Posts Tagged Houses of Parliament

Kate Frye’s Diary: The Lead-Up To War: 12 July 1914

 

On 7 August 2014 ITV published an e-book, Kate Parry Frye: The Long Life of an Edwardian Actress and Suffragette.  Based on her prodigious diary, this is my account of Kate Frye’s life and was a tie-in with the ITV series ‘The Great War: The People’s Story’. For details of the TV series and its accompanying books see here.

Kate Parry Frye, organiser for the New Constitutional Society for Women’s Suffrage, 1913

As a lead-up to publication I shared some entries from Kate’s diary from the month before the outbreak of war. Through her day-to-day experience we can see how the war stole up on one Everywoman.

Kate was at this time 36 years old, living in a room at 49 Claverton Street in Pimlico and working in the Knightsbridge headquarters of the New Constitutional Society for Women’s Suffrage. It was now nine years since she had become engaged to (minor) actor John Collins. Her father died in March 1914 and her mother and sister, Agnes, now all but penniless, are living in rented rooms in Worthing. John has a room along Claverton Street, at number 11.

Sunday July 12th 1914

It simply came down in sheets. I had a rest and got up late. John came in at 12 – we had meant to go into the country but it was awful and so tiring as there was thunder in the air and every now and again it seemed most oppressive. We went out at 1.30 – bus to Trafalgar Square.

We did not know where to go so dashed in a restaurant in the Haymarket – very expensive and full of smart people – so, as we were anything but smart, it was rather awful. However we had a very good lunch and bore our shabbiness with as much of an air as we could.

It was still pouring when we came out so there was nothing for it but to come back. John did some typing and then we had tea – and went out again at 6. Walked all along the Embankment and over on the other side by St Thomas’ Hospital. The Houses of Parliament do look lovely from there. Over Westminster Bridge and we sat in the Charing Cross Embankment Gardens until 9 when we were turned out.

Then to Appenrodts in the Strand for some supper and a very delicious salad. Back by bus. Not in till 11.30.

 

The view that Kate had of the Houses of Parliament. A colour photograph taken in the evening in 1914 (Courtesy of the National Army Museum/BBC News websites)

The view that Kate had of the Houses of Parliament. A colour photograph taken in the evening in 1914 (Courtesy of the National Army Museum/BBC News websites)

Kate and John’s 12 July 1914 is the epitome of a peaceful, rather boring, London Sunday. I daresay we’ve all spent a day like this. The kind of day when it rains and rains and then clears up for a watery sunlit evening. Neither Kate or John had cooking facilities in the room – hence the regular eating out.

 

 

Appenrodt's flagship restaurant at 1 Coventry Street, London (courtesy of CardCow.com)

Appenrodt’s flagship restaurant at 1 Coventry Street, London (courtesy of CardCow.com)

Hermann Appenrodt had come to London in 1886 from Germany and had launched a very successful chain of delicatessens and restaurants. In 1914 he had three branches in the Strand. Appenrodt also had a branch in Paris which, a little over a month after Kate and John had enjoyed this Sunday supper, wa sto be badly damaged by an anti-German mob.

 

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Collecting Suffrage: The Game of ‘Suffragette’

I will shortly be issuing a new book and ephemera catalogue – number 175. It will comprise books and ephemera by and about women – with special sections on Women’s Suffrage and Women in the First World War. If you would like a copy of the printed or email version please let me know. A short time after these have been sent out, I shall post the catalogue on this website.

The Rules of the Game. ‘The Haunted House’ appears on the reverse of every card

Amongst several rare items that I shall be including in the ‘Women’s Suffrage’ section is ‘The Game of “Suffragette”‘.

This card game was  invented by the Kensington branch of the WSPU, probably in the late summer of 1907, and, as such, is, I think, the earliest of the games that were marketed as a tool of suffragette propaganda. It was described in the second issue of ‘Votes for Women’, November 1907.

The first issue of ‘Votes for Women’, October 1907, had on its cover the picture of the ‘Haunted House’ by David Wilson, which had first appeared in the ‘Daily Chronicle’ in April 1907. Depicting a seated woman brooding over the Houses of Parliament, a demand for ‘Votes for Women’ in her hand, this image appears on the reverse of every card in this game – and on the base of the box.  David Wilson (1873-1935)  was an Irish-born illustrator, soon to become chief cartoonist for ‘The Graphic’.

The game comprises 54 cards (all present) divided into 13 sets of 4 cards each – one of the odd ones being known as ‘The Bill’ – and the other a spare which has been used to record the score of a game played long ago by 6 people, designated by their initials. All the sets have names: eg. Prominent Supporters, Arguments, Freewomen, Voteless Women etc – and each card poses a series of questions. Some of the cards also carry photographs – of Christabel Pankhurst, Annie Kenney, Mrs Fawcett, Elizabeth Robins, Israel Zangwill, and Mary Gawthorpe. 

Along with the cards – and the original box – is the original, all-important, set of rules. These describe in detail the various ways in which the game can be played – it seems very inventive.

 

This is an incredibly scarce item. Although I wrote of it in The Women’s Suffrage Movement: a reference guide, this is the first set I have ever seen.  An amazing survival.

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