect of sitting in the House of Commons.

The short bill, passing rapidly through all stages of the parliamentary process with little opposition, granted the right to stand for election to all women over the age of 21, although any woman of that age would have been unable to vote. A curious situation.

With a general election called for 14 December, there was little time for women to organize election campaigns, but in the event 17 women took to the hustings. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll tell you something about each one of these pioneers, taking them alphabetically.

This is the second:

Margery Corbett Ashby, photographed in 1923

Mrs M.C. Ashby who was standing in Birmingham’s Ladywood constituency as a Liberal candidate, with support from the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies.

Margery Corbett Ashby (1882-1981) was the daughter of a Liberal MP, Charles Corbett, and both her parents were strong supporters of women’s suffrage. She had a university education, trained as a teacher in Cambridge and from 1907 to 1909 was secretary of the NUWSS and in 1910, the year she married, she was an organizer for the Liberal party. She resigned from the NUWSS executive committee in 1914, too committed a Liberal to support the Election Fighting Fund policy, by which the NUWSS was backing Labour party candidates at elections.

After the First World War she took Mrs Fawcett’s place at the Versailles Peace Conference (Mrs Fawcett did not wish to attend) and helped advise Germany on the founding of its women’s police force.

Margery Corbett Ashby’s candidature at the 1918 general election caused some difficulty for the Birmingham Society for Women’s Suffrage which was criticized for supporting her, rather than the Labour candidate, as the latter party had, unlike the Liberals, traditionally supported the suffrage movement. She was also supported by the Society for Discharged Soldiers – who obviously liked point 7 of her Election Address.

In her lengthy Election Address Margery Corbett Ashby made her (Liberal) views clear:

  1. A League of Nations. To make another War impossible, to abolish conscription, to lighten the burden of taxation for armaments, to substitute open treaties, ratified by Parliament for secret diplomacy, to pool raw materials and food for the hungry peoples of the world. I welcome the practical beginnings of the idea in the International Council which will be established at the Peace Table to ration the nations.
  2. Free Trade and No Food Taxes.
  3. Rights of Little Peoples: Home Rule is imperative to give Ireland the same free choice of government we have demanded for Poland, Alsace-Lorraine and Serbia.
  4. Health and Housing: I believe the urgency of housing admits of no delay, and that there must be immediate provision of a) Houses with at least 3 bedrooms, bath room, water laid on, within the average wage-earner’s means. b) A garden or allotment with each house, for those who want it. c) State assistance to encourage municipal enterprise; the adequate taxation of land values; and the right of compulsory purchase of land for all public requirements at the rate-book valuation.
  5. Equal Citizenship: Real equality between men and women before the law in a) all questions of marriage, morals and the home. b) Opportunities of general and technical training. c) Equal pay for work of equal value above a sound minimum for all. d) All trades, industries and professions.
  6. Labour and Leisure. a) A shorter working day and adequate minimum wage, enforced by law if necessary. b) Regularity of income through universal non-contributory unemployed insurance. c) More freedom and consultation in the workshop. d) Public recreations of a wholesome kind
  7. Soldiers, Sailors and Mothers: I believe in Justice without Charity to secure: a) Adequate pensions for widows with dependent children. b) A real right of maintenance for wives. c) Fullest possible help of all kinds to disabled or discharged soldiers and sailors. d) Fair treatment for women war workers. I welcome Mr Asquith’s desire to improve the Old Age Pensions secured by the Liberal Party, and should like to see the pension raised the age limit lowered.
  8. Civil and Industrial Liberty: I support the immediate restoration of a) All British liberties of citizenship; and b) All essential trade union rights for men and women to enjoy the full use of collective bargaining, surrendered or lost during the war.
  9. Trade and Transit: I favour a) The removal of irksome Government control from private industries. b) The encouragement of production by science, canals and railways. c) The continued municipal ownership of electrical supply. In general I should like to see more Municipal Administration and less Whitehall Bureaucracy.

At the December 1918 election Margery Corbett Ashby polled 1152 votes and lost her deposit. She then stood, again unsuccessfully, at every inter-war election except that of 1931. She succeeded Eleanor Rathbone as president of the National Union of Societies for Equal Citizenship and in the late 1920s was the co-founder of the Townswomen’s Guild. She also was president of the Women’s Freedom League. At various times she was also president of the British Commonwealth League, member of the executive committee of the Family Endowment Society and chairman of the Association of Moral and Social Hygiene. Margery Corbett Ashby was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1967.



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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Suffrage Stories: The Fabian Stained Glass Panel And Its Suffrage Connections

Fabian stained glass panel, by Caroline Townsend, 1911

When I gave a keynote talk  -‘ Surrounded by Suffrage: Situating Shaw, Wells and the LSE in Suffrage Sites’ – at the joint H.G. Wells Society/Shaw Society’/ LSE Language Centre conference at LSE on 23 September 2017 the constraints of time meant that I was unable to include all that I would have liked to have said about this stained glass panel. I am, therefore, taking the opportunity my blog affords of relaying a little more of my research into this most interesting artefact.

The panel may be construed as a political allegory on the early years of the Fabian Society. Its artist was Caroline Townshend (1878-1944).

Received opinion has it that it was Bernard Shaw who designed the panel and I can find no original evidence one way or the other to back or disprove the claim. Received opinion – such as the article about the window on the LSE website – also has it that Caroline Townshend was commissioned to make it by GBS. However, I have discovered an item in the London Daily News, 8 November 1911, that explicitly states ‘The political allegory in stained glass which Miss Caroline Townshend, the well-known artist, has just completed for Mrs G.B. Shaw, conveys a good deal of humour and not a little kindly satire’.

It would hardly be surprising if it were Mrs Charlotte Shaw who had commissioned the work. The artist, Caroline Townshend, was not only a fellow Fabian but her own first cousin. Charlotte’s father, Horace Payne-Townshend, was half-brother to Caroline’s father, Chambrey Corker Townshend. Horace, as the first born, had inherited the greater part of the Townshend estate – allowing his daughters to be brought up in considerable comfort – while the family of Chambrey Townshend were very much less financially secure.

Both these fathers seem to have been rather ineffectual characters, married to very much more assertive wives. However, while Horace’s wife, Charlotte’s mother, was a frivolous termagant, Caroline’s mother, Emily Townshend, was much- admired, intellectually curious, and socially conscious. As Emily Gibson she had been one of the Girton Pioneers – one of the five first students at the college at Hitchen that later became Girton. One of her fellow Pioneers was Isabella Townshend, whose brother, Chambrey,  Emily married in 1873. She had left Hitchin the year before without completing her degree course.

My researches (see here) indicate that Isabella Townshend had left Hitchen at the same time and then set up as an interior decorator with a Mrs Hartley Brown (whom I’ve so far been unable to identify). Emily Faithfull, when discussing new trade opportunities that were opening for women, mentioned in Three Visits to America (1884) that ‘Mrs Hartley Brown and Miss Townshend, soon after entering into partnership, were appropriately employed in decorating Merton College, and devised with much success some new stuffs for the chairs and sofas for the use of Cambridge girl graduates.’ (‘Merton College’ was an early manifestation of what became Newnham.)

Another of Chambrey Townshend’s sisters, Anne, was involved from 1888, when she was its first secretary, until 1910 with the Ladies’ Residential Chambers Company (the founders of which included Agnes Garrett and Millicent Fawcett – for more on the LRC see here). She had trained as a nurse, been a matron at the Hospital for Hip Disease in Childhood  before by 1882 moving into philanthropic administration as secretary of the Metropolitan Association for Befriending Young Servants (MABYs).

These interesting women were  cousins to Charlotte Payne-Townshend, the future Mrs GBS, although  there is nothing about them in her biography by Janet Dunbar or, as far as I can discover, in any of the many biographies of Bernard Shaw.  Charlotte fervently lamented the sterility of her early life and one wonders if she knew anything of the enterprises undertaken by her cousins. If she had, one imagines she would have rather envied them.

In the 1870s Isabella and Chambrey Townshend moved in artistic socialist circles, as close friends of Walter and Lucy Crane. Chambrey was an architect of whom his wife later wrote  ‘Chambrey Townshend had little push and no business ability to back up his remarkable artistic abilities.’ He worked as an assistant for George Edmund Street but never set up his own practice. Emily eventually decided that the family could live cheaper abroad and this they did – in France and Switzerland – from 1886 until 1893.

Caroline  was born in 1878, the fourth of Emily and Chambrey’s five children. After the family’s return from Europe she was for a time a pupil at Wycombe Abbey School before, by 1901, becoming a pupil to the leading stained-glass artist, Christopher Whall.

Caroline Townshend (courtesy of LSE Archives)

Charlotte Shaw was twenty years older than Caroline Townshend and had been brought up in very much more financially secure circumstances – yet she, Caroline, and Emily came to share the same social and political philosophy. Whether or not there had been earlier contact it is certain that in the early years of the 20th century their paths most certainly did cross – all being early members of the Fabian Society. Even so, the names of Emily and Caroline Townshend do not occur in Shaw’s published letters, although the LSE archives holds a few photographs showing Caroline’s sister, Rachel, on holiday in Wales with Charlotte Shaw (see, for instance, here).

So, if the Shaws were thinking of commissioning a stained glass panel, they knew they had an artist in the family who could accomplish it. Or, could it have been the other way round? Perhaps having a stained-glass artist in the family was too good an opportunity to miss. Perhaps Charlotte Shaw thought she must put her cousin’s talent to use. Did she discuss with GBS how this might be achieved? And did he then sketch out that political allegory? There are so many mysteries surrounding the panel. What was the purpose behind the commission? Where had they intended to place it? In their London apartment at 10 Adelphi Terrace –or at their country home Ayot St Lawrence – or in the Fabian Office? Whatever the intention, the panel was still in Caroline Townshend’s possession at the time of her death in 1944.  It seems very odd that it should have been discussed in the press in 1911 – and yet wasn’t claimed by one or other of the Shaws. Was Caroline paid for it?

Caroline also retained the original design for the panel – the cartoon – which in 1954 was given by Joan Howson, her artistic and life partner (they traded as Townshend and Howson) to Wimbledon’s William Morris House in memory of Emily and Caroline Townshend.  Emily Townshend had lived in Wimbledon and, with Caroline, was a shareholder in Wimbledon Labour Halls Co-operative Society Limited – also known as William Morris House.

Information on the William Morris House website (see here) states that the Fabian Society panel was made at the William Morris Works at Merton. I think this is probably mistaken. Emily and Caroline Townshend had in 1931 given WMH two Burne-Jones windows. These had been given by Burne-Jones to Chambrey Townshend and would have been made at the William Morris Works, but Caroline Townshend’s panel was almost certainly made at the Glass House, Lettice Street, Fulham, where she had a studio from c 1910 until the 1920s.

The Glass House had been set up in 1906 by a stained glass craftswoman, Mary Lowndes, to provide facilities for other stained glass artists and had proved most successful in attracting young women to the craft. Mary Lowndes was one of the founders of the Artists’ Suffrage League but I’ve found no clear evidence that Caroline Townshend was a member. The ASL records (held in the Women’s Library@LSE) are scanty but, as Mary Lowndes’ involvement with preparations for suffrage events was at times overwhelming, Caroline Townshend must have been only too well aware of all that activity and it would seem likely that, even if she were not a formal member, she would have lent a hand on occasion. Anyway, if she wasn’t an active suffrage supporter, her mother and sister certainly were. In 1907, Emily Townshend, then aged 57, spent two weeks in Holloway after being involved in a suffragette protest and in 1909 was followed by Rachel, who spent two months in prison. Caroline was living at home during this time and could not but help be swept up in the drama. So, by the time Caroline Townshend received the Fabian commission in 1910, she was surrounded by suffrage talk and activity at home and at work.

Of the kneeling female figures that on the far right is Caroline Townshend and two of the other figures demonstrate a strong connection between Fabianism and suffrage. The figure third from the right is Mary Hankinson, who was a very active suffragette – and from 1905 until 1948 a member of the Fabian Society. A teacher of physical education, she was hired in 1907 to give instruction in Swedish drill and country dancing at the first Fabian Summer School – funded by Charlotte Shaw – and from then until 1938 she was general manager of all Fabian summer schools. She was also a member of the Women’s Freedom League, one of the militant suffrage societies, and was president of the Gymnastic Teachers’ Suffrage Society. Her brother was Unitarian chaplain to Holloway prison and was used by Christabel Pankhurst as a conduit of information to and from suffragette prisoners. The suffrage collection he amassed includes a copy of Saint Joan presented to Mary Hankinson by Shaw, who wrote in it a very Shavian inscription ‘To Mary Hankinson, the only woman I know who does not believe she was a model for Joan, but also the only woman who actually was.’

On the stained glass panel between Mary Hankinson and Charlotte Townshend is the figure of Mabel Atkinson, who was a postgraduate student at LSE, a member of the executive committee of the Fabian Society from 1909 until 1915 and chairman of the Suffrage Section of the Fabian Women’s Group when it was formed in 1911. She was involved with Mary Hankinson in the development of the Summer School and was also a donor to and speaker for the WSPU.

In passing it’s worth noting a little remarked fact – that Charlotte Shaw was one of the WSPU’s most generous benefactors: for instance in March 1908 she gave them £100 and on 21 June took part in a spectacular WSPU procession – walking with the Fabians under the Society’s banner, which was carried by Maud Pember Reeves. Shaw watched from the pavement as she passed.

You can read more here about the iconography of the Fabian stained glass panel  and of its rather idiosyncratic history between 1944 and 2006, when it finally came to rest in the care of LSE. There it has most appropriately been installed in the Shaw Library, a room that commemorates not GBS, but Charlotte Shaw, who was a most generous benefactor to the LSE.

Charlotte Shaw was a very interesting woman – who evaded the limelight. At the Shaw/Wells/LSE conference we were treated to an excerpt from ‘Mrs Shaw Herself’ – a one-woman show – with musical accompaniment- about her. I thoroughly enjoyed this and thought I must let you all know that there will be a full perfomance next Saturday (30 Sept 2017) in St Lawrence Church in Ayot St Lawrence, the village where she and GBS made their home.


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La Bella Libertà: English Women Writers and Italy

A curious incident that occurred – or, rather, didn’t occur – a couple of days ago reminded me of a past link I effected between Persephone Books and English women writing about Italy. For, many years ago, I gave a talk on this subject at a symposium organised by Persephone at Newnham College. I have in the past posted a few articles on my website amplifying some of the material covered – but here below is the fons et origo.

Drawing room at Casa Guidi, courtesy of The Landmark Trust

We have to imagine the subject of one of Persephone’s latest books [Flush] curled up on the sofa alongside his mistress in the drawing room at Casa Guidi in Florence. It’s early evening and the long shutters have been opened, letting dusky light into the somewhat cavernous drawing room. Flush is startled by a sudden movement as his mistress puts aside her book, raises herself from a reclining position and takes a few steps over to the open window. They both venture out onto the narrow balcony, facing the imposing wall of the church, opposite across the narrow road. While Flush is involved with Flush business, Elizabeth cranes over the railing, to catch a glimpse of a young boy as he passes, singing, along the street below. It is the essence of his song that I have lifted to name this talk. This is how Elizabeth Barrett Browning put into words her experience that evening:

‘I heard last night a little child go singing

‘Neath Casa Guidi windows, by the church,

O bella libertà, O bella – stringing

The same words still on notes he went in search

So high for, you concluded the upspringing

Of such a nimble bird to sky from perch

Must leave the whole bush in a tremble green,

And that the heart of Italy must beat,

While such a voice had leave to rise serene

‘Twixt church and palace of a Florence street’

Thus in Under Casa Guidi Windows, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, one of England’s most famous exports to Italy, extolled ‘La Bella Libertà’, the freedom that was Italy’s due. However it takes only a cursory reading to realise that ‘sweet freedom’ was what above all Italy gave to the many English women writers who have, over the last two centuries, flocked there.

As we can recognize, ‘freedom’ is not synonymous with ‘bliss’, but in Italy English women have felt free to fail as well as succeed – to be unhappy as well as happy – at least to be unhappy in their own way. They have felt able in that country, far from home, the Alps a psychological as well as a physical barrier, to construct a life for themselves, untramelled by the conventions that controlled society in England. One would think that nowadays such escape would no longer seem necessary. But nobody can fail to have noticed the recent spate of books by women – not only British women, but also Americans and Australians – describing new lives forged in Italy. These are merely the latest in a line of such love affairs with Italy that stretches way back into at least the 18th century. Indeed, Italian-American women (that is women whose parents or grandparents left the mother country – usually the poor south – for the US) have produced so many works recounting their return that a school of literary criticism is being developed to discuss the phenomenon. And guess what these writers call themselves? – yes, Persephone’s daughters. Persephone, whom the myth relates was snatched from the fields of Enna in Sicily, has become a particularly appropriate symbol for such women who travel in order to reconnect with their ancestral heritage and discover a new identity. Because of patterns of emigration English women are far less likely to have this experience of searching for Italian roots. Rather, individually, they set forth for Italy to root themselves. I know – my own daughter has done so.

What follows is a series of vignettes of the lives of English women writers shaped by Italy. Apart from marvelling at the bella libertà these women, in a myriad of ways, found, I have no particular thesis  but have allowed myself – and I hope – you  -the pleasure of glimpsing a diverting eclectic range of women and of experiences in Italy.

There are two early books by women that piqued my interest. The first, Travels in Italy between the years 1792 and 1798, (published in 1802) is by Mariana Starke, who when she began her Italian travels was 30 years old. Travels in Italy evolved into the first modern guide to the country or, indeed, at least in English, to anywhere. For those who had previously undertaken and written of the Grand Tour had not burdened themselves of the precise – or, doubtless, even a vague – knowledge of the price to be paid for washing petticoats in Pisa, buying wax candles in Venice, asses milk in Tuscany, or hiring  carriages in Florence. It took a woman, and a woman conscious of value for money, to gather and set out all these – and a thousand more fascinating details – of life as a traveller. She gives a very lengthy list of the equipment it is necessary to take – from a chamber pot that could be fitted into the well of a coach to a nutmeg grater – and goes into considerable detail about how to get across the Alps – this at a time before Napoleon for his own purposes had constructed a manageable road. She describes what type of coach was suitable and how it had to be taken apart, laden onto mules and its passengers then carried in sedan chairs over the mountain pass by porters. The book covers all the major towns of Italy, giving details of the best lodging houses, restaurants, doctors, dentists, provision merchants, dress makers and tailors, and details of all the principal sights.

Mariana Starke introduced an innovation into travel writing, annotating particular buildings and paintings with exclamation marks to indicate merit – five, I think, for the best. She wanted the visitor, if pressed for time, to select only the best – and set out a daily itinerary in order to ‘prevent Travellers from wasting their time and burdening their memory by a minute survey of what is not particularly interesting, and thereby, perhaps, depriving themselves of leisure to examine what really deserves the closest attention.’ Doesn’t that sound the advice of one who knew what it was to have been dragged around one gallery too many?

In the late 1820s Mariana Starke was taken up by John Murray and wrote for him a guide to the whole Continent – her exclamation mark system being now exchanged for a system of stars. So when you next consult your Egon Ronay or Good Food Guide, it is Mariana Starke you have to thank for inventing the tools of discrimination. [For more on Mariana Starke see here].

My second book is a novel – Anne Radcliffe’s Mysteries of Udolpho, published in 1794, at a time when Mariana Starke was well into her travels, and which captivated the British reading public – particularly its female portion – painting Italy as picturesquely gothic. The irony is that this romantic view of Italy was shaped by a woman whose continental travels never extended further than Holland and Germany, and then only after the success of her Italian novels. Her landscape descriptions were drawn from travel literature and from the work of mid-17th century Rome-based painters such as Claude Lorraine, Poussin and Salvator Rosa. Her descriptions in turn had an overwhelming influence on the way that Italy was seen by later travellers. Northanger Abbey, published in 1817, is, of course, a delicious parody of her subject matter and style.

Whereas Mariana Starke, having detailed the nitty gritty of passing across the Alps, gives us no description of the scenery, Mrs Radcliffe in Udolpho more than makes up for this. ‘The snow was not yet melted on the summit of Mount Cenis, over which the travellers passed; but Emily [our heroine], as she looked upon its clear lake and extended plain, surrounded by broken cliffs, saw, in imagination, the verdant beauty it would exhibit’ – .’ who may describe her rapture, when, having passed through a sea of vapour, she caught a first view of Italy; when from the ridge of one of those tremendous precipices that hang upon Mount Cenis and guard the entrance of that enchanting country, she looked down through the lower clouds, and, as they floated away, saw the grassy vales of Piedmont at her feet.’ This is Arcadia.’

Whereas Mariana Starke said of Venice only that ‘from its singularity alone [it] highly merits notice’ and that ‘it is less strikingly magnificent than many other cities of Italy‘,  in Udolphonothing could exceed Emily’s admiration on her first view of Venice, with its islets, palaces, and towers rising out of the sea, whose clear surface reflected the tremulous picture in all its colours…the sounds seemed to grow on the air; for so smoothly did the barge glide along, that its motion was not perceivable, and the fairy city appeared approaching to welcome the strangers.’ It was Mrs Radcliffe’s view of Italy as arcadia and fairyland, albeit with a gothic tinge, that inspired the dreams of so many English women travellers in the early 19th century – and it is those who wrote who have immortalized their dreams. However, if these women held Mrs Radcliffe in one metaphorical hand, they held Mariana Starke’s guide book in the other. It was her details, perhaps prosaic then, but utterly fascinating now, that gave a reality to the dream – women could work out how, and how to afford to, to travel to arcadia.

All these features –an appreciation of the gothic and the arcadian and fairyland nature of Italy– resonated through the work and lives of the English women I shall discuss.

Lady Elizabeth Foster

My first vignette is of a woman whose early Italian travels, undertaken in the last quarter of the 18th century, are the stuff of the gothic novel and whose later, 19th-century life, was devoted to uncovering the arcadia of classical Italy. Her whole life is something of a fairy tale. While not a published writer, Lady Elizabeth Foster commended her daily experience to 128 volumes of journals, excerpts of which have been used in recreating both her life and that of her dearest friend, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. A biography of Georgiana has in recent years received almost as much media hype as did the works of Mrs Radcliffe at the end of the 18th century, so some of you may well know something about her life. However, its dramas and excesses pale into insignificance beside those of her ‘Dearest Bess’. Lady Elizabeth’s ‘sweet freedom’ lay in being her loveable, incalcitrant, self-indulgent self and Italy allowed her to be so. She married young but after five years separated from her husband who consequently forbade her to see their two sons, whom she didn’t meet again for a further fourteen years – but who still remained devoted. Returning to England from the marital home in Ireland, she cast her spell on the Devonshire House circle. In fact the circle became a triangle when Lady Elizabeth, while remaining the Duchess’s most intimate friend, in the autumn of 1784 also became the lover of the Duke. Unsurprisingly she soon became pregnant; surprisingly there was no hint of any scandal as she took herself off to Italy, from whence she had only very recently returned. By April 1785, keeping up her diary, which served as a confessional, Lady Elizabeth was in Pisa, Florence, and then Rome, where she wrote ‘Sometimes I look at myself in the glass with pity. Youth, beauty, I see I have; friends I know I have; reputation I still have; and perhaps in two months, friends, fame, life and all future peace may be destroyed and lost for ever to me. If so, my proud soul will never, never return to England –But it was not his fault. Passion has led us both awry – his heart suffers for me I know’.  Entries such as this – and there are very many more – would not disgrace a gothic novel.

After a stay in Naples, at the end of June she was accompanied to Ischia by her brother, Jack Hervey, himself something of a rake, who was living a racketty life at the Naples court and, like everybody else, was quite oblivious of her condition. She had thought the island suitably remote and settled there to await the birth, but after a couple of weeks discovered that friends from Naples were coming to the island and that she would no longer be able to conceal her condition – and disgrace. She now revealed her predicament in a letter to her brother, who hastily returned to Ischia and appears to have been entirely supportive, although ‘I could not – dared not name the dear Author of my child’s existence’ Jack told her she would have to leave Ischia and, with her faithful servant, Louis, they set sail for the mainland in an open boat. ‘How calm the Sea is – it scarce is heard as it beats against the rocks, the air is perfum’d with herbs, the sky is clear, at a distance blazes Vesuvius – oh were I happy’.

They landed at Salerno and then travelled to nearby Vietri, a little town now swallowed up in greater Salerno. When, many years ago, I read the following entry from her journal  – written over 200 years before that – it made an impression such that I have never forgotten it . ‘With no woman at hand, encumbered by the weight of my child, enfeebled by long ill health, fearing every person I met, and, for the first time in my life, wishing only to hide myself, I arrived at last.’ The place to which brother Jack directed her appears to have been at best a kind of baby farm, at worst a brothel – perhaps a bit of both. Her description of the ‘seraglio’, as she called it, is gothic –run by ‘The Arch-Priest of Lovers, his woman-servant, a coarse, ugly and filthy creature, the doctor (his brother) and his wife, two young girls, pretty enough but weeping all day, the nurse who was to take charge of my child; and some babies which cried from morning to night.’  One wonders quite how it was that it was her brother knew of this place. She passed as Louis’ wife, as a servant’s wife dishonoured by Jack Hervey. A few days later a daughter was born and, as so often in gothic novels, the heroine now showed resilience in a time of extremity. Thinking her attendants quite ignorant, she immediately took care of the new-born baby but then, instead of the usual lying-in period of a month or so, which she had enjoyed after the birth of her previous children, was back on the road after six days, leaving the baby behind, eventually arriving at her brother’s house at Naples. Louis later fetched the baby, Caroline, from Vietri and brought her to Naples – where she was looked after by foster parents. I always thought this a memorably Italian episode.

Georgiana died in 1806 and in 1809 Lady Elizabeth married the Duke. He died in 1811 and in 1815, after peace had returned to Europe, Elizabeth, now Dowager Duchess of Devonshire returned to Italy, living in Rome until her death in 1824, keeping a very elegant salon, packed with diplomats, painters and sculptors. During her earliest visit to Italy in 1784 she had described in her journal, with impressive diligence, the paintings and antiquities she had seen. Now, in this new stage of life, she really did become a lady of letters, commissioning de luxe editions of Virgil and of Horace. She took up antiquities, under the guidance of Cardinal Consalvi, her last love, secretary of state and spy master to Pius VII. Of her excavating, Lady Spencer, the sister-in-law of the first Duchess, wrote ‘That Witch of Endor the Duchess of Devon has been doing mischief of another kind to what she has been doing all her life by pretending to dig for the public good in the Forum’. Mrs Charlotte Ann Eaton, who had travelled to Italy with her brother and sister and published her observations in 1820 as Rome in the Nineteenth Century, commented apropos the reclamation of the Forum, ‘the English, as far as I see, are at present the most active excavators. There is the Duchess of D— at work in one corner, and the Pope, moved by a spirit of emulation, digging away in another’. Italy had certainly allowed Lady Elizabeth the freedom to develop in ways she found unconventionally satisfying.

Charlotte Eaton’s sister, Jane Waldie, also published her description of their journey, albeit with a different publisher, and her enthusiasm still leaps off the page –  when ‘the dome of St Peter’s burst on  our view in the midst of the Campagna. Unable any longer to restrain ourselves, we leaped out of the carriage and ran up a bank by the road-side. Never, oh, never, shall I forget the emotions with which I gazed on this prospect! That Rome itself should really be before me seemed so incredible, that my mind could scarcely take in the fact.’ She and Charlotte stayed first at the Hotel de Paris  in the Via della Croce, which runs off the Piazza di Spagna in the heart of the ‘English’ quarter, but didn’t remain there long – on the second night of their stay the chimney of one of their apartments took fire and they moved to lodgings in the Corso. [For more about Charlotte Eaton see here and here.]

In fact the Hotel de Paris, or Villa di Parigi or Albergo di Parigi as they variously term it, provided shelter to a series of our English women writers over the next 20 years. [For more about the Hotel see here.] It is slightly surreal to see their shades slipping into bed, one after the other, under this one Roman roof. Amusingly all commented on the indifference of its facilities. It was at the Villa di Parigi in the summer of 1819, while the Duchess of Devonshire, the sole survivor of her menage  à trois, was still digging in the Forum, that another interesting trio took up abode in Rome. Percy Bysshe Shelley and his wife, Mary, daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft, were accompanied by Mary’s step-sister, Claire Clairmont. All three sought inspiration from Italy and freedom from censure and their past –which was already gothic both in life (Mary’s half-sister, Fanny, and Shelley’s wife, Harriet, had both recently committed suicide) – and literature – Mary Shelley had just published Frankenstein. The drama of their stay in Italy was to be remorseless.

Curran, Amelia; Claire Clairmont (1798-1879); Newstead Abbey. works/claire-clairmont-17981879-47805. Amelia Curran was a friend of Marianna Starke.

Claire Clairemont, who had devoured Mrs Radcliffe in her exhaustingly wide-ranging reading, wrote in her journal of the descent from Mont Cenis that   ‘The primroses are scattered everywhere. The fruit trees covered with the richest blossoms which scented the air as we passed. A sky without one cloud – everything bright and serene – the cloudless Sky of Italy – the bright and the beautiful’. Thus she entered Arcadia. But with Shelley and Mary, and their two young children, William and Clara, she was travelling to hand over her daughter, born the previous year when she was 19, to the child’s father, Lord Byron. This was done in April 1818, at Venice, and in August she received permission from Byron to visit the child. She persuaded Shelley and Mary to accompany her, although Mary was very reluctant because baby Clara was unwell, To Mary’s great grief, as soon as they arrived in Venice, Clara died. ‘Sweet freedom’ was not without its dangers – the story of English women in Italy is littered with lost or dead babies. The mother with a secret and – often related – the orphan  – are recurring themes in gothic novels.

The Shelley party later travelled to Rome and the Villa di Parigi. Claire appears, like all good travellers, to have been planning a book about Rome. Mary, who in the 1840s did publish a book on her later Italian travels, also at this time recorded her impressions of the city, ‘The other night we visited the Pantheon by moon  light and saw the lovely sight of the moon appearing through the round aperture above and Lighting the columns of the Rotunda with its rays…’ But there was little time for sight seeing –  tragedy had not done with them. On 7 June, despite having moved from the Villa di Parigi to an apartment at the top of the Spanish Steps, where the air was thought to be less malarial, the Shelleys’ two-year old son, William, died of Roman fever and was subsequently buried in the Protestant cemetery. He is a doubly lost English baby because when, all too soon, his grave was unearthed in order to bury him near his father, the grave marked as his was found to contain not a baby but the remains of an adult. The year after William’s death Mary wrote a verse drama for children, heartrending when one knows what she had recently suffered. It is, what else, but Proserpine’  – filled with Ceres’ anguished search – ‘Where is my daughter? Have I aught to dread? Where does she stray..I fear my child is lost’. Two years later Claire’s daughter, Allegra, died, a five- year old banished by her father to a convent, bereft of her mother’s care – and a couple of months after that Shelley was drowned off the Ligurian coast.

Anna Murphy – later jameson

Mary remained in Italy until 1823 but was back in England when, in 1826, she proposed writing a review article based on a handful of books that had recently been published by English writers about Italy. One of the books she reviewed was The Diary of an Ennuyée, published anonymously and purporting to be the diary of a young governess, travelling in Italy with her charge, but broken-hearted, having left a shattered romance behind in England. Indeed so broken-hearted was she that at the end she goes to her grave. However, although there was much that was true in the book, its author, then Anna Murphy, but who, soon after her return to England, became Mrs Anna Jameson, had not in fact died, but was at the very beginning of a long and distinguished writing career, in which Italy played a central part. Indeed the Diary of an Ennuyée, in the intervals between anguished breast-beatings, serves as a very detailed guidebook to Italy, particularly Rome. A guidebook, admittedly, that veers more towards Mrs Radcliffe than Mariana Starke. It contains little in the way of practical details, such as routes and prices, but her descriptions do have the merit of being based on personal observation.

Anna Murphy’s  first day in Rome strikes as true a note as did Jane Waldie’s description of her arrival: ‘The day arose as beautiful, as brilliant, as cloudless, as I could have desired for the first day in Rome. About seven o’clock, and before any one was ready for breakfast, I walked out; and directed my steps by mere chance to the left, found myself in the Piazza di Spagna and opposite to a gigantic flight of marble stairs leading to the top of a hill. I was at the summit in a moment; and breathless and agitated by a thousand feelings, I leaned against the obelisk, and looked over the whole city.’  She was here standing a few yards away from where young William Shelley had died barely five years previously. And, yes, her party was staying at the Albergo di Parigi.

Elizabeth Barratt Browning

Having spent an adventurous 20 or so years – she travelled extensively around north America and Canada, having ditched her alcoholic husband, and earning a living through her writing – Anna Jameson returned to Italy in 1846 under rather romantic circumstances. It was she who conducted Mr and Mrs Browning from Paris to Pisa.   She was as surprised as the rest of the world at the Browning marriage. When she was contacted in Paris she had only a few days previously bade farewell to her friend Elizabeth Barrett in Wimpole Street, having no inkling of the planned elopement. Anna was on her way to Italy to research a new book, Sacred and Legendary Art, and was delighted to act as courier for the impractical pair. From Paris she wrote to her sister ‘I have also here a poet and a poetess – two celebrities who have run away and married under circumstances peculiarly interesting, and such as render imprudence the height of prudence. Both  excellent; but God help them! for I know not how the two poet heads and poet hearts will get on through this prosaic world.’. She later commented that the elopement ‘was as delightful as unexpected, and gave an excitement to our journey which was already like a journey into the old world of enchantment – a revival of fairyland.’

Italy indeed had a magical effect on Elizabeth Browning. While on the journey Mrs Jameson wrote to her sister from Avignon ‘Our poor invalid has suffered greatly, often fainting and often so tired that we have been obliged to remain a whole day to rest at some wretched place..’ But as Flush noted (courtesy of Virginia Woolf), after their arrival in Pisa ‘she was a different person altogether. Now, for instance, instead of sipping a thimbleful of port and complaining of the headache, she tossed off a tumbler of Chianti and slept the sounder..Then instead of driving in a barouche landau to Regent’s Park she pulled on her thick boots and scrambled over rocks. Instead of sitting in a carriage and rumbling along Oxford street, they rattled off in a ramshackle fly to the borders of a lake and looked at mountains…Here in Italy was freedom and life and the joy that the sun breeds.’ Indeed, breeding began as soon as she reached Pisa, although she miscarried five months later. Rather than lamenting this loss, she was very proud of having been pregnant at all. After a recuperating stay in Pisa, a city that had for many years been host to an interesting, rather Bohemian English set, all escaping one thing or another, the Brownings travelled on to Florence in the summer of 1847, eventually moving into an apartment in Casa Guidi.

It was here in Florence, having never previously been particularly interested in national politics – although she had long been concerned with social reform – that Elizabeth took up the cause of Italian freedom. On a more prosaic level for the first time she was able to experience other aspects of her freedom – she furnished her first home and in 1849, following a second miscarriage – and when she was 43 years old – she gave birth to a son.

This is the view I remember from the Casa Guidi balcony. I no longer have a photo of my own so this is taken from mildaysboudoir blogspot – with thanks.

Two years later, in 1851, she published Under Casa Guidi Windows, in which she charts her initial optimism that the newly awakened liberal movements would result in the freedom and unification of the Italian states and, then, her disillusionment when the movement was crushed. Biographers have suggested that she equated the oppression of the Italian people (most of Italy was then under Austrian rule) with that of her father against her. Whether or not there is any truth in this analogy – it has a rather depressingly contrived feel – there were other English women – some of whom had certainly grown up happily in the bosom of supportive families – who were also intensely interested in the cause of Italian freedom.

Jessie White Mario

One such was Jessie White, born in Gosport in Hampshire where her father had a ship building firm, and who i 1854, when she was 22, met Garibaldi in London. She was no conventional young lady, having already studied for a time in Paris and was at this time writing for Eliza Cook’s Journal, a London-based feminist publication. Garibaldi fired her with enthusiasm and she travelled to Italy, where she met Mazzini and became a disciple.

Mazzini appears to have had this effect on women –at least on English women. Another of his devotees was Emilia Ashurst, known at this stage of her life as Mrs Sidney Hawkes, a member of a London family all of whom involved themselves in the radical causes of the day. When Jessie White returned to England in 1855, she met Emilie, who had already had many Italian adventures. Besides acting as his secret agent Emilie wrote a memoir of Mazzini and translated his works into English. She was also an artist and a copy of her portrait of Mazzini, enigmatically labelled as by ‘E. Hawkes’, is on display in the Museo di Risorgimento, housed inside the Victor Emmanuel monument in Rome. It struck me when I saw it that, as visitors drifted past it year after year, there could hardly be among them anybody who would realize that behind this painting lay an Englishwoman’s deep commitment to Italy. Emilie separated from Hawkes and later married Carlo Venturi, a Venetian patriot, who proved an altogether more satisfying husband.

Jessie White, too, wished to give practical aid to Italy. She thought she would train as a doctor in England, but, as a woman, she was refused admittance to medical school, and she settled on offering herself as a nurse to the Italians and also, as had Emilie Venturi, concentrated on translating Italian works of propaganda and writing articles for the English press. In 1857 she took part in an uprising led by Mazzini and was arrested and imprisoned. In prison she met Alberto Mario, like Venturi a handsome Venetian, whom, on their release, she married. In the early 1860s, with her husband, she followed Garibaldi and his men, nursing the sick  – for most of the time the only woman attached to the campaign. From 1866 until her death in 1906 Jessie White Mario, as Italian correspondent of the Nation, analysed Italy for American and English readers. She travelled all round Italy in search of material for articles and is now esteemed in Italy as one of the first of its investigative reporters, writing about economic developments and social conditions – especially in the south –her writing forceful in detail, vivid and vigorous. When she died in 1906 one paper connected two Anglo-Italian patriots, specifically remarking that her funeral procession in Florence, ‘passed the Casa Guidi, which was decorated in honour of the centenary of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’.

Charlotte Cushman (sitting) with Matilda Hays (courtesy of Harvard Theatre Collection)

Amongst the artefacts now displayed in Casa Guidi is a cast of the clasped hands of Robert and Elizabeth Browning. The sculptor of this incarnation of romance was a young American woman, Harriet Hosmer. Harriet had lived and worked in Rome since 1852, part of a group of ‘jolly female bachelors’ that clustered around the overpowering personality of the American actress, Charlotte Cushman. After meeting Charlotte with her companion, Matilda Hays, Elizabeth Barrett Browning had written to her sisters ‘I understand that she and Miss Hays have made vows of celibacy and of eternal attachment to each other – they live together, dress alike …it is a female marriage’. A photograph of the two women certainly shows them dressed alike, skirts topped by tailored shirts and jackets. Matilda, who preferred to be known as ‘Max’, is lean and saturnine. She was a novelist, who in 1847 had, with Emilie Venturi’s elder sister, Eliza Ashurst, embarked on the daring project of translating the works of George Sand. When she and Charlotte arrived in Rome they were looking for freedom from the social constraints imposed in America and England. Charlotte wrote that in Rome ‘the Mrs Grundies [are] so scarce, [and] the artist society nice, that it is hard to choose or find any other place so attractive’. They spent most of the next five years or so in Rome – during the winter and spring of 1856 to 1857 Anna Jameson was part of their circle. But the Hays/Cushman female marriage was volatile and in 1857 came to a violent end – swearing certainly and, fisticuffs, possibly, were involved – and Matilda was forced to leave Rome.

Nine years later she published a novel, Adrienne Hope, in which she painted a very lifelike picture of Roman life as experienced by the expatriate English. Her main protagonists live in what was clearly the apartment in the via Gregoriana, along from the top of the Spanish Steps, in which she had lived with Charlotte: ‘a suite of rooms on the fourth piano, beneath the windows of which Rome lay extended like a panorama… There lies the Queen City of the World, with its quaint, irregular, grey roofs, its 364 churches, its noble pagan temples and imperial palaces, noble in their ruin and decay, basking through the day in the undimmed lustre of an Italian sun, to be glorified by its setting rays of gold, and crimson, and purple, the depth and richness of whose hues none who have not seen can by any means imagine, and none who have seen can ever forget.’ [For more about Matilda Hays and Adrienne Hope see here.]

Ouida photographed by George Gardner Rockwood

Although Rome was at this time the centre for artistic training there was from the mid-19th century a revived interest in medieval Italy as inspiration for both art and literature. Tuscany in general and Florence in particular was the mecca for English devotees. One such arrival was Louise de la Ramée, who wrote under the pen name Ouida. She had already had considerable success and had made a considerable amount of money from her sensational novels. Having found her life in Bury St Edmunds insufficiently exciting she left England for Florence, where she quickly fell in love with a neighbour, the Marchese della Stuffa, for whom she felt all the passion that she had previously only been able to allow to her heroines. However, what she didn’t for a long time realise was that the Marchese was already spoken for – he had for several years been the ‘cavalier servante’ of Mrs Janet Ross – queen bee of the English circle in Florence. As her biographer put it. ‘Soon there was open enmity between Ouida and Mrs Ross, each fiercely resenting what she considered the other’s preposterous tendency to behave as if della Stufa were her property. Both were women of strong character, Mrs Ross the more domineering, Ouida the more impassioned’.

Janet Ross

Ouida took up what she considered was her best weapon – her pen -and wrote a roman a clef based on this intriguing triangle – entitling it with the mot just – ‘Friendship’. When one knows something of the background, it makes a very good read. She describes Mrs Ross in the character of Lady Joan as ‘ a faggot of contradictions; extraordinarily ignorant, but naturally intelligent; audacious yet timid; a bully, but a coward; full of hot passions, but with cold fits of prudence.. She had a bright, firm, imposing way of declaring her opinions infallible that went far towards making others believe them so .’  Her own character was quite the reverse – all modesty and balm, ‘She gave him a yellow rose from a cluster that she had been placing in water as he had entered; there was tea standing near her on a little Japanese stand; she poured him out a cup, and brought it to him by the hearth; he followed all her movements with a sense of content and peace. As she tendered him the little cup, his fingers caressed hers, and as he drew the cup away, his lips lingered on her wrist. She coloured and left him.’ 

 Her friends begged her not to publish it – the Ross side threatened a libel suit. Eight years later a reviewer wrote: ‘Italy was destined to do more for Ouida, as an artist, in a larger sense of the word, than to satisfy her ideal of the beautiful in landscape. An experience was reserved for her there, or more probably, a series of experiences, which vastly enlarged her knowledge of living men and women’.

Janet Ross was a member of a family of strong-minded women. In 1888 she and her husband bought a castle near Settignagno. In her memoirs she recounts her investigation of its history and its reclamation, describing for instance ‘having hateful French wallpaper scraped off the walls and having them washed a light grey stone colour – to the dismay of the workmen’ – so like all the villas in Tuscany idylls, where the jarring contemporary is erased in order to reclaim the peace of the past. Forging the path that so many later have followed she wrote a cookery book, Leaves from our Tuscan Kitchen. Those intimate with the Ross household later made clear that, of course Mrs Ross never needed to concern herself with the workings of the kitchen – and her cook, who prided himself on being able to produce more than the cookery of the region, had provided her with recipes that were, as a result, by no means authentically Tuscan. The commission for the book had, in the first instance, come from J.M. Dent to Janet Ross’s young niece, Lina, who, however, thought a cookery book dull work and preferred another commission, The Story Of Assissi. For the same ‘Medieval Towns’ series Janet Ross wrote The Story of Pisa and Lina’s friend, Margaret Symonds, The Story of Perugia.

Lina Duff Gordon (later Waterfield) painted by G.F. Watts

Lina married an artist, Aubrey Waterfield, and in 1905 they bought their own castle, Fortezza della Brunella, near Carrara. Three years later Lina wrote Home Life in Italy, describing, in her turn, how they had made their castle habitable, and writing about their servants and local customs. The castle sounds magical: ‘As the evening draws in, wisps of clouds become suffused with a lustre of rose-purple and gold, to fade with the light to the colour of a Florentine iris. How often have I not returned home dazed by it all, and reached the drawbridge just as the birds were settling to rest with a great flutter and commotion among the ilexes in the moat..’ In 1917 she was one of the founders of the British Institute at Florence, which has subsequently served as an easy escape route into Italy for England’s well-heeled youth.  From 1921 until 1939 Lina Waterfield was Italian correspondent for the Observer, speaking out firmly against Mussolini. That life at Fortezza della Brunella was for a child the embodiment of arcadia is set out in the memoir, A Tuscan Childhood, written by Lina’s daughter, Kinta Beevor, and published in the 1980s. Thus three English women of one family have between them recorded 100 years of Tuscan life.

At the same time as the Waterfields were restoring their castle, another English woman, Georgina Graham was living near Carrara, enjoying life in Italy and writing of it In a Tuscan Garden. Rather than a horticultural treatise this was in essence a guide for those wishing to move to Italy.  ‘The ideal condition of residence is to have the home in England, and to be able to leave it for the winter or spring months… But when that ideal is beyond attainment, and when one has to choose a place of exile, Italy appears to me, taking it all round, to afford greater compensations than any other country.. Before settling in Tuscany, I had heard the remark that English society in Florence was for the most part so unpleasant, that every one did his best to keep out of it, and that if you wished to make a mortal enemy, you had only to offer to introduce one person to another.’. Doubtless the standoff between Mrs Ross and Ouida had many lesser emulators.

Mrs Graham continues, evoking the Florence of A Room with a View: ‘Nowadays Florence may be said to be one vast pension, it was totally different when I first knew it in the sixties; such places hardly existed then, and if they had, the class of English visitors of that day would not have gone into them. Many of them were badly off –; but it would not have occurred to them to herd with other people.’ Describing how easy it is to rent rooms for the long term, she comments:  ‘It is astonishing how many Englishwomen of small means there are living here in respectability, and comfort in their own small etage, who, if in London, would be in comfortless suburban lodgings, in two rooms in one of those “ladies’ flats” to which all sorts of drawbacks and restrictions are attached. In Florence everything lends itself to their independence.’ Georgina Graham relates that she was seized with ‘Italy Fever’ back in the 1860s but that as time has passed ‘a long residence in Italy gives an intimate knowledge of her people, her standards, and her morale generally, under the influence of which the poetry becomes less prominent, and what may be called the seamy side is apt to be painfully to the front. But in spite of all, to those who have once yielded to its charm, it ever remains the enchanted land.’

Plaque at Via Foscola, 32, in Florence

This ‘Italy Fever’ had doubtless seized many of the women who were not so fortunate as Mrs Graham in finding themselves enjoying a large Tuscan villa and garden but, as she describes, happily occupied a room or two in Florence, with or without a view. I have been struck by the number of books that were published about Tuscany by women writers at the turn of the 20th century, including a couple by a woman of whom I had never before heard. One was Scenes and Shrines, written by Dorothy Nevile Lees, who had been born in Wolverhampton to a reasonably prosperous family. In 1903, aged 23, gripped by Italian fever, inspired by the poetry of Byron and Shelley, she left Wolverhampton and travelled alone to Florence. At the opening of Scenes and Shrines she recounts how  ‘ I passed the great mountain gates which bar the way to Italy, the enchanted land of my childish imaginings, the Mecca of my dreams.’ In order to learn Italian as quickly as possible she chose to board with a middle-class Florentine family and plunged with a will into Italian life.

Both Scenes and Shrines and a second book, Tuscan Feasts and Tuscan Friends, were published in the same year, 1907, and were probably the result of collecting together articles that she had already had published in the English press. Tuscan Feasts opens with a hymn to her new land ‘ O Italy, my land of Heart’s Desire/No Paradise could be more fair than thou’, and the finding of her dream villa.  ‘The Villa strictly speaking, was not beautiful; its time-stained plastered walls, its lofty height, its heavily-barred windows were a little gaunt and forbidding; and yet, as I stepped down from the carriage, I felt instinctively that I had found the place of dreams and peace’. If Dorothy Nevile Lees had been of our time she would have been a participant in ‘A Place in the Sun’ – making a television programme about her new Tuscan life.

I then discovered that in 1907 Dorothy Nevile Lees met Edward Gordon Craig, theatrical director, stage designer, son of Ellen Terry, married man and father, and, clearly, a great charmer, and that from 1908 until it folded in 1929 she was the editorial mainstay of his theatrical magazine, The Mask. She lived all this time in Florence – while Craig travelled the world – he went through a couple of marriages, and several affairs – including one with Isadora Duncan (by whom he had two children). In 1917 Dorothy herself had a son, David, by him, the existence of whom Craig was very keen to keep quiet – so quiet indeed that his entry in the new ODNB makes no mention whatsoever of Dorothy Nevile Lees or her son (although conceding that Craig had many children). It is clear Craig did what he could to ensure that David Lees, who in fact became an internationally-renowned photographer, would become another of England’s children lost in Italy. In 1935 Dorothy heard that Craig had denied that he was David’s father. When she commented on this, by way of reply he counselled her ‘not to blab’.

Dorothy Nevile Lees, clearly a woman of independent spirit, remained in Florence during the Second World War, shielding Craig’s archive from the Nazis, despite an office raid, and eventually giving the British Institute in Florence a collection of his theatrical material. One cannot know what she had really expected when she arrived as she had put it, in ‘the Mecca of my dreams’, but she had certainly carved out for herself an interesting life, one unlikely to have been her fate in Wolverhampton. [For more about Dorothy Lees see here.]

Life in a Tuscan villa in the years before the Second World War and then in wartime Florence falls to the lot of Fenny, the creation of Lettice Cooper, whose eponymous novel, Fenny, was published in 1953. I don’t know enough of Lettice Cooper to know what part Italy played in her life, but the loving description of her heroine’s enjoyment of her surroundings at least suggest that the author relished her research. Fenny is not the chatelaine of the villa – that character is a spoilt and wilful Englishwoman – but Ellen Fenwick, who until shortly before the opening of the novel, which begins in 1933, is a teacher in an English girls’ high school and is then invited to Tuscany as a governess. One can imagine her background as not unlike that of Dorothy Nevile Lees. When she arrived at the villa Fenny considered life within its grounds as paradise –she really does say ‘When I first arrived her I thought I’d got into a house in a fairy-tale’ –  a very suitable  romance follows but it is stifled by the lady of the house – Fenny later copes with the war – and ensures that her much loved pupil will not suffer as she suffered. A conventional enough plot, lovingly told against the backdrop of Italian life and landscape. The novel ends with Fenny saying to the young boy she has rescued from the disasters of war, ‘All right, Dino! We’ll go to Rome.’

Elizabeth Bowen

 And it was to Rome in the year of Fenny’s publication that the novelist Elizabeth Bowen went, sponsored by the British Council. She had made many previous visits, but her husband had recently died and she made this extended stay the occasion of specific research for her book, A Time in Rome. I love this book. I love the way she explains how she got to grips with the city –‘My object was to walk it into my head and (this time) keep it there.’ I love the way she is alone as she does this (or at least appears to be alone) – I like the idea of the solitary walker –the observer.  And I love this sentence she wrote early on in the book; ‘To talk of “entering” the past is nonsense, but one can be entered by it, to a degree.’ The book’s final sentences even on re-reading are still affecting. ‘Only from the train as it moved out did I look at Rome. Backs of houses I had not ever seen before wavered into mists, stinging my eyes. My darling, my darling, my darling. Here we have no abiding city.’

Through the second half of the 20th and into the 21st century women have still relished the challenge of reshaping a life in Italy. And as in the 18th and 19th centuries, writing still offers the possibility of earning a living and a new and interesting locality provides possible material for the writing. Detective fiction, blending social observation and deduction/intuition, has proved a successful genre for women writers; an exotic locality gilds the lily. The best-known woman writer of English-language Italian detective fiction is Donna Leon, whose policeman, Guido Brunetti, is the epitome of Venetian suavity and good humour. However Donna Leon, although an intriguing woman, is an American and doesn’t qualify for discussion today.

Sarah Cockburn (‘Sarah Caudwell’)

But while thinking of women writers and detection in Venice I must mention in passing Sarah Caudwell – the pen name of Sarah Cockburn –now, alas, dead – who led a life of bella libertà. She was a charming and scatty, pipe-smoking lawyer who wrote four witty detective novels, the first, Thus Was Adonis Murdered, set in Venice. While I am sure Sarah enjoyed complete freedom at all times and didn’t need to go to Venice to find it, it was assumed by those who knew her that an opportunity to foster close acquaintance with young Venetian men made her research all the sweeter.

Magdalen Nabb

Magdalen Nabb, an English writer of detective fiction, has, like Donna Leon, created an Italian policeman. Her central character is Marshal Guarnaccia and she has posted him in Florence, close to the Pitti Palace. All I know of Magdalen Nabb is what is revealed on her book jackets – but in its bare outline it is the epitome of the ideal life of the English women writer in Italy. ‘She was born in Lancashire in 1947 and trained as a potter. In 1975 she abandoned pottery, sold her home and her car, and went to Florence with her son, knowing nobody and speaking no Italian’. When she wrote the first of what are now 12 books in her detective series she was living in an apartment in Casa Guidi. Indeed I first came across her novels while staying there myself, in the Brownings’ drawing room, in the Library supplied by the Landmark Trust.

Another English writer, who has written at least one thriller with an Italian setting, and who has also taken root in Florence, is Sarah Dunant. She has described in an interview how, after the break up of a relationship, she thought life needed a radical change – and so bought a flat in Florence. She holds the city responsible for her own personal renaissance and it, naturally, became the setting for The Birth of Venus, a novel that I am sure is selling very well and ensuring her a comfortable Florentine life. [The Birth of Venus was the only one of Sarah Dunant’s Italian novels published when I gave the talk – but she has written more since – see here.]

As well as being the setting for detective stories, which I could perhaps tie into my gothic theme, Italy has also provided the setting for a number of contemporary arcadian or fairyland novels. In these authors have gathered together a group of disparate characters and allowed enchantment of one kind or another to work on them. In Enchanted April, published in 1923, Elizabeth von Arnim describes in loving detail (detail so easily translated into a gentle film) how four women, previously unknown to each other, rent a castle on Italy’s Ligurian coast, overlooking the bay where Shelley drowned, and find themselves and happiness.

Amanda Craig’s Love in Idleness cleverly and amusingly reworks A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream in the setting of a houseparty in a Tuscan villa, effortlessly evoking the magic suspension of reality that overtakes her characters. ‘The heat intensified. At night the house creaked and whispered, so that they woke to confusion, climbing out of their dreams on the ladder of light cast by the shutters, excited, ashamed, frustrated. During the day each person became more and more enervated, yet also more relaxed.’

A similar atmosphere of shimmering heat and long shuttered siestas, interspersed with bursts of uncharacteristic behaviour, is what I remember of The Italian Lesson, a 1985 novel by Janice Elliott. Again a group, most previously unknown to each other, gathers for a holiday – this time in a restored castle a few miles outside Florence. William, one of the central characters, has for years been researching a monograph on E.M. Forster and Italy and the novel is intertwined with Forsterian allusions. His wife is recovering from a still birth and in the course of the novel another baby is carelessly lost to death, its fate an echo of the bronzed baby in Forster’s Where Angels Fear to Tread, and an echo of all those others that have been lost in Italy – in both fact and fiction.

I shall end this talk in Venice, Mrs Radcliffe’s ‘fairy city’, with Julia Garnet, the creation of Salley Vickers, who will give the First Persephone Annual lecture on the 5th October, discussing Miss Garnet alongside Persephone’s Miss Pettigrew and Miss Ranskill. I am very fond of Miss Garnet, who is the epitome of all the women whom we have encountered today. One can, in fact, imagine that Julia Garnet is what Fenny would have become if she had not been transported to Tuscany in her youth. For Julia Garnet came to Venice only on her retirement from teaching and there found the angel that was to guide her to the next world. Like Elizabeth Bowen, she walks the city into her head, transformed by it – ‘Venice has changed me’ she thought. We can see that Julia Garnet, while remaining essentially herself, has changed – her emotions and understanding expanded, Venice and the people she found there, Anglo-American as well as Italians, having worked their magic. As in so many novels that centre on Venice the cast of characters includes art historians and art restorers and I will leave you with a glimpse of this –the handwritten diary of a young Englishwoman, which details a three-month stay in Venice, where she was taking an art history course [Note: this diary was an item that I had in my book dealing stock at the time]. This was in 1986 – exactly 200 years after Lady Elizabeth Forster wrote up her Italian diary.   What this young woman puts on paper is equally self-regarding, sprawling and observant – it could be raw material for a novel –   a romance, a romantic comedy, a detective novel, or even, perhaps, a tragedy.  The writer is anonymous –– although I suppose there are sufficient clues scattered throughout that would enable her identity to be discovered. But let her remain anonymous, her experience in Italy in the mid 1980s merely a contemporary version – factor in drugs, sex and rock and roll – of the bella libertà enjoyed by all our English women writing in Italy –  her refrain, like that of all the others, is: ‘I never want to go back to England.


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Suffrage Stories: House Decorating and Suffrage: Annie Atherton, Kate Thornbury, And The Society of Artists

In Suffrage Stories: ‘Home Art Decorator’ To The Queen – And The ‘Human Letter’ – I told the story of Charlotte Robinson, her sister, Epsey McClelland, and her niece, Elspeth McClelland. I have now been alerted to the existence of another of Charlotte’s sisters, Mrs Anne Atherton, who also worked in the art world – as the co-founder of the Society of Artists. In my rummaging around I had come across mention of this ‘Society’, which operated from premises in New Bond Street, London, but had not made the connection to Charlotte Robinson and Epsey McClelland.

Anne Elizabeth Robinson was born in Settle, Yorkshire, in 1849. Known as ‘Annie’, she was the fourth child of Henry Robinson and his wife, Elspet, two years younger than Epsey and nearly ten years older than Charlotte. I can discover nothing of her life before her marriage in 1870 to Francis Henry Atherton. The son of a solicitor, he had been born in Wiltshire in 1840 and was, therefore, about ten years her elder. I presume that until her marriage Anne had lived at home in Yorkshire, but after their marriage the couple disappear. I cannot find them on the 1871 census and have only caught up again with Annie Atherton in 1881 when she was living at 103 Warwick Road, Paddington, with her sister Epsey McClelland, her brother-in-law (John McClelland, an accountant) and a visitor, Kate Thornbury. Epsey and Anne are each described as ‘Artist (Painter)’ and Kate Thornbury is ‘Secretary’. In fact Kate Thornbury was secretary to the Central Committee of the National Society for Women’s Suffrage from 1877-c. April 1881.

I don’t know when the Atherton marriage broke down. From later evidence I know that Francis Atherton was a mining prospector and it may be that he and Anne were living abroad in 1871, hence their absence from the census. But at some point Annie Atherton returned to England (if she had indeed been away) and entered into a close friendship with Kate Thornbury that was to last the rest of their lives.

According to Annie Atherton’s obituary (The Suffragette, 28 November 1913), she and Kate Thornbury had founded the Society of Artists thirty-two years earlier –that is, in 1881 – perhaps around the time that Kate left her position as secretary to the suffrage society. However in 1887 (in a letter published in the Pall Mall Gazette – see below) Kate dated the formation of the Society to 1883 and it would, perhaps, be sensible to accept this as the correct date. The couple took premises for the business at a very good Mayfair address – 53 New Bond Street – and remained there – and then at no. 52  -until 1914. No. 53 is now occupied by Dolce and Gabbana – and, from the look of it, the façade of the building may well be much the same now as it was in the 1880s. In 1886 Kate Thornbury was also working as secretary to the Froebel Society from no. 53.

It is difficult to discover the exact nature of the Society of Artists. It doesn’t appear to have been a Society in the sense of having members, rather it offered premises in which artists could exhibit. All the reports of exhibitions that I can find are of work by women. Moreover the ‘work’ was usually of a ‘craft’ nature, not fine art. It would also appear that the Society of Artists operated, at some level, as a house decorating business, competing in the same field as Annie’s sisters, Charlotte Robinson and Epsey McClelland.

I sense that the relationship between the two establishments, the Society of Artists and that of Charlotte Robinson, was, for a time at least, not entirely harmonious – for the 27 December 1887 issue of the Pall Mall Gazette carries a letter from Kate Thornbury in response to ‘Ladies as Shopkeepers’, the article by Emily Faithfull that had appeared in the previous week’s issue (for more on this article see Suffrage Stories: ‘Home Art Decorator’ To The Queen – And The ‘Human Letter‘). Kate Thornbury expresses her ’great astonishment [that she found in this article] no mention whatever of Miss Robinson’s elder sister Mrs Atherton, who, as Miss Faithfull is well aware, had started a large business under her own superintendence in New Bond Street, London, under the title of the Society of Artists, for the sale of all kinds of artistic work, house decoration &, in the year 1883. Mrs Atherton it was who first braved ‘that bugbear which terrifies most women – the loss of social status’ and the great success which attended (and still attends) her venue induced Miss Robinson twelve months afterwards to open a similar business in Manchester, under the same name. In Miss Faithfull’s zeal for the prestige of the younger sister with whose success she is identified , she has shown a strange forgetfulness of Mrs Atherton’s claim as the originator of the movement which finds such merit in Miss Faithfull’s eyes.’

Armed with the information that Charlotte Robinson’s business in Manchester traded, at least initially, under the name the ‘Society of Artists’, I have now found corroboration in the form of a report (Manchester Courier, 30 March 1886) which, when referring to the fact that Charlotte Robinson was setting up a type-writing office in the city, mentions that she was ‘well known in connection with the Society of Artists’. One would have thought that there must have been some agreement with Annie Atherton and Kate Thornbury that allowed Charlotte to use their business name, but, three years or so later, the letter betrays a distinct note of rancour, aimed perhaps more at Emily Faithfull than at Annie’s younger sister.

Descriptions of the actual work exhibited by the Society of Artists are rather scant. This, from The St James’ Gazette, 7 April 1898, is one of the more forthcoming, describing how poker-work photograph frames ‘in straight bands of vivid colours – red, yellow and green – set amidst the dark poker-work..and beaten pewter and copper frames make much pleasanter Easter gifts than the usual flimsy eccentricities sold for such. The society has also the most delightful green ware to match its green furniture. It’s very pleasant to house one’s frocks, one’s candles, one’s flowers and plants all in the same harmonious tone of green.’ Well, there’s not much to choose between this artless prose and that of today’s house magazines (which, incidentally, I love, while laughing at their writing style). A report of an exhibition organised by the Society of Artists in Aberdeen in 1888 described their wares as ‘decorative novelties’, which seems a fair summary.

I have found only two clear indications that the Society of Artists was involved in house decoration. In its issue of 19 December 1904 the Derby Daily Telegraph mentioned that Elspeth McClelland was, most unusually for a young woman, studying architecture at the Polytechnic in London and that ‘she has occupied a post as a designer at a large firm of decorators, known as the Society of Artists.’ So, any rancour that may have existed between the Robinson sisters in the 1880s had long since been forgotten and in the new century the Society of Artists had welcomed Annie Atherton’s niece, Elspeth, as a member of its team.

The second reference comes nine years later when the Pall Mall Gazette (10 November 1913) reported that ‘a well-known Princess who is fitting up a “lordly pleasure-house” for herself in the neighbourhood of the Bois de Boulogne, has given the internal decoration into the hands of the Society of Artists. The society has an excellent habit of collecting ancient beams and panelling, and the Princess’s Parisian mansion is being transformed into an old English manor-house, after the fashion of Haddon House. In the Princess’s house there are to be great open fireplaces, panelled walls, and an entirely new wooden staircase is being put in.’ The next paragraph refers to the work of a woman architect, Mrs Elspeth Spencer (née McClelland), this juxtaposition making me wonder if she could have been involved with the Parisian project. Annie Atherton had just died and Kate Thornbury was 65 years old – was the younger generation now directing the work of the Society of Artists?

For years Annie and Kate had a London address, 12 Horbury Crescent, Kensington, and for a time had a country cottage at Peaslake in Surrey – the 1891 census found them living there in the quaintly named ‘Jottel [??] Hutte’. Annie Atherton is ‘head of household, Kate is ‘Friend’ and they had a young local girl as a servant.  However by 1901 they had left arts-and-craftsy Peaslake  for a house in Shire Lane, Chorleywood. This house was, rather charmingly, named ‘Chums’, which might speak something of how they saw their relationship. In the 1901 census Anne is given as ‘head of household’ and Kate as ‘joint owner’, while they are both described as ‘artists’.  Their next-door-but- one neighbour on one side was Charles Voysey, who lived until 1906 in ‘The Orchard’, the arts-and-crafts house that he had built in 1899 for his family, while on their other side lived another architect, Charles Simmonds. At the very least Annie and Kate must have known Voysey on a social level but I wonder if their ‘decorative novelties’, while ‘craft’, would have appealed to his spare ‘Arts and Crafts’ sensibility.

In 1911 both Annie and Kate boycotted the census. The Registrar completed their form, recording their relationship as ‘sisters’ and knowing enough to describe Annie’s occupation as ‘Society of Artists’. Across the form is written ‘No Votes No Census. When women become citizens they will fulfill the duties of citizens.’

On the 1881 and 1891 censuses Annie Atherton gives her status as ‘married’ and by 1901 as ‘widowed’. However on her death in 1913 the Probate Register describes her as ‘wife of Frank Atherton’ – and that seems to have been her true status for there is no evidence that she was divorced. In fact Francis Henry Atherton appears on the 1911 census, aged 70, mining prospector, living with his ‘wife’ , Julia, and five of the seven children born to them, at Langhurst Manor, Witley, Surrey. [Incidentally, for more about the house, which Atherton presumably leased from the publisher Edward Arnold who had built it in 1908, see here.] The children, who had all been born in Queensland, Australia, ranged in age from 19 to 10 and Atherton stated on the form that he and Julia had been married for 25 years. In fact this was an untruth twice over. Not only was he, apparently, still married to Annie Atherton, but a marriage ceremony between him and Julia had taken place at St Pauls, Covent Garden as recently as 10 September 1907. It seems inconceivable that Annie Atherton did not know that her husband and his family were living in Surrey and that, as it appears, he had committed bigamy. One can read on-line the oath he swore that there was no legal impediment to this marriage and, incidentally, that his bride, Julia Walford, was a widow. This, again, was another untruth as ‘Walford’ was her maiden name; their Australian-born children were registered with Francis Atherton as their father and Julia Walford as their mother. Perhaps it was felt that back in England propriety demanded that the liaison  should appear more regular. Had he asked Annie Atherton for a divorce and been refused? I wonder if any reader of this post will know the answer.

When Annie died in 1913 the executor of her will was, naturally enough, Kate Thornbury. Kate died in 1920 (incidentally leaving £100 to the National Union of Societies for Equal Citizenship) having appointed Clara Garrett her executor. The latter was the wife of Samuel Garrett, brother of Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, Millicent Fawcett, and Agnes Garrett – and, guess what, I’ve just put two and two together and realised that Clara was Kate’s sister. Of course it’s a small world but I wonder if this overlap between the Robinson and Garrett family circles extended to an overlap in house decorating taste. Could Annie Atherton and Kate Thornbury have initially been inspired by the example set by the firm of R & A Garrett?  Clara Thornbury drew her sister into the Garrett Circle when she married Samuel in 1882. Could conversations with Agnes and Rhoda have given Kate and Annie the idea of launching the Society of Artists a year later? At the very least the two couples must have had many interests in common – suffrage and applied art being the most obvious. Were Annie and Kate entertained at 2 Gower Street by Rhoda and Agnes and, later, by Agnes and Millicent? Were their decorating tastes similar? Did they visit each other’s shops? Buy each other’s wares? Who knows.

It is a pity that for a post concerned with the visual I have no illustrations to use. I know of no likenesses of Annie Atherton or Kate Thornbury, have no images of rooms they decorated, or the goods they sold. Despite the longevity of their business they seem to have left a fainter mark on history than Charlotte Robinson, who had Emily Faithful as her promoter.

I am most grateful to Thamar McIver who is researching suffragettes in Pinner (where Elspeth McClelland lived) and first brought Anne Atherton to my attention. The rest is –  a sort – of history.


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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Kate Frye’s Suffrage Diary: Rousing Rye

Although I am no longer the guardian of Kate’s diaries, I am still able walk in her footsteps. The hottest day of the year earlier this week found me in Rye in Sussex. I was recovering from a short, sharp illness but the overnight visit had been booked ages ago and I really didn’t want to forfeit the outing. However, rather than wafting around Rye as I had envisaged, I managed only to place myself for a brief moment outside the digs in which Kate Frye had stayed in April 1911 and take in the scene before retiring to enjoy a lady-like recline.

Kate had been sent by the New Constitutional Society for Women’s Suffrage to rouse Rye to the Cause. She had booked two rooms in the digs – the other was for one of the NCSWS ‘s founders – and Kate’s ‘sort-of’ friend – Alexandra Wright.

Their landlady was a widow, Mrs Jane Harvey, who lived in the house with her 23-year-old daughter, Lilian, who worked as a clerk.

Like the Rev Llewellyn Smith we were staying at the Mermaid Inn. I doubt it has changed much since Kate escorted him there 105 years ago.  If you have a feel for these things – that time is only a thin layer – you might sense the Rye of Kate Frye merging with that of Mapp and Lucia.

13 Market Street Rye (there is always a car in the foreground of this type of pic nowadays)

13 Market Street Rye (there is always a car in the foreground of this type of pic nowadays)

Wednesday April 19th 1911

Did not stop before Ashford and changed there for Rye. Got a porter to bring up my Trunk and walked to Mrs Harvey, 13 Market St. What will happen to me with such a number?

Real lodgings – but nice and clean and two nice large bed-rooms – much larger than the sitting-rooms. I went out for a few minutes stroll – came in about 7. Unpacked my bag – had supper at 7.30 – then my box and arrived so I went up and unpacked that – then wrote letters & diary till 10 o’clock. Felt rather tired – and very on Tour – the Sunday night feeling in a strange town being intensified by the Church Bells being practised.

[The last comment harks back to Kate’s days as an actress – on tour].

Thursday April 20th 1911

Up in good time to breakfast – wrote a little then out the shops – and then back to fetch Bills, which had been sent in last night – and to start my canvassing. Did all up and down the High St and Mint as a beginning. Didn’t feel very impressed with my work but suppose it is alright. In to lunch at 1 – then at 2.30 out to Playden where I had some addresses and found a lot more. It was a good way so I stuck to that district. No real success – so many people out. In to tea at 5.30.

A little more Bill distributing – then to the station to meet Alexandra, who arrived at 6.30. We walked straight up and a man came up with the box. She unpacked and we chatted. Had dinner at 7.30. Talked till 11 o’clock, then to bed. A lovely day.


Friday April 21st 1911

Breakfast at 8.30 – a little writing then Alexandra and I went out to the shops and bought lunch. She came in to do some writing for the rest of the morning and I went paying calls. Met with some success. Got in the Nonconformist set and kept on till 1 o’clock. Alexandra went out again from 2.30 till 3.30 – then came back and a Miss Harris, Winchelsea, and Miss Spalding, the nurse, here came to tea. Out at 5.30 till 7 again – more calls. A lot of people out but we got hold of the Vicar who promised to come. It was very windy all day and rather cold but the view was nice.

[Miss Margaret Spalding was the district nurse, who lived at Church Cottage. She joined the NCSWS.]

Saturday April 22nd 1911

A glorious day – really beautiful. Breakfast 8.30. Some writing – then I went out. Did the marketing – some canvassing – set Alexandra’s feet in the right direction for Playden and continued my canvassing unto past 1.

Came in very tired. Alexandra did not get in till past 1.30. At 3.30, having changed, we went out on business to station & Hotel etc – then tea at a Mrs Clements and her two daughters at 4.30. 4 other ladies were there to meet us. It was rather appalling – but I think I was given a gift. More calls after shopping. Tea at 7. Supper. Talk & writing.

[Mrs Elizabeth Clements, 56 year old widow of a leading Rye estate agent and valuer . One daughter, Katherine (Kitty), was a teacher of music. They lived at 6 High Street.]

Monday April 24th 1911

Alexandra had some writing to do – so I did the shopping and then more calls all the morning about town. After lunch, to Playden more calls, more success, and one fearful & furious Anti. It was a lovely day. A few more calls after tea with Alexandra and bearded one very notorious lady but found her quite nice. Then to tidy ourselves and to have our supper. More letters afterwards. Met and had a long chat with Miss Spalding

Tuesday April 25th 1911

Another nice day. To the shops in the morning and then canvassing again. But we are getting to the end of our list, and I really had to slack in a bit. I began to feel very tired – yesterday I was at it all day long. So after lunch I did not go out but had all the Literature to see to.

In the evening Alexandra and I went out together. A few successful calls – especially good with the school master. I think Alexandra converted him. Both awfully tired but in to change to go and have supper with Miss Spalding. There was another lady there. We talked all ‘Suffrage’ and came away at 10 – a little warm over our fire and then to bed.

Wednesday April 26th 1911

Alexandra was very nervous all the evening as to the result of the meeting but I felt sure it would be alright. Showers in the morning but the day was fine. Alexandra & I went out, bought dinner, paid Bills etc and did some jobs. After lunch Alexandra lay down on her bed and went to sleep and I did some of my packing up etc.

To the Hall at 4 o’clock to get it settled to our taste – a long job – to put out Literature etc. Back at 5.30. Miss Ogston had arrived and we began on the arrangements. She had had some tea – so we had ours – an egg. Then to change – leaving Miss Ogston to have some dinner at 7. Alexandra and I went to meet the Rev Llewellyn-Smith at 6.30 and take him to the Mermaid Inn. A chubby, cheerful young clergyman who seemed quite ridiculous when he spoke, as he constantly did, of ‘my wife’.

Leaving him to dine, we went on to the hall soon after 7. A Mrs Harrison and a Miss Mac Munn had arrived from Hastings so Alexandra took them back to Market St to have a rest – while I waited. [I] received the Stewards – two Miss Harrisons of Winchelsea, Miss Spalding and Miss Clements. They sold Literature and the Misses Harrison and I took the collection – £1-3-7. Lady Brassey took the Chair and her daughter came with her in a lovely car – they had to drive 50 miles so it was awfully decent of her, but she is very keen. A Lieut Col A Savile came to assist Lady Brassey take the Chair and spoke after her. Then Miss Ogston – then Mr Smith.

I didn’t hear the speeches as I was outside with the boys – then in amongst some rather troublesome youths. But nothing happened and we had an excellent meeting – quite full and overflowing. The Vicar came, bringing Miss Proctor, who had vowed she would not come. I was very glad when it was over. Every one congratulated us and seemed to think it was a record for Rye. Miss Ogston went off with the Harrisons of Winchelsea. Mr Smith and Miss Spalding walked up with us – then went on to their respective houses. Alexandra and I had an egg each and some bread & butter. Then I went through the Literature and collection and we did accounts til midnight. Then to bed.

[Mrs Darent Harrison and Miss Lettice MacMunn were both member of the committee of the Hastings and St Leonard’sW.S. Propaganda League.]


Thursday April 27th 1911

We woke to a pouring wet day and it kept on till after 12. The Rev Mr Smith appeared before breakfast was over – buoyant as ever. Then Miss Spalding came in and we all talked. She did not wait long, but he did not go till 11.30 or after and then we had to drive him forth. I went out about 10.30 to buy the dinner after I had packed up the Literature Box, and then we sat talking. Alexandra and I at last got upstairs to finish our packing – and left our boxes to come by Advance Luggage. Had lunch at 12. Then to the station for the 12.55 train – after parting with Mrs Harvey, our most kind and moderate landlady.

Kate was sent back to Rye later in the year but unfortunately Mrs Harvey’s digs were unavailable and the new ones not nearly so agreeable. Amongst all the other details of this second visit, she did record one incident in Market Street – outside the Guildhall. The ‘hot penny’ ceremony is associated with that of the election of the new mayor – and is still carried out today.

Rye Guildhall, Market Street

Rye Guildhall, Market Street

Thursday November 9th 1911

Did my shopping and met Miss White. We were just against the Guildhall and saw the Mayor & Corporation come forth. It was so funny. I laughed till I cried – such frock coats and top hats on such heads. Then we watched the ancient custom of throwing pennies from the Hotel Balcony to the crowds below – such a scramble as good many got hard bumped. A good many pounds must have been thrown away like that – some of the coppers were thrown out hot on a shovel. Then out 3 till 5.30 to Playden. Met two very violent ladies – one good Christian woman, entertaining a working party for the Church, pushed me out.

'Campaigning for the Vote' - Front and back cover of wrappers

‘Campaigning for the Vote’ – Front and back cover of wrappers

For more about Kate Frye’s suffrage campaigning see here

cover e-bookFor more about Kate Frye’s life story see here


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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Suffrage Stories: Fawcett Society Wreath-Laying Service for Millicent Garrett Fawcett, St George’s Chapel, Westminster Abbey, 2 July 2016

Each year on 2 July the Fawcett Society holds a short service and lays a red, white, and green wreath in remembrance of Millicent Fawcett in St George’s Chapel, Westminster Abbey.

For it is in this small chapel, which now also holds the Coronation Chair, that the joint memorial to Henry and Millicent Fawcett is sited.

It was originally erected in 1887 in memory of Henry Fawcett, who had died in 1884, and was the work of the sculptor Alfred Gilbert. Ironically Gilbert’s daughter, Caprina Fahey, was later a very active member of the Women’s Social and Political Union, rather than of Mrs Fawcett’s National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies. For after Millicent Fawcett’s death a commemoration of her life and work was in 1932 added to her husband’s memorial – in the shape of two roundels, one of which contains the insignia of the NUWSS.

Fawcett Memorial in St George's Chapel, Westminster Abbey

Fawcett Memorial in St George’s Chapel, Westminster Abbey

This year I was honoured to have been asked to speak a few words about Millicent Fawcett during the Service – and below is the text of my address.


I imagine I’ve been asked to give the address today because over the last 20 years I’ve researched and written about the various enterprises and campaigns that Millicent Fawcett – and her immediate circle – conducted through the second half of the 19th century and the first two decades of the 20th. But I first made direct physical contact – as it were – with Millicent Fawcett some years before I began my research –back  in the mid-1980s – when, as a book dealer – because I sell books about women as well as write them, I braved the closing-down sale of a Bloomsbury bookshop. I say ‘braved’ because it was owned by an elderly irascible gentlemen who barked at any potential customer ‘what do you want’? Well the joy of such bookshops is that you don’t know what you want until you find it – so after one such encounter I’d never been back. But closing down was different and customers were given the run of the shop.

Down in the cellar I found the floor covered with a heap of books – splayed open, piled on top of each other – and – serendipity – when I picked out one I found it to be a short popular biography of Henry Fawcett –not, actually, very interesting in itself – but – and my heart leapt – with Millicent Fawcett’s bookplate pasted inside the front cover. I believe this book had lain in the bookshop ever since Philippa Fawcett finally gave up the family home at 2 Gower Street to move to a more manageable flat just before the Second World War. It is only too likely that books surplus to her requirements had been sent to this nearby bookseller. There seemed a very thin veil separating me from the past when I held that book in my hand.

MGF bookplate

So this bookplate is the first of four images I want to recreate for you this evening. It probably dates from the 1880s – it has very much the flavour of the Aesthetic movement. Millicent’s full name – Millicent Garrett Fawcett – takes centre place. To the right is a woman in a loose fitting gown, with bare feet, head turned towards the rising sun. To the left rises a lily, so much of its period, and beneath the name are scattered books and an inkwell and quill pen. The caption is ‘Truth is the Light’.

‘Light’ – the image of the rising sun, of hope, of the New Dawn – was one that permeated all the campaigns for women’s rights – not just for the vote – but for emancipation in all spheres of life. ‘Truth’ was the leitmotif running through Millicent Fawcett’s life. In an article her cousin Edmund Garrett, a boy she had helped bring up after the early death of his parents, wrote: ‘More even than by her writings or her speeches, she has helped the cause by her influence, her tone, her personality. The impression which she has made upon public men who have come in contact with her has been, perhaps, her most valuable service to it. The one thing that she cannot be doing with is doubleness. Anything the least ‘shady’ in quite small matters of money or of conduct damns a man at once.’ Edmund Garrett goes on to mention the Ibsen-esque quality of Millicent’s novel Janet Doncaster which, as well as giving a delightful portrait of a thinly-disguised Aldeburgh, does, I think, reveal more of her character than she disclosed in her autobiography. It is well worth a read.

So – Millicent Fawcett was guided by her principles. These at times, especially in attempts to effect an equal moral standard between men and women, could put her at odds with other campaigners, even members of her family. For instance, she and her sister Elizabeth held opposite views as to whether the Contagious Diseases Acts should be repealed – Millicent for and Elizabeth against.

Millicent Fawcett - woman of principle

Millicent Fawcett – woman of principle

But strong principles – an adherence to Truth –and being true to oneself – don’t necessarily make for any easy life. My second image recreates a scene that is not one you’ll find in either Millicent’s autobiography or in Ray Strachey’s fond biography – it is very trivial, but I think, revealing. One summer afternoon Millicent was taking tea in Lady Maude Parry’s garden in Rustington in Sussex. Lady Maude was the wife of Hubert Parry, whose music has, of course, echoed so often within this Abbey –and it was Hubert, rather than his wife, who was a close friend of Agnes Garrett and Millicent Fawcett. Indeed he’d built a house in Rustington to be close to one that Agnes Garrett had rented there for years.

Anyway, as they were taking tea Lady Maude was stung by a wasp and that evening confided to her diary that Millicent hadn’t been very sympathetic – penning the immortal phrase ‘There’s something hard about the Garretts’. Perhaps I’m perverse but I like that comment. I think it is true – the Garretts were hard – in that they had enjoyed a robust upbringing – encouraged to think for themselves and be self-reliant – Lady Maude was very much more conventional – and although Lady Maude may have meant the comment pejoratively – we shouldn’t take it as such.  In her biography Ray Strachey felt compelled to dispute the notion that Millicent was ‘compounded only of “thrift, industry and self-control without any of the gentler virtues”’, stressing that it was Millicent’s great ability for practical friendship that made her such a popular and effective leader. She didn’t wear her heart on her sleeve, she didn’t waste time on emoting; she did things. I’m sure Millicent would have ensured that Maude was treated with a blue bag or whatever was the current remedy for a wasp sting, but wouldn’t have seen it as an occasion for high drama. As Edmund Garrettt wrote ‘She is, above everything, ‘sensible’. She never stickles for unessentials’.  The success of a principled, disciplined woman such as Millicent Fawcett was due to her ability to focus on what was important, dismissing the setbacks – the wasp stings –that punctuated all the various campaigns with which she was associated during a career of over 60 years.

Millicent Fawcett - NUWSS president

Millicent Fawcett – NUWSS president

Above all Millicent Fawcett was – in her conduct of the constitutional suffrage campaign – calm and diplomatic. As Ray Strachey wrote, ‘Her task was to provide convenient ladders down which opponents might climb, and to help them to save their faces while they changed their minds.’ It was this skill that finally allowed women over 30 to be given the vote in 1918. Although Millicent Fawcett recognised that this age discrimination was quite logically indefensible she knew that once they’d won this measure – full equality would follow. By letting anti-suffrage MPs appear to have retained some control, she had at last manoeuvred women onto the electoral register. As she said, ‘We should greatly prefer an imperfect scheme that can pass, to the most perfect scheme in the world that could not pass.

The third image takes us into Millicent’s home, 2 Gower Street. From standing in that Bloomsbury bookshop basement, holding a book that had once been on a shelf in the house, fast forward about 30 years to 2014 when I spent some happy hours with a colleague inside the house as we tried to work out how it was used when Millicent, her daughter Philippa, and her sister Agnes lived there. Agnes and her cousin Rhoda had taken on the lease in 1875 –running their pioneering interior design business from the house –Rhoda had died in 1882 and Millicent and Philippa had moved there after the death of Henry Fawcett in 1884. So Garretts had lived in 2 Gower Street for roughly 65 years. We know that Millicent conducted her campaigns from the first floor drawing room – which runs across the front overlooking Gower Street – sitting under a lovely ceiling, painted by Rhoda and Agnes – pale green, pink and yellow prettiness – featuring hummingbirds and swags and flowers, with portraits of four great artists in the corners. Do look up and give her a thought if you go past. The National Portrait Gallery holds a photograph of Millicent (see here) working at her desk in that room in 1910.

The desk, a tall bureau, is tucked into the alcove to the side of the fireplace and Millicent is sitting there working through a pile of letters, looking up for a moment to turn to the photographer. This domestic scene was the power house that fuelled the 20th-century constitutional suffrage campaign. In addition – from that desk Millicent Fawcett involved herself in a wide range of disparate, though interconnected campaigns – for instance, the international women’s suffrage campaign, the campaigns for opening up university education to women, for raising the age of consent, for opening up horticulture as an employment for women, for criminalising incest, for providing homes for middle-class working women,  and even for offering a new German ‘open-air treatment’ to men and women suffering from TB. This last was prompted by the fate of her cousin Edmund who had contracted the disease – but rather than wringing her hands Millicent, with her friend Dr Jane Walker, just went ahead and built a sanatorium in Suffolk where the new treatment might be carried out.

A corner of the former East Anglian Sanatorium

A corner of the former East Anglian Sanatorium

Sitting at that desk Millicent is neat in a tailored costume, but my last image is of her standing in the St John’s Wood studio of a very well-known photographer – Lena Connell – dressed for a more formal portrait. She is posing, but, as ever, conveys an air of subtle reticence. I think we can be pretty certain she didn’t make her appointment with Lena Connell because she wanted more photographs for her own album – but, rather, was prepared to endure the process for the sake of the Cause. For, thanks to a lucky discovery a few weeks ago – in a locked drawer in a Fawcett Society desk – we are now able to deconstruct that photograph and realise that she is presenting herself as the president of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies.

MGF wearing pendantFor on her breast she is wearing a beautiful pendant given to her by the NUWSS in 1913. Presumably after Millicent’s death Philippa Fawcett had returned the pendant to the London Society for Women’s Service, the precursor of the Fawcett Society, and as time went by its existence and meaning had been forgotten.  But that photograph speaks to us now – for engraved on the reverse of the pendant are the words that sum up the values that her co-workers appreciated in Millicent Fawcett  – ‘Steadfastness and Courage’.

Brooch presented by the NUWSS to Millicent Fawcett in 1913 (image courtesy of the Fawcett Society)

Pendant presented by the NUWSS to Millicent Fawcett in 1913 (image courtesy of the Fawcett Society)


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.


Kate Frye’s Diary: Christmas 1897 – A True Victorian Christmas

By the summer of 1897 alterations had been made to The Plat, the house leased by Frederick Frye on the banks of the river Thames at Bourne End. It was substantially expanded, acquiring two circular-roofed turrets which housed additional reception and bed rooms. Now, for the first time, the family – Frederick, his wife, Kezia, and their daughters, Agnes and Kate  – were to spend Christmas there. In past years they had come down from London to stay for Christmas at the much grander home of Aunt Agnes Gilbey at Wooburn – a short distance from Bourne End. On these occasions Kate Frye had moaned in her diary about the boredom she had endured but now, in 1897, she was at last able to enjoy a Christmas untrammelled by another family’s conventions.

Frye's xmas card 1897 inside

The transformation of ‘The Plat’ – the star of the Fryes’ 1897 Christmas card

Frye's xmas card 1897 outside


Kate Frye photographed in 1896

Kate Frye photographed in 1896

From Kate Frye’s diary

Wednesday December 22nd 1897

I have bought Mother a jolly purse and today I have bought Agnes a silver thimble in a case – a thing she very much wants. Daddie a splendid pocket book – a real beauty and a pair of braces. The servants – Cook a purse – Emily a writing case – Alice a work case and Lotty Grey, the new microbe [such was the epithet Kate used at this time for the ‘tweenie’ maid] a silk neck handkerchief.  Mother has  bought Agnes a gilt chain purse by special request and me by desire a travelling case holding boot cleaning appliances, brown and white cream and brushes and leather. [We have bought] 10 shillings’ worth of toys from Aunt Anne’s [charity] bazaar for our Tree – a fairy for the top – glass balls amd birds – drums – trumpets and penny toys of all kinds and many more little things. Small hampers and drums filled with cottons, needles etc for the Servants as extras.

Thursday December 23rd 1897

Directly after lunch Agnes and I started on the Christmas Tree. It is such a beauty and touches the Drawing Room ceiling. We did up part of the presents – the principal ones in coloured papers. Just as we were in the midst of it Constance and Katie [daughters of Aunt Agnes Gilbey] arrived down – we just let them peep in the room which was in a fine muddle. .. Aunt Agnes’ presents arrived in the evening – a huge lampshade for Mother and two pairs of silk stockings each for Agnes and I – such beauties – couldn’t have chosen anything nicer. We were obliged to look at them – then wrapped them up for the Tree. We allowed Mother in the room but she didn’t assist but Daddie we couldn’t allow in much to his annoyance really. The Tree looks lovely – it ought to be a huge success. I have never seen one look nicer and it is simply crammed with things.

Friday December 24th 1897

Christmas Eve

It was a beautiful morning though still most bitterly cold – ever so many degrees of frost – and we went out – the three of us – to try to get warm – the house is icy. It was very foggy early but the sun broke through and it was lovely..Then went up to Cores End for Mother to go and see old Mrs Nicholls and leave her Christmas present. Directly after lunch the three of us started decorating till four o’clock. Pratt [the gardener] cut up the Holly and we put it and lots of mistletoe up everywhere – except Daddie’s room – he is most disagreeable just now.  Our turkeys haven’t arrived – they were to come from Leverett and Fryes at Finchley with lots of other foods. [Leverett and Frye was Frederick Frye’s grocery firm.]

[The Fryes’ rather glamorous friends, Norman and Stella Richardson, arrived from London to stay for the festivities.] Norman has brought us two lovely boxes of Fuller’s sweets and also presented his and Stella’s Christmas present to us in the evening. His is a silver backed manicure rubber each to Agnes and I and Stella’s a work bag made by herself each – such nice ones. Of course we won’t let them see the Tree – they are very funny over it and pretend to be very curious. We were all very jolly in the evening except Daddie.

Saturday December 25th 1897

Christmas Day

Agnes and I were called at a quarter to seven and got up and went to early service at St Mark’s Church. There were not many people. It was bitterly cold and very foggy. We didn’t have breakfast till about 9.30 as Mother and Daddie were late. Norman was down before we got in and Emi soon after but Stella of course had her breakfast in bed and had a fire to get up by. Mother, Emi and I walked to Wooburn Church for morning service – Agnes would hve liked to go with us but went for a walk to Maidenhead with Stella and Norman  – they were to see Mrs Quare and came back to lunch in a fly.

We met Katie just as we were going in Church so she made us go up to Aunt Agnes’ pew as only she, Aunt Agnes and Constance came to Church. I did enjoy the service – it was so bright and I think the Vicar is so nice. It was quite like old times and I felt we must be staying with them  – especially as we walked up the hill with them after Church. It was simply lovely up there – no fog and perfect sunshine – quite thawing the frost on the treees it was so hot. We saw Southard and Gilbert [Gilbey] who has not been at all well – then Aunt Anne [a sister of Agnes Gilbey and Kezia Frye, Kate’s mother] came in – we had already met her on her way to Chapple [sic]. Then after a chat and inspection of everyone’s presents we came away home. Met Mrs Southard & Henry and Lola and her maid walking up the Hill. They had just got back from Marlow where they drive to church.

We had a quiet afternoon round the fire in the Morning Room – can’t let anyone in the Drawing Room as the Tree is there. I slipped off after tea to finish it all off. We have got up fair fun and excitement over it – and made them all curious. We were all very merry at dinner – except Daddie who is still seedy – although we had no Turkey. Had a pair of our own fowls killed as they have not arrived – I don’t like Christmas dinner without Turkeys – but we had the Pudding, mince pies and crackers alright. Then came the Christmas Tree which was a huge success and we all went quite mad.

The Drawing Room at the Plat. I wonder where the Christmas Tree stood in 1897?

The Drawing Room at the Plat. I wonder where the Christmas Tree stood in 1897?

We had the servants in at the beginning and gave them their presents – Pratt has had a splendid knife off it. We played all the musical instruments and with all the toys. Then after we had carted our things away we went in the Morning Room again in the warm. Daddie went to his room and went early to bed – he has given the servants each a present of money. We had snap dragon later on but I got most fearfully tired and was glad to go to bed. We all went off about 11.30.

The Plat - the cosy Morning Room

The Plat – the cosy Morning Room

Sunday December 26th 1897

We sat in the Morning Room round the fire – the Drawing Room is such a cold room and looks so miserable with the huge Christmas Tree stripped of all its glory. After tea Norman read ‘Alice In Wonderland’ aloud nearly  through to us and we sat round and roared – it is a lovely book I think – most awfully clever.


With this depiction of a true Victorian Christmas I wish my readers – in the words of the Fryes –


‘Hearty Christmas Greeting

and Best Wishes

For a Happy & Prosperous New Year’



cover e-book

For the whole story of Kate’s life – as told in her diary – download this e-book  from iTunes – or from Amazon. It would make a good read over the Christmas period.

Kate Frye cover

Kate Frye’s work as a suffrage campaigner in later years is fully covered in Campaigning for the Vote: Kate Parry Frye’s suffrage diary. – for full details see here.



All the articles on Woman and Her Sphere 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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Suffrage Stories: ‘Shooting Suffrage’: Films That Suffrage Activists Would Have Seen

This post is based on a talk I gave – under the title ‘Shooting Suffrage’-  at the Women’s Library on 13 October 2005 – the hundredth anniversary of the first militant act carried out by suffragettes. Now that suffragettes are once more on the big screen – with the general release this week of ‘Suffragette’ – I thought it might be timely to reprise my research on the films that suffrage activists themselves would have seen.

Suffragette Film Poster 2

‘It is 100 years to the day since Christabel Pankhurst and Annie Kenney heckled Sir Edward Grey in the Free Trade Hall in Manchester and were arrested and sentenced to a week’s imprisonment. It is remarkably appropriate that this new stage in the suffrage campaign– a campaign that had already been running for nearly 40 years – should be commemorated by a discussion of the part played by film in its development. We shall see how the new methods that the WSPU brought to the campaign were peculiarly suited to the camera – both moving and still.

We can divide films associated with the suffrage campaign into two types -newsreel/actuality films and feature films. I’ll begin by looking at the actuality films and by way of introduction let’s look at the earliest surviving suffrage newsreel film. It was shot in Newcastle, on the occasion of a visit to the city by Lloyd George on 8 October 1909, a year that saw the beginning of a cinema boom. By the end of the year Britain had between 600 and 1000 cinemas; by 1914 the number was closer to 4500. The newsreel, of which this film would have been one item amongst several, formed part of the cinema programme – usually a prelude to the feature film. Newsreels showed for 3 or 4 days at each cinema and each reel would then circulate for several weeks. ‘News’ was, thus, not hot news – for that there were newspapers. And newsreel was limited to the peculiarity of the medium. It could never be just a filmed version of a newspaper story; it had to have its own filmically interesting subject.

You can view many- but by no means all – of the incidents – from the suffragette campaign here – as presented by Pathé in a compilation. Alas, the company did not attempt to put their films in chronological order – a test for all of you interested in the suffragette campaign. To help you out, when I’ve used them in this piece I’ve given a rough timing on the video as reference. But for most of the films I have linked in to the BFIPlayer which allows us to view a wide range of ‘suffrage silents’.

Obviously the ability to show movement was the most significant advantage that the cinematograph had over the still photograph – thus parades were made for newsreel – encapsulating news, spectacle and movement.

In the  Newcastle film we can see that the procession includes not only women who supported the militant WSPU, seen wearing their ‘Votes for Women’ sashes, – even one man is prepared to proclaim his support –  but also many members of the NUWSS societies –who are carrying banners from, for instance, Darlington, Gateshead and Tyneside.. This is a visual record of the fact that at this stage of the campaign both suffragettes and suffragists were prepared to make common cause in their peaceful demonstrations.

This film was produced by the Warwick Trading Company, which had been founded at the very end of the 19th century by Charles Urban, an American who came to England and concentrated on making reality films. The company’s offices were in Warwick Court, Chancery Lane (close to the WSPU offices in Clements Inn) and its cameramen travelled all around the country.

Two years before the shooting of the Newcastle film Charles Urban had produced his manifesto, The Cinematograph in Science, Education, and Matters of State. In this he wrote of the importance of cinematograph film in the study of history, noting that ‘affairs of state, royal movements, naval and military demonstrations .. are all depicted as they are actually seen by the accurate and truthful eye of the camera, and the day has arrived when motion pictures of current events should be treasured as vital documents among the historical archives of our museums. Animated pictures of almost daily happenings, which possess no more than a passing interest now, will rank as matters of national importance to future students, and it behoves our public authorities.. to see that the institutions under their control become possessed of these important moving records of present events. Books, pamphlets, prints, and the like, are perforce kept for reference, but films depicting important movements with a detail verbally impossible are lost to the nation for want of a little forethought.’

Unfortunately for us, Charles Urban’s plea was not heeded and only a handful of the actuality films that were made of the suffrage campaign have survived – but I have included links to many of them in this post.

I am sure that the Newcastle demonstration was not the first suffrage event to be filmed. For instance the previous year – on 18 June 1908 – a representative of the Graphic Cinematographic Company of 154 Charing Cross Road wrote to Minnie Baldock, one of the London-based WSPU speakers, confirming arrangements to ‘cinematograph’ her meeting to be held the next day during the dinner hour outside Waterlows factory in Shoreditch.  Doubtless many more such informal scenes were filmed but, not being dramatic set pieces, have failed to survive.

The fact that the WSPU’s early organised militancy was made for the moving camera has clearly occurred to at least one pot-boiling novelist. John Jakes has a set piece at the beginning of his 1998 novel, American Dreams, in which one of his main characters, a US film cameraman working in London in early 1907, is one of three cinematographers filming a deputation led by Mrs Pankhurst to the Houses of Parliament. He describes how the cameraman sighted his camera and then cranked it ‘with a practiced, steady rhythm, one, two, three; one, two, three’ as Mrs Pankhurst ‘bore down on a cordon of policemen blocking the doors’.

In the period before the 1909 cinema boom it is likely that, rather than being intended for showing in picture palaces,  such early films as that of Mrs Baldock’s meeting, were used by the WSPU for propaganda purposes.  The WSPU was quick to adopt such new means of communication, for instance we know that in 1908 it projected cinematographic advertisements onto sheets displayed in its shop windows, inviting people to demonstrations and showing short scenes from the suffrage campaign. Later newsreels, such as those made by Pathé, were, of course, shown in public. They were seen not only by the casual cinema-goer, but by suffrage campaigners around the country, who could take the viewing as another opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to the cause.

For instance, on 29 March 1914 Dr Alice Ker, a leading member of the Liverpool WSPU, recorded in her diary that she went with some other WSPU activists ‘to the Picture House to see Sylvia Pankhurst leading East End women to Westminster Abbey’. This was a film of a demonstration that had taken place on 22 March – ‘Mothering Sunday’ – an event that Sylvia Pankhurst later recorded was ‘greatly minimized by the press’. Thus, although we now have no record of it, we know that the film cameras were there. It is unlikely that Dr Ker went often to the Picture Palace – cinema-going still had infradig associations – a hangover from its early gestation in the fairground and music hall.

In the 19th century the suffrage campaign could not rely on such powerful visual images – either moving or still. The only contemporary memento of what we take as the starting point of the campaign – the presentation, in 1866, of the first petition to Parliament calling for the enfranchisement of women on the same terms as men – is a printed version of the petition itself.

Although the women taking part in this early stage of the campaign were merely ciphers – signers of petitions – it took only two years for women to emerge from the privacy of their homes onto the public platform. Once in the public domain it was possible for their images on occasion to be captured in line engravings by the illustrators working for the national press. However, for most of the 19th century, the campaign was depicted in words rather than by pictures. This paucity of visual image has resulted in a lack of public awareness of the existence of this early part of the campaign – both then and now.  We do, of course, have images of some the leading 19th -century campaigners – but these tend to be posed studio portraits unconnected to the promotion of the campaign itself.  Perhaps the surviving type of image that comes closest to indicating an involvement in public affairs is the caricature.

Cartoon (courtesy of Manchester Archives + Partnership Blov)

Cartoon (courtesy of Manchester Archives + Partnership Blov)

Here is Lydia Becker, the campaign’s prime mover for much of the 19th century, with Jacob Bright, the campaign’s most supportive MP. Similarly, none of the events staged by the 19th-century campaigners were recorded in photographs – and they did hold hundreds and hundreds of very large public meetings throughout the country .

Besides the millions of words contained in newspaper reports, the only images left to us from this period are the occasional printed survival –such as this –

Rhoda Garrett speaking at a suffrage meeting at the Hanover Rooms, London, 1870

Rhoda Garrett speaking at a suffrage meeting at the Hanover Rooms, London, 1870 – an illustration from The Graphic

However, after the turn of the century, as photography became to be used to illustrate such new popular papers as The Daily Mirror – which, coincidentally, was launched in November 1903, a mere three weeks after the founding of the WSPU – so the suffrage movement adapted in order to present itself in such a way that its message would reach the public – and parliament – by means of these pictures.

Feb 1906 Procession A newspaper photographer from the Daily Mirror was  first called out to record a suffrage demonstration in February 1906, on the occasion of the first WSPU march to Caxton Hall. And in the following months the Daily Mirror was there to record suffragettes, such as Dora Montefiore and Teresa Billington, doorstepping.the prime minister at 10 Downing Street and Asquith at his house in Cavendish Square. From then on we have a full record of the suffrage street theatre – the publicity- conscious processions and parades – that in the years before the First World War was performed not only in London but throughout the country. In the years between 1906 and 1914 hundreds of photographic images deriving from the women’s suffrage movement were published on postcards, outnumbering those relating to any other contemporary campaign.

How the law protects The history of this political campaign can also be viewed as a history of how women presented themselves – and were represented. The idealization of woman as an agent of social reform, in particular her responsibility for the welfare of children, runs as a theme throughout the campaign.

in the shadowIn 1906 the plight of women such as these – the so-called ‘Sweated Workers’, women working from home for a pittance, making matchboxes or sewing shirts, was, thanks to an exhibition sponsored by a newspaper, at the forefront of the nation’s consciousness at the time when the cry ‘votes for women’ really made itself heard in the nation’s capital. And middle-class suffrage campaigners explained that if they received the vote on the same terms as men they would use it to protect their disadvantaged sisters.

However with the beginning of WSPU militancy women were also to be seen as they had never been seen before.

WSL card published from 18 Buckingham Street

This was an image so contrary to what was to be expected of a well-brought up middle-class girl that it necessarily had a startling effect.

The women engaged in the suffrage campaign were not only aware of the necessity of themselves creating images that would influence their contemporaries, they also understood that images drawn from the past could shape perceptions of woman’s position in society and in political life. In 1910 Bertha Mason, a member of the executive committee of the NUWSS, converted into lantern slides numerous images of women from history and of the suffrage pioneers, adding others of ‘the present day workers’ and ‘election incidents’ to illustrate a ‘limelight lecture’ that she delivered to suffrage societies around the country.

WSPU lecturers, such as Rose Lamartine Yates and Florence Haig, also used photographs as the basis of their very popular lantern lectures. In a similar fashion, for display at their grand 1909 Knightsbridge Bazaar, members of the WSPU put together a ‘Photographic Exhibit’, depicting a history of the suffrage movement as seen through the eyes of press photographers.

The WSPU campaign moved to London in early 1906 and Christabel and Emmeline Pankhurst were joined by Emmeline and Frederick Pethick-Lawrence, wealthy philanthropists who proved adept at all aspects of propaganda. It is Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence who is credited with organizing the extremely successful demonstration held by the WSPU in Hyde Park on 21 June 1908. Both the WSPU and the NUWSS had previously marched through London, but it was only on this occasion that co-ordinated spectacle really made its mark and that the colours purple, white and green became synonymous with the WSPU.

The Artists’ Suffrage League, under the direction of Mary Lowndes, produced for this occasion many of the banners that were to be such a strong feature of suffrage processions. Banners were made to laud eminent women of the arts, science and the feminist pioneers – showing what women could achieve and to advertise the contemporary suffrage societies.

In June 1910 another in the long succession of bills to enfranchise women was introduced into parliament. Prepared by a committee representing all parties, it became known as the Conciliation Bill. The WSPU was rather optimistic that the end of the struggle might be in sight and suspended hostilities. For by this time the militant campaign had escalated dramatically and hundreds of women had already been imprisoned, many going on hunger strike and being forcibly fed. On 18 June 1910, in co-operation with the Women’s Freedom League, the WSPU staged a major demonstration in support of the bill. You can watch elements of the procession here.

Of the occasion Annie Kenney wrote: ‘The procession was six miles long and took three hours to pass a given point. We had every imprisonment represented. Hundreds of ex-prisoners in prison dress carried broad arrows mounted on sticks covered with silver paper. Representatives came from all over the world, the saying in other countries being: “once British women have won, we also shall win.” We had almost a thousand women graduates. Women graduates always, I noticed, awed the public. A woman in cap and gown roused great admiration. Forty bands played triumphant music. Banners made the procession gay and bright..’

Amongst the women marching in cap and gown near the head of the graduates’ procession look out for one of the pioneers of the suffrage movement – Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, now elderly, wearing a bonnet and carrying a stick. Also in the film look out for Mrs Pankhurst’s banner, carrying the date of the founding of the WSPU, 1903, and the ‘Prison to Citizenship’ banner, designed by Laurence Housman. Among other banners is that of the Wimbledon WSPU.

The leading section of the procession consisted of the WSPU fife and drum band, led by Mary Leigh. It had been formed the previous year.

As Annie described, we could see at the centre of the procession the contingent of 617 women, looking very dignified, dressed in white and carrying the long silver staves tipped with the broad arrow, representing all those who had been imprisoned.  Imprisonment in the suffrage cause was now rewarded by the presentation of brooches and badges – in the film one of the prisoners who passes close to the camera can be seen wearing her hunger strike medal. Imprisonment and the hunger strike had become symbolic of the martyrdom women were prepared to endure in the pursuit of their goal. The film shows that many of the marchers carried flowers; and the Daily Express noted that ‘the air was fragrant with the scent of iris and lily’

You can see that this spectacle was intended to present women as dignified martyrs. The final shots, filmed in a side street, are more feisty – showing Flora Drummond, who, as Votes for Women recorded was in ‘supreme command’, posing for the camera, together with an inseparable pair of horsewomen, Evelina Haverfield and Vera Holme, who had acted as marshals.

graduates and lunaticsAs Annie Kenney noted, the image of the woman as university graduate was one that was treasured by the suffrage societies, representing as it did the intellectual and – in a way – the moral heights that women could reach while still being unrepresented in parliament. The lot of the ‘sweet girl graduate’ was commonly contrasted with that of the convict or the ‘lunatic’, who suffered a similar disenfranchisement. One postcard issued by a suffrage society made the point that while such noble women as nurses, mayors, doctors and teachers didn’t have the vote, men, even if they were drunkards or physically unfit to serve their country – or even if they had in the past been convicted or classified as lunatics – could be directly represented in parliament.

Stressing its interest in using constitutional methods to achieve suffrage for women, the NUWSS was keen to influence the male electorate to join them in lobbying parliament. For a NUWSS demonstration held in Trafalgar Square on 9 July 1910, headquarters requested that banners should be made carrying the number of local electors who at the January 1910 general election had signed a petition organised by the NUWSS. Watch the demonstration here.


Men of Dundee In this short film we can glimpse the wording of these banners – such as that shown here to the camera by the women of the Dundee NUWSS.  Pathé  labels the film ‘Mass Meeting of Suffragettes’ – although this meeting was that of the suffragists. At the time the popular usage of the names was interchangeable. However, I do think the BBC TV programme ‘Suffragettes Forever’, which concentrated on the militant campaign, should not have included this clip, pretending it was the work of the WSPU rather than the NUWSS. Could it be that the makers of the TV series didn’t recognise the difference? Yet again the NUWSS campaign is eclipsed even when it has staged a popular demonstration – and has taken the trouble to ensure the cameras are there to film it.

However, despite the staging of many more rallies, both in London and in towns around the country, it became clear, at the beginning of the new parliamentary session in mid-November, that the government was not prepared to give time to the bill. In July Christabel Pankhurst had promised that if the government’s veto of the Conciliation Bill was not overturned at the opening of Parliament: ‘a great concourse of women will, immediately after Parliament reassembles in the Autumn, proceed to Westminster to demand of the Government that the Suffrage Bill be forthwith carried into law.’[Votes for Women 29 July 1910]

Thus, massed ranks of the WSPU met in Caxton Hall on 18 November, the day of the opening of parliament, only to hear that because of the battle for supremacy that was raging between the House of Commons and the House of Lords, parliament was in fact going to be dissolved to allow for another general election. There was, of course, no suggestion that women were to be enfranchised before then – and so Christabel’s promise was put into effect. Once this news had reached Caxton Hall a deputation of 300 women set out, in groups of ten, to walk the short distance to the House of Commons and met with vicious treatment from large crowds of police and bystanders. You can watch it happening here.

Sylvia Pankhurst, who with Annie Kenney, was riding around Parliament Square in a taxicab, described the scene: ’as we stood up we could see that a body of men were hustling and jostling the deputation so roughly that we feared that it would never be able to reach the House. Our taxi passed slowly right on the outside of the railings that enclose the Abbey & St Margaret’s and we stopped a little to the right of the Strangers’ entrance. As soon as we left the cab we were struck in the chest and pulled this way and that by the police and by a number of men who were evidently detectives in plain clothes’.

What is clear from the film is that, in what is captioned as ‘Suffragette Riots at Westminster’, men are in the overwhelming majority. The two placards that we see rising and falling in the midst of the crowd were presumably carried by women. They are clearly being mobbed. The day, known to the suffragettes as ‘Black Friday’, became notorious for the brutality with which women were treated, both by the police and by men who clearly thought that women demonstrators were fair game for physical molestation.

The Liberals were again returned to government after the general election at the end of 1910. The Conciliation Committee redrafted its bill, which in May 1911 passed its second reading in the House of Commons. In June the government promised that time would be made for further consideration of the bill in the next session of parliament. In a spirit of optimism and co-operation all 28 suffrage societies, militant and constitutional, combined to stage on 17 June 1911 a spectacular procession to mark the coronation of George V. This ‘Coronation Procession can be seen here.

The Historical Pageant, as described in the film’s caption, related to only one small part of the long procession. Its purpose was ‘to illustrate the great political power held by women in the past history of these Isles – beginning with Abbess Hilda and attendant nuns’.

Abbess HildaThese are the wimpled figures (looking rather like nurses) that we see in the first few seconds of the film.

The procession also included a Prisoners’ contingent here  we see them carrying their pennants, – a section representing musicians and actresses and an elaborate Empire pageant, in which women from around the world were represented.

The 'Empire Car' - Suffrage Coronation Procession, 1911

The ‘Empire Car’ – Suffrage Coronation Procession, 1911

The message at the meeting held in the Albert Hall at the culmination of the procession was that, although it was still necessary to be vigilant, victory was within grasp.

It was the near certainty that the cause was about to be won that made an announcement from the prime minister on 7 November 1911 such a bitter blow. In this he revealed that, rather than considering the Conciliation Bill further, the government intended to introduce a bill to widen the franchise for men, and that this just might then be amended to include women.  As Millicent Fawcett put it ‘If it had been the Prime Minister’s intention to enrage every woman suffragist to the point of frenzy, he could not have acted with greater perspicacity’.

Despite a joint deputation from all the suffrage societies to Asquith and Lloyd George it became quite clear that the government was adamant. The WSPU’s response was swift  – Mrs Pankhurst declared ‘The argument of the broken pane of glass is the most valuable argument in modern politics ‘.  On 21 November, while Mrs Pethick-Lawrence led a deputation from Caxton Hall to the House of Commons, another body of women, armed with bags of stones, set about breaking the windows of government offices and business and shop premises. On 1 March 1912 150 members of the WSPU, armed with hammers, broke the windows of West End shops and offices.

Over the next few days 220 arrests were made and on 5 March Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst, together with both Emmeline and Frederick Pethick-Lawrence, were charged with conspiracy to commit damage. Christabel evaded arrest and escaped to Paris, where she was to remain until the outbreak of the First World War. At a meeting held in the Albert Hall Emmeline Pankhurst now announced the new WSPU policy of destruction of property, declaring, ‘I incite this meeting to rebellion’.

At the same time as resuming militancy the WSPU, together with the NUWSS, continued to campaign at by-elections. Tactics at the short, sharp Bolton by-election in 1912 were typical. It was reported that a remarkable number of press photographers covered this by-election – among whom we can now see was a Pathé  cinematographer. You can watch his film here.

Both the Liberal candidate, Tom Taylor, and the Conservative, Arthur Brooks, gave their pledge, albeit somewhat half-heartedly, in favour of a limited extension of the parliamentary franchise to women. In a speech the Liberal contestant, Tom Taylor, was reported as saying that ‘During the last days the ladies had been like bees around him asking his views on the question. They had been at the mill, at the Liberal offices, at the Reform Club and sometimes some of them at two places at the same time (Laughter)’.

In the  run-up to polling day the Bolton NUWSS society ran a non-party campaign, concentrating on highlighting the suffrage cause. The WSPU also opened an office in the town – their tactics were, however, rather different. Under the leadership of Mary Phillips, one of the most experienced of their organizers, they campaigned to ‘Keep the Liberal Out’.

A reporter from one of the local newspapers made particular mention of the campaigning that took place in the dinner hour in the neighbourhood of Kay Street, a part of the town packed with mills and foundries, writing, ‘..on no occasion can it be recalled when the battle of orators was so keenly fought as during the present contest. Today hundreds of workers had dined and returned to this fighting field by one o’clock and they were at once offered the choice of Unionist, Tariff Reform, Liberal, Free Trade, Socialist and Suffragette speakers.’

A couple of days later mention was again made of this ‘cockpit of the electoral battle. Prominent amongst the propagandists were the ladies, who got together a fair crowd. They were of the non-militant methods, but the workers see no difference between the two. They tar all with the same brush. They thought of all the awkward questions, but generally speaking the plucky soul who was up against them quite held her own.’

It is, as we now realize, quite as likely that the women speaking to the crowd were in fact suffragists as suffragettes. They were as the reporter candidly admitted ‘All tarred with the same brush’.

Besides campaigning at by-elections, the NUWSS was involved in complicated lobbying in order to ensure the best possible outcome to amendments to the Franchise and Registration Bill – the government’s bill that was before parliament. Asquith had pledged that this bill would be drafted so as to be capable of amendment to include women. However on 27 January 1913 the Speaker ruled the women’s suffrage amendment out of order. Asquith said that the government had been taken by surprise, but thanked the Speaker for saving the House from a waste of valuable time. One can see why the WSPU nicknamed him ‘Two-faced Asquith’.

At the very moment when the government was extracting itself from its pledge, suffragist protesters paraded outside Parliament, their billboards calling MPs to ‘Put Honour First’.  Watch here. The man you see leaving the House of Commons, looking very dapper in his top hat, is Sir Edward Grey who, it was rumoured, had threatened to resign from the cabinet if the suffrage amendment was defeated. As it was, because the amendment had been ruled inadmissible, he was not put to the test.

The immediate effect was that all the suffrage societies united in demanding a government bill to give women the franchise, this being now regarded as the only possible solution. The WSPU had been on a truce while the suffrage amendments were being considered. However as soon as news of the Speaker’s ruling became known, Mrs Pankhurst made clear that this was at an end. ‘It is guerilla warfare that we declare this afternoon’.

Wargrave church badly damaged by suffragette arson

Wargrave church badly damaged by suffragette arson

And guerilla warfare was what followed. Besides the firing of pillar boxes and damage to such ‘masculine’ property as golfing greens and cricket pitches, individual members of the WSPU pursued a policy of arson. Parliament passed what was called the ‘Cat and Mouse Bill’. Under these new regulations prisoners on hunger strike, rather than being forcibly fed, could be temporarily released from prison, without any remission of their sentence and then recalled a little later when they had recovered their strength. Needless to say very few of the ‘mice’ were so obliging – and by enacting the Bill the government actually encouraged the most desperate –or adventurous – members of the WSPU to create a sub-culture of terrorism. As long as the ‘mice’ were not thought to be involved in further militant activity, the police made no serious attempts to recapture them. .

However, some very active ‘mice’ managed to evade capture, using their freedom to carry out what they called their ‘work’. You can see what here what happened to, Levetleigh, at St Leonards in Sussex, the home of the local MP, Arthur du Cros, which was set on fire on 13 April 1913.

Kitty Marion

Kitty Marion

The arsonist was ‘Kitty Marion’, a variety actress, or, as she was billed, ‘A Refined Vocal Comedienne’, who, although German born, had lived in England since 1886 and was a long-standing member of the WSPU and of the Actresses’ Franchise League.

Hurst Park pk cat 182She was only captured after committing her 5th arson raid. This last one was a spectacular. In June, two months after burning down Levetleigh, she and another suffragette destroyed the Grand Stand at Hurst Park race course, apparently as a tribute to Emily Wilding Davison, who had died earlier that month at nearby Epsom. In an unpublished memoir Kitty Marion gives a detailed description of the arson at Hurst Park, remarking ‘We both regretted that there was no movie camera to immortalise the comedy of it’.

For, on 4 June 1913 the suffragette movement had gained its first real martyr when Emily Wilding Davison stepped onto the Derby racecourse and attempted to hold the bridle of Anmer, the King’s horse.

The camera was, of course, set up to record the race – with no knowledge that such a dramatic event was to be enacted in front of it. Was it possible that Emily Davison chose to position herself at that point at Tattenham Corner so that the camera, which would have been obvious to her, set as it was at a level well raised above the crowd, could not fail to capture her action? You can watch the race here. There are other views of the incident to be found on Youtube.

As you see Emily Davison was thrown to the ground, suffering a serious head injury. She never regained consciousness, and died on 8 June. On 14 June she was accorded a martyr’s funeral. The long, impressive procession made its way through the streets of London to St George’s Church in Bloomsbury, where the service was conducted by the vicar, a supporter of the Church League for Women’s Suffrage. From there the coffin was taken to King’s Cross, and on by train to her home town, Morpeth in Northumberland. You can watch both funeral processions here.

EWD funeral (2)Here is a still of the cortege at St George’s Bloomsbury.  I pass the church several times a week – and often wait at the bus stop just beside it – picturing the scene as shown in the film – with the figure in white with her back to us saluting the coffin.

Shortly after the WSPU staged this display of mourning and spirituality, the NUWSS began their ‘Women’s Suffrage Pilgrimage’. Their organization was by now so effective that it had taken only a couple of months to plan. The idea was to gain public support by launching a concerted nationwide demonstration. The NUWSS organized their members to walk to London from all parts of the country, along set routes, carrying banners and holding meetings as they went – in order to meet for a rally in Hyde Park on 26 July.

Pilgrimage Lands EndHere we see the start of the Pilgrimage from the south-west –walking, and bicycling, from Land’s End to London. The women were urged to wear a uniform for the occasion – a white, grey, black or navy- blue coat and skirt or dress. Hats were to be simple and in one of the main designated colours. For 3d headquarters supplied a compulsory raffia badge, a ‘cockle shell’, the traditional symbol of a pilgrimage, to be worn pinned to the hat. One of those taking part later recorded that she felt ‘very self conscious in sash and cockade’, NUWSS members were not so used to public parade as were those of the WSPU. Although the news camera was there in Hyde Park, if they did film anything of the pilgrims and platform speeches these have disappeared. All we see in this surviving film is the interest of chaps in seeing themselves on film.

A couple of weeks after this, the cameras were back to film another demonstration in London. On 10 August 1913 Sylvia Pankhurst appeared as a speaker at a rally in Trafalgar Square. By now she was out of sympathy with many aspects of WSPU policy, in particular she was not in favour of the arson campaign. Her idea was that pressure should be brought on the government by the working-class, in particular the women of the East End, where she was building her power base. Sylvia was at this time a ‘mouse’, on the run from the police.

She described how  ‘Eluding the police I drove to the Square and sprang from a taxi into the East End procession as it came swinging round from the Strand. The marchers hoisted me to the plinth, and a crowd of them jumped up beside me as a body-guard’.  She then led a crowd to Downing Street.

In spite of the ‘rushes’ made by the crowd to protect her, she was rearrested in Downing Street and returned to Holloway. You can watch the film of this scene on here.

Through the first few months of 1914 the damage escalated –  suffragettes attacked churches, mansions, grandstands, golflinks, and even paintings in the National Gallery and Royal Academy. But in contrast with all this violence the WSPU was still able to stage an attractive spectacle to pass through the streets of London. There is film of this May Day Pageant, which took place on 1st May 1914 and aimed to promote sales of the WSPU paper, the Suffragette. Although it was organized at very short notice and police permission had not been sought – because they knew it would be refused – the WSPU had obviously, however, had the foresight to alert the Pathé film crew


Mrs Pankhurst Buckingham PalaceA month later, on 21 May, Mrs Pankhurst was rearrested while leading a deputation to Buckingham Palace. She had hoped that the King would receive them. Needless to say the palace gates were kept firmly closed. You can watch the scene here.

This was no staged spectacle. Outside the palace women, armed with clubs, battled with the police. Scenes such as these – and those previous ones of Black Friday and of Sylvia Pankhurst being arrested in Trafalgar Square – must surely have seemed scandalous to the viewing public. The palace battle was headline news and the next day the police raided the WSPU headquarters and closed it down.

The battle at the Palace is the last extant reality film of the pre-war suffrage campaign. The days of spectacle and of organised demonstration were past. The WSPU now had no fixed headquarters and its organisers were harried by the police from office to office around London. The NUWSS, while still growing steadily, was devoting itself to political negotiations, a strategy that had little appeal for the camera. And with the outbreak of war on 4 August 1914 this stage of the suffrage campaign came to an end.

The WSPU suspended its activities in order to support the war effort and in 1915 organised, with Lloyd George, a ‘Right to Work’ rally – a demand that women should be allowed to undertake war work. You can watch the women marching here. Kate Frye (actually by now Mrs John Collins) was one of the company.

During the war leading members of the WSPU travelled extensively both in Britain and abroad as government emmisaries, explaining the Allies’ war policy. In the Pathé compilaton (at 11mins 46 secs), filmed on 8 November 1916, we see Mrs Pankhurst speaking in Trafalgar Square, telling her audience about the government’s policy in Greece and Rumania. She is the second of the speakers shown – the first is Norah Dacre Fox.

On 4 November 1917, by which time it could be seen that women’s enfranchisement was at last about to be realised, a cameraman was on hand to witness the launch of a new organization. See here  as the former leaders of the WSPU, Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst, Annie Kenney and Flora Drummond, arrive at the Queen’s Hall, north of Oxford Street for the occasion.

However, after Christabel was unsuccessful when she stood as MP for Smethwick at the general election in 1918, the Women’s Party lost momentum. But even so the erstwhile members of the WSPU continued to be well aware of the power of publicity. They ensured that Emmeline Pankhurst was honoured with a statue. You can watch here as Stanley Baldwin unveils it in 1930.

That statue became the focus of a reunion held each year on 14 July – Mrs Pankhurst’s official birthday. Even in the years after the Second World War the increasingly elderly suffragettes – who had formed themselves into the Suffragette Fellowship – came to pay homage to their former leader. Watch a filmed suffragette reunion here.

The publicity given to their cause by the actuality films – whether enhancing their dignity as they marched in symbolic procession or broadcasting their ability to commit acts of terrorism – surely played its part in shifting the perception of what a woman could be and made more possible – at last – her involvement in the constitutional political life of the country.’

The second part of this talk will discuss the comic ‘Suffrage’ feature films.


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Suffrage Stories/ Palmisting For The Cause At A Café Chantant – December 1909

December was always a good month for fund-raising suffrage parties.

Cafe Chantant NUWSS Dec 1909 - Copy

For the suffrage movement was not all about militancy and processions. Money had to be raised to pay for the campaigning and for the management of the rapidly-developing organisations – and much of it was done in the time-honoured way of bazaars and balls. Here is a flyer for a Café Chantant organised by the London Society for Women’s Suffrage in December 1909.

The flyer comes from the collection of Kate Parry Frye, where it lay between the pages of her diary in which she describes the event itself.

She was living at home in North Kensington and had already had some experience as a reader of palms at earlier suffrage fund-raising events. On 6 December 1909 Kate wrote:

‘Agnes [her sister] and Katie [Finch-Smith – neé Gilbey -her cousin] arrived about 12.30. I had lent Katie a white dress as she had not got one and she had brought up the regulation white cap and apron and I also supplied the colours. I wore my best. We started off just before 2.30. One bus to the Grove [that is, Westbourne Grove] and another to Kensington and to the Town Hall for the Café Chantant got up for the Funds of the London Society and National Union.

It began at 3 o’clock. Katie left her things in the cloak room and we all went upstairs together. Agnes had to pay her 3/- to go in and for tea but Katie and I went in free. I found Mrs Rowan Hamilton who had charge of the Palmists and she hadn’t got me a table and I would not begin till she had one brought. I had told her two chairs and a table would be required. I had a little spot close by screens – my name up – ‘Katharine Parry’ – spelt wrong of course. I was just beside the tea tables so I could be near Katie till the fun began. We introduced her to lots of people. I hoped she enjoyed it but I think she got very tired.

 Miss Lockyer [she had been housekeeper to the murdered storekeeper, William Whiteley] with a friend came very early and I am afraid did not enjoy herself much. I just spoke to her but could not leave my corner and she thought 2/6 too much to consult me – it was a lot. There was another Palmist ‘Ravario’ and my crystal gazer – Clare Crystal. Agnes and Katie consulted her and found her rather poor. The Wrights were there, of course. Alexandra only a simple ‘Tea Girl’ but she selected Agnes to have tea with her – such an honour for Agnes. Miss Carl Hentschel was a Tea Girl and her Mother helping everywhere and lots of people I know.

At first I could not get any clients – no-one knew me. The first was a man about 3.30 – a funny sort of thing – then a lady, who was so delighted she went out to boom me and she did – for, for the rest of the day, I was besieged. I could have gone on all night. It was hard work but I enjoyed it. I had such nice interesting people – a few made me feel miserable, they were so unhappy – but some were charming – two insisted upon having my address. One said she would try and get me some engagements – a Miss May Oakley. I kept on till 20 minutes to 6 when Agnes dragged me out to have some tea – and John [Collins, her fiancé] came upstairs – he had been taking tickets from 2.30.

So I had some tea and he had a second tea. We had it from Miss Doake’s table as Katie was away. I had promised to go back at 6 o’clock and there was already a client sitting in the retreat. I kept on till 6.30 when the affair was over for the afternoon and we all four went home feeling very tired. John had to be back before 8 o’clock and we were not back till after 7 – so had to rush about and he had a meal as quickly as it could be got and go off.

Leaving Agnes behind, Katie and I left again at 8 o’clock and went by bus to Kensington. It was all in full swing again. The entertainment going on as before and more theatrical and Ju Jitsu displays and heaps of people. John was taking tickets again as happy as a cricket. I had said I would be back 9 till 10 – but I was pounced upon straight away. I had a horrid few moments when I missed my muff but John found it for me.

We worked till I was nearly done and told about 14 or 16 – and 17 to 20 in the afternoon. I had to refuse more as it was 10.30 and I was so tired – though the people came and begged me to go on. Gladys herself honoured me – and she told me that people were giving up their tickets for the other Palmists to come to me. John seemed playing about all the evening and Katie was serving coffee and cakes. There was an auction of cakes – and I bought a lovely Fullers cake. All the cakes had been given and were simply lovely ones. It was pouring with rain and we had to have a cab to the flat. Got in about 11.30.’

Interesting to see that Edith Garrud was happy to give jujitsu displays for the non-militant society.

For more about Kate Frye and the suffrage movement see here:

Kate Frye cover



For more about the entirety of Kate Frye’s life see here

cover e-book

Kate was very sympathetic towards the Women’s Social and Political Union and was, briefly, a member. She was particularly concerned about improving the life of her poorer sisters and without a doubt would have loved the film ‘Suffragette’.

Suffragette Film Poster 2


All the articles on Woman and Her Sphere 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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Kate Frye’s Diary: Abbie Frye, ‘L. Parry Truscott’, Ditchling And The Now-Visited Tomb

I dedicated Kate Parry Frye: the long life of an Edwardian actress and suffragette to all those women who, in the words of George Eliot, have ‘lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs’. Since then I’ve done a little to ensure that Kate’s life is no longer hidden and (with Helen Nicholson, Berghers Hill resident and Royal Holloway professor of theatre) that her tomb need not be unvisited – I stood by it myself at the beginning of the year.

Grave of Kate and John Collins - Holtspur Cemetery, Buckinghamshire

Grave of Kate (nee Frye) and John Collins – Holtspur Cemetery, Buckinghamshire

However there are others who feature prominently in her story  whose tombs are most definitely unvisited. Finding myself this week in Ditchling, Sussex, where I knew Abbie Frye, Kate’s cousin and dearest friend, had been buried, I thought, by finding her grave, I’d do something to remark her existence.

However, when we arrived at Ditchling Church – dedicated to St Margaret of Antioch – and I saw the large, well-tended graveyard I did doubt that we’d have any chance of stumbling across Abbie’s grave. But, as luck would have it, after enjoying the calm interior of the church and the scent of lilies,  on the way out I spotted on the ‘literature’ table a typed list of ‘Monumental Inscriptions in St Margaret’s Churchyard’. What a find. My most grateful thanks to the Ditchling History Project – for there, in the index appears Abbie’s married name – ‘Hargrave’.

Page from 'Monumental Inscriptions in St Margaret's Churchyard

Page from ‘Monumental Inscriptions in St Margaret’s Churchyard’ – note the top line

As you see, Abbie – and her husband, Basil – lie in an unmarked grave. Without the reference to its position in this guide (see also its website here) there would be no possibility of identifying it. As it is, you’ll doubtless be thrilled to know that I can show you the very patch of springy turf under which they lie.

Grave of Basil and Abbie Harrgrave in Ditchling Churchyard

Grave of Basil and Abbie Hargrave in Ditchling Churchyard

But who was Abbie Frye/Hargrave? Although she has left a considerable body of published work, unlike Kate she left no diary- but through Kate’s words we can glimpse something of her world and her life.

At the Fryes' home, The Plat at Bourne End. Abbie is standing on the left. Kate sits at her feet.

At the Fryes’ home, The Plat at Bourne End. Abbie is standing on the left. Kate sits at her feet.

She was born Gertrude A. Frye c 1871 in Calcutta, the daughter of Charles Frye, a brother of Kate Frye’s grandfather. Abbie’ s mother, Marguerite Maria Frye, had died by 1881 for in that year’s census Charles Frye is described as a widower – and a professor of music (I think he taught at King’s College, London). His address was 4 Buckingham Road, Tottenham, but his daughters, Abbie (aged 10) and Maggie (8), were by now in the care of his sister, Caroline, and her husband, Basil Hargrave, and living at 3 Havilland Terrace, Defoe Road, Tooting.

The latter, born in 1849, had married Caroline Frye in 1873 and was a clerk in an insurance office. Charles Frye died in 1886, orphaning Abbie and Maggie who by 1891 were still living with the Hargraves – now at 20 Castlewood Road, Stamford Hill, close to Caroline’s mother.

In the 1890s Abbie was working as a daily governess but at the same time was beginning her career as a writer of magazine stories, publishing them under her own name. One of the journals in which her stories appeared was Cycling World.  On Monday December 15th 1896 Kate wrote in her diary: ‘I heard this morning that the Cycling World has just accepted another  of Abbie’s Stories – I am more delighted than I can say and so is she I know. She got £2 10s for the other which is splendid pay I consider. I hope she will do as well by this.’ That £2 10s was very important for Abbie had no money of her own and her aunt and uncle had little to spare.

Kate’s diary is full of Abbie in whose literary career she took a keen interest. Her diary entry for Monday February 14th 1898 describes a visit with Abbie to Paternoster Row – to an agent  ‘Mr Burghes who has Abbie’s two tales to send about. She wanted to see him to ask him about them – so had asked me to go  with her. We were shown into his office where he was sitting writing and he was awfully nice. I don’t know that we did much good by going to see him – but it can do no harm and it may possibly wake him up a bit. He spoke so nicely and was very polite – I thought him very charming – he might have been most snappy one does hear such awful tales of publishers and those kind of people.’

Abbie’s home life was not at all happy. She and the Hargraves were by 1898 living in Sutton, where on Friday 1 July Kate paid a visit. ‘Mr Hargrave came in just before we left – him I cannot do with – such a surly sort of man – I didn’t even want to be nice to him – Aunt Carry I don’t so dislike though no doubt she is a bit of a vixen – but her good man I should soon fall out with. The girls seem just like visitors there and have to be awfully careful what they say.’

Mind you this visit came only a couple of months before Caroline Hargrave was diagnosed with cancer and underwent an operation on at Guy’s Hospital – so there might well have been a reason for the miserable atmosphere Kate experienced.

Abbie continued to live with the Hargraves, nursing Caroline while making a determined effort to progress as an author. In February 1902 Kate wrote that Abbie ‘has been having rather excitements lately. She sent the “The Poet and Penelope” to Fisher Unwin who won’t publish it at their own risk but for £50. Her Uncle has offered to lend her £25 and I have offered her the other £25 – my last money almost in the Bank – but I am glad for her to have it. Of course she will never get it out of this book but it is the only chance for the future I can see for her. I do hope it will be a success for her sake. Of course I don’t expect to see my £25 back and I do think it is good of her Uncle out of his small means to lend her the money.’

The Poet and Penelope was published in May 1902 by T. Fisher Unwin in the UK and by G.P. Putnam’s Sons in the US, Abbie using the pseudonym of ‘L. Parry Truscott’. It must have been a sufficient of a success because, in 1903, 1904 and 1905, Fisher Unwin published three more of her novels. With Basil Hargrave, Kate had been instrumental in launching Abbie’s career and, less than a year later, her second novel, ‘When the Tree Falls’, bore the printed dedication ‘To Kate Parry Dear Cousin and Dearer Friend This Book’.

Over the next couple of decades Abbie published a total of thirteen novels but, although in her heyday quite successful, her pseudonym has proved all but impenetrable. A dictionary of pseudonymous writers ascribes ‘L. Parry Truscott’ to some other woman and the Oxford Companion to Edwardian Fiction mis-states her dates and merely notes that ‘little is known about this writer’. It is only through reading Kate’s diary that her identity and the pattern of her life has been revealed.

Caroline Hargrave died in 1904 and in May 1905 there was a new development.  Kate ‘broke the news first to Mother then to Agnes about Abbie. Mother wasn’t a bit surprised but Agnes was astounded. If I am disappointed it is no use showing it – it is for the general happiness to make the best of it and as I only wish for the best for Abbie I will honestly do any little thing I can to bring about the best.’ ‘The news’ was that the man who, echoing Abbie, Kate always referred to as ‘Uncle’, wished to make his niece his wife.

Although Basil Hargrave was uncle to Abbie only by marriage, he had brought her up since she was a young child. Thinking him dull and despotic, Kate had never cared for ‘Uncle’ but, for Abbie’s sake, was prepared to do everything she could to ensure the marriage was accepted with good grace by the family. She went down to Broadstairs, where Abbie was staying, finding her ‘looking uncommonly well and very cheerful’. From now on Kate dropped the pointed use of ‘Uncle’, commenting ‘Abbie writes to Basil every day and gets Volumes in return. She is going to say “yes” to him when he comes for his answer at Whitsun. I am very pleased people are taking it well for both their sakes. He must be very fond of her and that he appreciates her writing is the greatest possible point in his favour. Now the thing is where can the marriage take place?.’

Marriage between uncle and niece was then prohibited under the laws of consanguinity (and would still be illegal if Basil Hargrave had been Abbie’s formal adoptive father) so advice was sought as to where the couple could go to enter into a legal marriage. On 13 June Kate was at Bourne End when she ‘heard from Abbie that she has given her word to marry Basil but they cannot find out where the ceremony can take place to make it legal. Jersey won’t do, where the deceased wife’s sisters go. In the evening I told Daddie and was fearfully amused at the way he took it. He was pulling up onions at the time and all the while seemed much more interested in onions than Abbie. He said he wasn’t surprised and of course I knew he would not be likely to object and he is going to find out “where” if possible.’

The answer was Brussels, where the wedding between Abbie Frye and Basil Hargrave took place on 2 August 1905. But before then Kate took Abbie shopping for her trousseau, lending her £16 to pay for indulgences, such as new underwear, that were the right of any bride. The cousins thoroughly enjoyed their scamper through the West End and Westbourne Grove shops and Abbie duly repaid the money out of her earnings from her next novel, “Motherhood”.

Chichester House, 11 High Street, Ditchling

Chichester House, 11 High Street, Ditchling

By 1909 the Hargraves had moved from the dreary Sutton house to the very much more agreeable village of Ditchling. In this pretty village, nestling in the South Downs, Abbie, as a novelist, was in her element amongst the bohemian artists and craftsmen who had begun to make it their home. Their first home in the village was Chichester House in the High Street, where in 1910 Kate paid them a visit and in their drawing room listened to a talk by Eric Gill on ‘Arts and Crafts in the Home’. You can read my post about this visit here.

In August 1911 Abbie had a son, Basil Truscott Hargrave. When, in the autumn, Kate paid another visit to Chichester House she wrote  ‘This is a most exciting visit, it seems so wonderful to see Abbie with her Babe – and Basil as a Papa for the first time at his age.’ Abbie was now 40 years old and Basil 62.

Basil Hargrave’s was the first coffin in that grave under the churchyard turf. He died in 1919, leaving very little money. Abbie was faced with the prospect of keeping herself and raising her son, now barely eight years old, on the proceeds of her writing. Sales of her novels were now negligible and it was difficult to interest publishers in new work. In the 1920s she managed to place two novels, one under the pseudonym ‘Anna Hurst’ and another under her own name – ‘Abbie Hargrave’.

Abbie and Truscott continued to live in Ditchling, latterly in ‘Oldways Cottage’. It was on 16 November 1936 that Kate received a letter from Truscott telling her of Abbie’s death on the 14th. The next day Kate wrote of  ‘a dreadful feeling of sorrow and blankness. If my sense of loss is wide and deep what must Truscott’s be – and what of his future. But one feels it could not have gone on – that mounting load of debt and Abbie’s ill health. But my life-long friend – and such a loving one – I shall miss that affectionate interest so very much.’ Kate ‘bought a black hat and some grey stockings’ and on 19 November travelled by train and bus to Abbie’s burial, alongside her husband, in Ditchling churchyard. Dr Habberton Lulham, a Ditchling medical practitioner and photographer (you can read more about him here) was the only Ditchling resident present at the funeral whom Kate remarks. She had met him on her previous visits and there may have been others there whom she did not know and so doesn’t mention.

The following day Kate ‘sent a cheque for £5 to Truscott to begin to pay his mother’s funeral expenses’. However, this gift clearly did not cover the cost of a headstone.

Truscott Hargrave continued to live in Ditchling for a few more years, working for some of that time as secretary to the Saint Dominic’s Press, which had been founded by Eric Gill. He later ran a grocery shop at Upper Dicker

Hargrave shop


cover e-book

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Caroline Crommelin and Florence Goring Thomas: 19thc Interior Decorators: Who Were They?

Caroline Anna de Cherois Crommelin (c 1854-1910) was born in Co Down, Ireland, one of the many children of Samuel  de la Cherois Crommelin of  Carrowdore Castle.

Carrowdore Castle

Carrowdore Castle

Although of gentle birth, the family had little money. Political unrest in Ulster forced a move to England and after their father’s death in 1885 Caroline Crommelin and her sisters found it necessary to work to support themselves.

May Crommelin

May Crommelin

Caroline’s elder sister, May, became a novelist and enjoyed a measure of popular success. In 1903 another sister, Constance, married John Masefield (who was very much her junior).

In 1886 another of the sisters, Florence, married a solicitor, Rhys Goring Thomas, and in the late 1880s with Caroline, who seems to have been the driving force, embarked on a career as a ‘lady decorator’. The pair were able to travel easily along the path blazed for them a decade earlier by Rhoda and Agnes Garrett.

Unlike the Garretts, Caroline and Florence do not appear to have had any specific training, although years later Caroline wrote that an apprenticeship was essential. Rather, they relied on what was assumed to be a natural taste absorbed from their early surroundings. In a later interview Caroline described how their father had given the two of them a room in Carrowdore Castle to do with as they wished and from painting and papering this room they had learned their trade. Whereas Rhoda and Agnes Garrett were happy to deal with drains and internal structures, I doubt that such practicalities fell within the Crommelin sisters’ remit.

It was ‘beautifying’ that was the word most often used to describe Caroline Crommelin’s work. An article by Mary Frances Billington in The Woman’s World, 1890, describes how in 1888 Caroline Crommelin  set up a depot at 12 Buckingham Palace Road for the ‘sale of distressed Irish ladies’ work’ and then ‘saw a wider market as a house-decorator, so she wrote ‘Art at Home’ on her door-plate, took into partnership her sister, Mrs Goring Thomas..and boldly set forth to hunt for old oak, rare Chippendale, beautiful Sheraton and Louis Seize furniture’. She attended auctions in all parts of the country and, in case there was any doubt as to the propriety of this involvement with trade, reported that she had no difficulty doing business with dealers, meeting only with civility.

Noting the popularity of old, carved oak, the sisters’ bought old plain oak pieces and then had them carved by their own craftsmen. There was always a stock of such pieces in their showroom.

The ‘Arts at Home Premises’ were opened in Victoria Street, London, in early 1891. I think their house was at 167a Victoria Street – certainly by 1898 this was Caroline Crommelin’s work premises, but it’s possible that in the late 1880s she was working from 143 Victoria Street. Of the ‘Arts at Home’ premises The Sheffield Telegraph (9 March 1891) described how’charmingly arranged rooms, stored with delightful old oak, Sheraton, and Chippendale furniture, quaint brass ornaments, old silver, beautiful tapestries, and old china were crowded all afternoon with the many friends of the clever hostesses.’..The oak room featured a delightful ‘cosy corner’ in dark oak with blue china arranged on the top ledge against the pink walls. May Billington’s article includes a line-drawing of a corner of the ‘Arts at Home’ showroom.

In its 23 November 1895 issue the York Herald commented of Caroline Crommelin that  ‘Her house in Victoria St is conspicuous to the passer by for the pretty arrangement of its curtains, and inside the artistic element is even more apparent. Miss Crommelin has been very successful as a house beautifier and her opinion has been much sought after and esteemed by those who like the home to be dainty and harmonious.’

In 1891 the sisters also displayed their wares at the Women’s Handicrafts Exhibition at Westminster Town Hall. The Manchester Times singled them (‘two of our cleverest art decorators’) out for praise.  ‘These ladies have shown that… old oak furniture need not be gloomy and dusty and that new furniture may be made to look as good as old, even if the old be Chippendale or Sheraton, Queen Anne or Dutch marqueterie.’

One of Caroline Crommelin’s first ‘beautifying’ commissions was carried out for Lord and Lady Dufferin on the British Embassy in Rome in 1890/1891. The Manchester Guardian (8 Oct 1889) reported that she redecorated the entire embassy. Doubtless this plum commission was not unconnected to the fact that the Dufferin estate in Co Down was a mere 10 miles from Carrowdore Castle; the families were presumably known to each other. Rather more surprising is the claim made in an interview with her in the Women’s Penny Paper, 23 Nov 1889,  that she had ‘supplied nearly all the furniture to Lord Cholmondeley’s old place at Houton [sic].  Houghton Hall was let to tenants during the 19th century so, perhaps, there is a kernel of truth buried in this statement – but I don’t think we need go looking at Houghton as it is today for evidence of Caroline Crommelin’s involvement in its decoration.

In interviews Caroline Crommelin also made clear that she  ‘undertakes, when required, to furnish  a whole or any part of a house, either going with the customer to different firms or selecting for them’ and ‘does not confine herself to decorative work alone, and will put up blinds or attend to the whitewashing of a ceiling with the most professional alacrity’.

Both Caroline and Florence were supporters of the campaign to give the vote to women householders and were keen to see women’s advancements in the professions – particularly as architects.

In 1895 Caroline Crommelin married Robert Barton Shaw, nephew of a former Recorder of Dublin, who in the 1901 census return is described as an estate agent. I wonder if his wife helped in ‘beautifying’ houses he had for sale? In 1901 they were living at 50 Morpeth Mansions, Morpeth Terrace. Caroline in this census return is described as an ’employer’. Florence lived close by -in 1891 at 3 Morpeth Terrace. However hers was to be a short-lived career – she died in 1895, aged only 37, a few months before her sister’s marriage. In the 1889 Penny Paper interview Florence was quoted as saying ‘I believe everybody is happier for working. It carries  one into a new life, and one does not have time to think of being ill’. In the light of her early death this has a certain poignancy, suggesting she may have had a chronic illness to overcome.

Caroline carried on the business on her own and in 1903 teamed up with her sister, May, to write a chapter on ‘Furniture and Decoration’ in Some Arts and Crafts (ed Ethel Mckenna), published in The Woman’s Library series by Chapman & Hall. In this they ran through the various periods of furniture and room design but did not bother to disguise their support for one style in particular. ‘Anyone of artistic feeling is sensible of a singular sense of well-being on entering a genuine Queen Anne sitting-room. If analysed, the sensation will be found to arise from an instantaneous inner perception that all is in just proportion. The height and size of the room obey accurate laws. Its ceiling is relieved by geometrical designs. The walls are half-wainscoted; the polished floor shows up the tapestry-like carpet in the centre. The ornaments of furniture and general decoration are neither profuse, grotesque, nor severe. In all, the fatal “too much” is avoided.’

Caroline Crommelin (or, rather, Mrs Barton Shaw)  died at 18 Albion Place, Ramsgate on 1 February 1910.


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Kate Frye’s Diary: 20 April 1915: Condemnation Of The Prattlers For Peace

Kate Frye coverIn April 1915 Kate Frye was still working with the New Constitutional Society for Women’s Suffrage when it was announced that an International Congress of Women would convene at The Hague. Around 1200 delegates from 12 countries attended the Congress hoping that the women of the warring countries could be organized to exert a moral force for peace. The British government, however, prevented interested British women from attending by refusing them passports and suspending the ferry service across the Channel. The Peace Conference led to the founding of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom but, as Kate relates, the issue divided suffragists.

‘Tuesday April 20th 1915 

Some office work then to finish off the Hall – put things out for Sale etc. I arranged a stall of Workroom things – haberdashery etc. Meeting at 3 o’clock. Afterwards there was a great disturbance. Mrs Cecil Chapman from the Chair condemned the Peace Conference which is to take place at The Hague. I agree with her. How can English Women at the moment go and prattle with German Women of peace when there will and can be no peace until Germany has withdrawn her hosts from Belgium, France and Poland?

At the moment when thousands are laying down their lives for women to talk like that is to my mind showing a tremendous lack of nationalism. We didn’t want to fight – we were totally unprepared – the more credit in one way to us – and if German women want peace let them begin to preach it in Germany. I very much suspect this talk.

However to go back. Miss Wiskemann, who is half German, didn’t like it – and, instead of publicly protesting, she was heard saying things to people by several of our members who are most fiery the other way and told Mrs Hartley we had a traitor in our midst, and Mrs Hartley, never too cool in an emergency, went for Gladys, whose friend Miss W. is – and I’m not sure didn’t go for Miss W. herself. Anyhow Miss W. is not coming amongst us again but going over heart and soul to the United Suffragists who I think are utterly mad and will do our cause much harm by pressing the question of ‘Votes’ at this minute. How can they – in this life and death struggle? If the NCS took that line I should have to leave them. I couldn’t bear it – it’s wicked and selfish and small – nothing matters except we beat Germany – but people are leaving us because we do not press Votes. It is a mad world.’

‘Miss Wiskemann’ was Eugenie Wiskemann, elder sister of the future historian, Elizabeth Wiskemann; Mrs Beatrice Hartley was one of the founders of the NCS, as was Gladys Wright.

Click here to see a short documentary, ‘These Dangerous Women’, about the 1300 women who held a Peace Conference at The Hague in April 1915. These were the women whom Kate condemned as prattlers for peace.

You can read about Kate Frye’s work as an organiser with the New Constitutional Society for Women’s Suffrage in Campaigning for the Vote: Kate Parry Frye’s suffrage diary. – for full details see here.


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Suffrage Stories: ‘Home Art Decorator’ To The Queen – And The ‘Human Letter’

For some time I have been meaning to investigate Charlotte Robinson, ‘Home Art Decorator’ to Queen Victoria, mention of whom I came across years ago while researching the interior design career of Rhoda and Agnes Garrett. Now that I have done so, I’ve discovered, as an added bonus, her family link with one of the WSPU’s more imaginative publicity stunts.


Charlotte RobinsonCharlotte Robinson was born c 1859 in Settle in Yorkshire, one of the younger children in the large family of a Yorkshire solicitor. He died in 1870, leaving an estate of c £20,000. A later biographical piece about Charlotte noted that she (as presumably were all the children) was left a share of his property and it was this that gave her the freedom to develop a career.

By 1871 Charlotte had been sent as a boarder to a small school in Bolton but was later moved to the rather more prestigious Queen’s College in London. Education complete she returned home for a time  – the 1881 census finds her living with her brother, William, a solicitor, in Keighley. She then spent some time travelling abroad.

Emily Faithfull Emily Faithfull

For some of that time, certainly in 1883, Charlotte was travelling in America with Emily Faithfull  –  described on the manifest of the ship on which they travelled to New York as ‘Secretary’. You can read a very interesting article about Emily Faithfull here. It would seem, from remarks recorded by Emily that she had met Charlotte when the latter was still a pupil at Queen’s College.

Emily Faithfull was, of course, a fierce advocate of work for middle-class women so it’s unsurprising that, when interviewed in the 1890s for Manchester Faces and Places,  Charlotte described how on her return from her travels ‘she resolved to invest her money in a business which she could control herself instead of returning to the usual round of gaieties, varied by intermittent charitable enterprises.’ The journalist then elaborated –  ‘Having always been interested in decorative art, friends who knew her marvellous deftness of touch and infallible sense of colour, strongly advised her to turn these special gifts to account.’

In an interview that appeared in the Women’s Penny Paper, 9 February 1889, Charlotte went into more detail. ‘The idea of house decoration as a profession came to me while travelling through America. I was much struck with the interiors of some of the magnificent houses to which I was invited in some of the principal cities between New York and San Francisco, and on my return to England began to supplement previous artistic study. My first professional business was in furnishing houses, now I decorate them through, as well as working in conjunction with my sister, Mrs McClelland, who presides over the studio from which come the beautiful friezes you have just been admiring.’ So that is how Charlotte Robinson came to become a ‘house decorator.

She was setting up in the house decoration business ten years after the trail had been blazed for women by Agnes and Rhoda Garrett and, like them, she stressed the necessity of undergoing a training. However, although we know that the Garretts were pupils of the architect John Brydon, I’ve been unable to discover where or with whom Charlotte Robinson trained. All that is revealed in the Manchester Faces  interview is that she ‘went through the necessary course of study and thoroughly qualified herself for the work.’ As Emily Faithfull put it in a later article Charlotte studied ‘house decoration from hearth tiles to frieze painting’.

According to Emily Faithfull, Charlotte Robinson  first went into business in London. This must, I think, have been immediately on their return from America – and was probably by way of dipping a toe in the water. But very soon – probably in late 1884/early 1885 – the two women moved to Manchester and, as Emily wrote, ‘regardless of that bugbear which terrifies most women – she [Charlotte] put up her own name over the door.’

That door gave entrance to 20 South King Street, in the central Manchester shopping district, the premises serving primarily as a shop. It would seem from other remarks that Charlotte’s design work was done at home – 10 Plymouth Grove – the house she shared with Emily Faithfull. By 1886 a part of 20 South King Street had been given over to a ‘Typewriting Office’, run by a Miss Giles. As the Manchester Courier remarked when reporting this ‘Doubtless the typewriter will soon become as popular here as in America’. One can imagine that this was a development of which Emily Faithfull was fully supportive.

It is clear from every description that Charlotte Robinson’s ideas of interior design were the antithesis of those of Rhoda and Agnes Garrett. It is impossible to imagine the latter displaying mirrors such as one to be found in Charlotte Robinson’s establishment – for on it was painted ‘a pool fringed with rushes in which a wild duck and her brood were swimming, while the old mallard was taking wing to enjoy the pleasures of the world beyond – after his kind – leaving to the mother the care of the little fluffy yellow ducks, whose very feathers seemed to move with the passing wind’. (Manchester Courier, 6 February 1885).

Items such as this were produced not in Manchester but in London, in the studio of Charlotte’s sister, Mrs McClelland (33 Warwick Avenue, Paddington). Epsey McClelland was twelve years older than Charlotte – in the 1891 census she is described as a widow, a ‘decorative artist’, living with her daughter at the Warwick Avenue address. In an article on ‘Ladies as Shopkeepers’, reprinted in Pall Mall Gazette, (23 December 1887), Emily Faithfull extolled Charlotte’s taste –  ‘Her furniture designs are simple and unique; she has dainty and quaint arrangements for cosy nooks and odd corners, and has good reason to be proud of the work of the artists employed in in the studio over which her clever sister, Mrs McClelland is the presiding genius.’

In 1887 Charlotte Robinson took stands at two exhibitions. In Saltaire in June she showed  ‘..beautiful painted screens, brackets, plaques, a corner cabinet richly decorated with painted flowers and an excellently painted frieze.’ (Leeds Mercury 3 June 1887).

Of the Manchester Jubilee Exhibition, June/July 1887, the Cabinet Maker and Art Furnisher wrote:- ‘Miss Charlotte Robinson showed a frieze, corner sideboard, overmantel, draught screen, fire screens, Tuckaway tables, and other knickknacks, all, more or less decorated with the light and fanciful painting for which she had made a name.  It is in some aspects too “pretty” for our taste, but it is none the less skilful.  This lady is happy in the sprightly woodwork forming the  foundation of her paintings.  The corner sideboard is particularly pleasing.’

We can get a clearer picture of the ‘light and fanciful painting’ from a description given of Charlotte’s stand at the Glasgow Exhibition the following year. ‘Visitors to this stand ought to note the billet-doux writing table, a facsimile of that purchased by the Princess of Wales, and invented and patented by Miss Robinson. Beside this is the ‘Interloper’ chair purchased by the Countess of Rosebery. Both are painted with white French enamel, and decorated with blue tom tits. There are two friezes, specially designed for drawing rooms bearing groups of roses and chrysanthemums and one for a smoking room, with a design of wild ducks in flight.’ (Glasgow Herald 25 May 1888).

Blue tom tits for the ladies and wild ducks for the gentlemen – an aesthetic very different from that of the Garretts, whom Sir Hubert Parry commended – writing in his diary while staying in their house – ‘The quiet and soothing colour of the walls and decoration and the admirable taste of all things acts upon the mind in the most comforting manner. I was quite excised of the vulgar idea that everything ought to be light & gaudy & covered with gilt in London.

In late 1888 Charlotte received the accolade of being appointed ‘Home Art Decorator’ to Queen Victoria. Over 20 years earlier Emily Faithfull had been appointed publisher and printer in ordinary to the Queen, her brushes with scandal having apparently done nothing to dent her reputation in the eyes of the royal family.  On 9 October 1889 the Leeds Mercury reported that  ‘Miss Charlotte Robinson has had the honour of submitting to her Majesty some dessert d’oyleys painted on silk, from sketches taken near Palé as mementoes of Her Majesty’s visit to Wales’ and, as we have seen the Princess of Wales had already bought one of her writing tables’.

By October 1888 business was sufficiently prosperous for Charlotte to open a London showroom – in Mayfair – at 20 Brook Street – and in the same month was appointed as editor of ‘the decorative department’ on the magazine, The Queen, in succession to Mrs Talbot Coke. She was now in a position both to dictate taste and to supply the means of achieving it. She held her position on The Queen for the rest of her life. A small measure of this power was the fact that in an advertisement a Gloucester furnishing store, Messrs Matthews, regularly mentioned that their stock was approved by the leading Art Critics of the Day – such as Charlotte Robinson, Mrs Talbot Coke and Mrs Panton.

The interview given to the journalist from the Women’s Penny Paper took place in the Brook Street showroom, among the ‘cream coloured music racks, dainty billet doux tables, LouisSeize screens etc which provide an artistic public with useful as well as beautiful wedding and birthday gifts’. Charlotte commented that ‘I spend a great deal of time in Manchester, where I have a large business to control, and much is taken up in travelling “back and forth” as we say in the north, between the various houses I have to decorate and furnish in London and the country.Through The Queen I have to advise about houses in every part of the world.’

However for all the reports of how busy she was with her commissions –  ‘She can drape a room in less time than it takes most people to think of it’ – there is no information now available to tell us who her clients were or which were the houses she decorated. In the case of the Garretts I was able, from a variety of sources, to piece together a short list of their clients, but I can find no trace at all of Charlotte Robinson’s private clients. There is mention that in in June 1892 she was commissioned to decorate a hotel being erected in Manchester for the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway, that she did some work for Cunard, and that she was called upon to redecorate the Lord Mayor’s Parlour in Manchester Town Hall.  The latter is a superbly Gothic creation and certainly no place for tom tits and wild ducks.

Emily Faithfull died in 1895, leaving all her property to Charlotte.  In her will, which had been written in 1893, she wrote that’ I feel sure that any loving members of my family, who may survive me, will appreciate my desire that the few possessions I have should be retained for the exclusive use, and as the absolute property, of my beloved friend Charlotte Robinson, as some little indication of my gratitude for the countless services for which I am indebted to her, as well as for the affectionate tenderness and care which made the last five years of my life the happiest I ever spent.’

After Emily’s death Charlotte Robinson continued to cut a dash in Manchester society. The local newspapers record her attendance at numerous balls and conversaziones – for instance, in July 1899 dressed in white brocaded silk and heliotrope velvet. On these occasions she is often in the company of Julia Dux, who lived close by in Plymouth Grove.

Charlotte Robinson’s career was brought to a premature end, however, by her death at home, in October 1901. She left £3100 – and the executors of her will were her sister, Epsey, and her niece Elspeth McClelland.

The latter, then aged 22, continued along the path that her aunt had, to a degree, forged and, with the changing times, was able to become more fully a professional and practise as an architect. You can read an account of her career here. and a 1905 article (issue 32, p, 114) about her in a Spanish architectural journal here She, like her aunt Charlotte, was clearly a woman of independent thinking and, not unsurprisingly, was swept into the Edwardian suffragette movement, achieving a certain notoriety in 1909 when she was one of the ‘Human Letters’ sent as a publicity stunt to 10 Downing Street. You can see a photograph here of Elspeth posing for the camera – with Daisy Solomon, her fellow ‘Letter’, on the left and Annie Kenney in support on the right. Under her married name – Mrs Elspeth Douglas Spencer – she has an entry in the Suffrage Annual and Woman’s Who’s Who.

Thus, by way of Charlotte Robinson’s ‘home art decoration’ , we can trace a line of endeavour that stretches from Emily Faithfull’s involvement in the 1860s with the Langham Place Group (middle-class women intent on improving work opportunities for their sisters) to a woman architect who, in  her short life, managed to design and build several houses – as well as giving birth to three children. It was, apparently, that third birth that in 1920 killed her – putting an end to another interesting career.

For more about the interior design work of Rhoda and Agnes Garrett see Enterprising Women: the Garretts and their circle, published by Francis Boutle.

Enterprising Women 1



All the articles on Woman and Her Sphere 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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Suffrage Stories: The Mysterious Mrs Alice Green, Emily Wilding Davison And Kitty Marion

In the Introduction to my The Women’s Suffrage Movement: a reference guide I wrote:

‘Although women may be “hidden from history” they are not, on the whole, hidden from the Registrar of Births, Marriages, and Deaths nor from the Principal Registry of the Family Division (in England and Wales) or the General Register Office in Scotland.’ 

However there is no getting away from the fact that, despite one’s best efforts, there are some women who resist all attempts at discovery. One such is the rather mysterious ‘Mrs Alice Green’ who we come across in the intertwined stories of Emily Wilding Davison and Kitty Marion.

For instance, in The Life and Death of Emily Wilding Davison (p 131-32)  Liz Stanley and Ann Morley tell us that for some months in 1913 Emily Davison was staying with Mrs Green at 133 Clapham Road. We  assume that it was from here that on 4 June she set out for the WSPU office and then the Derby. They also note The Suffragette (13 June 1913) as mentioning that a Mrs Green was at Emily’s bedside in the Epsom Cottage Hospital. However, although Stanley and Morley do so much to reveal other branches of Emily’s friendship network they pass Mrs Green by without comment.

And I’m not surprised –  because ‘Mrs Alice Green’ is more resistant than most to the historian’s intrusive gaze. But, lifting the dusty Victorian curtain, the earliest sighting I have of her is at the Dover Register Office on 11 June 1898 where, as ‘Alice Kellie’, spinster, 26 years old, she married Edward Basil Green. The couple each gave their address as 4 Eastbrook Place, Dover.

But who was ‘Alice Kellie’? From searching through all the resources of Ancestry and FindmyPast I could find no suitable candidate and was sufficiently intrigued to order a copy of the marriage certificate in the hope it might offer a clue. Well, the only extra information it gave me about ‘Alice Kellie’ was that she was the daughter of ‘James Kellie (deceased), boot (or book?) dealer’. That actually didn’t get me any further because I couldn’t find a trace in any census of a suitable James Kellie. Who is to know if Registrars are given the true facts? I can find sufficient evidence in my own family history to know that they often are not.

On the other hand I had no difficulty in uncovering the background of the bridegroom. Edward Basil Green had been born in 1873 in Folkestone, the youngest son of Samuel Richard Green ( 1837-1882),  a mechanical engineer, and the grandson of Edward Green, a Yorkshire ironmaster and founder of E. Green and Son. At the time of the marriage he would have been 25 years old – yet the certificate has his age as 27. The bride’s age is given as 26. If the bridegroom felt compelled to add a couple of years could this mean that the bride was perhaps rather older. Who’s to know!

What the marriage certificate did tell me was that no member from either family was there to witness the marriage. The certificate is signed by the wife of the Registrar and by either the wife or the daughter (they both had the same name) of the tobacconist whose shop was next to the Register Office. This lack of family support may be explained by the next sighting I have of the happy couple – as they became parents of a son (Edward Basil Green) on 27 August 1898. It looks as though Alice Kellie was about seven months pregnant when she married Edward Green.

And that is the last I time I catch sight of Alice Green before she appears 15 years or so later as a friend and supporter of Emily Wilding Davison. I cannot see that either she or her husband were on the electoral roll as inhabitants of 133 Clapham Road and, indeed, cannot spot them in London until they appear on the 1921 electoral roll (with their son) living at Powis Terrace in north Kensington. From 1930 until 1939 Alice and Basil (as her husband was known) continued to  live in this area – now at 13 Colville Mansions.

In the meantime Mrs Green, as well as supporting Emily Davison, had also helped Kitty Marion, being one of three (Dr Violet Jones and Mary Leigh were the others) who took her to Paris on 31 May 1914 to show Christabel Pankhurst the result of the treatment that she had suffered in prison. As Kitty Marion was on the run at the time as a ‘mouse’, Alice Green was taking something of a risk in accompanying her.

In 1915 Mrs Alice Green was secretary of the Emily Davison Club that Mary Leigh had formed to perpetuate their friend’s memory. In October 1915 Mrs Green was one of those who contributed towards Kitty Marion’s fare to the US – the party to bid her farewell was held at the Emily Davison Club. Meetings of the Club were held in 144 High Holborn, which housed the offices of the Women’s Freedom League and the WFL’s Minerva Cafe.  Over a period of years, from the 1920s until at least 1938, the Greens were also, with others, such as Charlotte Despard, Elizabeth Knight, Octavia Lewin, leaseholders of 144 High Holborn.

From her involvement with the suffrage movement I get the impression that Mrs Green was reasonably well off, although I cannot discover how her husband was employed. The family does not appear in the 1911 census – presumably they followed the WFL/WSPU boycott. As a mechanical engineer did he, perhaps, work for the family firm?

Any difficulties there may have been over the shotgun wedding had long since been forgotten. In 1923 Edward Basil Green was left £10,000 in the will of his uncle, Sir Edward Green, and many years later his son was the executor of the will of one of his Green aunts.

It’s not only Alice Green’s birth that is obscure, but, very surprisingly, I cannot even discover when she died. Her husband was living at Minehead when he died in 1958 – but probate was granted to a solicitor (and not, rather surprisingly, to his son) and I haven’t gone so far as to investigate his will.

The career of Alice and Basil Green’s son is rather easier to follow – he became chairman of Doulton, retiring in 1963. I wonder if his descendants have any information about ‘Mrs Alice Green’ – or are aware of the part she played in supporting two of the most militant of the suffragettes?






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Kate Frye’s Diary: Kate’s Wedding Day – 103 Years Ago Today – 9 January 1915

One of the pages from her diary in which Kate describes her wedding day. It was she who attached the photographs

One of the pages from her diary in which Kate describes her wedding day. It was she who attached the photographs

After an engagement of eleven years Kate Frye and John Collins are at last about to be married – in All Saint’s Church, Hove. No wedding photographs were taken so we have to imagine Kate in her ‘best black frock – new boots, my silk hat which is quite pretty – squirrel coat and muff. Agnes’ present [a gold watch and bracelet] has blue stones in it and I borrowed a handkerchief from Mother. I was wearing a mixture of old and new.’ John, of course, wore his officer’s uniform.

The moment of departure arrived, the hiatus between the old life and the new.

 My Wedding Day and my Birthday. 37. 

 ‘Just after 12.30 Mother, Agnes and I left in the taxi for All Saints Church, Hove. We walked up the Church – Mother and I together and she and Agnes went into a seat. Then I saw John coming from the Vestry. I was only conscious that he looked alright and not nervous. I spoke very, very slowly I noticed, as if I were weighing every word – and I said “obey” most deliberately and carefully. I would have rather had it left out altogether but had come to the conclusion that if I had the Church of England marriage service at all there wasn’t much more objection to that one word than to much of the other. That I still object fundamentally to unequal vows is one thing very sure, but it has been so restful not to have to go and argue with the Vicar beforehand, which I meant to do and should have done if I had not been so tied to the house. He would not have altered it I am sure and it would have spoilt all the joy of the good feeling. It probably sounds lazy. One ought to battle for one’s conviction.’

There was no father figure to give Kate away, no best man to support John and no bridesmaids. It was as simple a wedding as could be. Perhaps one All Saints regular might have slipped in a pew, but otherwise Mother and Agnes were the only witnesses. Did Kate have any moment of regret that hers was not a grand wedding? She had witnessed so many over the years as Gilbey, Blyth and Gold brides, bedecked with satin and lace and trailing bridesmaids, were supported up the aisle by their prosperous fathers. She had inspected mountainous displays of presents, listened to the congratulatory speeches and seen the happy couples depart on honeymoon visits to the Italian Lakes, or Paris, or Switzerland or Rome.  But, if there was ever a twinge of disappointment, Kate did not confide it to her diary. She thoroughly enjoyed herself, taking pleasure from everything the day had to offer.

‘Brighton was all en fête as the King and Queen had come to visit the wounded – and as chance would have it when we were turning off the front we saw a little group of people and finding the King was expected we waited for about ten minutes. Then past they came, the King quite deliberately turning to John and returning his salute. It was exciting and on my Wedding day too. I wanted to stop them and tell them all about it.’

Returning to Portland Road from All Saints, which Kate described as ‘such a gorgeous Church – like a small cathedral’, Mr and Mrs John Collins walked up the short tiled path and into number 58. The winter sun shone through the decorative door panels of art-nouveau stained glass as married life at long last began. ‘I just took off my hat and coat and John came upstairs. And John kept kissing me and I said “someone’s coming” in the old way, forgetting it wouldn’t matter.’ For tea ‘we had a wee cake covered with white sugar and I cut it with John’s sword’ and then it was off to Brighton station ‘to catch the 4.40 train. It proved slow – but it didn’t seem to matter – we just sat and hugged each other – Government compels us now-a-days to travel with the blinds down so it was alright.’

From Victoria they took a motor taxi to the Great Central Hotel at Marylebone Station, where they had decided to spend their wedding night. ‘I suggested we had better not pay too much, but it was really rather nice on our arrival not to be consulted and just taken to the first floor – Room No 123. I suggested to John – my husband – that he could go on down while I changed but he flatly refused so he sat and watched me do my hair and then did my dress up for me.

We went straight into dinner about 8.15 and had nine rather bad courses. Very few people there and the room gradually emptied till we were the last. I was hungry and ate quite a lot. Then we strolled round the palm court where a band was playing but we didn’t seem to want people so we went in the drawing- room.

Then we both said we were tired so I said I thought I had better go to bed – it was then 10. John said he would come, but I told him not for twenty minutes. He didn’t like it but gave in and I went and got the key and went up alone. I was so excited – who isn’t at such a moment?

I undressed all backwards and was only just done when John arrived. Ours was a gorgeous room, the bed in an alcove. We had meant to have a fire, it would have been nice, but really the room was so warm we didn’t need it. I laughed at first. Later I shed a tear or two and John would turn up the light to look at me. Then he saw my tears and wept himself. We did try to go to sleep, but I don’t think John had more than two hours and I had considerably less. But we were very, very happy.’

The bill for Kate's two nights of honeymoon - together with the identification number of their room. Although these items were not inserted into the diary, Kate kept them with her other papers for the rest of her life.

The bill for Kate’s two nights of honeymoon – together with the identification number of the room allocated to ‘Capt and Mrs Collins’9. Although these items were not inserted into the diary, Kate kept them with her other papers for the rest of her life.

The Hotel Great Central is still there – now the Landmark Hotel. In 1919 Kate was to renew her acquaintance with it in very different circumstances when it had been turned into a hospital for officers and John was admitted as a patient, seriously ill with Spanish Flu.

[Incidentally – very incidentally –  it was on the site of the  Hotel Grand Central that in the 1870s and 1880s Elizabeth Garrett Anderson ran her first ‘New Hospital for Women’. It was because the houses in which  the hospital operated were due to be demolished to make way for the new station and hotel that she was forced to look elsewhere – eventually selecting the Euston Road site on which to build what became the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital – see Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Gallery.]

Kate’s wedding day was re-enacted in episode 2 of ITV’s The Great War: The People’s Story (shown on 17 August 2014) – in which Romola Garai plays Kate and Tom Turner plays John.

For much more about Kate’s life – as told in her biography, based entirely on her own diary, – see here.



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.


Kate Frye’s Diary: Christmas 1914: 24 December 1914

Kate  is beginning her Christmas holiday. ‘Young Bernard Shaw’ was the son of her cousin, Agnes Shaw (née Gilbey) Shaw. Almost exactly a year later another of Agnes’s sons, Arthur, was killed in France; he was only 19.

The purchases that, with diffidence, Kate showed her mother, were modest items of clothing – mainly underwear – that she had put together as her trousseau. She felt rather guilty about spending money on herself.


Kate c. Christmas 1914

Kate c. Christmas 1914

Thursday December 24th 1914

Up 7.30. Breakfast 8.30 and packed up by 9.30. Off soon after in a Taxi for Victoria and the 10.15 train to Hove. A crowded carriage – otherwise a comfortable journey only so saddened by seeing in the Roll of Honour killed in action young Bernard Shaw – Agnes’s second boy – 21 years old. Such a radiant young life ended and done with and what a heart ache for Agnes. Got a porter to bring my luggage and walked to 58 Portland Road. It was a lovely day though wet under foot. Agnes [her sister] and I took dear love [her little dog] just to see the sea after I had seen my baggage in – my room is messy and bitterly cold.

We sat over the fire all afternoon. Agnes went out after tea and I unpacked and showed Mother my purchases – I was a little diffident – but it went very well. Then Agnes had to see them. Then to a little needlework. Very tired and bed early. It’s a queer sort of Christmas.

KateFor much more about Kate’s life – as told in her biography, based entirely on her own diary, – see here. I rather think you might find it an enthralling Christmas read.


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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Kate Frye’s Diary: Christmas 1914: 23 December

Kate is working at the New Constitutional Society for Women’s Suffrage office in Knightsbridge, superintending the workroom that the society had set up to give employment to women dressmakers thrown out of work by the outbreak of war and the drop in demand for finery. She and John, her fiancé of many years, had at long last decided to get married. The chosen date was to be 9 January 1915, Kate’s birthday. At this time she was living in digs in Pimlico.

Kate c. Christmas 1914

Kate c. Christmas 1914

 Wednesday 23 December 1914

A real busy day at the office getting everything tidied and straightforward for my holiday. Had quite a surprise first thing by a presentation of an Ink Pot from all the girls – so really nice of them. They had given Miss Grey a flower stand – it’s most awfully generous of them. I told Miss Grey later on that I was going to get married and she was very interested and full of good wishes.

Miss Simeon left at lunch time and Gladys who had not come till about 11.30 left at 3.30 – so although I had accepted an invitation to tea up in the Work Room I had to give it up, but they brought mine down – a cup of cocoa and a lots of Scotch cakes made by Miss Grey. The girls were crazy with excitement all day. I had a thorough clear out and tidy up of everything – then locked up – at 5 o’clock. Had such a queer feeling as I came away – like locking my old self within – because probably my old self never will return – if I am married by then it will be so different.

I was rather tired but ate my supper – made up a big fire and started to pack up – had not finished before midnight.


For much more about Kate’s life – as told in her e-book biography – see here -only £1.19 to download from Amazon . I rather think you might find it an enthralling Christmas read.


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