1. KENT, Susan Sex and Suffrage in Britain, 1860-1914 Princeton University Press 1987
Fine in d/w (which has one slight nick)
2. PROBERT, Laura Women of Kent Rally to the Cause: a study of women’s suffrage in East Kent 1909-1918 Millicent Press 2008
Soft covers – fine
3. 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.
4. VAN HELMOND, Marij Votes for Women: events on Merseyside 1870-1928 National Museums & Galleries on Merseyside 1992
Soft covers – fine
5. PANKHURST, Christabel Unshackled: the story of how we won the vote Hutchinson 1959
Edited by Frederick Pethick-Lawrence and published after Christabel Pankhurst’s death, this is her ‘take’ on the suffragette campaign. This copy once belonged to Joan Wickham (for information about her, see below), a some-time secretary to Emmeline Pankhurst and WSPU organizer. First edition, very good in torn d/w. This edition is now quite scarce.
6. PANKHURST, E. SYLVIA The Suffragette Movement: an intimate account of persons and ideals Longmans, Green & Co 1931
First edition of this extremely influential history of the suffrage movement. This copy belonged to Joan Wickham, an important WSPU organiser in the later years of the suffragette campaign and, later, a friend of Sylvia Pankhurst (for information about Joan see below). It is inscribed on the free front endpaper ‘With regards and best wishes from the author E. Sylvia Pankhurst’. Very good and tight internally – in original cloth binding, a little marked and with one small abrasion on the front hinge edge of the spine
7. (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
8. (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
9. (PANKHURST) David Mitchell Queen Christabel: biography of Christabel Pankhurst MacDonald and Jane’s 1977
Good in d/w – ex-library, free front end paper removed
10. [PANKHURST] E. SYLVIA PANKHURST The Life of Emmeline Pankhurst: the suffragette struggle for women’s citizenship T. Werner Laurie 1935
Biography of Emmeline Pankhurst, by her daughter. This copy belonged to Joan Wickham, one-time WSPU organiser and friend of Sylvia Pankhurst (for information about her see below), and carries the inscription, in a youthful hand, ‘To Mummy from Mary Elizabeth Dec 1st ’35’. Mary Elizabeth [Hodgson] was Joan’s daughter, 1 December was Joan’s birthday – thus, a thoughtful birthday present. Quite a scarce book. In very good condition, with an image cut from the dustwrapper (of Mrs Pankhurst arrested at the gates of Buckingham Palace in 1914) pasted to back paste-down and the caption for the image pasted on the free rear endpaper. Joan has made two marginal pencil marks on one page – relating to activity in 1913.
11. (TYSON) Anne Ward No Stone Unturned: the story of Leonora Tyson, a Streatham suffragette Local History Publications 2005
She was a very active member of the WSPU. Soft covers – 28pp. Scarce
12. (WEBB) Richard Harrison Richard Davis Webb: Dublin Quaker Printer (805-72) Red Barn Publishing 1993
Webb was a committed anti-slavery campaigner, whose family were very involved in the Irish women’s suffrage campaign. A brief biography. Soft covers – very good condition
13. GRAY, LESLEY The King’s Jockey Solis Press 2013
A novel centring on the life of the jockey who was riding the King’s Horse at the 1913 Derby, colliding with Emily Wilding Davison. Soft covers – fine condition
14. LUCAS, E.V. Mr Ingleside Methuen, 15th ed, no date 1910/1912?)
A novel with suffrage scenes. Only a reading copy – cloth worn – backstrip loose
15. 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
16. 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.
17. 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
18. ELMY, Elizabeth Wostenholme Woman’s Franchise: the need of the hour ILP 2nd ed, no date 
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 (duplicate)
19. INTERNATIONAL WOMAN SUFFRAGE CONGRESS
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
20. MISS EMILY FAITHFULL
studio photograph by W & D Downey, 57 & 61 Ebury Street, London, together with a printed brief biography.
21. 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
22. 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
#23 NUWSS badge
23. NATIONAL UNION OF WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE SOCIETIES BADGE
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
#24 NUWSS Shield
24. NATIONAL UNION OF WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE SOCIETIES LARGE, HEAVY WOODEN SHIELD
Aross 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 sheilds available, ‘with heraldic devices’ -soquite different from this one with the NUWSS ‘tree’ image. A shield certainly unique to the North-Eastern Federation – in good condition.
25. POLITICAL INFORMATION OFFICES FOR WOMEN Objects
A one-sided leaflet setting out the Objects of the Political Information Offices for Women and describing how it was ‘ready to supply speakers to give short informative addresses on subjects connected with the local and parliamentary vote, and political procedure.’ Speakers would also be able available to give information on ‘reconstruction problems’.
I can find no record of anyone writing about this organisation. My research indicates that it was in existence by Nov 1918 (at the time of the first general election at which some women could vote)…and its aims were to provide women with a political education. The organisation appears to have been short-lived; the last notice I can find of it dates from mid-1920. Among the names of speakers that appear in newspaper notices, I recognise only one, Clementina Gordon, who had been an NUWSS organiser before the First World War.I can find no mention of who were the principals behind the organisation. Perhaps someone knows? The printer of the leaflet is J.E. Francis, a long-standing supporter of women’s suffrage. In very good condition, a little creased across one corner. Unusual
26. PUNCH CARTOON
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.’
27. PUNCH CARTOON
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
28. PUNCH CARTOON
1 January 1908. ‘Leap-Year: or, the Irrepressible Ski’. A suffragette, attired in her winter furs and scarves, sails through the air on her skis (both labelled ‘Agitation’) and carrying her ‘Votes for Women’ pennant. Full page – good
29. PUNCH CARTOON
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
30. PUNCH CARTOON
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
31. PUNCH CARTOON
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
32. PUNCH CARTOON
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
33. PUNCH CARTOON
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
34. PUNCH CARTOON
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
35. PUNCH CARTOON
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
36. PUNCH CARTOON
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
37. PUNCH CARTOON
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
38. PUNCH CARTOON
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
39. PUNCH CARTOON
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
40. PUNCH CARTOON
6 January 1909. ‘Hereditary Instinct’ is the caption. Suffragette mother, in her outdoor dress, takes time ‘from really important things’ to visit the nursery and finds her daughter distraught amidst a plethora of exciting-looking toys. When Mother asks what, with all these toys, can she possibly want she replies, ‘I want a vote!’ Half-page cartoon – very good
41. PUNCH CARTOON
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
42. QUESTIONS TO LLOYD GEORGE ASKED BY THE WOMEN’S SOCIAL AND POLITICAL UNION
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
#43 WSPU Banner
43. SUFFRAGETTE BANNER – ‘VOTES FOR WOMEN IN 1912’
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..
44. SUFFRAGETTE CHINA – ‘ANGEL OF FREEDOM’ DESIGN
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 – http://tinyurl.com/o4whadq. This piece originally belonged to a well-known suffragette. In very good condition – would be ‘fine’ but the ‘Angel of Freedom’ motif is very slightly faded
45. SUFFRAGETTE CHINA – ‘ANGEL OF FREEDOM’ DESIGN
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 – http://tinyurl.com/o4whadq. This piece originally belonged to a well-known suffragette. In very good condition – would be ‘fine’ but there is a small crack to the surface of the saucer. This slight blemish does not penetrate through to the reverse.
46. SUFFRAGETTE CHINA – ‘ANGEL OF FREEDOM’ DESIGN
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 – http://tinyurl.com/o4whadq. This piece originally belonged to a well-known suffragette. In fine condition
#47 WSPU sugar bowl
47. SUFFRAGETTE CHINA – ‘ANGEL OF FREEDOM’ DESIGN
Sugar bowl 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 sugar bowl is decorated with 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. The china was sold as sets – several cups, saucers and plates accompanied by one teapot and one sugar bowl and so, naturally, sugar bowls are something of a rarity. For more information on the WSPU china see my website – http://tinyurl.com/o4whadq. In fine condition
#48 WSPU Milk Jug
48. SUFFRAGETTE CHINA – ‘ANGEL OF FREEDOM’ DESIGN
Milk Jug from the tea set designed by Sylvia Pankhurst, with the ‘Angel of Freedom’ device. Made by Williams of Longton, Staffordshire, for use in the tea room at the WSPU Exhibition, 1909. 5″/12.7cm high. Vert rare – in fine condition
#49 WSPU Saucer
49. SUFFRAGETTE CHINA – ‘ANGEL OF FREEDOM’ DESIGN
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 – http://tinyurl.com/o4whadq. This piece originally belonged to a well-known suffragette Mrs Rose Lamartine Yates. In fine condition
50. SUFFRAGETTE CHINA – ‘ANGEL OF FREEDOM’ DESIGN
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 – http://tinyurl.com/o4whadq. One each of cup, saucer and plate – a trio. The cup has a tiny chip to the inside and a couple of hairline cracks near the handle – none of which would show if displayed with the Angel of Freedom device facing out. The plate and saucer are in fine condition. Please ask for photographs, if interested. Together-
51. THE CONCILIATION BILL EXPLAINED
Leaflet headed ‘Votes for Women’, probably dating from 1910. settng out the contents of the Conciliation Bill, which had passed its Second Reading in July 1910, and explaining details,such as which groups of women would be enfranchised under tis terms. Printed by Baines and Scarsbrook, 75 Fairfax Road, South Hampstead and with the rubber stamp of the WFL [Women’s Freedom League] 1 Robert St, Adelphi. In pristine condition, having been found laid betwen the pages of a book.
52. ‘THE END OF THE HUNGER STRIKE. SHE COULDN’T RESIST THAT! PLASMON OATS’
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 very 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
53. THE FIGHTING SEX
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
54. 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
55. ‘THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN’
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.
56. WSPU A WOMEN’S DEMONSTRATION TO WELCOME MRS PANKHURST ON HER RETURN FROM AMERICA.
Held at the Royal Albert Hall on Thursday Dec 9, 1909 at 8 o’clock. Speakers were Mrs Pankhurst and Christabel Pankhurst. 4-page leaflet printed in purple on white paper, with Sylvia Pankhurst’s device of the women emerging from the prison gates printed in purple, white and green. On the second page is a list of the women to whom Mrs Pankhurst presented ‘the medal for vvalour’ – ie the hunger-strike medal, who ‘during her absence in the United States, have suffered Imprisonment, carried through the Huner Strike, and, as a consequence, have in many cases endured the terrible ordeal of Feeding by Force.’ There follows a list of c 40 names. Page 3 calls for helpers in the upcoming General Election and for money to run the campaign – highlighting the necessity of selling copies of ‘Votes for Women’ to raise funds. The 4th – back -page gives notice of Free Public Meetiings every Monday afternoon at the Queen’s Hall and on Tursday evenings at St James’s Hall, Great Portland Street. An important, lovely, and scarce leaflet – in fine, bright condition
57. WSPU BADGE
– circular – celluloid – in purple, white and green – showing Sylvia Pankhurst’s design of the woman breaking free from her prison cell – enwrapped in a Votes for Women’ ribbon. The badge is in fine condition and still has on the reverse the paper bearing the maker’s details – Pellett Ltd, 62 High Holborn. The Pellett family had businesses at that address since at least the 1860s. In fine condition – very scarce – I don’t think I have had one of these badges for sale before.
58. WSPU CORONATION PROCESSION – 17 JUNE 1911
Souvenir tissue printed by Mrs Sarah Burgess, 18 York Place, Strand, to commemorate the WSPU’s Coronation Procession. It reproduces images of many of the speakers and gives details of the contingents taking part – including the Historical Pageant of Women – and gives details of the route. The border is a blaze of brightly coloured patriotic flags linked by now rather faded floral devices. The tissue is in good condition and has already been framed. I don’t think I have ever previously had such a commemoration of the Coronation Procession for sale.
59. WSPU PROGRAMME AND SOUVENIR
commemorative WSPU paper tissue souvenir for the 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. Interestingly this tissue souvenir differs from the one, printed by Mrs S Burgess, that we more usually see. The edges of this paper souvenir are deckled and the images of the speakers are reproductions of real photographs (rather than Mrs Burgess’ line-drawings). It was this design that was used on posters advertising the demonstration. See also item ??. It’s interesting that there were two different souvenir programmes issued.. A supremely ephemeral annd scarce piece- already framed, protecting its fragility
#60 Scottish WSPU Saucer
60. WSPU SCOTTISH BRANCH CHINA – SAUCER
Saucer designed by Sylvia Pankhurst for use at the refreshment stall at the Scottish WSPU Exhibition held in Glasgow at the end of April 1910. Here Sylvia’s ‘angel of freedom’, used on the china for the 1909 WSPU London exhibition, is allied, on white china, with the Scottish thistle, handpainted, in purple and green, inside transfer outlines.The Scottish version was commissioned from the Diamond China Co, a Longton (staffordshire) pottery. After the exhibition the china 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’. This saucer has a slight crack, hence the comparatively low price…. this Scottish WSPU china is extremely rare.
Miss Chapman’s Suffrage Collection
The items in this section all belonged to a ‘Miss Chapman’. Helpfully, within the collection were a few postcards addressed to her at ’11 Bristol Gardens, Maida Vale, London W’. From this I was able to establish, from the London Electoral Register, that she was ‘Miss Louisa Chapman’. 11 Bristol Gardens is a large, stuccoed house, built c 1840s/1850s in the ‘Little Venice’ area of Paddington. The house and its neighbours, themselves rather stately, face onto a row of slightly later buildings, with shops below and flats above. Doubtless built with single families in mind, by the early years of the 20th century number 11, like its neighbours, was in multiple occupation.
The fact that Louisa Chapman was on the electoral register means that she was over 21, was a ratepayer, and probably occupied one or two unfurnished rooms in the house. However, single, independent women with a not-uncommon name and with no obvious links in the official records to family or friends are as ghosts. Despite many hours of determined effort, following all possibilities, I have been unable to furnish Louisa Chapman with a reliable back story. She is not at the Bristol Gardens address on the night of the 1911 census (in his listing the enumerator has noted as ‘uninhabited’ one of the apartments in the property). I, of course, immediately assumed that, as she was clearly a WSPU supporter, she was boycotting the census. But, equally, she may that night just happened to be visiting family or a friend. For whatever reason, the 1911 census is no help in identifying her. During my research I delved deeply into one ‘Louisa Chapman’ who I thought might be a possibility, but I was, alas, unable to substantiate the identification with any certainty.
From the evidence of the items in the collection I am sure that Louisa Chapman was a supporter of the WSPU from its early years in London. Some of the postcards she collected date to 1907, before the break with the WFL. She may have been the Miss Chapman who the early suffrage paper, Women’s Franchise, noted as helping to organise the WSPU canvass of women householders in Paddington in September 1907. This Miss Chapman was living then at 53 Walterton Road, a 15-minute walk from Bristol Gardens, although she doesn’t appear there on the Electoral Register.
But, certainly, by June 1908 ‘our’ Miss Louisa Chapman was a devoted WSPU follower – probably purchasing the motor scarf, neck tie, and rosette to wear as she walked in the ‘Women’s Sunday’ procession. The name ‘Miss L. Chapman’ does appear occasionally in the list of contributions to WSPU funds, but whether they were from ‘our’ Miss Chapman it’s impossible to tell. There is no mention of ‘our’ Miss Chapman in Votes for Women or The Suffragette. Nor does she appear in listings of arrested suffragettes. In fact, I can find no mention of any likely Miss Louisa Chapman in any newspapers in the British Newspaper Archive.
Cards written to her indicate that as late as 1913 Miss Chapman was still very much a suffragette supporter. Alas, the names of the senders – ‘Nannie’, ‘Austen’, the latter perhaps a child – provide no substantial clues as to Miss Chapman’s identity .I don’t, of course, know whether it was Miss Chapman herself who crocheted the ‘Votes for Women’ evening bag or whether she perhaps bought it at a fund-raising fair– but it certainly indicates a certain sense of style. I noted from a couple of the postcards that she did have French friends living in London – and, from one of the cards a hint is given that she knew at least some French – and I wondered in passing if she might have been associated with the dressmaking or millinery trade.
I do wish I could have uncovered more about Miss Chapman. She is the embodiment of the WSPU foot soldier, one of thousands who gave their support to the suffrage campaign and whose existence, without these relics, would be entirely forgotten.
#61 Miss Chapman’s WSPU bag
61. WSPU EVENING BAG
A totally delightful evening bag, crocheted in purple, with a cream silk lining. The front features a purple, white, and green lozenge, formed from one of the ribbon badges, printed with ‘Votes for Women’, that were sold by the WSPU. Exactly-matching purple ribbon is threaded through to form a delicate holding strap. I wonder if this was made by Miss Chapman herself, or if she bought it at a WSPU bazaar? It is most certainly home, rather than factory, made. It is an item such as one dreams of finding, so beautiful and so intimate. I am including with the bag, for the sake of provenance, a comic suffragette postcard, postmarked 1913 and addressed to Miss Chapman. The bag is in fine condition, the ‘Votes for Women’ ribbon as bright as ever I have seen.
#62 Miss Chapman’s Neck Piece
62. WSPU NECK PIECE
A length of purple, white, and green woven ribbon, from which gold tassels dangle from the two ends. I hardly like to call it a tie, as this gives the wrong impression – but it was worn around the neck, as modelled by Christabel Pankhurst on 13 October 1908, when being arrested by Inspector Jarvis, along with her mother and Flora Drummond, in Clements Inn. The item is in fine condition, with no fraying, the colours vibrant. I have never seen one of these for sale before. I am including with the piece, for the sake of provenance, a comic suffragette postcard, postmarked 1913 and addressed to Miss Chapman.
#63 WSPU Rosette
63. WSPU ROSETTE, WITH ‘VOTES FOR WOMEN’ BADGE
Purple, white, and green silk WSPU rosette, such as were advertised for sale at 6d each by the Women’s Press in ‘Votes for Women’ (eg see issue of 14 May 1909). To this rosette has been added a small ‘Votes for Women’ badge. This badge is an early example, being on a stick pin, under an inch across, printed black on a white background. The rosette is 2½” (6.5 cm) across and, with its trailing ribbons, c 6″ (15 cm) long. It is in fine, bright condition, with only a little fraying to the bottom edge of one of its ribbon lengths. I have never had such a rosette for sale before. I am including with the rosette and badge, for the sake of provenance, a comic suffragette postcard, postmarked 1913 and addressed to Miss Chapman.
Joan Wickham’s Suffrage Collection
[Alice] Joan Wickham ( 1888-1966) was the younger daughter of Henry Wickham, a member of a wealthy Yorkshire family (owners of the Low Moor Iron Company) and sometime army officer, and Lady Ethelreda Caroline Gordon, daughter of the 10th Marquess of Huntly. Joan lived with her family at Cotterstock Hall, Oundle, Northamptonshire, tended by about 12 indoor servants, and was educated at home by a succession of French and German governesses, learning to speak both languages. In the early years of the 20th century Joan was much in demand as a bridesmaid, filling that role at the fashionable weddings of number of her cousins. She was presented at Court in May1908 and over the years appeared on the guest list of balls and charity fetes as well as on the hunting field. However, despite this way of life, entirely conventional for a young woman of her background, Joan’s grandson described how ’she continued her studies of history and literature and became involved in the activities of the Fabian Society…She was much influenced by the writings of Ruskin, Morris, Beatrice and Sidney Well, Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells and others. She began to contrast the lifestyle of her parents’ rich friends with those who worked to provide their income.’
At some point, certainly by 1912, perhaps earlier, she left Cotterstock Hall in order to live in London, probably in Chelsea, because it is as a member of the Chelsea Women’s Social and Political Union that we first encounter her, making a donation to the WSPU in March 1912. By June she was appearing locally as a speaker for the WSPU and in the summer devoted four weeks to suffrage campaigning for the WSPU in Scotland. In January 1913 she had an article, ‘Evolution and the Cause of Women’, published in the left-leaning Daily Herald; a week earlier she had been out hunting in Northamptonshire. The following month, at a time when WSPU militancy was increasing and more and more suffragettes were being arrested and imprisoned, she was appointed ‘Prisoners’ Organiser’, working from WSPU headquarters in Lincoln’s Inn House. She continued as a speaker for the WSPU in and around London, in March meeting a fusillade of eggs, earth and stones at one meeting in Hyde Park. In April she was appointed secretary for the WSPU Summer Festival and appears to have carried out this post with aplomb, the Festival considered a great success. She was Group Captain of one of the sections in Emily Wilding Davison’s funeral procession through London and one of the few WSPU members to accompany the coffin on the train to Morpeth.
Joan’s commitment and efficiency was clearly appreciated, her station in society perhaps adding to her appeal, for in September 1913 it was as the agent/secretary for Mrs Pankhurst that she sailed to America. Mrs Pankhurst followed a little later, after Joan had arranged a series of lectures for her across the US. They sailed back together on the White Star liner, Majestic, arriving off Plymouth on 4 December, where Mrs Pankhurst was arrested under the Cat and Mouse Act. During the journey from New York to Plymouth Mrs Pankhurst and Joan had been accompanied by an American journalist, Rheta Childe Dorr [entered on the Majestic’s manifest as Eliza Child-Dor], who had been commissioned by W.F.Bigelow, /editor of Good Housekeeping, to gather material from interviews with Mrs Pankhurst (she had also travelled with her on ship to New York in October) with the intention of ghosting her autobiography. This was serialised in Good Housekeeping, in issues running from December 1913 to July 1914.
Among the small number of first-class passengers also travelling on the Majestic was a British engineer, John Lawrence Hodgson [entered on the Majestic’s manifest as ‘Lawrence Hodgson], who engaged Mrs Pankhurst in conversations during the voyage, afterwards writing them up as a lengthy ‘report’ of them. This lies at the heart of the Wickham collection. Hodgson had been staying with Poultney Bigelow at his house at Malden-on Hudson [‘Bigelow, Malden-on-Hudson, Mrs Pankhurst, Majestic, 1913’is written, presumably in Hodgson’s hand, on the front of a folder than accompanies the collection. I am not sure what Poultney Bigelow’s connection was with William Bigelow, editor of Good Housekeeping] not long before his departure from the US, and the photographs he took on the Majestic were taken with a camera given to him by Bigelow. He was present at a WSPU meeting in London a few days later (on, I think, 7 December), which used the fact of Mrs Pankhurst’s arrest as another fund-raising opportunity – a means of raising a ‘Great Collection’ – at which Joan spoke from the platform.
In early 1914 Joan went to Ireland as a WSPU organiser, based in Dublin, speaking at meetings across Ireland. In June, with Dorothy Evans, she infiltrated Sir Edward Carson’s house and confronted him in his dining room, before being ejected by servants, and on 31 July, with others, set a bomb that caused an explosion in Lisburn Cathedral. She was arrested, sent to Crumlin Road Prison, went on hunger strike but was released without being sentenced under the general amnesty offered to suffragettes after the outbreak of war.
During the war Joan continued working with the Pankhursts, was one of the speakers at the War Work Procession in July 1915, in September 1915 accompanied Mrs Pankhurst on a recruitment drive in south Wales, and in January 1916 sailed with Mrs Pankhurst to New York, again as her secretary, although this time the cause was ‘Serbian Relief’ rather than ‘Votes for Women. According to her grandson, she was involved in the organisation of the female work force when the new munitions factory was set up in Gretna; there certainly is at least one photograph associated with Gretna in the collection.
In June 1918 Joan Wickham married John Hodgson, settled in Eggington, Bedfordshire, and eventually had three children. Immediately before and after her marriage Joan befriended Olive Schreiner, whom John had first met in 1911 when he was working in South Africa and with whom he renewed acquaintance after she came to live in England in 1914. Joan Hodgson contributed a short memoir of Schreiner to Cronwright Schreiner’s Olive Schreiner (1924). In the 1920s and 1930s Joan was a member of the Labour Party, standing for election at least once (1931) as a Labour candidate in the Bedfordshire County Council elections. and was a friend of Sylvia Pankhurst.
John Hodgson died in 1936, after which Joan moved to a house she had built – ‘Journey’s End’, near Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. During the Second World War she worked in a munitions factory in Wales.
64. JOAN WICKHAM/HODGSON COLLECTION
The Joan Wickham/Hodgson Collection comprises:
1) Typescript by John Hodgson, signed by him and dated 15 December 1913. 42 foolscap pages, with some hand-written corrections. The top half of the first page has been damaged by damp, the other pages are in very much better condition. Despite the damage, the words on the first page are legible. Accompanying this original document is a typed copy made by John Hodgson’s grandson in 2014.John Hodgson’s account, in the form of a letter to an unnamed fried, is of his encounter with Mrs Pankhurst (and Joan Wickham) on the Majestic, sailing from New York to Plymouth in November/December 1913. ‘After arriving on board, an apologetic steward, after conveying to me the captain’s compliments, still more apologetically asked if I had any objections to be seated opposite to Mrs Pankhurst at the Captain’s table….My first meeting with her was on deck the next afternoon I found her a deck chair, and….wrapped her up in the grey rug my Mother had given me when I started out on this American trip. She seemed so delicate and so fragile, although my views on the Suffrage question were broadly those of Alleyne Ireland, Bigelow and yourself, namely that Militant methods had little or nothing to commend them, all my chivalry went out to her and I seemed from the very beginning to want to shield and protect her…’ In the tss Hodgson reports conversations with Mrs Pankhurst on Militant Methods, on venereal disease, prostitution, how she bore imprisonment, with mentions of Christabel and Sylvia, the unfairness of the economic treatment of women, etc. Hodgson amplifies his report of his encounters with Mrs Pankhurst with a long series of relevant notes, drawing on information gathered during his travels.
2) Large ring binder compiled by John Hodgson. The first section comprises sheets of paper onto which are pasted copies of woodcuts and cartoons. The second section is, in effect, a photograph album – containing a number of photographs taken on board the Majestic in Dec 1913 – showing Mrs Pankhurst, Joan Wickham, Rheta Childe Dorr, John Hodgson and two more men (identified in the separate photograph that is included in the collection), photographs of Joan Wickham c1913-18, real photographic postcards of Mrs Pankhurst, Mrs Dacre Fox and, presumably, Joan Wickham, after they had been down a mine near Tonypandy, while on a recruiting drive around the south Wales coalfields in September 1915. Joan Wickham was one of the organisers. In addition, there are dated newspaper cuttings of the event, an autographed portrait postcard photograph of Mrs Pankhurst, a photograph taken of (I am sure, though the figures are not identified) Joan and her mother in Court dress, presumably when she was Presented at Court in May 1908, a photograph of Poultney Bigelow, signed with a message to Hodgson, who, it indicates, had been staying at Malden-on-Hudson c 4 Nov 1913, together with many family photographs.
3) ‘1916’ – (typescript, 53 foolscap pages) -a series of articles – perhaps one could describe them as ‘reveries’ – written by Joan Wickham and dated January 1917, at Cotterstock Hall, Oundle, Northamptonshire. In these she muses on the state of the world, a world at war, England, Empire, the dreams of youth, the horror of the ‘War Telegram’ [‘That was what it meant to be alive, and a woman, in 1916’], Freedom, Serbia, etc. The ‘Olive Schreiner Letters Online’ [https://www.oliveschreiner.org/] website contains several letters from John Hodgson, written during the First World War, in which he prevails, unsuccessfully, on Olive Schreiner to read articles written by Joan Wickham. Joan’s style may well have been influenced by that of Schreiner.
4) A collection of loose photographs – including:
A photograph taken by John Hodgson on 4 December 1913 and annotated by him – of Mrs Pankhurst, Rheta Childe Dorr, Joan Wickham, Hodgson – and 2 Americans – on the deck of the Majestic ‘just before we got into Plymouth’.
A photograph of Sylvia Pankhurst, printed as a postcard. It is annotated on the reverse ‘Sylvia Pankhurst by J.L.J. [John Lawrence Hodgson] 18.7.31.’
A photograph taken by John Hodgson of his son, Gordon, playing in a garden with Richard Pankhurst.
A group photograph of women in uniform – wearing munition worker badges. They are definitely of the ‘officer class’ -perhaps WAACs – and Joan Wickham is probably one of the group – which was probably taken at Gretna.
Plus 13 other Wickham/Hodgson family photographs
5) Sale details of Cotterstock Hall, Northants, 1961 – after the death of Joan’s mother
6) Inventory of the contents of ‘Journey’s End’, Shothanger Way, Bovingdon, Herts – possibly after the death of Joan Hodgson
7) Short (3pp) tss memoir of Joan Wickham by her son, Gordon Hodgson plus, some further info (NB some facts are not entirely accurate)
Photographs from Joan Wickham’s Collection
65. MRS DESPARD portrait photograph by Lena Connell, 50 Grove End Road, NW – mounted on stiff brown card – published by The Suffrage Shop, the card embossed with the shop’s monogram. This once belonged to Joan Wickham. Fine
66. MRS EMMELINE PANKHURST
– a beautiful, head and shoulders, photograph taken in New York in 1913 at the Underwood and Underwood Studio and signed in ink ‘E. Pankhurst’. This was clearly treasured by its owner, Joan Wickham, who had arranged Mrs Pankhurst’s tour of the US. In fact, she probably organised the visit to the photographer’s studio. She had framed the photograph – but the passe partout around the edges of the frame is now, after 107 years, no longer fit for purpose and the photograph will benefit from the attention of a professional framer. Extremely scarce – with a provenance that could hardly be more interesting and relevant.
Real Photographic Postcards from Joan Wickham’s Collection
67. CHRISTABEL PANKHURST
photographed probably post-First World War – I have seen an image on Google images that may be from the same sitting and is dated to 1926.. She is shown in profile, wearing a blouse with a wide collar. The image is set in an oval, on stiff brown card – rather like that used by Lena Connell, but no photographer is noted. The card was once owned by Joan Wickham. An unusual image. Fine – unposted
68. MRS DACRE FOX
photographed by Lena Connell, 50 Grove End Road, NW. Joan Wickham worked alongside Norah Dacre Fox in the WSPU and during the First World War. Their political sympathies proved to be very different. The card was once owned by Joan Wickham. Fine – unposted.
69. MRS EMMELINE PANKHURST
studio portrait photograph by F. Kehrhahn, Bexleyheath, possibly dating from c. 1912-1914. A head-and shoulders image – she is wearing an evening-style dress, a rather magnificent necklace, and a decorative band across her hair. It is an unusual image of her, taken by a photographer who often photographed WSPU occasions (or a post about Kehrhahn on my website see https://wp.me/p2AEiO-ge). Interestingly, although so recognisable, the card doesn’t carry her name – or any link to the WSPU. On the reverse of the card is written ‘Mrs Pankhurst’. It was once owned by Joan Wickham. Fine – unposted
70. MRS PANKHURST and her organisers, who included Mrs Dacre Fox and Joan Wickham, photographed at a south Wales coalmine in September 1915. I think it was at Tonypandy – and they had just been down the mine. The photograph shows coal trucks in the background and includes an assortment of mine officials (I presume). A most unusual image – once owned by Joan Wickham. Fine – unposted
71. MRS PANKHURST and her organisers, who included Mrs Dacre Fox and Joan Wickham, photographed at a south Wales coalmine in September 1915. I think it was at Tonypandy – and they had just been down the mine. The photograph shows the women holding miner’s lamps – and surrounded by mining machinery – and mining officials. Most unusual – once owned by Joan Wickham. Fine – unposted
72. SYLVIA PANKHURST an informal snapshot, probably taken by John Hodgson in the mid-1920s. Once owned by Joan Hodgson (nee Wickham). Very good
73. SYLVIA PANKHURST with shingled hair, wearing glasses, photographed by John Hodgson in the mid-1920s – and printed as a postcard. Most unusual – once owned by Joan Hodgson (nee Wickham). Goodish- with a diagonal crease across lower quarter -unposted
Isabel Seymour’s Suffrage 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 https://wp.me/p2AEiO-g2.] 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.
74.  WSPU VOTES FOR WOMEN LEAFLETS NO 4 A CAMPAIGN FUND
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
75. [1907 12 FEBRUARY] WSPU CONVERSAZIONE AT THE ROOMS OF THE SOCIETY OF ARTISTS
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
76. [1908 13 OCTOBER] PHOTOGRAPH OF POLICEMEN IN CLEMENTS INN
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’.
77.  WSPU POLITICAL PEEPSHOWS (POLITICAL CARTOONS IN MODEL)
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, just 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
78. [1910 15 JANUARY] DRUMMERS’ UNION
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
79.  WSPU OLD LONDON CRIES SUNG AT THE CHRISTMAS FAIR AND FETE HELD BY THE WOMEN’S SOCIAL AND POLITICAL UNIION AT THE PORTMAN ROOMS, DECEMBER 4TH TO 9TH 1911
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
80. [1946 19 MARCH] SUFFRAGETTE FELLOWSHIP AT HOME
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
81. LADY CONSTANCE LYTTON
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
82. 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 a few nicks
83. PANKHURST, Christabel A Challenge Woman’s Press
‘Miss Pankhurst’s unpublished Article in this week’s ‘Votes for Women’, 8 March 1912. This was the week that Christabel eluded the police and escaped to Paris – and ‘Votes for Women’ was censored. The article that was to have been included was, instead, issued by the WSPU as a leaflet. It ends by promising ‘Repression will make the fire of rebellion burn brighter. Harsher punishment will be a direct invitation to more drastic acts of militancy.Two-sided leaflet issued by the WSPU (28cm high x 20cm wide) – very good – a little creasing – very scarce
84. ROYAL COURT THEATRE PROGRAMME ‘VOTES FOR WOMEN! A DRAMATC TRACT IN THREE ACTS BY ELIZABETH ROBINS
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
85. ‘THE SPEAKERS’ CLASSES UNDER THE DIRECTION OF MISS ROSA LEO
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 enlarge 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
End of Isabel Seymour collection
Suffrage Postcards – Real Photographic
86. MISS ALICE SCHOFIELD (Organiser) Women’s Freedom League WFL
An early WFL card – the address printed on the card is 18 Buckingham Street, Strand (ie before the move to 1 Robert St in 1908). Alice Schofield, influenced by Teresa Billington, had been a very early member of the WSPU, but with Teresa left the WSPU in 1907 and by 1908 was a paid WFL organizer. A postcard from the Postcard Album compiled by Women’s Freedom League members Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson.. A scarce card – in fine unposted condition
87. CHRISTABEL PANKHURST
photographed by Lambert Weston and Son, 27 New Bond St. I think the card dates from c 1907/8. Fine – unposted
88. CHRISTABEL PANKHURST
photographed by Lizzie Caswell Smith, 309 Oxford Street, London W. Head and shoulders oval portrait, The caption is ‘Miss Christabel Pankhurst The Women’s Social and Political Union 4 Clement’s Inn, London WC. It was published by Sandle Bros. The card has been pinned up at its four corners and then roughly removed leaving holes – but in no way affecting the image. Another example of the same card, also a little nicked and creased. This soulful image seems be have been the most venerated. Each
89. LADY CONSTANCE LYTTON
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’.
90. MISS GLADICE KEEVIL
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
91. MRS BORRMANN WELLS WFL
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
92. MRS BORRMANN WELLS WFL
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
93. MRS COBDEN SANDERSON WFL
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
94. MRS COBDEN SANDERSON WFL
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
95. MRS EMMELINE PANKHURST
photograph by F. Kehrhahn & Co, Bexleyheath. She is wearing one of the WSPU shield-shaped badges – and looks very beautiful. The sitter isn’t identified, but Mrs Pankhurst is unmistakable. The photograph had been taken at the same time – or had been cropped from and reproduced as a separate image – as a full length portrait (#14536). The card was published by Kehrhahn – about whom you can find out more here https://wp.me/p2AEiO-ge. Unusual – probably dates from c 1909. In fine condition
96. MRS LILIAN M. HICKS
– photographed by Lena Connell – an official Women’s Freedom League photographic postcard. Mrs Hicks had been an early member of the WSPU, but left to join the WFL in the 1907 split, returning in 1910 to the WSPU. Fine – unposted
97. MRS PANKHURST
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
98. ANNIE KENNEY
– an early postcard, I think, No photographer or publisher is credited. She is wearing a blouse with elaborate lace yoke and deep lace cuffs – and is standing behind a chair. She looks very youthful. It was probably Miss Chapman who wrote on the reverse ‘Miss Annie Kenney’. Very good – on good, thick card – unposted
99. ARREST OF CAPT. C.M. GONNE
Member of the Men’s Political Union for Women’s Enfranchisement, Parliament Square, November 18th, 1910.’ Capt Gonne was photographed by the ‘Daily Mirror’ being escorted by two policemen during the ‘Black Friday’ tumult. Capt Charles Melvill Gonne (1862-1926), Royal Artillery, was the author of ‘Hints on Horses’ (John Murray, 1904), an active suffragist, who supported his wife, a tax resister, and was a cousin of Maud Gonne, the Irish nationalist heroine. A postcard from Miss Chapman’s collection. Fine -unusual – unposted
100. ‘ARREST OF MRS PANKHURST, MISS PANKHURST AND MRS DRUMMOND.
MR JARVIS READING THE WARRANT AT CLEMENT’S INN OCTOBER 13, 1908′. They are being charged with inciting crowds to ‘rush’ the House of Commons.The card was published by Sandle Bros and the photograph was taken by the London News Agency – the WSPU had clearly invited the photographer to witness the arrest. The three women and the Inspector Jarvis (& another man) are standing in the WSPU office – with a large poster of Annie Kenney pinned to the wall. Each of the women displays a characteristic expression – Flora Drummond belligerent, Mrs Pankhurst elegantly resigned and Christabel astute. From Miss Chapman’s collection – fine condition, unposted. – scarce
101. CHARLOTTE MARSH, Organiser, The National Women’s Social and Political Union
Always known as ‘Charlie’, she looks rather glamorous in this photograph, swathed in soft drapes. The card is printed with her signature – ‘C.A.L.M.’ From Miss Chapman’s collection. Quite a scarce card – from Miss Chapman’s collection – fine – unposted
102. CHRISTABEL PANKHURST
black and white photograph of the portrait of Christabel by Ethel Wright, with Christabel’s printed signature along the bottom of the card. The card will date from c 1909, when the portrait was first exhibited. Having been owned by the family of Una Dugdale since that time, the portrait was bequeathed to the National Portrait Gallery in 2011 and is on permanent display. This postcard – which is in fair condition (it has a diagonal crease across the centre) comes from Miss Chapman’s collection and is unposted. It represents one of the WSPU’s ingenious methods of fund-raising.
103. DR THEKLA HULTIN
Portrait photograph, published by the Women’s Freedom League, 1 Robert St, Adelphi, and headed ‘Votes for Women’. The portrait is captioned ‘Dr Thekla Hultin, Member of the Finnish Diet’. Thekla Hultin was the first elected woman member of Parliament to speak at a suffrage meeting in Britain. From Miss Chapman’s collection. Fine – unposted
104. MARY E. GAWTHORPE
portrait, she is sitting, looking at the camera, holding open a pamphlet, and wearing a high-necked dress with floral embroidery across the yoke and shoulders. The photographer is ‘Werner Gothard, Leeds’ and the card, published by the WSPU, probably dates from c 1906/07 (ie before the break with the WFL). From Miss Chapman’s collection. Fine – unposted
105. MISS ADELA PANKHURST
‘Organiser, National Women’s Social and Political Union, 4 Clement’s Inn, W.C.’ She is wearing a round, white ‘Votes for Women’ badge. From Miss Chapman’s collection – a scarce card. Fine – unposted
106. ‘MISS C PANKHURST AT TRAFALGAR SQUARE INVITING THE AUDIENCE TO “RUSH” THE HOUSE OF COMMONS ON OCTOBER 13
The year is 1909. Christabel is addressing the crowds in Trafalgar Square. Behind her we see Flora Drummond, Mrs Pankhurst, the tip of Jennie Baines’ nose and a poster ‘Votes for Women Come to the House of Commons on Oct 13th at 7.30’. This invitation was deemed as conduct likely to provoke a breach of the peace – and Christabel, her mother, and Flora Drummond were in due course charged.and Christabel was sentenced to 10 weeks in prison. The card is published by Sandle Bros and, from Miss Chapman’s collection, is in fine, unposted condition
107. MISS GRACE ROE
The caption is ‘UNDAUNTED’!’ She is being marched out of the WSPU headquarters, Lincolns Inn House (now Bill’s Restaurant in Kingsway), by police, arrested in May 1914. She was not released from prison until under the amnesty in August. The postcard photography was by courtesy of the ‘Daily Mirror’. An iconic image. Fine -from Miss Chapman’s collection – unposted – scarce.
108. MISS MURIEL MATTERS OF AUSTRALIA, LECTURER
Women’s Freedom League 1 Robert Street, Adelphi, London WC. The card, headed ‘Votes for Women’, shows Muriel Matters seated, reading a book and was published by the WFL From Miss Chapman’s collection. Fine – unposted
109. MRS HENRY FAWCETT, LL.D.
photographed by Elliott and Fry in c 1909. She is sitting, full length, seen in profile. From Miss Chapman’s collection. Although the image is familiar I do not appear to have had a copy of this postcard in stock previously. The NUWSS issued far fewer postcards than did the WSPU so are relatively scarce – and this card doesn’t even mention her association with the NUWSS. Very good – unposted
110. MRS PANKHURST
photograph by Jacolette. Her ‘Holloway Prison’ brooch is pinned to her artistic blouse. From Miss Chapman’s collection. Fine – unposted
111. MRS PANKHURST
arrested in Victoria Street, 13 February 1908. She is on her way from the WSPU ‘Women’s Parliament’ in Caxton Hall – a policeman holds her left hand – she carries her ‘Parliament’s’ resolution in the other. Published by Photochrome Ltd – very good-from Miss Chapman’s collection – unposted
112. MRS PANKHURST
photographed sitting, turning towards the camera with an open book in her hand. A long, pale stole is draped over her shoulders. A studio portrait, though no photographer is noted. ‘Votes for Women’ is the heading and the caption is ‘Mrs Pankhurst, The Women’s Social and Political Union, 4 Clement’s Inn, Strand, WC’. This card dates from the early days of the WSPU in London, c 1907. From Miss Chapman’s collection. Very good – unposted
113. MRS PANKHURST AND MRS WOLSTENHOLME ELMY
together at the WSPU’s Hyde Park demonstration on Sunday 21 June 1908. This is a very important image, symbolising the link between the first constitutional suffrage society (founded by Elizabeth Wolstenholme in Manchester in 1865) and the militant WSPU. Apart from its historical significance it is a very good photograph – containing banners, suffragettes in high-Edwardian decorated hats and ‘Votes for Women’ sashes, and a policeman! Published by Sandle Brothers, London EC. The card – from Miss Chapman’s collection – is unposted Scarce
114. MRS PANKHURST AT TRAFALGAR SQUARE INVITING THE AUDIENCE TO ‘RUSH’ THE HOUSE OF COMMONS ON 13 OCTOBER
The year is 1908 – the meeting resulted in the arrest and trial of Christabel and Emmeline Pankhurst and Flora Drummond. Published by Sandle Bros for the National Union of Women’s Social and Political Union – in a series with items XXX. From Miss Chapman’s collection – fine – unposted
115. THE IMPRISONED SUFFRAGIST LEADERS 22 May 1912 Portrait photo of Mrs Pankhurst, flanked by similar images of Emmeline and Frederick Pethick-Lawrence
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
117. COUNTESS RUSSELL
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
118. EMMELINE PETHICK LAWRENCE
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
119. EMMELINE PETHICK LAWRENCE
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
120. MISS ALISON NEILANS WFL
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
121. MISS CHRISTABEL PANKHURST, LLB
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
122. MISS CICELY HAMILTON
‘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
123. MISS CICELY HAMILTON
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
124. MISS MARGUERITE SIDLEY
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
125. MISS SARAH BENETT
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.
126. MR AND MRS PETHICK LAWRENCE AND MISS CHRISTABEL PANKHURST GOING TO BOW STREET, OCTOBER 14 1908
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
127. MRS AMY SANDERSON
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
128. MRS CHARLOTTE DESPARD
photographed in profile -seated. A postcard from the Postcard Album compiled by Edith, Florence and Grace Hodgson. Fine – unposted
129. MRS CHARLOTTE DESPARD
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
130. MRS DESPARD
Photograph of her in profile. The card is headed ‘Votes for Women’ and underneath her name is the caption ‘Hon. Treas. Women’s Freedom League Offices: 18 Buckingham St., Strand. 20 Gordon St, Glasgow’ The card dates from after 1910, when she took over the treasureship of the WFL. Very good – unposted
131. MRS DESPARD
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
132. MRS DESPARD
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
133. MRS E. HOW-MARTYN
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
134. MRS EDITH HOW-MARTYN
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
135. MRS EMMELINE PANKHURST
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
136. MRS T BILLINGTON-GREIG WFL
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
137. REV R.J CAMPBELL
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
138. WOMEN’S FREEDOM LEAGUE Mrs DESPARD AND MRS COBDEN SANDERSON WAITING FOR MR ASQUITH WFL
‘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
139. WHITEKIRK CHURCH (Lothian)
A photograph of the church before it was burned down by Fanny Parker on 26 Feb 1914 – in retaliation for the forcibly feeding of Ethel Moorhead
Artist’s Suffrage card
140. ‘THE RIGHT DISHONOURABLE DOUBLE-FACE ASQUITH’ WSPU
The cartoon by ‘A Patriot’ appeared on the cover of the 19 Nov 1909 edition of ‘Votes for Women’. With one of his faces ‘Citizen Asquith’ is addressing a Peer of the Realm with ‘Down with privilege of birth – up with Democratic rule!’ and with the other he turns to a woman in prison clothes who is holding out her petition for Liberty and Equality and remonstrates ‘The rights of government belong to the aristocrats by birth – men. No liberty or equality for women!’ This image was also produced as a poster and resonated strongly among WSPU supporters. You can read about the artist – Alfred Pearse in my ‘Art and Suffrage: a biographical dictionary of suffrage artists’. The card was published by the WSPU. From Miss Chapman’s collection. In very good – unposted – condition
Suffrage Postcards: Commmercial Comic
141. ONCE I GET MY LIBERTY, NO MORE WEDDING BELLS FOR ME!
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
142. PETTICOAT GOVERNMENT
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
143. THEM PESKY SUFFRAGETTES WANTS EVERYTHING FOR THEMSELVES
says old man confronted with a door labelled ‘For Ladies Only’. A US postcard. Fine – unposted
144. VALENTINE SUFFRAGETTE SERIES Gimme a Vote You Cowards
Printed in red and black on white – policemen have a suffragette flat on the ground – while other comrades demonstrate around. Good – has been posted, but stamp removed
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General Non-fiction, Biography and Ephemera is listed in Catalogue 205 – Part Two
In case you are interested in books I have written (that are 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.
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
‘It is no exaggeration to describe Elizabeth Crawford’s Guide as a landmark in the history of the women’s movement…’ History Today
‘Plymouth is so very backward that what we have gained represents a very real advance’: the ‘Votes for Women’ campaign in South Devon in the 19th and 20th centuries is the title of a Zoom talk I am giving on Saturday 25 September at 1.30pm. The fully-illustrated talk covers the women’s suffrage campaign in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The talk forms part of Torbay’s Heritage Lecture Day – for full details of which see here. N.B. click on the ’10 am’ option to buy a ticket for the Virtual Talk. You can watch the talk from anywhere in the world!
If you are interested in discovering something about the wide range of objects produced during the course of the women’s suffrage campaign in the 19th and early 20th centuries, you may like to view a talk I gave recently, hosted by the Antiquarian Booksellers Association and the Institute of English Studies, University of London. Click here to watch.
The term ‘suffragette’ was invented in 1906 by the Daily Mail, as a belittling epithet, and was then adopted as a badge of honour by the women it sought to demean. These women – the suffragettes –campaigning for the parliamentary vote – were members of what are termed the ‘militant’ suffrage society – the Women’s Social and Political Union, led by Mrs Pankhurst and her daughters.
It would be possible to approach the subject of suffragettes and their dress chronologically because during what we think of as the Edwardian years, that is from 1901 to 1914, women’s dress did alter decisively, from the curvy, rather fussy outline, topped by a large hat, of the early years to the more tailored look in the year or so before the outbreak of war. It could be argued that this was not unconnected to the growing importance and popularity of the campaign for ‘votes for women’. However, I thought it would be interesting to approach the topic from a different angle – to see whether the suffragettes used dress as a weapon in their campaign and, if so, why and how.
The suffragettes were by no means the first women in Britain to campaign for the right to vote in parliamentary elections. That campaign had begun 40 years earlier, in 1866, when John Stuart Mill, then MP for Westminster, presented a petition to the House of Commons asking for the vote for women on the same terms as it was granted to men. Why were women barred from voting? The one reason – unarguable in its unreasonableness – was simply that in the mid 19th c the act of voting was gendered male – just as the army, the navy and the church were male. The ballot was not secret, votes were bought with beer, and the hustings were notorious for scenes of drunken brawling. Women who claimed a right to enter this world were transgressing the gender divide. In consequence, such women were either regarded, negatively, as insufficiently womanly – the jibe was that they must want the vote to make up for their lack of charms – or as positively masculine – as women aping men. Either way the popular verdict was that these ‘women’s righters’ were embarrassments – figures of fun.
As dress may be taken as the outer signifier of inner thought, the appearance of women who campaigned for the vote was always a matter to be given serious consideration.– both during the 19th century and then during the Edwardian campaign.
This is Punch’s view of the presentation of that first petition. The representation of the women – the ‘persons’ – whom Mill is leading – does reflect something in demeanour and dress of the women who organised the petition. They were, on the whole, self-confident, young middle-class women – the wearers of muffs and fashionable bonnets. The more elderly woman with glasses represented the earnestness of the movement – while the image of the old woman with the umbrella – as depicted, a member of a class of women who would have no hope of gaining the vote, which was based on property holding – was the caricature that was to feature in both 19th and 20th c popular representations of the suffrage movement, particularly on comic postcards in the Edwardian period.
The petition had been put together very quickly – women went round their friends, relations and neighbours asking for signatures.Here are two young women who did just that – in Aldeburgh in Suffolk. They are Millicent Garrett, sitting down, and her sister, Agnes. As you will note they are entirely conventionally attired as young women of the 1860s. Both were to be involved in the suffrage campaign all their long lives – Millicent Garrett, as Mrs Millicent Fawcett, was to negotiate women to the ballot box in 1918.
Millicent and Agnes very much looked up to their elder sister, Elizabeth, who, in spite of many difficulties put in her way, had in 1866 managed to become the first woman to qualify in Britain as a doctor. She was one of those in London who were organizing the suffrage petition. Again, all her life she made no particular statement about her looks – but dressed in such a way that, within the bounds of conventional fashion, she could carry out her work as a doctor in the hospital she founded and as lecturer and eventually dean of the London School of Medicine for Women. Like Millicent, she was, at this time, very much of the view that women would get the vote by proving themselves worthy – not by upsetting the establishment. One aspect of this was that from the very beginning of the campaign it was recognised that women were more likely to be taken seriously – or at least, not dismissed out of hand – if in outward appearance – in dress and demeanour – they conformed to the general ‘look’ expected of women – that is, if they placed themselves firmly on the female side of the gender divide and avoided looking either unwomanly or mannish. For instance, when in 1870 public suffrage meetings was being planned in London, Elizabeth Garrett, who was something of a cynic, suggested that it would be a good idea to make sure that only pretty, well-dressed women filled the front row.
At a time when it was still exceptional for a well-brought up woman to speak on a public platform, suffrage speakers quickly made their mark and by 1874 Punch had already made up its mind on the subject of the dress of a typical suffrage campaigner. Here the cartoonist has elected to depict her as positively masculine. Now, just such a woman as Punch was referring to – a famous champion of women’s rights, although by all accounts very much more attractive in the flesh – was Rhoda Garrett – who was not only the cousin of Agnes, Elizabeth and Millicent, but also the partner, both in an interior design business and in life, of Agnes.
An engraving of Rhoda speaking at a London public meeting in 1872, shows her wearing an outfit such as that in the Punch cartoon – a loose jacket and skirt. She is hatless and her hair is loose and she certainly doesn’t look to be corseted. Rhoda was on the radical wing of the suffrage movement – her attire reflecting her freer approach She was prepared, for instance, openly to support the campaign to repeal the Contagious Diseases Acts. Millicent Fawcett, on the other hand, believed that it was dangerous to the suffrage cause to mix it in the public mind with any mention of prostitution. You can see Millicent here on the left, with hair braided, shawl draped.
Rhoda Garrett died in 1882 – when barely 40 – and is now little remembered. If she had lived she might well have made a very interesting figurehead for the suffrage movement – both in terms of the substance of her speeches and in her idiosyncratic style of dress.
But by the beginning of the 20th century, despite the hundreds and hundreds of meetings, petitions presented and bills debated, women were still denied the vote – even though by then the act of voting only meant, as it does now, putting a piece of paper into a box, the electoral hustings no longer involved hard drinking and unseemly brawls and women had already won the right to vote for many local government bodies.
In October 1903 Emmeline Pankhurst decided to form her own pressure group – the Women’s Social and Political Union – to make a determined effort to move the campaign forward. She had been involved with the suffrage movement since the 1880s when living with her husband and children in Manchester. Despite spending some years moving in London Arts and Crafts circles, Emmeline always remained more a figure rendered by Tissot than Burne-Jones. She preferred Parisian modes to Pre-Raphaelite drapery. By the time she founded the WSPU she was a widow, back living in Manchester. It took a couple of years to gather steam and it was when the WSPU began to make itself seen and heard in London that the term ‘suffragette’ was coined. By 1906 the difference between the suffragettes and the original campaigners – the ‘suffragists’ – had become clear.
The WSPU were prepared to demonstrate in an increasingly militant fashion, while the suffragists, members of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies – known as the NUWSS – led by Millicent Fawcett, remained ‘constitutional’ – that is they would not contemplate breaking any aspect of the law. Even when under arrest Mrs Pankhurst contrived to look elegant and womanly.
Emmeline Pankhurst was soon joined in the WSPU by her eldest daughter, Christabel. The photograph above dates from c 1908 – her dress is rather more ‘artistic’ than her mother’s – the brooch may have been designed by C.R. Ashbee.
In the Vanity Fair ‘Spy’ cartoon from a couple of years later she appears to be wearing the same gown – which we can now see is green, a favourite colour. Grace Roe, who was to become a life-long friend, has left a description of the first time she saw Emmeline and Christabel speaking – at a WSPU rally in Hyde Park in 1908. Although she was interested in the women’s suffrage movement she had been put off by the press reports and was afraid that Emmeline and Christabel might be ‘unwomanly women’. However, she was delighted to discover that, on the contrary, ‘There was Mrs Pankhurst, this magnificent figure, like a queen’ and Christabel who ‘had taken off her bonnet and cloak, and was wearing a green tussore silk dress. She was very graceful, had lovely hands and a wonderful way of using them.’
And here is Christabel again, photographed at the Women’s Exhibition – a WSPU bazaar that was both fund and image-raising – held in Knightsbridge in 1909. And that is a hat that is intended to disarm – to secure her as a ‘womanly woman ‘ and disprove any association with the Shrieking Sisterhood. The photographs of Emmeline and Christabel– as were many others of the leaders – were reproduced on postcards, which were sold by the WSPU. By doing so they not only advertised that they conformed to accepted views of womanhood, but raised money in the process.
Emmeline Pankhurst’s second daughter, Sylvia, was an artist, and had trained at Royal College of Art. She eventually broke away from Emmeline and Christabel to pursue the campaign for the vote from a base among the working women of the East End. She always appears conventionally, if carelessly, dressed and in 1911 the WSPU newspaper, Votes for Women, characterised her as too busy to be ‘bothered about her hair, or the hang of her skirt.’ Another suffragette described her as dressing ‘like a Quakeress in sober browns and greys’. But when the occasion demanded even she, radical that she was, was prepared to make an effort. During an American tour in 1911 a reporter in Des Moines described her arriving at a suffrage meeting, a ‘pink-cheeked slender girl clad in a trailing gown of creamy silk, [who] dropped modestly into a seat on the platform and raised her blue eyes to meet the hundreds in the audience.’
Emmeline Pethick Lawrence and her husband, Frederick, were wealthy philanthropists – working philanthropists- who brought both money and organisational skill to the WSPU, joining the Pankhursts as its leaders. Mrs Pethick Lawrence was particularly disturbed by the exploitation of girls working in the London dress trade and in the early years of the 20th century founded a club for them. In fact, in the mid-19th century, right at the very beginning of the suffrage campaign, it had been concern for what were then termed ‘needlewomen’ that had dominated much of the discourse. Although, of course, such women would not be emancipated under the terms for which the vote was being demanded, middle-class women thought that if they had the vote they would be able to improve the lives of their working-class sisters. The irony of women slaving to provide new fashions for other women was not lost on the campaigners. Emmeline Pethick Lawrence set up not only a club, but also a tailoring co-operative – ‘Maison Esperance’ – to free at least a few girls from exploitation. It was based first in Great Portland Street and then in Wigmore Street. As you see, Emmeline Pethick Lawrence favoured rather loose, flowing garments – richly embroidered, tasselled – floating scarves. I think they qualify as artistic; she was certainly rather fey and spiritual.
These women were, of course, all middle-class, but the WSPU also had its working-class icons – the most important of whom was Annie Kenney. Until swept up by the Pankhursts, she had been a mill girl in Lancashire – and for many of her early public appearances she was dressed in shawl and clogs – for effect, I may say. That is not how she would have chosen to dress. In the photograph on the left she appears in the mill girl guise, alongside Mrs Elizabeth Wolstenholme Elmy, who had been one of the earliest of the suffrage campaigners. Mrs Elmy was impoverished – what money she had was spent on campaigning – and totally unworldly – her ringletted hair was styled as it had been in her youth – but was well aware that it would never do, as she said, to ‘look a scarecrow’ when appearing in public. So friends united in providing her with a new gown when necessary, ensuring that her appearance was commensurate with her importance in the movement.
Rather than shawl and clogs Annie Kenney much preferred the type of garments that those with whom she now associated wore – such as she wears in the above photo. Thus, in December 1906, for a dinner given at the Savoy by Mrs Fawcett and the NUWSS to celebrate the release of WSPU prisoners, Annie recorded that ‘Mrs Lawrence bought me a very pretty green silk Liberty dress for the occasion, and I wore a piece of real lace. I was so pleased with both.’
For by the autumn of 1906 WSPU militancy now involved arrest and imprisonment. This photograph was taken a couple of years later – at the WSPU office in Clement’s Inn in the Strand and shows the leaders being arrested by Inspector Jarvis of the Yard. From this we can get a good indication of their normal daywear. From left to right they are Mrs Flora Drummond – Mrs Pankhurst – and Christabel. Annie Kenney looks down from the poster on wall
But alongside militancy that led to arrest was militancy that merely involved making a peaceful, public demonstration. Although the WSPU’s first London march in 1906 comprised women from the East End, many carrying their babies, the WSPU did not pursue its involvement with working-class women. Wealthier women were more able to contribute not only funds but a more glamorous presence on the streets. It was they who were mustered for the spectacles of pageantry that the WSPU in successive years mounted in London – and in provincial cities. These displays gave the photographers material to record. Both still and moving cameras were used – for newsreel of the occasions was shown in cinemas.
The WSPU staged the first of their major pageants in Hyde Park in June 1908. It was estimated that a quarter of a million people attended. In order to make as dramatic an effect as possible Mrs Pethick Lawrence suggested that women should wear white – and, of course, – as we see here – did so herself. .One suffragette, Jessie Stephenson, has left a description of how ‘my milliner and dressmaker took endless pains with my attire. A white lacy muslin dress, white shoes and stockings and gloves and, like an order, across the breast, the broad band in purple, white and green emblazoned “Votes for Women”, a white shady hat trimmed with white’. The mother of another WSPU member, Mary Blathwayt from Bath, recorded in her diary that Mary was dressed ‘in white muslin with the scarf crosswise over her shoulder’.– as the woman on the left wearing .
The scarf was a new piece of merchandise – a motoring scarf in the new WSPU colours of purple, white and green – a combination devised by Emmeline Pethick Lawrence to represent the WSPU brand – and with which the WSPU is still associated. The colours were used on programmes, rosettes, flags and banners and on the sashes the women draped across themselves.
Even Mrs Wolstenholme Elmy wore a sash, standing alongside Mrs Pankhurst. She has left us details of the bouquet she was given to carry –advertising the WSPU’s colours in a composition of ‘ferns, huge purple lilies and lily of the valley’.
The colours were not only employed in the course of the pageants. In Nov 1910 Christabel Pankhurst was one of the leaders of a deputation of all the women’s suffrage societies to Asquith and Lloyd George and for the occasion dressed in a coat with wide satin lapels in purple, white and green. The journalist Henry Nevinson commented in his diary that it was ‘fine – but a little overdone for the morning.’
In order to sell the merchandise, the local WSPU societies opened shops – taking short leases on high street properties, just as charity shops do today. This is the one run by the Putney society. They produced a wide-range of tempting goods – from board and card games, to ‘Votes for Women’ tea and soap and ‘Emmeline’ and ‘Christabel’ bags. The Pankhursts were the Alexa Chungs of their day. But one of the most popular type of merchandise was what might be loosely termed ‘jewellery’. This ranged from mass-produced badges to hand-wrought items. One WSPU diarist recorded that the local society ‘had taken a shop in the central part of the town, and decorated it beautifully with purple, white and green flags. On a counter I saw piles of leaflets, pamphlets and Suffragette literature, also very pretty little brooches in the colours, one of which I bought and intend always to wear’
The WSPU had very quickly developed the idea of creating such symbols to be worn to indicate support for their cause. Soon all the suffrage societies, ranging through the Women’s Freedom League, the Actresses’ Franchise League, the Church League for Women’s Suffrage, the NUWSS, the Men’s League and, as here, the Jewish League all had their own colours and badges.
Something of an irritating mythology has gathered around the concept of ‘suffragette jewellery’, fostered by dealers and auction houses who like to claim that any piece with stones approximating to the colours purple, white and green, must be of suffragette association. Although, at the height of the WSPU campaign, such pieces certainly were manufactured both by commercial and craft jewellers, it is now very difficult to identify them with any certainty as suffragette – amethysts, pearls and demantoid garnets or emeralds were very commonly used in Edwardian jewellery. We do know that some pieces were made with the WSPU in mind. For instance, in December 1909 Mappin and Webb issued a catalogue of ‘Suffragette jewellery’.
And this silver and enamel pendant using a design by Sylvia Pankhurst was certainly made and sold in WSPU shops. And in Votes for Women craft workers advertised jewellery made up in the colours and the numerous fund-raising bazaars provided ample opportunity for purchasing such items of jewellery associated with the movement.
We also know that one-off pieces of suffragette jewellery were made.In 1909 Ernestine Mills, an enameller who was a WSPU supporter, was commissioned by the Chelsea WSPU to make a pendant for one of their members on her release from prison. In silver enamel, it depicted the winged figure of Hope singing outside the prison bars and was held by a chain made up of purple, white and green stones. Above is a pendant made by ernestine Mills for an Irish suffragette.
The symbolism of both jewellery and of military decoration is realized in a portrait of Flora Drummond, painted in 1936, that now hangs in the Scottish Portrait Gallery. She was a Scots woman living in Manchester who along with, or despite, her husband and young son, was swept into the WSPU in its very early days. As you can see, she took to it with a will –and was known as General Drummond. .For her portrait she wore a large pendant of purple, white and green stones alongside the WSPU equivalent of the Victoria Cross – the hunger-strike medal.
As you can see from this photo, held by the Museum of London, the WSPU by 1908 or so had, alongside its desire for its members to be seen as womanly women, begun to embrace a more military ethos. Uniform – or at least uniformity – were important elements when producing pageantry and processions – in creating a spectacle. Here we see a suffragette acting as a standard bearer You will note how like a uniform she has made her outfit – although all the individual pieces are, I imagine, conventional
For the major suffragette demonstration in Hyde Park in 1910 the WSPU paper,Votes for Women, asked those taking part to march eyes front, like a soldier and ‘to remember you are just a unit in a great whole’. Hints were also given on how to dress. ‘Don’t wear gowns that have to be held up. Don’t wear enormous hats that block the view. Do wear white if possible. Do in any case keep to the colours.’ .Emmeline Pethick Lawrence, who was probably responsible for this edict, took her own advice. She wore a lovely dress – with a hem that was perhaps weighted in someway, to bell out a little, clearing the ground. She wears a loose lacy long jacket over the dress – also white. Her hat may have been purple or green – although of course one cannot tell from the photograph – and is neat and close fitting. Her gloves are white and she carries a little bag – again probably in purple or green. Sylvia is holding one of the placards she had designed that were a feature of this procession –a convict’s arrow was superimposed on the House of Commons portcullis – symbolising the lengths that women were prepared to go to gain the vote. Christabel is in academic dress – she had graduated in 1906 with a first-class degree in law from Manchester University. In all the major processions graduates marched as a group – emphasising the fact that, although they had attained scholastic heights, they were still denied the vote.
Emily Wilding Davison is the other figure in academic dress in the Hyde Park photoand on a separate occasion sat for a studio photographer in academic dress – she had gained her degree in the 1890’s. The photograph can be dated to some time after 1908 by the fact that she is wearing a particular brooch – the WSPU Holloway badge – given to women who had been imprisoned. This was the photograph that the WSPU chose to publish in the press and on postcards after her death at the Derby in 1913 – the image chosen to reinforce the idea of intellectual achievement – of noble womanhood sacrificed.
In 1911, Britain having badefarewell to King Edward the previous year, prepared to celebrate the coronation of the new king. The suffragettes, in a spirit of truce, held back on their militant campaign to stage perhaps their most spectacular procession – and demonstrate, in mass, their womanliness.
For this procession the WSPU organized separate contingents representing different groups –their dress making specific statements.
This is the Indian contingent.
Nurses – who always received a warm welcome from bystanders as they marched past
Members of Cymric Suffrage Society – the welsh suffrage society – dressed in their regional costume
Cicely Hamilton, seen here (3rd from left) carrying the Women Writers Suffrage League banner, was very much a lady who favoured the tailor rather than the dressmaker. In her autobiography she wrote: ‘A curious characteristic of the militant suffragette movement was the importance it attached to dress and appearance, and its insistence on the feminine note. In the WSPU all suggestion of the masculine was carefully avoided, and the outfit of a militant setting forth to smash windows would probably include a picture hat.’
But be that as it may, there were some women who were able within the WSPU to adopt a role that allowed them to wear clothing more masculine than was otherwise acceptable. Here we see Vera – also known as Jack – Holme, the WSPU’s chauffeur. Involvement with the WSPU allowed her very much more scope to lead the kind of life she wanted – previously she had been an actress in the D’Oyly Carte. As Mrs Pankhurst’s chauffeur she wore a striking uniform in the WSPU colours, with a smart peaked cap decorated with her RAC badge of efficiency – atop her decidedly short hair.
She lived with the Hon Evelina Haverfield who appeared in the pages of Votes for Women in 1912 giving her imprimatur to the Omne Tempus raincoat – an ideal coat for town, county and campaigning.
As the suffrage battle grew more ever more physical, so the imagery became more military – if of a feminised kind. This poster was used after 1912 to advertise the Suffragette,the successor paper to Votes for Women. By now, Joan of Arc was often invoked as a role model
And, paradoxically, it was the womanly skills of WSPU members that were used to make many of the banners, flags and pennants that were carried by the marchers into the suffrage battle. And to raise funds for what was actually called ‘The War Chest’, the WSPU held grand bazaars. Of these the grandest was the one held in Knightsbridge in 1909. Here, in this photograph held by the Museum of London, we see Mrs Pankhurst manning the hat stall there – she had appealed for hats, veils, scarves, hair ornaments etc’. Hats clearly had their part to play in the woman’s struggle – although hat ornamentation could arouse strong feelings. Some suffragettes, many of whom combined interests in anti-vivisection and vegetarianism with their support for votes for women, were involved in a campaign to prohibit the wearing of feathers in hats.
But hat-wearing was de rigueur – even when setting out to commit arson. To have been hatless would have been to attract attention. When Emily Wilding Davison ran in front of the King’s horse in 1913– she was wearing a hat. Newsreel, that you can watch here, shows it bowling across the grass as she fell.
After Emily Wilding Davison’s death – the WSPU gave her a magnificent funeral. You can see the women dressed – very femininely -in white – guarding the coffin, holding their lilies like swords. One rank and file member, Alice Singer, recorded in her diary the day before the funeral that she had just bought a black armband to wear as she watched the procession from the pavement. And Kate Frye (who’s diary I have edited) bought a black hat specifically for the occasion.
This was the last big pageant –soon the WSPU was being harried by the police – it had to move out of its office, many of its leaders were in prison and Christabel had fled to France to avoid arrest. The society no longer had the resources to devote to pageantry
But whatever the suffragettes did to construct an image of co-ordinated determination, even if they might not always have achieved the ultimate goal of grace and nobility, the popular view of them had changed little. The Edwardian era saw the flourishing of the postcard trade and suffragettes were a boon to illustrators.
Their stereotypical attributes were glasses, big feet, tailored clothes, collar and tie, a billycock hat and an umbrella.
The image was even accepted as ‘authentic’ by the suffragettes themselves. When Lady Constance Lytton wished to ensure that she would be arrested – which, on account of her family connections, would not have happened if she had been recognised – she disguised herself as a stereotypical ‘suffragette’ – and was duly imprisoned.
Daily Life as suffragette supporter
[pic] But life as a suffragette was not all processions, marching and pageantry. It’s clear from a wide range of photographs that rank- and- file suffragettes came in all shapes and sizes and in daily life favoured a variety of ‘looks’. As I have noted, depending on the taste of the wearer, these ranged from the feminine and fancy, through the artistic, to the tailored. This range in style is reflected in the advertisements that appear in Votes for Women.
For instance, regular advertisers included Maud Barham, Artistic and original dresses, hand embroideries, djibbahs, coats and hats;
Amy Kotze, Artistic dresses and coats – for women and children – and Miss Folkard, Artistic dress and mantle maker. One woman who did favour the artistic look was prepared to make a sacrifice for the cause. On 2 November 1911 Alice Singer wrote in her diary that ‘I sold my Liberty smock to Vera Wentworth [she was another WSPU member]– proceeds 5/- to WSPU’
As for the tailored look, Alfred Day, ladies’ tailor, of Regent’s Park, was a regular advertiser, while the more conventional dresser was addressed by Madame Rebecca Gordon, court milliner and dressmaker.
Major stores such as Debenham and Freebody, Whiteleys and Pontings clearly thought it worth their while to advertise a variety of styles – tying in their advertising to current suffragette activities – whether electioneering or processing. Other advertisers included Regal Corset Parlor, whose slogan was – at least in Votes for Women – ‘Support the Women’.
However, whatever style was favoured, the wearing of the colours in everyday life was the sign of a committed suffragette. One writer mentions that in her experience a white costume, green straw hat and purple scarf was a very appropriate outfit for a WSPU member. In another, perhaps fictional, diary, when the suffragette heroine is persuading someone who is becoming interested in the WSPU, but does not want to fight with policemen, she tells her that ‘Derry and Toms have charming hats in the colours – they are really most becoming’ – thereby suggesting that she could participate in the fight for the vote by merely wearing the correct hat.
Other suffragettes were prepared to make a very much more public display of themselves. Many elderly suffragettes have recorded how, as gently-brought up girls, selling Votes for Women in the street took considerable courage. In the above photo we see that Vera Wentworth (to whom, as I mentioned, Alice Singer sold her Liberty smock) is the centre of attention as she advertises a WSPU procession.
But, increasingly, being a suffragette required more than social courage – it also involved the risk of being sent to prison. Before arrest, confrontations with the police could lead to physical manhandling and for one notorious scrum in Parliament square in November 1910 women altered their usual attire by stuffing cardboard down their fronts – armour indeed.
Many suffragettes have left memories of their time in gaol. The clothes are particularly remembered. One wrote ‘We wore a uniform – a green dress, thick serge, a little white cap on one’s head, an apron of blue and white check cotton and a round disc the colour of wash leather which had a number.’ Others remembered that in the early years underclothing was patched, stained and foul smelling – a particular horror.
But they put their prison dress to good use. Replica costumes were run up and were worn when campaigning at by elections, for parades, to show solidarity when meeting released prisoners at Holloway or, as in the photo of Mrs Pankhurst (above), at bazaars.
In November 1911 members of the WSPU adopted a new tactic and organised a mass breaking of windows in the West End and Knightsbridge. It was now thought that conventional methods of campaigning had achieved nothing and that violence – of a sort – was the answer. They called it the argument of the broken glass. Kate Frye, who did not actually wield a hammer, wrote in her diary on 21 November 1911, ‘I went in to Lyons and had coffee and a sandwich. Who should I happen to sit next but Miss Ada Moore [a popular actress and suffragette] and 2 ladies – ready for the fray. I wonder I wasn’t arrested as one – for I soon realized I was dressed for the part to the life. Long cloth ulster or coat, light hat and veil was the correct costume – no bag purse – umbrella or any extra.’ Muffs were a fashionable accessory at the time and were useful for concealing the hammer used to smash the windows. Three months later some members of the Chelsea WSPU adapted their dress by sewing special pockets to hang down inside their skirts in which to conceal stones to throw at windows. The attack on the very stores of which they were the main customers began shortly before closing time.
Alice Singer wrote in her diary on 24 February 1912 – ‘Wrote to offer myself as window breaking for 4th March, if Mrs Pankhurst thinks I shan’t disgrace the Cause’. And on the 27th February wrote’ Walked about the Suburb [that is Hampstead Garden Suburb] trying to find someone to make me a new frock to wear when I return from Holloway Gaol’. That certainly demonstrates a certain insouciance.
Holloway brooch – as awarded to Alice Singer for her imprisonment. She did not go on hunger strike
But it was not only imprisonment that women were prepared to face. Many also adopted the hungerstrike. Women who had undergone imprisonment and forcible feeding received recognition from the WSPU. The Holloway badge was given for imprisonment – and the medal – a metal disc inscribed with name and date suspended from a military style ribbon – for those that went on hunger-strike. These were awarded with some ceremony. For instance, on 15 June 1912, after the sentences incurred by the window breakers had been served, Alice Singer wrote in her diary, ‘rousing meeting at Albert Hall. All the 1st and 4 March prisoners released to date marched in two specially reserved places. I wore my prison-gate brooch for first time.’ These decorations were very much treasured. I’ve already mentioned that Flora Drummond is wearing her hunger-strike medal in her portrait – and many of the other leaders – Mrs Pankhurst, Lady Constance Lytton, and Mary Gawthorpe are ones that come immediately to mind – made sure that when they are photographed their Holloway badge and/or hunger-strike medal is prominently displayed.
Interestingly, for all the significance given to prison uniform, many of the women who were imprisoned and on hunger-strike in 1912 and later – were able to wear their own clothes. This was after the government had passed a rule allowing them special treatment. These photographs were taken in the exercise yard at Holloway by a hidden photographer. They were wanted by Scotland Yard to send out to museums, galleries and other likely sites of suffragette attack. The photographs are interesting as in them we can see what women of the period looked like when not dressed up for the camera. I imagine that they may not have been very useful in identifying likely attackers – as presumably when approaching a gallery or some such place the women would be rather more carefully dressed – and have regained some of their lost weight. Some WSPU members would allow nothing – not even prison – to interfere with their standards of dress. .Janie Allan, a wealthy Scot imprisoned in Holloway, was remembered as ‘always correctly dressed for Exercise in hat and lemon kid gloves’
Grace Roe, Christabel’s deputy, was arrested in 1914 – wearing this rather becoming tailored suit.
Whereas Mrs Pankhurst, arrested a couple of months later while leading a violent protest outside Buckingham Palace, still retains something of her Parisian style. She took size 3½ in shoes – they look so dainty dangling there – belying all the crude postcard caricatures. In 1910 she had lost one in a scuffle with police – and it is now held by the Museum of London.
And it was to Paris that Christabel had escaped in March 1912 – just after the window-breaking campaign – to avoid arrest on a charge of criminal damage. She spent the final 2 and a half years of the campaign there – clearly very relaxed – while those who followed her militant policy were imprisoned and on hunger strike.
The WSPU campaign ended with the outbreak of war. It was the NUWSS, led by Millicent Fawcett, that in 1918 negotiated women – or at least women over 30 – to the ballot box – and to the opportunity of sitting in parliament.
So, to summarise, we have seen that the suffragettes did use dress as a weapon in their campaign. They were encouraged to dress in such a way as to define themselves as womanly – but united. To this end the WSPU attempted to impose its brand on its members – encouraging them to wear its merchandise and colours, both as they went about their daily life and when they took part in the society’s spectacular processions. The WSPU never sought to be at the avant-garde of fashion but the tailored look that became increasingly popular in the couple of years before the outbreak of war coincided with the increasingly physically-militant tactics of the suffragette campaign. Women could still be fashionable – and therefore womanly – yet present themselves in a more streamlined – less curvaceous – way than in the past. This more tailored silhouette echoed the increasingly masculine – physical force – argument that the WSPU was now professing.
I will end with an image we saw earlier – of the suffragette as a feminine warrior – a rather dainty Joan of Arc – as first depicted on the WSPU poster and here, to the right in the photograph, in the shape of a dress made by Leonora Cohen, a Leeds suffragette, to wear in 1914 to the Leeds Arts Club Ball. The paper designs, presumably cut from the poster, are pasted on the dress which is made of turquoise rayon. The dress, now preserved in Leeds City Museum, recently conserved – and rather more sophisticatedly displayed – is testament to the willingness of at least one suffragette to clothe herself in her cause.
This blog is based on a talk that I gave to the Costume Society in 2010.
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Aileen Chevallier Preston was born in 1889 in co. Armagh, one of the 6 children of John Preston, who had been a captain in 4th Royal Irish Rifles, and his wife Edith (nee Chevallier), whose family lived at Aspall Hall, Debenham, Suffolk. Of her 5 siblings, two of her brothers died in childhood and a sister in 1905. Her father was for some years the resident magistrate in Athlone, co. Westmeath, before his death in 1907. In 1903 Mrs Edith Preston, was the Irish Ladies Croquet Champion, in 1906 won the UK Ladies’ Croquet Championship, and as late as 1915 was the holder of the Ladies’Championship at her local club, Roehampton.
After the death of Capt. Preston his widow, Aileen and her brother and sister moved to England and by 1911 were living at 11 Kew Gardens Road, Richmond. As head of the household Mrs Preston did complete the 1911 census form but wrote ‘Unenfranchised’ in the ‘Infirmity’ column against the entry for each female member, including the three young servants. Although we do not know whether Aileen Preston and her mother were at this time active members of any suffrage society, this amendment to the census form makes their attitude to women’s right to the vote quite evident.
As noted, Aileen’s mother was most definitely ‘sporty’, a star of the ladies’ croquet world; Aileen’s game was golf. I suspect that Mrs Preston encouraged a practical bent in her children. In 1914 Aileen’s younger brother was training as a civil engineer while, as she later explained in an interview in Votes for Women, she, too, had always taken an interest in machinery. In a delightful BBC radio interview (listen here), recorded in 1962, she explained how, to much derision, she entered a motor works in order to learn all about the workings of the internal combustion engine and the maintenance of a vehicle. It was only after she had acquired this knowledge that she took driving lessons, becoming the first woman to gain a Royal Automobile Certificate.
Now fully qualified, she placed an advertisement in the Morning Post, offering her services as a ‘Lady Chaffeuse’. The most appealing response came from’Mrs Pankhurst’s secretary (probably Mrs Mabel Tuke) and, after an interview, Aileen was hired to drive Mrs Pankhurst around the British Isles on a five-month-long campaign.
Although her mother was, as we have seen, in favour of ‘Votes for Women’, Aileen later remembered that ‘My family were livid. They thought I was going straight into the dark arms of Hell – to be going to that dreadful woman, as her chauffeur. It was an awful blow, but I thought it was the most wonderful job. At a pound a week it was wealth’ [From Raeburn, The Militant Suffragettes]. In the radio interview Aileen mentioned that the pay was ‘all found’, so presumably she had her board-and-keep while on the road, as well as the £1 a week.
Her engagement began in April 1911, probably just after the Census. The WSPU had promised to put a hold on militant action in the run-up to discussion in Parliament of the Conciliation Bill; Mrs Pankhurst was using the time to spread the suffrage message throughout the country. in the radio interview Aileen gives a wonderful description of driving Mrs Pankhurst and her associates, together vast quantities of ‘literature’, over the un-tarmacked roads of Britain during that long, very hot summer. She tells just what it was like driving that car up and over the Kirkstall Pass.
For Aileen was driving a large, heavy Wolseley, given to the WSPU by Mary Dodge, an ardent suffrage supporter and heir to a US copper mining fortune. A ‘lady chauffeuse’ was every bit as responsible as a chauffeur for the very necessary running repairs and it was nothing to experience several punctures during the course of a day. There was always the danger that the low-slung petrol tank would rupture, caught by a stone on the rustic roads and, with the brakes working directly onto the tyres, there was always the danger of a blow-out while driving down a steep hill. Garages were few and far between; the ‘lady chauffeuse’ had to be resourceful, with nerves of steel.
Sometime after her engagement ended, Aileen Preston set up her own motor school. However, she maintained her link to the WSPU, and was the subject of an article in the 26 September 1913 issue of Votes for Women in which she mentioned that when setting out on her career she had had to overcome a good many difficulties and prejudices. It was for this reason that she thought other women would benefit from learning to drive and maintain a car at a school owned by a woman.
The school was based in St Mary Abbott’s Place, Kensington and, although giving lessons to what she termed ‘amateurs’ , Aileen was particularly keen to take pupils who wanted to take up motoring as a profession. As she told Votes for Women ‘The modern girl is admirable suited for the life, and as a chauffeur should receive a salary of 30s to £2 a week – the same, of course, as that paid to a man,’ She advertised regularly in Votes for Women and Common Cause through 1913 and 1914, until the outbreak of war. Business was so good that she took a partner, a Miss Carver.
Aileen joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment and served from 23 October 1914 until 23 April 1915. She married John Graham-Jones (1880-1946), an army doctor, in July 1915 and was again advertising her motor school around this time. However from 25 April 1916 to 19 September 1916, she rejoined the VAD, hired as a ‘Chauffeuse”. She was put in charge of the first autonomous women’s ambulance unit, based at a hospital in northern France, in charge of 13 women drivers, and was mentioned in despatches.
Aileen’s daughter was born in July 1917 and a son in 1920. By 1939 she and her husband, now retired, were living at Lower Bockhampton, Dorset, and she was a member of the Dorchester ARP. She must have maintained contact with other erstwhile suffragettes and was interviewed by Antonia Raeburn for her book, The Militant Suffragettes (1973)
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
Metal badge worn by suffragettes who boycotted the April 1911 census. Around the outside of the badge is ‘No Vote – No Census – Census Resisted and in the centre ‘A census for Gt Britain shall be taken in the year 1911 & the census day shall be Sunday the 2nd day of April in that year’.
The census boycott was an important act of civil disobedience and you can find many posts on this website about the suffragette resisters. Just key ‘census’ into the Search Box.
The round black and grey badge still carries on its reverse the maker’s paper ‘Merchants Portrait Co.’. This badge is extremely scarce and is in fine condition £1100
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Mrs Amy Sanderson, born in Bellshill, Lanarkshire, joined the Women’s Social and Political Union in 1906 and took part in the deputation in February 1907 from the first Women’s Parliament in Caxton Hall to the House of Commons, was arrested and served a Holloway prison term.
She actively campaigned in Scotland for the WSPU before, in October 1907, joining those who broke away to form the Women’s Freedom League. becoming for 3 years a member of the WFL executive committee. In 1908 she served another prison term.
She was a very popular speaker for the WFL and, in 1912, for the ‘Women’s March’ from Edinburgh to London.
In this photograph she is wearing her ‘Holloway brooch’, given by the WFL in recognition of her imprisonment.
The card, issued by the WFL no later than November 1909, after which date the Scottish Glasgow headquarters moved from Gordon Street to Sauchiehall Street, is in fine, unposted condition. £130 + VAT in UK and the EU.
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Full-length portrait photograph of Anna Munro (1881-1962) Scottish organiser for the Women’s Freedom League. The address is that of the WFL Scottish headquarters.
Anna Munro had joined the WSPU in 1906, becoming its organizer in Dunfermline. The following year she followed Teresa Billington-Greig into the WFL, becoming her private secretary. She was imprisoned in Holloway in early 1908 before being appointed organizing secretary of the Scottish Council of the WFL.
After the First World War Anna Munro (now Mrs Ashman) became a magistrate in England and was later president of the WFL in which she remained active until its disbanding in 1961.
Photographic postcards of Scottish suffragettes are relatively uncommon. This one is in fine, unposted condition. £130 + VAT in UK and EU. Email me if interested in buying. firstname.lastname@example.org
Photograph of a luminous Cicely Hamilton, writer, actor and suffrage activist, taken by Lena Connell, the renowned photographer.
The close-up photograph is mounted on stiff card, which carries the logo of The Suffrage Shop, 15 Adam Street, Strand, London. Hamilton was closely associated with the Suffrage Shop, which in 1910 published her Pageant of Great Women.
The photograph was probably taken c 1910/1911. Hamilton’s name has been scratched on the emulsion, presumably by the photographer, and it is signed by Cicely Hamilton. SOLD
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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/Of 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.
One in the BB Series of 6 postcards showing suffragettes in a dignified light.
Fine – unposted £30 + VAT in UK and EU
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Head and shoulders photographic portrait of Christabel Pankhurst, probably dating from c. 1908.
She is wearing a rather attractive loose, square-necked dress, with her hair up in her characteristic knot. When Kate Frye attended a meeting of the Actresses’ Franchise League addressed by Christabel in February 1910 she commented, ‘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 I always think the hint of dishevelment is rather endearing.
The postcard is captioned ‘Miss Christabel Pankhurst. The National Women’s Social and Political Union. 4 Clement’s Inn, WC’, indicating that it was issued after some members, led by Mrs Charlotte Despard, broke away to form the Women’s Freedom League in the autumn of 1907. For a time they hoped to keep the ‘WSPU’ name, which led the Pankhursts to rename their faction ‘The National WSPU’.
The card was published by Sandle Bros. and would have been for sale in WSPU shops. This copy came from a collection put together by three suffragette sisters. Fine – unposted – £40 + VAT in UK and EU. Email me if interested in purchasing. email@example.com
The Holloway Prison brooch was designed by Sylvia Pankhurst and awarded to members of the Women’s Social and Political Union (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. This brooch is for sale. Such treasures of the suffrage movement are now very scarce. It is in fine condition.
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Punch cartoon from the issue for 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’.
Mrs Pankhurst’s Women’s Social and Political Union had recently appeared on the national scene. Just over two months previously Christabel Pankhurst and Annie Kenney had been imprisoned after interrupting a Liberal party meeting – and this is how the WSPU is now personified. The General Election, which resulted in a Liberal landslide, was in full swing when the cartoon was published.
A full-page Bernard Partridge cartoon. SOLD
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Punch cartoon, 21 October, 1908. Two burglars on their way to ‘suburban night-work’ watch a line of policemen marching the opposite way, into Town, to deal with the Votes for Women demonstration advertised on the poster.
The burglars agree that the ‘sufferajits’ are a good thing, keeping the police occupied as they do. This was the time of the ‘Rush the House of Commons’ demo.
FOR SALE – Full page cartoon by Bernard Partridge. Fine condition £12 SOLD
An alert to all those interested in suffrage history.
Now available on iPlayer – a brand-new, hour-long programme based around the invaluable recordings made in the 1970s by Professor Sir Brian Harrison of former suffragists and suffragettes.
Called ‘The Lost World of the Suffragettes’, the programme is presented by Jane Garvey and, alongside the many strong and evocative voices of the suffrage protagonists, features the voice of Professor Sir Brian Harrison, interviews with Jad Adams, Diane Atkinson, Helen Pankhurst and myself – and music making by Naomi Paxton and Clare Mooney. The programme covers a wide range of subjects – from the political situation, violent militancy, prison and forcible feeding, to the comic representations of suffragettes by their contemporaries.
The programme is a Made-in-Manchester production for which I acted as co-producer with Ashley Byrne.
In the week that marked the 150th anniversary of the presentation of the first women’s suffrage petition, Woman’s Hour invited June Purvis and me to ‘debate’ the issue of whether the vote was won by the constitutional Suffragist campaign or by that of the millitant Suffragettes.
I spoke for the Suffragists.
You can listen to the conversation here (at c 28 min).
Broadcaster and historian Dan Snow presents an examination of the role his great, great grandfather David Lloyd George played in the First World War in a 3 part series for the BBC produced by Made in Manchester in association with LJD Productions, Cardiff.
David Lloyd George was the last Liberal to be Prime Minister and took Britain and its then Empire to victory over the Germans in 1918.
Lloyd George’s War charts how Dan’s great, great grandfather went from being ‘anti war’ to become Britain’s biggest recruiting sergeant – persuading millions of men to sign up to fight and rallying millions of women to work in the munitions factories. His sparkling oratory won over a generation and he gradually became the most important figure in the wartime Government. By December 1916 he was Prime Minister and by November 1918 he was being hailed a hero and ‘the man who won the war’ all over the world.
Producer Ashley Byrne says: ‘People think of Winston Churchill and the Second World War but rarely talk about Lloyd George and the First World War. Yet arguably he had a more difficult war. We’d never fought a war like it.
‘Lloyd George also had to deal with the Easter Rising in Ireland, the Russian revolution and trouble in the Middle East. The decisions he made 100 years ago – good or bad – are still being felt today. To tell the history of the modern world you really can’t do it properly without mentioning David Lloyd George,’ Ashley adds.’
The series also looks at Lloyd George’s influence on a young Winston Churchill, on his clash with the Generals and at how in his memoirs, published years later, he appeared to regret the conflict which killed so many people.
‘When LG died,’ says Ashley ‘Winston Churchill called him the Greatest Welshman since the Tudors.
As part of the programme Dan looks through his great, great grandfathers papers and letters and tries to assess why he made the decisions he did.
Dyfan Rees brings to life the voice of Lloyd George
The programme sees Pobol Y Cwm actor Dyfan Rees (who recently won a mental health award for his portrayal of someone with OCD) plays David Lloyd George and veteran character actor Christopher Strauli (Edward VII and Only When I Laugh) is Winston Churchill.
Actor Christopher Strauli
The first episode of Lloyd George’s War on BBC Radio Wales is available on the BBC iplayer – here with Episode 2 and 3 to be broadcast on the 9th and 16th December. It includes a special title theme composed by the musician Rebecca Applin.
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
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.
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 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
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.
I continued, however, to be very interested in uncovering 1911 census boycotters – and wondering about their lives – and, at odd moments, wrote up my discoveries for the Woman and Her Sphere blog – and gave a paper, ‘No Vote No Census’ ,at the National Archives Conference on the 1911 census, held in the autumn of 2011. You can listen to it here.
Jill later asked me to help compile the extensive Gazetteer of Suffragettes/Suffragists that constitutes the end section of Vanishing for the Vote. This is based on the original research we carried out, supplemented by details of many additional boycotters that prolonged acquaintance with the digitized census has now uncovered.
I am sure that all who are interested in the Edwardian suffrage campaign will be delighted to read Vanishing for the Vote – which takes us right into the lives of the women – and their families – who were prepared to defy the census enumerator in order to highlight their lack of citizenship.
Vanishing for the vote recounts what happened on one night, Sunday 2 April, 1911, when the Liberal government demanded every household comply with its census requirements. Suffragette organisations urged women, all still voteless, to boycott this census.
Many did. Some wrote ‘Votes for Women’ boldly across their schedules. Others hid in darkened houses or, in the case of Emily Wilding Davison, in a cupboard within the Houses of Parliament.
Yet many did not. Even some suffragettes who might be expected to boycott decided to comply – and completed a perfectly accurate schedule. Why?
Vanishing for the vote explores the ‘battle for the census’ arguments that raged across Edwardian England in spring 1911. It investigates why some committed campaigners decided against civil disobedience tactics, instead opting to provide the government with accurate data for its health and welfare reforms.
This book plunges the reader into the turbulent world of Edwardian politics, so vividly recorded on census night 1911. Based on a wealth of brand-new documentary evidence, it offers compelling reading for history scholars and general readers alike.
Sumptuously produced, with 50 illustrations and an invaluable Gazetteer of suffrage campaigners.
To be published by Manchester University Press:
37 Lavender Gardens, Battersea -home of John Burns, minister in charge of the Census
Burns’ house is remarkably similar in style to that of Henry Nevinson and his wife, Margaret, at 4 Downside Crescent, Hampstead. However, although sharing a similar attitude to architecture, Burns and the Nevinsons were poles apart as regards the Census. While Henry Nevinson was in the thick of the Census Night fun in central London, Margaret spent the night in this house with a group of women, all of whom refused to give details to the enumerator. It was not a happy marriage.
32 Well Walk, Hampstead. ‘Vanishing for the Vote’ reveals something of the domestic argument that went on behind this front door on Census night between Jane Brailsford and her husband, Henry. The Census had a knack of highlighting domestic disharmony.
118 Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, home of WSPU activist, Maud Joachim. The census enumerator stood at this door and was refused all information
Clemence Housman resisted the Census as well as Tax. Her Census story is well told in ‘Vanishing for the Vote’.
2 Campden Hill Square, home of the Brackenbury family, later became known as ‘Mouse Castle’ when escaping suffragettes found shelter under its roof. On Census Night it was home to an estimated 25 women and one man.
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During those ground-hog days between Christmas and the New Year why not lose yourself in the pre-First World War suffrage world.
I can send a signed copy of my latest book to you or, as a gift from you, to anyone you choose.
Campaigning for the Vote: The Suffrage Diary of Kate Parry Frye
Edited by Elizabeth Crawford
‘Saturday June 14th1913. [Kate is lodging in Baker Street, London]
I had had a black coat and skirt sent there for Miss Davison’s funeral procession and the landlady had given me permission to change in her room. I tore into my black things then we tore off by tube to Piccadilly and had some lunch in Lyons. But the time was getting on – and the cortege was timed to start at 2 o’clock from Victoria. We saw it splendidly at the start until we were driven away from our position and then could not see for the crowds and then we walked right down Buckingham Palace Rd and joined in the procession at the end. It was really most wonderful – the really organised part – groups of women in black with white lilies – in white and in purple – and lots of clergymen and special sort of pall bearers each side of the coffin. She gave her life publicly to make known to the public the demand of Votes for Women – it was only fitting she should be honoured publicly by the comrades. It must have been most imposing. [Plus much more description of the procession as Kate follows it into King’s Cross station]
Campaigning for the Votetells, in her own words, the efforts of a working suffragist to instil in the men and women of England the necessity of ‘votes for women’ in the years before the First World War. The detailed diary kept all her life by Kate Parry Frye (1878-1959) has been edited to cover 1911-1915, years she spent as a paid organiser for the New Constitutional Society for Women’s Suffrage. The book constitutes that near impossibility – completely new primary material, published for the first time 100 years after the events it records.
With Kate for company we experience the reality of the ‘votes for women’ campaign as, day after day, in London and in the provinces, she knocks on doors, arranges meetings, trembles on platforms, speaks from carts in market squares, village greens, and seaside piers, enduring indifference, incivility and even the threat of firecrackers under her skirt.
Kate’s words bring to life the world of the itinerant organiser – a world of train journeys, of complicated luggage conveyance, of hotels – and hotel flirtations – , of boarding houses, of landladies, and of the ‘quaintness’ of fellow boarders. This was not a way of life to which she was born, for her years as an organiser were played out against the catastrophic loss of family money and enforced departure from a much-loved home. Before 1911 Kate had had the luxury of giving her time as a volunteer to the suffrage cause; now she depended on it for her keep.
No other diary gives such an extensive account of the working life of a suffragist, one who had an eye for the grand tableau – such as following Emily Wilding Davison’s cortege through the London streets – as well as the minutiae of producing an advertisement for a village meeting. Moreover Kate Frye gives us the fullest account to date of the workings of the previously shadowy New Constitutional Society for Women’s Suffrage. She writes at length of her fellow workers, never refraining from discussing their egos and foibles. After the outbreak of war in August 1914 Kate continued to work for some time at the society’s headquarters, helping to organize its war effort, her diary entries allowing us to experience her reality of life in war-time London.
Wrap-around paper covers, 226 pp,over 70 illustrations, all drawn from Kate Frye’s personal archive.ISBN 978 1903427 75 0
Signed copies available from me: £14.99 plus £3 postage to UK addresses.
Signed copies also available of:
Enterprising Women: the Garretts and their circle
Enterprising Women tells the story of a group of women around the Garrett family, who in the second half of the nineteenth century and the early years of the twentieth changed the position of women in Britain forever. Pioneering access to education at all levels for women both in academic and vocational subjects as well as training for the professions – medicine, architectural decoration, landscape design – they also involved themselves in politics and the campaign for women’s suffrage. As well as discussing in detail the work of Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, Millicent Garrett Fawcett and Emily Davies, this book brings to the foreground the careers of some less well known members of the group, including Rhoda and Agnes Garrett, the first women interior decorators, and Fanny Wilkinson, the first professional woman landscape gardener
‘Crawford’s scholarship is admirable and Enterprising Women offers increasingly compelling reading’ Journal of William Morris Studies
Signed copies available from me: £14.99 plus £3 postage to UK addresses.
Woman and her Sphere List for Christmas 2013
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) £35
2. BOUCHERETT, Jessie and BLACKBURN, Helen Conditions of Working Women and the Factory Acts Elliot Stock 1896  An extremely scarce and interesting study. Boucherett and Blackburn were particularly concerned that women should not be barred from trades by the dictat of Parliament – rather that their working conditions should be improved. The final chapter consists of ‘The Report to the Society for the Employment of Women on the work of women in the white lead trade, at Newcastle-on-Tyne, March, 1895. With illustrations. Good (back cover marked) – and very scarce (I have never – in nearly 30 years – previously had a copy in stock) £55
3. BROWN, Mike The Day Peace Broke Out: the VE experience, Sutton Publishing 2005  Describes VE-Day celebrations in Britain and across the world through the memories of those who were there. Illustrated with photographs, adverts, posters and cartoons. Soft covers – large format – mint £10
4. CLAPP, Elizabeth and JEFFREY, Julie Roy (eds) Women, Dissent and Anti-Slavery in Britain and America, 1790-1865 OUP 2011  Essays by David Turley, Timothy Whelan, Alison Twells, Clare Midgeley, Carol Lasser, Julie Roy Jeffrey, Stacey robertson and Judie Newman – with an Introduction by Elizabeth Clapp. Mint in d/w (pub price £60) £25
5. 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 £6
6. DAVID, Deirdre (ed) The Cambridge Companion to the Victorian Novel CUP 2012 (2nd ed)  This second edition includes essays by Kate Flint, Caroline Levine, Nancy Armstrong, Lyn Pykett and Clare Pettit – amongst others. Soft covers – mint £15
7. GOOD HOUSEKEEPING’S HOME ENCYCLOPAEDIA Ebury Press 1968 (r/p)  Packed with information and illustrations. How very retro. Large format – very good in rubbed d/w – heavy £10
8. GREGORY, James Victorians Against the Gallows: capital punishment and the abolitionist movement in 19th-century Britain I.B. Tauris 2011  The first comprehensive study on the movement against Capital Punishment in Victorian Britain. Mint in d/w (pub price £65) £35
9. HILEY, Michael Victorian Working Women: portraits from life, Gordon Fraser 1979  Photographs of working women most of them collected during the second half of the 19th century by A.J. Munby. Paper covers – very good £12
10. 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) £25
11. 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) £15
12. LOANE, M. An Englishman’s Castle Edward Arnold 1909  Martha Loane was a district nurse – this study of the homes of the poor is the result of her social investigation. Good £18
13. 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 £18
14. ORRINSMITH, Mrs The Drawing Room: its decoration and furniture Macmillan 1877  In the ‘Art at Home’ series. ‘The author has endeavoured to give more particular directions as to the furnishing and adornment of the Drawing-Room than was possible in the Miss Garretts’ volume treating of the whole subject of ‘House Decoration’ .’ Very good – missing free front end paper many illustrations – a scarce book £45
15. 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) £35
16. 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) £32
17. RODENSKY, Lisa (ed) The Oxford Handbook of the Victorian Novel OUP 2013  A cornucopia! Mint in d/w – heavy – 808pp. (pub price £95) £50
18. 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) £8
19. STONE, S. A. Home-Making: practical household hints C. Arthur Pearson 1915  One quails at the amount of routine work that was expected of the housewife and clearly, even when dirt was so much more of a threat and smoke pollution so much more damaging, it can’t really have been necessary to do all that the writers of such guides stipulated. I’m exhausted just reading it. Good reading copy £8
20. STOREY, Joan Home Service Book: the answers to your everyday problems in the home Hodder & Stoughton 1955  With numerous photographs of, for instance, heating equipment – v. evocative. Good £6
21. TINDALL, Gillian Three Houses, Many Lives: the story of a Cotswold vicarage, a Surrey boarding school and a London home Vintage 2013  Once again Gillian Tindall works her magic. I loved it (I bought my own copy!) £5
22. VANCE, Norman Bible & Novel: narrative authority and the death of God OUP 2013  ‘In our increasingly secular society novel-reading is now more popular than Bible-reading. Serious novels are often taken more seriously than scripture. The author looks at how this may have come about as an introduction to four best-selling late-Victorian novelists: George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Mary War, and Rider Haggard.’ Mint in d/w (pub price £55) £28
23. VINCE, Mrs Millicent Decoration and Care of the Home W. Collins 1923  Mrs Vince had been a pupil of the pioneer ‘House Decorator’, Agnes Garrett. Very good in rubbed d/w £18
24. (ADDAMS) Louise Knight Jane Addams: Spirit in Action Norton 2011  Biography of the US campaigner for international peace and social justice. Mint in d/w £10
25. (BRONTE) Margaret Smith (ed) Selected Letters of Charlotte Bronte OUP 2010  With a new introduction by Janet Gezari. Soft covers – mint £3
26. [GARDINER] Sarah Gardiner (ed) Leaves from a Young Girl’s Diary: the journal of Margaret Gardiner 1840-41 Tuttle, Moorhouse & Taylor Co (NY) 1927  The journal kept by Margaret Gardiner who, with her father, a NY State Senator, her mother and her sister (who was to become the wife of a US President), sailed across the Atlantic to Europe. They landed at Liverpool and then proceeded to ‘do’ Europe. Delightful. Very good – scarce £45
27. (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 £6
28. (ROBINS) Octavia Wilberforce Backsettown & Elizabeth Robins published for private circulation 1952  A little tribute – telling how Elizabeth Robins came to set up the retreat at Backsettown in Sussex. With lovely photograph of Elizabeth Robins tipped in as frontispiece. Fine in paper wraps – with a birthday inscription on free front endpaper – scarce £38
29. (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 £5
30. (STOREY) STOREY, Joyce Joyce’s War 1939-1945 Virago 1992 (r/p)  Soft covers -very good £4
31. (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 £38
32. (THACKERAY) John Aplin Memory and Legacy: A Thackeray Family Biography 1876-1919 Lutterworth Press 2011  Draws extensively on private collection of descendants of the 19th-century Thackerays and focuses principally on the later years of Anne Thackeray Ritchie, whose amazingly intricate network of family and friendships offers fresh insights into the artistic milieu of the late-Victorian and Edwardian eras. Soft covers – very good £15
33. The Home Friend (New Series) SPCK 1854  4 vols of miscellany of fact and fiction. Very good in embossed decorative original cloth – together £45
34. HOSMER, Harriet  2pp handwritten letter, on black-edged note paper, written by the American sculptor, Harriet Hosmer (1830-1908), from her studio in Rome – at ’38 Gregoriana’. She is inviting ‘Mrs Newton’ to her studio and giving details of the times of her ‘open house’. Mrs Newton, with her husband, is in Rome on a visit. There is no date – but probably 1860s or 1870s? Fine £20
35. LONDON (ROYAL FREE HOSPITAL) SCHOOL OF MEDICINE FOR WOMEN (UNIVERSITY OF LONDON)  An appeal to build an extension – c 1915. Consists of a brief history of the School and photographs -interior and exterior – of the building and its begetters. Fine £25
36. THE HOME ARTS & INDUSTRIES ASSOCIATION A Collection of the Association’s Reports  The Home Arts & Industries Association was founded in 1884 by Eglantyne Jebb and was instrumental in spearheading a revived interest in the craft movement. The Association had its office and studios in the Royal Albert Hall. The collection comprises the Reports for 1902, 1905, 1906 (1 two-sided leaflet and a 4-pp leaflet setting out barest details of the Association, which appears to have been undergoing a financial crisis. I am not sure whether there were reports for 1907 and 1908), 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918. Most in very good condition (that for 1902 may be disbound, front page is present, but loose). – ex-Board of Education Library. Together £55
37. 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 £10
38. GEORGE LANSBURY, MP, LCC  real photographic postcard published by the Church Socialist League, London branch, pre – First World War. Fine – unposted £25
39. KITTY GILLOW  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 £5
40. 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 £7
41. 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 £6
42. 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 £6
43. 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 £5
44. MISS ELLA SHIELDS Lawrence Wright 1929  sings ‘Home in Maine’ and is photographed in sailor attire on cover of sheet music. Good £6
45. 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 £7
46. 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 £5
47. MISS VESTA TILLEY  photographic postcard of her in waistcoat and trilby, together with a cigarette card of woman in male evening dress. Good – card posted in 1907 £6
48. MISS ZENA DARE  photographic postcard of her in male attire. Very good – posted in 1906 £5
49. ‘MR WINIFRED WARD’  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 £7
50. 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 £7
51. 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 £5
52. VESTA TILLEY Francis, Day & Hunter 1894  sings ‘By the Sad Sea Waves’ and is photographed in colour on the cover of the sheet music. Good – though spine strengthened £7
53. BRONTES, The Tales of Glass Town, Angria, and Gondal: selected writings OUP 2010  Edited with Introduction and Notes by Christine Alexander. Soft covers – mint £6
54. GASKELL, Elizabeth Cranford OUP 2011  With introduction by Dinah Birch. Soft covers – mint £4
55. NELSON, Cary (ed) The Oxford Handbook of Modern and Contemporary American Poetry OUP 2012  Mint in d/w – heavy – 716pp (pub price £95) £50
56. VYNNE, Nora The Pieces of Silver Andrew Melrose 1911  One of the dedicatees of this novel is Franklin Thomasson, whose family had a long association with the women’s suffrage movement. The heroine is a feminist journalist and political campaigner – as was the author, who co-authored, with Helen Blackburn, ‘Women Under the Factory Acts 1903’ (see item # ). While not being categorically ‘suffrage’, it is so very close to that genre that I have included it in this section. A scarce book £48
57. 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 – quite scarce £26
58. KING, Elspeth The Scottish Women’s Suffrage Movement People’s Palace, Glasgow 1978  Soft-covered booklet that was published to accompany the ‘Right to Vote’ exhibition organised by the People’s Palace Museum to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1928 Representation of the People Act. Very good £12
59. (PANKHURST) Emmeline Pankhurst My Own Story Eveleigh Nash 1914  Mrs Pankhurst’s authobiography, written with the help of the American journalist, Rheda Childe Dorr. Good – scarce £55
60. HINE, Muriel The Man With the Double Heart John Lane 1914  A ‘suffrage’ novel. The heroine’s mother is a Militant Suffragette; she is not. Good £18
WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE: EPHEMERA
61. A Brief Review of the Women’s Suffrage Movement since its Beginning in 1832 [NUWSS], printed by Vacher & Sons April 1911  16-pp pamphlet. Very good – would be fine but it has lost its staples. With the ownership inscription of a ‘Mrs Kerr’ on the cover. £35
62. ADA HINES  (1872-1949) of ‘The Nook’, Ashton-on-Mersey, was an artist and a suffragette – the joint founder, in 1909, with her friend and fellow artist, Lucy Fildes, of the Manchester branch of the Women’s Freedom League. Here is an opportunity to acquire a small oil painting by her – unframed – on board – entitled ‘Sunset’. Signed but undated – rather atmospheric. £75
63. BODICHON, Mrs Reasons for the Enfranchisement of Women London National Society for Women’s Suffrage, no date late 1860s?  Printed by Head, Hole & Co, Farringdon Street and Ivy Lane, E.C. Scarce and important pamphlet -8pp – good £250
64. CORONATION PROCESSION 17 June 1911  A stereoscope photograph of ‘The Empire Car’ – part of the ‘Pageant of Empire’ part of the procession staged by the suffrage societies to mark the Coronation of George V. Very good £95
65. ELMY, Elizabeth Wostenholme Woman’s Franchise: the need of the hour ILP 2nd ed, no date   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. £65
66. HILL, MISS OCTAVIA Women and the Suffrage 1910  2-sided leaflet, reproducing a letter from Octavia Hill to the Editor of the ‘Times’, dated 14 July 1910. In this she repudiates the necessity of votes for women – ‘Let the woman seek the quiet paths of helpful real work, be set on finding where she is wanted, on her duties, not on her rights…’ The 2-sided leaflet was printed by the National Press Agency Ltd and does not carry the imprimatur of the anti-suffrage society, although I imagine that group was probably behind its publication, the NPA being their usual printer. Good – very scarce £68
67. IN MEMORIAM Rt Hon Lord and Lady (Emmeline) Pethick-Lawrence of Peaslake  4-pp leaflet describing the various commemorations of the lives of the Pethick-Lawrences. Issued by the Suffragette Fellowship under the names of Lady (Helen) Pethick-Lawrence and Grace Roe. Good £15
68. LEIGH SMITH, Barbara A Brief Summary in Plain Language of the Most Important Laws Concerning Women; together with a few observations thereon Holyoake & Co, 2nd edition revised with addition 1856  Barbara Leigh Smith (later Barbara Bodichon) was 27 years old when she wrote this pamphlet, first published in 1854 as part of her campaign to change the Married Women’s Property Acts. This pamphlet is extremely scarce (I have never had a copy for sale before), bound inside recent paper covers. Rather amusingly, the printed price of ‘Threepence’ has been scored through and ‘1 1/2 d’ added – a comment, presumably, then on the interest being shown in the campaign by a public not yet awakened to the cause. Very good £280
69. LYDIA BECKER  Letter from Lydia Becker to ‘Mr Levi’ – written from 85 Carter St, Greenyes, Manchester on ‘Oct 16’ – I have worked out that the year is1868. ‘Mr Levi’ is probably Prof Leone Levi, to whom she had sent a pamphlet a few days earlier. I think, in response, he had written to her in admiration asking for some material from her for his autograph book. In this letter, in return, she writes ‘I have written out my three Norwich prospositions ,[these are drawn from her address at Norwich to the British Association Section F on 25 Aug 1868] which I hope may serve your purpose as a curiosity! for your autograph book, and a bone of contention for your friends.’ These ‘three Norwich propositions’ are set out on a separate sheet. But, in addition, in her 4-pp mss letter she sets out ‘my general wishes and conclusions as to the rights of women’.. All the material has been carefully attached to a sheet that once was page 77 in a collection of autograph material. Incidentally the material on the reverse, p 78, is in Italian, lending credence to my supposition that the correspondent was Leone Levi, who had left his native Italy for Liverpool in 1844. A very interesting letter – very good £95
70. MEN’S LEAGUE FOR OPPOSING WOMAN SUFFRAGE Gladstone on Woman Suffrage MLOWS c. 1909  The Men’s League for Opposing Woman Suffrage was founded in early 1909 and in 1910 merged with the Women’s National Anti-Suffrage League to form the National League for Opposing Woman Suffrage. This pamphlet – reproducing the Grand Old Man’s words on the subject is pamphlet no 3 issued by the Men’s League, presumably quite soon after its founding in 1909. 4-pp – good, with some foxing, scarce £78
71. MEN’S LEAGUE FOR OPPOSING WOMAN SUFFRAGE Is Woman Suffrage A Logical Outcome of Democracy? MLOWS c 1909  Pamphlet no 6 published by the short-lived Men’s League for Opposing Woman Suffrage. 4-pp – very good – scarce £60
72. 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 £15
73. 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 £65
74. NATIONAL LEAGUE FOR OPPOSING WOMAN SUFFRAGE Woman Suffrage and the Factory Acts NLOWS no date  A 4-pp leaflet, no 8 in the NLOWS series, pointing out that the ‘Women’s Party’ (ie pro-suffrage campaigners) were opposed to the ‘humane acts’ limiting women’s work in factory etc because ‘most of them harbour such a jealous mistrust of men that they suppose even their evidently disinterested actions to be prompted by insidious and harmful motive.’ The leaflet concludes ‘To grant women the franchise would therefore be to raise a fresh obstacle in the way of progress and to defer reforms still necessary for the welfare of the working classes..’ Very good – very scarce £75
75. NATIONAL SOCIETY FOR WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE CENTRAL COMMITTEE: First Report of the Executive Committee presented at the General Meeting of the Central Committee held on Wednesday 17 July 1872 National Society for Women’s Suffrage 1872  See my ‘Women’s Suffrage Movement: a reference guide’ as to how and why the Central Committee came into being. This – the Committee’s first report, contains lists of names of members of the Committee, of subscribers, and of the Local Committtes around England and Scotland that affiliated to the Central. In original paper covers – rubbed – very scarce £95
76. PANKHURST, Christabel A Challenge  ‘Miss Pankhurst’s unpublished Articcle in this week’s ‘Votes for Women’, 8 March 1912. This was the week that Christabel eluded the police and escaped to Paris – and ‘Votes for Women’ was censored. The article that was to have been included was, instead, issued by the WSPU as a leaflet. It ends by promising ‘Repression will make the fire of rebellion burn brighter. Harsher punishment will be a direct invitation to more drastic acts of militancy.’ I don’t remember ever seeing this leaflet before. one-sided – chipped at one edge and with a slight slit – but with no loss of text. Good – and very scarce £75
77. PANKHURST, Christabel International Militancy WSPU 1915  ‘A speech delivered at Carnegie Hall, New York, January 13th, 1915’. 24-pp pamphlet, paper covers (with photograph of Christabel Pankhurst). Fine – just with a couple of rust marks from spine staples – in original paper wrappers. Scarce £100
78. PETHICK-LAWRENCE, Emmeline and Frederick (eds) VOTES FOR WOMEN VOL III Oct 1909-Sept 1910  Hefty bound volume of the WSPU weekly newspaper, in original Sylvia Pankhurst-designed boards. Signs of wear at leather corners – spines rebacked – ex Reading University Library – with library label on back boards. Internally very clean and tight, except for page of the Index where paper has split, but with no loss of text.. £900
79. PHILLIPS, Mary The Militant Suffrage Campaign privately printed 1957  ‘This pamphlet is designed to tell in a concise form the story of the ‘Votes for Women Canpaign’ and to explain the reasoned policy on which it was based.’ Mary Phillips had been a leading WSPU organizer. Soft covers – 15pp – scarce £65
80. POTT, Gladys Report of Lecture by Miss Pott on the Anti-Suffrage Movement  ‘Delivered at 67 Westbourne Terrace, W. on Tuesday December 12th 1911. Sir Bartle Frere presiding’. Gladys Pott was the Anti-Suffrage Movement strongest ammunition. In ‘Campaigning for the Vote’ Kate Frye gives a wonderful description of watching Miss Pott in action – ‘ a most harsh, repellent and unpleasing woman. She began by saying we should not get sentiment from her and we did not. ,,’ Certainly you get the flavour of her style from this Lecture – particularly in the treatment of questioners – all faithfully reported. The Lecture was published by the National League for Opposing Woman Suffrage. 16pp – very good – I am not sure whether it was issued with a paper wrapper but, if so, that isn’t present now. COPAC records a copy held by LSE Library – and nowhere else. Scarce £95
81. PUNCH CARTOON  13 July 1910, full-page – the caption is ‘Excelsior!’ as Suffragist puts her shoulder to the boulder of ‘Women’s Suffrage’ and says, ‘It’s no good talking to me about Sisyphus; he was only a man’ £10
82. PUNCH CARTOON  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’ £10
83. PUNCH CARTOON  10 January 1912 -full page – ‘United We Differ’. Lloyd George and Lewis Harcourt are back to back on a platform. Lloyd George addressing his side, where a Votes for Women’ banner is to be seen, cries ‘Votes for Women! Don’t you listen to my esteemed colleague!’. While addressing his, male, crowd cries ‘No Votes for Women! My esteemed colleague is talking nonsense!’. Asquith’s cabinet was split on this issue. Very good £10
84. PUNCH CARTOON  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.’ £10
85. SUFFRAGETTE FELLOWSHIP Roll of Honour Suffragette Prisoners 1905-1914 Suffragette Fellowship no date   16-pp, double column, listing all the suffragette prisoners that the Suffragette Fellowship knew of. A couple of names have been added in ink. Internally fine – cover has shelf markings etc – withdrawn from the Women’s Library. Scarce £150
86. ‘THE VOTE’ POSTCARD ALBUM  An original green cloth-covered postcard album – sold by the Women’s Freedom League. It has a faded white and gold central panel containing its title ‘The Vote Album’ [ I think the design was by Eva Claire – showing the Suffragists at the door of the State, which is barred and bolted against them. Seeking entrance are the Women of the Nation; graduates in academic dress standing side by side with working women.] This particular album once belonged to Mrs Louisa Thomson Price, who 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 Sansom, 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 – including these 6 that 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. When she died Mrs Thomson Price was living at 17 Belsize Park Gardens, Hampstead, and her will was witnessed by Edith Alexander, a professional nurse, who, I’m sure, ran a nursing home at that address. Also living at that address were Miss Edith Alexandra Hartley and Miss Martha Poles Hartley, the latter being the elder sister of the father of the novelist, L.P. Hartley. Interestingly, when they were young, the son and daughter (Olga and Leonard – born ‘Lion’) of Mrs Beatrice Hartley, leading light in the New Constitutional Society for Women’s Suffrage, to whom Kate Frye makes constant reference in her diary (see ‘Campaigning for the Vote: Kate Parry Frye’s Suffrage Diary’) sent a birthday card to Edith Alexander at 17 Belsize Park Gardens, referring to her as ‘Aunty Edith’. They were no blood relations to Edith Alexander, their mother having married their father, Lion Herz, in 1880 and, after 3 children and a separation, at some time between 1893 and 1898 changed the family surname from ‘Herz’ to ‘Hartley’.. As far as I can tell there is no tie of blood between Mrs Beatrice Hartley and Miss Edith Alexandra Hartley – I can only presume that, with Miss Edith Alexander, they were all close friends. The card from Olga and Leonard, together with many more addressed to Edith Alexander, are still held in the postcard album. I assume that after Mrs Thomson Price’s death ‘The Vote Postcard Album’ remained in 17 Belsize Park Gardens and was taken over by Miss Alexander as a place to put her own postcards – none of which have any suffrage relevance. But the Album itself is an extremely scarce example of Women’s Freedom League merchandise £750
87. VOTES FOR WOMEN, 16 August 1912  Complete copy – although the pages are detached. The main news in this issue is of the sentencing in Dublin of Mary Leigh and Gladys Evans. Fair reading copy – scarce £60
88. VOTES FOR WOMEN, 27 September 1912  At this date the paper, owned and edited by Emmeline and Frederick Pethick-Lawrence, was still the mouthpiece of the WSPU. However this issue contains both news of the Pethick-Lawrences’ imminent return from Canada and that of the WSPU’s move from Clement’s Inn to Lincoln’s Inn House. The two items – and that describing the large meeting to be held in the Albert Hall – were not unconnected, I think. This is one of the last issues of the paper before the Pethick-Lawrences were ousted from the WSPU. In fair condition – splits on spine – and some annotation, probably contemporary. Scarce £95
89. VOTES FOR WOMEN, 27 September 1912  Complete issue. Chipped and rubbed and with some – interesting – annotations £60
90. VOTES FOR WOMEN ADVERTISEMENT  for a WSPU meeting to be held at the Royal Albert Hall on 29 April 1909 – to be chaired by Mrs Pethick Lawrence, with Mrs Pankhurst and Christabel Pankhurst as speakers with a ‘Special Presentation to Women who have suffered Imprisonment for Woman Suffrage’. This ‘Special Presentation’ was that of the ‘Holloway’ brooches given, for the first time, to released prisoners. The advertisement appears in the programme for the Royal Adelphi Theatre in which John Galsworthy’s play ‘Strife’ was running. The play, produced by Granville Barker, had Lillah McCarthy in the cast and had had its first performance at the Duke of York’s Theatre on 9 March 1909. On the illustrated cover of this 4-pp programme is written in hand the date 1 April 1909. The proprietors of the Adelphi were A. & E. Gatti – and the coloured cover illustration shows happy customers doubtless enjoying an after-theatre supper at their restaurant.. In fair condition – £25
91. WOMEN’S NATIONAL ANTI-SUFFRAGE LEAGUE On Suffragettes: extracts from ‘What’s Wrong With The World’ by G.K. Chesterton WNASL c 1909  ‘They do not create revolution; what they do create is anarchy’. 2-sided leaflet – noo 30 in the WNASL’s series of leaflets – very good – very scarce £78
92. WOMEN’S NATIONAL ANTI-SUFFRAGE LEAGUE Woman’s Suffrage and Women’s Wages WNASL c 1909  ‘The leaflet concludes Woman Suffrage therefore has nothing to do with wages, and the interests of woman workers can be promoted, and are constantly being promoted in quite other ways.’ One of the ways that the League thought would help solve the problem of the inequality of wages between the sexes would be ‘The more even distribution of the female population throughout the terrotory of the Empire, by means of emigration’. Two-sided leaflet – very good – very scarce £65
93. THE WOMEN’S SOCIAL AND POLITICAL UNION A Reply to Mr Gladstone: Frog-marching in Liverpool Prison  One (no 65) of the large format leaflets produced by the WSPU during the Jan 1910 General Election. This one specifically addresses the Home Secretary on the treatment of Suffrage prisoners. Fine – has been folded and with tag where it has been fixed in Kate Frye’s diary £100
94. ROBERTSON, Margaret Working Men and Women’s Suffrage NUWSS Aug 1913  Margaret Robertson was a university graduate and NUWSS organiser. This pamphlet was written at a time when the NUWSS had set up its Election Fighting Fund to support Labour Party candidates – and was intended for distribution amongst trade unionists. Small format, 24pp in card covers £35
95. ARREST OF CAPT. C.M. GONNE  Member of the Men’s Political Union for Women’s Enfranchisement, Parliament Square, November 18th, 1910.’ Capt Gonne was photographed by the ‘Daily Mirror’ being escorted by two policemen during the ‘Black Friday’ tumult. Capt Charles Melvill Gonne (1862-1926), Royal Artillery, was the author of ‘Hints on Horses’ (John Murray, 1904), an active suffragist, who supported his wife, a tax resister, and was a cousin of Maud Gonne, the Irish nationalist heroine. Very good -unusual – unposted £120
96. CICELY HAMILTON  photograph by Lena Connell. Fine – unposted £120
97. COUNTESS RUSSELL  real photographic postcard – headed ‘Votes for Women’ of ‘Countess Russell Member of National Executive Committee Women’s Freedom League’. The card depicts Countess Russell photographed in a studio setting – and is signed in ink ‘Yours sincerely Mollie Russell’. 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. Fine – unposted – scarce – I have never seen this card before £120
98. DESTRUCTION OF GRAND STAND BY SUFFRAGETTES AT HURST PARK SUNDAY JUNE 18 1913  Real photographic postcard by Young’s, Teddington. The scene left by Kitty Marion and Clara (Betty) Giveen after they had lit a beacon for Emily Davison – who had died, unbeknownst to them, a few hours earlier. (See full details https://womanandhersphere.com/2013/06/07/suffrage-stories-kitty-marion-emily-wilding-davison-and-hurst-park/). Fine – the message on the reverse is dated 5 July – the card was posted at Molesey Park – so the sender was clearly a local resident who, in fact, mentions that she (I’m sure it is a ‘she’) had ‘just returned from Kingston’. Very scarce £180
99. DR THEKLA HULTIN  The Finnish MP is photographed at her desk. She sent the card from Helsingfors (Helsinki) on 12 April 1917 to Mrs Louisa Thompson-Price of the Women’s Freedom League. From the message on the reverse it would appear that the two women shared a birthday ‘I wish you all the best (including the vote) in the following 50 years…’ Very good – posted – very unusual £120
100. EDITH CRAIG  photographed by Lena Connell, published at The Suffrage Shop, 31 Bedford Street (therefore the card dates from c 1910 – before its removal in 1911 south of the Strand). Fine – unposted £120
101. FORTISSIMO  – real photograph, – toddler holds the songsheet for ‘Bother the Men’, dating from the 1880s. Published by Rotary Photo, this is one in a series. Posted by Dick on 21 December 1908 to Master Harry Day of 9 Arthur St, Pembroke Dock, with the message ‘Harry boy – learning Dada’s Xmas Song.’ Good £28
102. GREAT VOTES FOR WOMEN DEMONSTRATION IN HYDE PARK  The WSPU rally on Sunday 21 June 1908. Crowds as far as the eye can see – with massed banners, including those of Cardiff and Newport, waving in the breeze. Fine – published by Sandle Bros – unposted £85
103. HATHERLEIGH CARNIVAL  Hatherleigh in Devon has staged a carnival each year in November since 1903. This postcard is a sepia photograph of three children – I rather think they are all boys – dressed as women – glamorously bedecked in flowers – standing beside a vehicle that I think is a bicycle – which is similarly decorated – with flowers and paper lanterns (?) – and bears a large notice ‘Votes for Women’. Good – unposted £55
104. MISS GRACE ROE  The caption is ‘UNDAUNTED’!’ She is being marched out of the WSPU headquarters, Lincolns Inn House, by police, arrested in May 1914. She was not released from prison until under the amnesty in August. The postcard photography was by courtesy of the ‘Daily Mirror’. An iconic image. Fine – unposted – scarce. £190
105. MISS MARY GAWTHORPE  The caption is ‘Votes for Women’ and she is described as ‘Organiser, Women’s Social and Political Union,
4 Clement’s Inn, Strand, W.C. The card was posted in South Kensington on 31 Oct 1908 – the writer says ‘This is one of the speakers I heard on Thursday. She is splendid…’. The sender probably heard Mary Gawthorpe at the WSPU meeting held in the Albert Hall on Thursday 29 oct 1908. Good £65
106. MRS EMMELINE PANKHURST  real photographic postcard. She is wearing a shield-shaped WSPU badge – in the chevron design. Fine – unposted – a rather unusual image – the first I’ve had in stock since 2000. £75
107. MRS HENRY FAWCETT, LL.D  ‘President of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies’, is the caption below her photograph by Lizzie Caswall Smith. Probably dates from c 1910. Fine – unposted -although written on the back in pencil is ‘Return to Mrs Thomson-Price 42 Parkhill Road, Hampstead N.W.’ The card comes from the collection of Louisa Thomson-Price, one of the leading members of the Women’s Freedom League. £60
108. MRS LILIAN M. HICKS  – photographed by Lena Connell – an official Women’s Freedom League photographic postcard. Mrs Hicks had been an early member of the WSPU, but left to join the WFL in the 1907 split, returning in 1910 to the WSPU. Fine – unposted £35
109. MRS MARTEL  Real photographic postcard captioned ‘Mrs Martel National Women’s Social and Political Union, 4 Clement’s Inn, W.C.’ Cornish-born Nellie Martel had emigrated to Australia and on her return devoted herself to the WSPU. She had a reputation as a gaudy dresser and certainly here she is dripping in flounces and jewllery – with a rather charingly amused smile. Very good – unposted – scarce. £90
110. PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN OUTSIDE THE WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE COMMITTEE ROOM  in Hoe Street, Walthamstow. The photograph shows a group on the pavement outside the Committee Rooms with a board on which is written ‘New Constitutional Society for Women’s Suffrage’. In front of them, on the road, is parked a large motor car, to the front of which is attached another large board inscribed in large letters ‘New Constitutional Society for Women’s Suffrage’. Sitting in the car and waving a large flag is an elegant, grandly be-hatted woman. I have never before seen a photograph of the New Constitutional Society at work, as it were. Kate Frye, our main source of information on the NCS, was not yet quite involved in that society – in fact on the day this card was posted, 28 October 1910, she was attending a meeting of the Actresses’ Franchise League at their office – so I can give no inside information on the NCS campaign at this Walthamstow by-election. This by-election was of particular interest to suffrage campaigners because the Liberal candidate was a cabinet minister, Sir John Simon. Election day was on Tuesday 1 November and the sender of the card, who posted it from Leyton at 7 pm on Friday 28th Oct, was one of the NCS campaigners. She tells her correspondent that ‘We are frantically busy working at Walthamstow By Election. Meetings every day and evening.’ She does not, alas, sign her name – but the recipient was Mrs Radcliffe Crocker of Brant Ridge, Bourne End, Bucks. This is something of a coincidence because Kate Frye called on Mrs Crocker the following 1 May (1911) when she was canvassing for support for a new NCS suffrage society in Bourne End (her home town). Mrs Crocker, the widow of an eminent dermatologist, was, Kate tells us, ‘in, but no good’ – so doubtless hadn’t been particularly impressed by the postcard sender’s Walthamstow campaigning. From the photograph I think that the NCS must have been sharing a committeee room with the Men’s Suffrage League – it certainly is not the Committee Room taken by the WSPU. Above the door is a sign ‘Men’s League Walk In’ – the windows are lined with posters and, with the Men’s League, the Women’s Freedom League and the WSPU, the NCS took part the following day in a procession through Walthamstow that ended with a meeting in Walthamstow Palace Theatre. There is no photographer or publisher of the postcard named – the photo may have been taken by a NCS member – and the image is of the sepia type – rather than crisp black and white. However the image is quite clear – most interesting on a variety of counts – and extremely unusual – I won’t say unique because there were clearly more than one card issued – but I should imagine the chances of finding another were extremely remote. £200
111. ‘RUINS OF ST KATHERINE’S CHURCH, BURNT DOWN MAY 6 1913  Real photographic card. There are several images published on postcards of the ruins of St Catherine’s (this is the correct spelling; the card’s publisher was a bit slapdash) Church at Hatcham in Surrey, for the burning of which the suffragettes were thought responsible – but I have never seen this one before. £35
112. ‘SUFFRAGETTE’ POSTCARD  real photographic card – though it must be staged. Set in what appears to be the country – with trees and flowers – it shows a woman in loose-fitting jacket and long skirt – with one of the shield-shaped chevron WSPU badges pinned to her lapel, being apprehended by a policeman in helmet and uniform and sporting an imposing display of medals. The point of the photograph is that the woman is holding out for him to see a copy of the ‘Suffragette’ newspaper. I have never seen this image before. It is issued as a postcard – but no photographer or publisher is cited. Most unusual – unposted – very good (with a slight crease at the bottom right-hand corner where it has been held in (Louisa Thomson-Price’s) postcard album £120
113. SUFFRAGETTE PROCESSION  Real photographic postcard – an unusual view of the 1911 ‘Coronation Procession’. The photograph, published as a postcard by J. J. Samuels, 371 Stramd, London W.C., shows the ‘Pageant of Great Women’ part of the procession walking the street that goes out of Trafalgar and merges into Pall Mall. The photograph has been taken from an upper window of one of the buildings on the south side of the street and gives an excellent view not only of the procession but of London’s buildings decorated for the Coronation. The streets are packed with onlookers. Unposted – reverse a little grubby but the front is in very good condition. Unusual £120
114. THE WOMEN’S GUILD OF EMPIRE  ‘souvenir packet’ of 6 postcards, in their original printed paper envelope, published by the Women’s Guild of Empire. The cards are: 1) ‘Women’s Guild of Empire Committee’ – the 6 members of the Committee, who included Flora Drummond and Elsie Bowerman, sit around a table; 2) Mrs R.S Henderson, president; 3) Mrs Flora Drummond, Controller-in-Chief; 4) WGE banner ‘Peace Unity Concord’ surrounded by members; 5) Banner Making for the Great Demonstration April 17th 1926 – Mrs Drummond under an ‘Effeciancy and Entrprise’ banner; 6) ‘Women Pipers from the Lothians’ – with Mrs Drummond in control Scottishness was to the fore. An extremely rare set – I have never seen any of these cards before – and, in general, there are few images of the Guild of Empire and its work. The printed envelope carries details of the ‘Objects’ of the Guild and of its work. All cards in pristine condition – dating, I assume, to c 1926. As a set £220
115. VOTES FOR WOMEN  one of those real photographic ‘comic’ cards with young man dressed as a woman standing behind a table and a large ‘Votes for Women’ blackboard. He is holding a large knife (I think) in one hand and a bottle of beer – Benksins Watford – in the other. It is signed across the bottom right corner ‘Your old Pal Dan’ £35
116. WOMEN’S FREEDOM LEAGUE Miss Sarah Benett  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. This photograph by Lena Connell was also used on a WFL-published postcard – but this one is not attributed to the WFL. The background to the image is little irridescent. £100
117. WOMEN’S FREEDOM LEAGUE Mrs Amy Sanderson  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, fine – unusual – unposted £150
118. WOMEN’S FREEDOM LEAGUE Mrs Edith How-Martyn , ARCS, BSc  Hon Sec Women’s Freedom League 1 Robert Street, Adelphi, London WC. She is wearing herWFL Holloway brooch. Photographed by M.P. Co (London) – which I think is probably the Merchants Portrait Co in Kentish Town that did a fair amount of work for the WFL. The card is headed ‘Votes for Women’ and was published by the WFL. Fine – unposted £120
119. WOMEN’S FREEDOM LEAGUE Mrs Marion Holmes  card headed ‘Votes for Women’ published by the Women’s Freedom League, 1 Robert St, Adelphi, London WC. Mrs Holmes was joint editor of the WFL paper ‘The Vote’. She is photoraphed wearing herWFL Holloway badge as well as one of the WFL enamel badges. Fine – unusual – unposted £120
WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE POSTCARDS: COMIC
120. ‘HI! MISS! YER TROWSERS IS A-COMING DOWN’  shouts tyke to elegant young woman sporting ‘harem’ trousers. Pre-First World War, pub by Felix McGlennon. Not actually ‘suffrage’ but of the time. Very good – very glossy £25
121. ‘NOT IN THOSE TROUSERS’  is the caption to a hand-painted postcard (the artist has initialed it ‘K.S.’). The subject of the remark is a lady in a purple and green outfit – a long tunic over ‘harem’ trousers – wearing a green and purple hat and carrying an umbrella. The author of the remark, a dapper gentleman, stands in the background. The colouring may indicate that a suffrage inference might be drawn – the style of dress certainly points to an early-20th-century date. Very good – unposted £15
122. THIS IS THE HOUSE THAN MAN BUILT  And this is the policeman all tattered and torn/Who wished women voters had never been born,/Who nevertheless /Tho it caused him distress/Ran them all in,/In spite of their dress:/The poor Suffragette/Who wanted to get/Into The House than man built. With House of Commons in the background, a policeman is battered by one suffragette as he attempts to aprehend another – virgagos both, of course. In the BB London Series. In very good condition – posted on 30 April 1909 £45
123. THIS IS THE HOUSE THAT MAN BUILT  ‘And these are the members who’ve been sitting late/Coming out arm in arm, from a lengthy debate…’ Fashionably dressed couple, he in top hat and frock coat emerge, engaged in reasonable discussion, from the Houses of Parliament. An ink line at under the text carries the message ‘Will we ever live to see this.’ In BB London Series. Very good – posted in Clapton on 12 May 1909. £45
124. THIS IS THE HOUSE THAT MAN BUILT  ‘And this is the home of the poor suffragette/And there’s room for a great many more of them in it yet…’ Burly suffragette being taken in hand by a policeman – with the towers of Holloway in the background. In BB London series. Very good- unposted £45
125. COMPANIONS IN DISGRACE  – the sweet girl graduate stands, robed, alongside a convict in his arrowed suit. The heading is ‘Polling Booth’ and the caption ‘Companions in Disgrace’ refers to their shared characteristic. The verse below explains further: ‘Convicts and Women kindly note,/ Are not allowed to have the vote…’ etc. Drawn by ‘C.H.’ and published by the Artists’ Suffrage League. Very good – unposted £65
126. YOUNG NEW ZEALAND  cycles on her modern bicycle with its two wheels equal in size. The front one is labelled ‘Male and Female’ and the back one ‘Equal Electoral Rights’. She calls out to old John Bull who is struggling atop a penny farthing, ‘Oh Grandpapa! what a funny old machine. Why don’t you get one like mine?’ The artist is JHD [Joan Harvey Drew]. Published by the Artists’ Suffrage League. Very good- unposted – v scarce £95
WOMEN AND THE FIRST WORLD WAR
127. BARTON, Edith And CODY, Marguerite Eve in Khaki: the story of the Women’s Army at home and abroad Thomas Nelson, no date (1918)  Part I – in England by Edith M. Barton. Part II – In France by Marguerite Cody. The First World War and the early years of the WAAC. Very good £38
128. CABLE, Boyd Doing Their Bit: war work at home Hodder and Stoughton, 2nd imp 1916  Includes a chapter on ‘The Women’. Good £18
129. CAHILL, Audrey Fawcett Between the Lines: letters and diaries from Elsie Inglis’s Russian Unit Pentland Press 1999  Soft covers – mint £15
130. DEARMER, Mabel Letters from a Field Hospital: with a memoir of the author by Stephen Gwynn Macmillan 1916  In April 1915 Mabel Dearmer, the wife of the Christian socialist Rev Percy Dearmer, went out to work with Mrs Stobart in Serbia. She died of enteric fever in July. Very good internally – cream cloth cover a little grubby – scarce £75
131. DENT, Olive A V.A.D. in France Grant Richards Ltd 1917  Autobiographical account of nursing in France in the First World War. Very good, with atmospheric pictorial cloth cover £75
132. FARMBOROUGH, Florence Russian Album 1908-1918 Michael Russell 1979  Photographs taken both before and during the First World War by Florence Farmborough, who first went to Russia in 1908 – and left in 1918. At the outbreak of war she served with the Russian Red Cross. An amazing collection. Large format, fine in d/w £28
133. [HALL] Edith Hall Canary Girls & Stockpots WEA Luton Branch 1977  Memories of life in the First World War – and of the ’20s and ’30s. During the War Edith Hall’s mother was landlady to munition workers – ‘the Canaries’ (so called because the chemicals turned their skin yellow) at the Hayes factories.
Soft covers – signed by the author £10
134. MCLAREN, Eva Shaw (ed) A History of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals Hodder & Stoughton 1919  A very full history of the work of the SWH in the First World War. With 57 illustrations, including a marvellous pull-out panoramic photograph of the Salonika hospital in 1918 – huts and tents as far as the eye can see. 408pp – very good -with new endpapers and a little foxing – scarce £65
135. MARLOW, Joyce (ed) The Virago Book of Women and the Great War Virago 1998  Hardcover – fine in fine d/w £12
136. (ROSS) Ishobel Ross Little Grey Partridge Aberdeen University Press 1988  ‘First World War diary of Ishobel Ross, who served with the Scottish Women’s Hospitals Unit in Serbia.’ With an introduction by Jess Dixon. Paper covers – fine £10
137. STONE, Gilbert (ed) Women War Workers: accounts contributed by representative workers of the work done by women in the more important branches of war employment George G. Harrap & Co 1917  With a foreword by Lady Jellicoe. Chapters on: munition work; the land; work as a postwoman; banking; as a bus conductor; driver of butcher’s delivery cart; nursing at the Front in France; work as a V.A.D.; working with ‘Concerts at the Front’; and welfare work. Includes a chapter on War Organisations for Women, full of facts and figures – with 12 photographs. Very good – a surprisingly scarce book £60
138. WALKER, Dora M. With the Lost Generation 1915-1919: From a V.A.D.s Diary A. Brown & Sons (Hull) 2nd imp 1971  ‘A “Girl’s Eye View” of work in some of the famous War Hospitals of 1914-1918.’ – written at the time by the author to her father. Dora Walker worked in hospitals in Britain, France and Belgium. With 20 photographs. Fine – scarce £25
WOMEN AND THE FIRST WORLD WAR: EPHEMERA
139. DENNYS, Joyce Portrait of Nurse Winifred Whitworth  Winifred Fanny Whitworth (b.1891) was a VAD nurse at the Royal Naval Auxiliary Hospital, Truro, when she was commended for ‘valuable service in connection with the war’ in the London Gazette 29 Nov 1918. She was the only daughter (with 6 brothers) of Mr & Mrs R. Whitworth of Truro. Joyce Dennys (1893-1991), illustrator and humourist, was herself a VAD, working in hospitals in Devon. She was commissioned c 1915 to draw the pictures for ‘Our Hospitals ABC’, pub by John Lane. She must have visited the Royal Naval Auxiliary Hospital at Truro c 1917, when she was working in the VAD adminsitration office. The pastel and gouache portrait of Nurse Whitworth is one of 31, unsigned drawings, that were contained in a sketch book. Research by an art dealer, specialising in art of the First World War, established that the sketch book was the work of Joyce Dennys. Plenty of scope, I feel, for further research on Nurse Whitworth and her fellow Cornish VADs. Very good – mounted £95
140. GRANT, LILIAS and MOIR, ETHEL ‘Uncensored Diary’ and ‘Uncensored Letters’  Lilias Grant wrote the ‘Uncensored Diary’ and her friend, Ethel Moir, the ‘Uncensored Letters’ while on service together – as orderlies – with Dr Elsie Inglis’ Serbian-Russian Unit of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in Rumania and Russia between August 1916 and April 1917. Also in that unit were Elsie Bowerman and Yvonne Fitzroy – and many other figures now well known to students of the SWH make frequent appearances. Ethel Moir did further service with the SWH between Feb 1918 and Jan 1919 with the ‘Elsie Inglis Unit’ in Salonika, Verbiliani and Hordiack and recorded that experience in a second section of the ‘Uncensored Letters’. These foolscap typescripts (or, in the case of the Moir Letters, a xerox of the tss) have been bound and were each inscribed by Lilias Grant (by then Mrs Lilias Dyson) and given in 1972 to her friends Nina and Ian Cameron of North Petherton, Somerset. Laid in the Moir volume is a letter from her husband, Dacre Dyson, explaining that there are only 3 copies of the Moir tss (and, by inference, also of the Grant Diary). One set is this set, owned by the Camerons, one is in the possession of Ethel Moir’s sister and the Dysons’ own set is destined, in due course, to be given to Edinburgh Central Library. Lilias Dyson died in 1975 and her husband in 1980 and their set of tss is now in the ECL. Indeed it was after reading the tss there that the playwright Abigail Docherty wrote her SWH play ‘Sea, Land and Sky’, staged at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow in 2010. Audrey Cahill published excerpts from the diary and letters in ‘Between the Lines’ (see item # ). Although she been unable to find anything further about Lilias Grant, the extra information provided in the laid-in letter and note that accompanies these volumes has made it possible to establish that, born in York in 1880, in 1922 she married Dacre Dyson, a Ceylon tea planter. They lived in Ceylon until at least 1938 and after the Second World War were living in Burley in Hampshire. Ethel Moir and Lilias Grant, who were both living in Inverness, had been friends before, together, joining the SWH The whereabouts of the third set of the tss is at the moment unknown.
The tss have been very well bound and are in fine condition (with one very small scuff on the spine of ‘Uncensored Letters’) – with presentation inscription from Lilias Grant and laid-in letter and note from her husband. Extremely scarce £500
141. SCOTTISH WOMEN’S FIRST AID CORPS  natural-coloured linen canvas satchel with the initials ‘S.W.F.A.C.’ [Scottish Women’s First Aid Corps] machine-embroidered in red on the front.The satchel hangs from a long red grosgrain ribbon strap which has a buckle for altering its length. The bag still contains an Esmarch’s Triangular Bandage – printed with images of how to apply, in a variety of ways, the bandage to wounded men, together with two packs labelled ‘Scottish Women’s First Aid Corps First Field Dressing’, supplied by J. Gordon Nicholson, Pharmaceutical Chemist, 15 Hanover Street, Edinburgh, and two small safety pins on a piece of card, presumably to be used for fixing the bandages. Luckily this SWFAC member was required to put the bandages to the test. The SWFAC had been formed in 1909 by Mary E. Macmillan and came into its own in the First World War, appealing to middle and upper-middle class women who wanted to ‘do their bit’. The SWFAC ran classes in First Aid and sick nursing and some of its recruits then went out to nurse in Italy and Serbia. Very good – an unusual survival £120
142. 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 £38
WOMEN AND THE FIRST WORLD WAR: NOVEL AND POETRY
143. MACAULAY, Rose Three Days Constable & Co 1919  Poems. Already an established novelist, during the First World War Rose Macaulay worked as a VAD nurse and a land girl and in early 1917 joined the War Office. Good – a little chipped on spine – in wrapper cover. £25
144. MARCHANT, Bessie A Girl Munition Worker: a story of a girl’s work during the Great War Blackie   Novel of the First World by ‘the girls’ Henry’. This would appear to be a first edition -with an ownership inscription for ‘Xmas 1916’ on free front end paper In original pictorial cloth cover – cloth rubbed and corners bumped – very scarce £45
145. BULKELEY, John And BYRON, John The Loss of the ‘Wager’: the narrative of John Bulkeley and John Byron Boydell Press 2004  Two survivors of the loss of the ‘Wager’ tell a tale of mutiny, hardship and tenacity after the loss of their ship on the Patagonian coast in 1740. Soft covers – mint £7
146. CASSON, Stanley Some Modern Sculptors OUP 1928  Good – library bookplate on front pastedown. Hardback/no d/w £8
147. CHARATAN, Kira And CECIL, Camilla Under Fire in the Dardanelles: the Great War Diaries and Photographs of Major Edward Cadogan Pen & Sword Military 2006  Fascinating diaries – packed with illustrations. Mint in mint dustwrapper £15
148. DE GAMEZ, Gutierre The Unconquered Knight; a chronicle of the deeds of Don Pero Nino, Count of Buelna Boydell Press 2004  A chronicle dating from the early part of the 15th century. This edition, with introduction by Joan Evans, first published in 1928. Soft covers – mint £8
149. GLANFIELD, John Bravest of the Brave: the story of the Victoria Cross Sutton 2005  Mint in mint dustwrapper £10
150. (GOYA) Julia Blackburn Old Man Goya Jonathan Cape 2002  Follows Goya through the last 35 years of his life. Very good in d/w £8
151. GREEN, Benny Britain at War Colour Library 1994  The Second World War. V fully illustrated. Very good – large format – heavy £4
152. HART-DAVIS, Adam What the Past did for Us: a brief history of ancient inventions BBC Books 2004  Mint in dustwrapper £10
153. HUGHES, Les Henry Munday: a young Australian Pioneer Next Century Books 2003  Henry Munday left Bow Brickhill in Buckinghamshire in 1844 to emigrate to Australia. In later life he wrote his reminiscences of life in his English village as it had been 70 years previously, his voyage to Australia and his life there. V. interesting, detailed and well illustrated. Large format – weight of book has caused split at inside front cover – otehrwise fine £9
154. LONGMATE, Norman The Real Dad’s Army; the story of the Home Guard Arrow books 1974  Soft covers – good £5
155. MAYERS, Kit North-East Passage to Muscovy: Stephen Borough and the first Tudor explorations Sutton 2005  The attempt to find the north-east passage to China. In 1553 Stephen Borough’s ship managed to reach Russia and set up favourable trading terms with Ivan the Terrible – leading to the creation of the first joint-stock overseas trading company, the Muscovy Company. Mint in mint dustwrapper £14
156. PLOWDEN, Alison In a Free Republic: life in Cromwell’s England Sutton Publishing 2006  Mint in d/w £10
157. ROBINS, Gay Women in Ancient Egypt British Museum Press 1993  Soft covers – fine £6
158. WASSERMAN, James An Illustrated History of the Knights Templar Destiny Books (Vermont) 2006  Soft covers, large format, heavily illustrated – mint £10
159. (WOODHOUSE) Ronald Woodhouse John Woodhouse: a remarkable Mormon pioneer Trafford Publishing 2006  Records the known information about the life of a Mormon pioneer in the late 19th century – starting in Yorkshire the trail reaches throughout the USA. Soft covers – mint £6
160. (FROUDE) Ciaran Brady, James Anthony Froude: an intellectual biography of a Victorial prophet OUP 2013  Mint in d/w (pub price £45) £30
161. (DOYLE) Douglas Kerr Conan Doyle: writing, profession and practice OUP 2013  A study of the writings of Arthur Conan Doyle – and a cultural biography Mint in d/w (pub price £30) £20
162. CREW, Bob The History of Maidenhead Breedon Books 2007  Hardback – mint in mint d/w £8
163. MACKIE, Alastair Some of the People All the Time Book Guild Publishing 2006  Autobiography of a former H-bomber pilot who became vice-charman of CND £9
164. STOKER, Bram Dracula OUP (World’s Classics) 2011  Edited by Roger Luckhurst. Soft covers – mint £5
165. TOLSTOY, Leo War & Peace OUP 2010  ‘The definitive (Maude) translation newly revised and edited and with an introduction by Amy Mandelker. Hardover – very heavy -1350pp – mint in d/w £12
166. TROLLOPE, Anthony Can You Forgive Her? OUP (World’s Classics) 2011  Edited by Dinah Birch. Soft covers – mint £5
167. TROLLOPE, Anthony The Duke’s Children OUP (World’s Classics) 2011  Edited with an introduction and notes by Katherine Mullin and Francis O’Gorman. Soft covers – mint £5
168. TROLLOPE, Anthony Phineas Finn OUP (World’s Classics) 2011  Edited by Simon Dentith. Soft covers – mint £5
169. TROLLOPE, Anthony Phineas Redux OUP (World’s Classics) 2011  Edited by John Bowen. Soft covers – mint £5
170. ANDREWS, Malcolm Dickensian Laughter: essays on Dickens & humour OUP 2013  Examines and reflects on Dickens’ techniques for making us laugh. Mint in d/w (pub price £20) £15
171. DARWIN, Charles Evolutionary Writings: including the autobiographies OUP (World’s Classics) 2010  edited with an introduction and notes by James A. Secord. Soft covers – mint £5
172. 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) £28
173. JAMES, Simon Maps of Utopia: H.G. Wells, modernity, and the end of culture OUP 2012  Begins with the late-Victorian debate about the effect of reading, especially reading fiction, tha tfollowed the 1870 Education Act and considers WEls’s best known scientific novels, important social novels, as well as less-known texts.Mint in d/w (pub price £53) £28
174. OTTER, Samuel Philadelphia Stories: America’s literature of race and freedom OUP 2010  An account of Philadelphia’s literary history. Hardback – mint in d/w £12
175. RIGNEY, Ann The Afterlives of Walter Scott; memory on the move OUP 2012  ‘Breaks new ground in memory studies and the study of literary reception by examining the dynamics of cultural memory and the “social life” of literary texts across several generations and multiple media.’ Mint in d/w (pub price £58) £28
176. 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) £18
177. KURZEM, Mark The Mascot: the extraordinary story of a young Jewish boy and an SS extermination squad Ebury 2007  Mint in d/w £10
178. The Frye Family’s Christmas card for 1903. Kate and her sister, Agnes, are boating on their Bourne End lawn, flooded by the Thames. Their home, The Plat (which is still there in 2013), is seen in the background.
Good – the photograph is a little spotted £55
AND FOR MANY MORE BOOKS AND ITEMS OF EPHEMERA FOR SALE
‘NO VOTE NO CENSUS Posterity will know how to judge the Government if it persists in bringing about the falsification of national statistics instead of acting on its own principles and making itself truly representational of the people.’ Mary Phillips
This is the statement that Mary Phillips, the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) organizer, wrote across the census form issued for 68 Manningham Lane, Bradford – the WSPU’s office.
The Enumerator noted in his Census Summary Book that 68 Manningham Lane was ‘a Lock Up Shop no sleeping accommodation’. Nothwithstanding, he recorded that Mary Phillips and 9 other females – suffragettes – had spent the night there – but that he was unable to obtain any information about them.
Mary Phillips had advertised in Votes for Women (31 March) the ‘At Home’ for Census Night – from 11pm on 2 April to noon on Monday 3 April – and I wonder if she was rather disappointed that she was supported by only 9 others. For what it is worth, there is no mention at all in the following week’s issue of the meeting planned for Wednesday 4 April in which members were to tell of ‘Where I spent Census Night’. Had Bradford, perhaps, not been that enthusiastic?
Manningham Lane, Bradford (image courtesy of Maggie Land Blanck)
To listen to a talk I gave on the suffragette boycott at a National Archives conference on the 1911 census click 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.
Ever since the decision was made for the Women’s Library to move to LSE (now open as the Women’s Library @ LSE) I have been writing posts that draw attention to the many locations associated with the women’s movement in the area around Aldwych and the Strand. My hope is that researchers in the Women’s Library, when taking a break from their labours, will welcome some information that will allow them to see the surrounding area with fresh eyes.
Today I would like to direct your attention to the site between Portugal Street and Sardinia Street that now houses the Peacock Theatre. Many readers will have been to that theatre, rather oddly sited in the basement of a modern office-type block – if only to take younger members of the family to the annual Christmas treat of ‘The Snowman’. Have you ever wondered why there is a theatre there – in what is now a rather untheatrical area? The answer is related to the wonderful building in the photograph below.
London Opera House, Kingsway. (Image courtesy of arthurlloyd.co.uk)
The London Opera House, its rooftop adorned with figures representing Melody and Harmony, opened 102 years ago today – on 13 November 1911. It occupied an entire block of Kingsway, between Portugal Street and Sardinia Street, and was built for Oscar Hammerstein (Sr) , whose idea was that it should rival the Covent Garden Opera House. The building was opulent and enormous, capable of seating over 2600 people.
Its first season ran from its opening until March 1912, when there was then a hiatus. It was this lack of a follow-up season that, I think, accounts for the fact that on Friday 15 March it was available to be hired for a ‘Suffragists’ non-militant and non-party demonstration’ by the New Constitutional Society for Women’s Suffrage. Kate Frye was its organizer and in Campaigning for the Vote you can read of her efforts, which included mustering the banners of the various suffrage societies – she collected that of the WSPU from Mrs Garrud’s gym – in order to decorate the auditorium. Eva Moore and May Whitty of the Actresses’ Franchise League were amongst the suffragists on the platform, very fitting in such a theatrical venue.
It was not the first time in its short life that the Opera House had held a suffragette meeting. The previous week, the police, on the hunt for Christabel Pankhurst who had given them the slip from nearby Clement’s Inn, searched the Opera House, where she was reported to be hiding. However the New York Times reported that all they found was ‘Oscar Hammerstein sitting alone in state at a big table in the vestibule, with a printed notice behind him reading “Subscriptions department for the Grand Opera Summer Season”.’ The reporter described how ‘Outside the Opera House were posters announcing tomorrow’s meeting’ ‘So you are a sympathiser’, said the correspondent to Mr Hammerstein. ‘I don’t know anything about it,’ he replied, ‘except that I let the opera house to them before they started on their stunts, and can’t break the contract, or else they might break up the opera house’.
The London Opera House was so well-placed in the middle of suffrage society territory – and right beside the Tea Cup Inn, a favourite haunt – that it was to be the venue for various other suffrage meetings.
Hammerstein’s Summer Season was his last at the London Opera House and in July he gave up and returned to America. The theatre re-opened in December, staging variety shows and showing films, but not before it had once again, on 4 November, been hired by the suffrage societies who held a joint meeting protesting at the proposed reform bill.
It was at the London Opera House on 8 September 1914 that Christabel re-appeared when her exile came to an end, beginning her speech by saying ‘It is very good to be back in one’s own country again, amongst one’s own friends’ – and ending by promising ‘[The war] will sweep away, it must and shall sweep away, the superstition, the narrowness, the jealousy, the suicidal folly which have made of our country two opposing camps – the enfranchised men in one, and the voteless women in the other’.
From 1917 -1940 the building became a cinema – the Stoll Picture House – but from 1942 to 1957 reverted to live theatre – before being demolished in 1958. Planning permission for the replacement building required the incorporation of a theatre – hence The Peacock.
The office block has now, I see, been taken over by King’s College, which is marching up Kingsway into LSE territory. It is now known as the ‘Virginia Woolf Building’. Which allows my imagination another suffrage spin – to visualise Mary Datchet returning down Kingsway from her suffrage society office in Russell Square to her flat near the Strand. She glances at the poster outside the London Opera House advertising a suffrage meeting (perhaps her society, the PDS, would have been taking part but perhaps, as it probably supported adult, rather than women’s suffrage, not). Little did she suspect that her creator’s name would 100 years later adorn its – rather less – opulent – successor.
The copy of Christabel Pankurst’s 8 September 1914 speech, The War, referred to above will be for sale in my next catalogue.
For much more about the London Opera House and its successors click here.
Suffragette evaders of the 1911 census can be very difficult to uncover – that, of course, was their intention. It is well nigh impossible to identify individual evaders who, with their companions, took part in one of the organised mass evasions. However it is particularly tantalising when the organisers of a mass evasion publicised its whereabouts in the suffrage press and yet proof of the protest in the form of a group census form cannot be found. We can be sure that the authorities were studying Votes for Women and knew exactly where such gathering would take place.
Dorothy Evans (right) after she had left Birmingham to organize for the WSPU in Ulster
One such is the mass evasion that took place in Birmingham. The WSPU organizers there, Dorothy Evans (for her biographical details see my Women’s Suffrage Movement: a reference guide) and Gladys Hazel (1880-1959, who had been a teacher at King Edward’s School, Handsworth, and was later to be a suffrage organizer in Bristol) entered fully into the spirit of the census boycott. By 17 March (as quoted in Votes for Women of that date) they were planning all-night entertainment -‘ a meeting, speeches, dancing and probably a play. There will be chalking parties at 6, baths at 7 and a second breakfast at 8. Evaders of the Census who attend these parties have been asked to apply for forms in order to return them with ‘No Vote No Census’ written across them.’
The following week Votes for Women divulged further information – Resisters were to assemble at the office at 11pm for the entertainments, the baths were to be had at Kent Street and the 8am breakfast at Lyons in New Street.
With all this information available, how was it that I couldn’t find a census form for the office – 97 John Bright Street – where the all-night meeting was to take place? Well, whether it’s due to my speedy new computer – or the experience that has accrued from four years of searching the census websites – I have just discovered the relevant document.
There it is: The cover reads:Name of Head of Family etc: Suffragists. Address: WSPU Committee Rooms, 97 John Bright St.
The form shows that of the 130 Suffragists who spent the night there 120 were female and 10 were male. The Superintendent Registrar wrote on the form ‘This schedule is filled in as per instructions received from General Office April 8th 1911’
Moreover I have also uncovered the individual census forms for Dorothy Evans and Gladys Hazel, left for them at their lodgings, 34 Harold Rd Edgbaston. They filled them out identically, quoting the rubric – ‘Votes for Women’ ‘No Vote No Census’ and the enumerator wrote on each – ‘Housekeeper informs me that Miss Evans (Miss Hazel) did not sleep at no 34 Harold Road on Sunday’.
At the terrace house – still there and still available to let – though the agents now aim for students as tenants rather than suffragettes – the women shared three rooms between them – while the landlord, Thomas Wilkes, his wife (presumably the housekeeper mentioned by the enumerator) and nephew had the run of the remaining six.
If only a fraction of the 130 Birmingham evaders filled in their census forms, as did Dorothy Evans and Gladys Evans, they should be somewhere on the census websites – if only we could track them down. However, without a name or an address, this is difficult – although not impossible. Perhaps those who took part in Fight for the Right – the short film about the Birmingham suffragettes – will be inspired to uncover these hidden suffragettes.
To listen to a talk I gave on the suffragette boycott at a National Archives conference on the 1911 census click 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.
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.
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.
In case readers of Woman and Her Sphere haven’t had enough Emily Wilding Davison here is a piece I was commissioned to write for the OUP blog. Or, to be exact, this is the piece I chose to write, having been commissioned to write something about Emily Davison.
Do readers have any views? Do you think I’m too cynical?
And here is a link to one programme in what sounds like an interesting series to be broadcast in the 1.45 slot (15-min programmes) for 2 weeks starting on Monday 10 June. The second programme, Tuesday 11 June, is devoted, I think, to the suffrage movement. I was interviewed at length, but have no idea how the material has been edited!
The memorial brooch to Emily Davison that Mary Leigh kept all her life, I can’t explain the scribbles!
In yesterday’s post I explained that on the evening of 3 June 1913 Emily Davison went to Kensington, to the WSPU Summer Fair. I think it likely that the idea of doing ‘something’ next day at the Derby only crystallised during the course of that evening or night.
For, the next morning, Emily travelled into town from 133 Clapham Road, where we believe she was staying with her friend, Mrs Alice Green, in order to visit WSPU headquarters in Kingsway and acquire two WSPU flags. The journey she would have followed involved travelling on the City and South London Railway (now the Northern line) to Bank, changing there to the Central line and exiting at British Museum, a station long since incorporated into Holborn station. From there it was a short walk to WSPU headquarters at Lincoln’s Inn House.
A WSPU flag
If she had planned in advance to travel to Epsom that day, Emily would surely have picked up the flags earlier. It would have been much easier to travel from Clapham to Victoria, without making a detour into Holborn. As it was it would appear that she rolled up the flags, which are made from quite heavy woollen material, pinned them inside the back of her coat (according to the police report) and set off for Victoria.
As I have explained in an earlier post, at Victoria it is more than likely that the only ticket Emily could buy, whether she wanted it or not, was a special Derby Day excursion return – at the not inconsiderable price of 8 shillings. The one she travelled took her to Epsom Downs station, close to the Grandstand, but quite a distance from Tattenham Corner. She may have arrived around the middle of the day, possibly in time for the first race.
The Derby began at 3.01pm. As the horses approached Tattenham Corner a mere 4 seconds elapsed between Emily Davison ducking under the rails and being knocked flying by Anmer. The horse got to his feet and the crowd rushed forward to surround Emily Davison and Herbert Jones, the jockey.
The main witness, a policeman, Frank Bunn, who was standing near to the point where Emily went under the rail, made clear at the inquest that there was no identification of Emily until after she was admitted to Epsom Cottage Hospital. The identification may have come from the marking on a handkerchief in her pocket. Here is the complete inventory of Emily’s possessions, as noted by Frank Bunn.
‘On her jacket being removed I found 2 Suffragette flags, 1½ yards long by ¾ yards wide, each consisting of green, white and purple stripes, folded up and pinned to the back of her jacket, on the inside.
On person, 1 purse containing 3/8¾d.,
1 return half railway ticket from Epsom Race Course to Victoria No 0315,
8 ½d stamps,
1 helper’s pass for Suffragette Summer Festival, Empress Rooms, High Street, Kensington for 4th June 1913,
1 race card,
some envelopes and writing paper,
1 handkerchief Emily Davison Mrs. E.W.D 8 88.
2 postal order counterfoils No. 790/435593 for 2/6, ‘crossed’ written in ink thereon, one 20H/924704 for 7/6 E.Gore 1/4/13 written in ink thereon,
one insurance ticket dated May 10th 1913 on G.E. railway to and from New Oxford Street,
As she lay on the racecourse, Emily Davison was tended by Mrs Catherine Warburg, a member of the wealthy banking family, a woman with, the inquest reported, some nursing experience. The Warburgs’ had an estate nearby in Surrey and, quite incidentally, one of Mrs Warburg’s sons, Edmund, was to become an eminent botanist.
While Herbert Jones was carried into the racecourse ambulance, Emily had to rely on the goodwill of a race goer and was taken to Epsom hospital in the car of Johann Faber, who lived at nearby Ewell and, among his other activities, was the Danish consul general in London.
The reverse of Mary Leigh’s Emily WIlding Davison brooch, annotated, characteristically, in Mary’s handwriting
There is no contemporary evidence to suggest that Emily Davison was accompanied to Epsom by anybody else. Mary Richardson, another militant suffragette, claimed, both in her autobiography and in a BBC interview, to have been standing near Emily and to have seen her dash onto the race track. However, I do not believe this. She wrote the book- and recorded the interview – in 1953, forty years after that Derby Day. She was impoverished and to create some hype placed herself at the scene of every major suffragette drama. This is, I feel, a pity as the parts of the book which can be tied to historical fact do have power, but in 1953 (as, perhaps, now) the public only wanted drama from the suffragettes. If she had really been close at Epsom on 4 June 1913 she would surely have written about this – or it would have been reported – in The Suffragette, even if not called as a witness at the inquest. Moreover she rather gilds the lily by claiming to be at the Derby to sell copies of The Suffragette, a paper that, at this very time, the Home Office was not permitting to be sold. I cannot imagine that the masses of police manning the Derby would have allowed Mary Richardson to ply her wares. But such is the power of the media that careful reasoning is always trumped by the easy soundbite.
If we do not know what Mary Richardson was really doing for the Cause on Derby Day, there is no doubt what Emily Davison was doing and, indeed, what Kate Frye, another stalwart campaigner, working at this time in Fakenham, Norfolk, as organizer for the New Constitutional Society for Women’s Suffrage, was up to.
Kate’s diary entry for 4 June 1913 tells us that she was unsuccessful in her search for a chairwoman for a meeting (the reason often given was that whichever local worthy she approached did not want in any way to be associated with the militant suffragettes, even though the NCS was, as its name suggests, a constitutional society) and spent some hours walking round the town, canvassing for members. A thankless task and, of course, hardly the stuff of drama.
She ends the day’s entry with ‘My good landlady talks more than I need but she seems to like me and as she has never had a lady lodger before I must make a good impression.’ So, in her own way, Kate was breaking boundaries on that day 100 years ago. I am sure we are all grateful that, as women, we are not barred as lodgers. Presumably in previous years that ‘kind landlady’ had turned women away, doubtless worrying that they would give her house a bad reputation. My point being that revolutions require a succession of infinitely small changes – as well as the grand gesture.
On Tuesday 3 June 1913 Emily Davison was present at the Suffragette Summer Fair, held in the Empress Rooms, on the north side of Kensington High Street, just west of Kensington Palace.
Advertising the ‘All in a Garden Fair’, June 1913
The WSPU’s fund-raising ‘All In a Garden Fair’ saw the hired room transformed into ‘a beautiful rose garden under an Italian sky’, lined with pergolas wreathed in pink rambling roses. In the centre of the hall was an illuminated fountain, which was set in a grass lawn, surrounded by clipped box trees and garden seats. This verdant scene was surrounded by stalls selling WSPU merchandise and all kinds of goods donated by members. The Ladies’ Aeolian Orchestra and the Actresses’ Franchise League contributed live performances. A centrepiece of the Fair was a statue of Joan of Arc, who had come to prominence with her beatification in 1909 and by 1913 was very much a symbolic heroine to suffragettes.
Emily Davison’s biographer, Gertrude Colmore, reported that Emily attended the Fair with her ‘Comrade’, Mary Leigh, and that ‘Saluting, she stood there, reading the words upon the pedestal, “Fight on, and God will give victory”‘ These , reportedly Joan of Arc’s last words, were those that were to appear all too soon on banners draped on Emily Davison’s grave.
Another suffragette who places herself with Emily Davison at the Fair was Kitty Marion, music hall artiste and militant suffragette. In her unpublished autobiography she states that, with Emily Davison, she was among a group of friends who discussed the possibility of making a protest the next day at Epsom. As she remembered it nothing was decided but. ‘Before we parted that night, Emily gave me a tiny green chamois purse containing a sovereign for “‘munitions I might need soon”‘. We have only Kitty Marion’s word that Emily Davison made this cryptic comment to which, of course, she then gives her own interpretation; I shall publish a post in a few days time recounting What Kitty Did Next. Did Emily Davison, who we know was by no means well off and with no employment, on the evening before the Derby really give away the large sum of a sovereign (£1 then, worth about £65 today). It doesn’t seem very likely, but, if she did, what could she have meant by it?
For, although Emily Davison is not known to have undertaken any militant acts since the end of 1912, Kitty Marion most certainly had. While standing talking on 3 June at the ‘All in a Garden Fair’, it was with the knowledge that in the course of the previous few weeks she she had been responsible for setting fire to at least three houses – the latest, from the evidence of her scrapbook, being a house in Folkestone on 17 May. One of these houses, severely damaged on 15 April, was ‘Levetleigh’, the Hastings home of an MP. In addition she had set fire to a succession of stationary railway carriages in places such as Teddington, around London’s outer suburbs.
So, as the women stood together ‘under the Italian sky’, at least one of them had, metaphorically and, probably, literally, traces of paraffin on her hands. It is difficult to believe that Emily Davison was not aware of the arsonists in her circle and that for all the the ‘beautiful rose garden’ that surrounded them and the girls in virginal white standing outside the Empress Rooms inviting passers-by to step in, the atmosphere within the group was not increasingly febrile. For reasons that I will put forward in tomorrow’s post, I think it was in the course of this evening – and not before – that Emily Davison made up her mind to take the train the next day to Epsom – and the Derby.
Kate Frye is working in Dover, lodging at 26 Randolph Gardens with the Miss Burkitts’, who are WSPU sympathisers and aunts of Hilda Burkitt, a well-known suffragette. A vignette of life in ‘digs’.
‘Poor Gertie’ was, as Kate explains in a previous entry, ‘Miss Odames – a being from Leicester who used to work in a Factory but is now quite well to do. She is very common and very plain.’ ‘Gertie’ was ‘Agnes Gertrude Odames, born in Leicester c 1878 who, in 1901, was a ‘corset maker’ but who, with her sister, was in 1911 able to describe herself as ‘of private means’. Gertie married in 1917 and when she died in 1951 left over £1000, having probably lived a more comfortable life than Kate. I have, as yet, been unable to identify ‘Bertie Bowler’.
Sunday 25 May 1913
A glorious day and quite hot. The others all of to Church. I as usual on Sunday took my time in getting up. While I was in the bathroom the young gentleman who we have been hoping and longing for came to say he would take the rooms. Miss Minn was in. I had to wait until he had departed to get upstairs. We are very excited.
I wore my thin coat and skirt out for the first time without a top coat. Walked along the front to the Town station and met John [her fiance, an actor] at 12.30. He had come down by the Miss Burkitts’ invitation to spend the day. We had not met for 5 months. It was very exciting. I think he was pleased and I enjoyed having him. He looks alright though a trifle thin – came to London last Sunday at the close of the Repertory season at Liverpool.
We walked along the front in the blazing sun and up and got in at 1.15. John behaved very nicely but of course he was a stranger in that homely atmosphere – however the Miss Burkitts seemed to get on with him.
John Collins’ staged photo shoot in the Misses Burkitts’ garden
We went in the garden afterwards and John took snapshots of the group and Janet [Capell] came in to be introduced. Then John and I took a tram as far as it went and strolled about the Admiralty Pier. It was a gorgeous afternoon. We had permission to be late for tea so we walked along the front and took a photograph of Mrs Wilson’s house and then back to tea.
Mrs Wilson’s house at 5 East Cliff, Dover, photographed by John Collins while he and Kate were out for their walk
Then we sat in the garden and Bertie Bowler was there and sang his Ditties. I had told John to be nice to him – and BB said afterwards how nice he was. I don’t think John knew what to make of poor Gertie. Poor soul she looked hopeless in a stiffly starched white embroidery ready made gown. She says such amazing things.
Miss Minn took herself off to Church – a thing she never does in the evening but I think she is madly jealous. She was very nice when she said good-bye to John – said ‘I like you very much – I think you are almost good enough for our darling’ – but afterwards she never referred to him. Once or twice I dragged his name in but she wouldn’t say much. Poor Miss Minn. Miss Burkitt on the other hand chatted of him and said how much she liked him.
We had to walk as the trams were packed to the roof. I was not allowed on to the station – it was like a bank holiday – so i did not wait but came straight back on a Tram – just missing Miss Minn who had gone down after Church to come back with me. When I said she was naughty to go to Church – she said she thought the others would have had the sense to leave us alone together. I was very tired.
Campaigning for the Vote: Kate Parry Frye’s Suffrage Diary edited by Elizabeth Crawford
Wrap-around paper covers, 226 pp,over 70 illustrations, all drawn from Kate Frye’s personal archive.
ISBN 978 1903427 75 0
Copies available from Francis Boutle Publishers, or from Elizabeth Crawford – firstname.lastname@example.org, from all good bookshops – especially Foyle’s, London Review Bookshop, Persephone Bookshop, British Library Bookshop, Daunts Bookshop, The National Archives Bookshop and Newham Bookshop. Also online – especially recommend very favourable price offered by Foyle’s Online (and they pay all taxes!)
Kate Frye was present on so many important suffrage occasions – including ‘Black Friday’ – 18 November 1910. On this day the suffrage societies learned that the Conciliation Bill, on which they had pinned their hopes, would be abandoned as, with the two houses of Parliament locked in confrontation over Lloyd George’s budget, Parliament was to be dissolved. The police were out in force and employed brutal tactics to break up the women’s demonstration.
Only a short excerpt of Kate’s ‘Black Friday’ diary entry appears in Campaigning for the Vote because it occurred in the period before Kate began work as a paid organizer for the New Constitutional Society for Women’s Suffrage. There was, alas, just too much material in her diary to make a book out of her whole suffrage experience. So, for those who would like more, here are full details of Kate’s experience that momentous day.
Kate’s invitation from the WSPU to attend the protest, Friday 18 November 1910. Just imagine how many of these fragile flyers lay torn and trampled on the ground at the end of ‘Black Friday’. Kate carefully preserved hers, took it home and laid it in her diary
Friday November 18th 1910
Up in good time. Brushed Mickie [her dog] then took him for a walk – then started at 10.30 for the Caxton Hall. Train from Notting Hill Gate to St James’ Park. I got there about 12 – and the hall was already full and the crowd hanging about were soon after turned out of the vestibule – so I stood some time on the steps. Then from there we were turned into the street and I waited there, chatting with different women, till about 12.40 when the 1st deputation left the Caxton Hall for Parliament Square.
They were soon swallowed up in a seething mob and I simply flew with many other women by short cuts to Parliament Square where I landed more or less by chance in the thick of it. One could hardly see the plan of it all amid the hurly burly excitement, shouts, laughter applause & rushes of the enormous crowd which grew every minute. I was almost struck dumb and I felt sick for hours. It was a most horrible experience. I have rarely been in anything more unpleasant – it was ghastly and the loud laughter & hideous remarks of the men – so called gentlemen – even of the correctly attired top-hatted kind – was truly awful. It made all the men and women seem mad together. And the poor women – the look of dogged suffering & strain on their faces.
Spread – with newspaper cuttings laid in – from Kate’s Black Friday’ diary entry
I first reached the wall of the moat [round the Houses of Parliament] at the angle so I could see the door plainly and Mrs Pankhurst and the elderly lady [Elizabeth Garrett Anderson] – over 70 years of age – with her. Then I saw policemen breaking up the little standards held by a group of women. I saw deputations pass along and ugly rushes and ever the crowd grew.
I stood some time but I had to give up my place by the wall people pushed so and I was awfully afraid of getting crushed. So I got out to the road and there watched the deputations come along and saw the horrible hustling by the crowds of roughs and overheard the hideous laughter and remarks of the men looking on. Half of them made the remark that it was the funniest thing they had ever seen in their lives – all had their mouths open in an insane grin. One or two were so horrible that I just gazed upon them till they noticed me and moved away, not liking I suppose to be overheard. Several spoke to me – many indignant: ‘What good do you suppose this will do?’ ‘What else would you suggest?’ said I. Then he began the usual – that the militant methods had disgusted all nicely feeling people etc. I turned his attention to my two badges – constitutional societies, as I told him – and asked ‘What help have you ever given us?’ He walked away. Not one man did I hear speak on the women’s side. There may have been some, but not near me.
I saw Captain Gonne led off & heard afterwards of his doings. Many women there were of the WSPU – and a few London Society [ie members of the constitutional NUWSS society] – all standing about perfectly wretched & green – cheering them on to battle and off to Cannon Row when arrested. One poor lady in her wheel chair [probably Rosa Billinghurst]– propelled by hand – followed in the wake of a deputation – generally 6 to a dozen people – she rang her bell violently and the crowd gave way before her – it was a funny but dreadfully tragic sight.
As the crowd grew and the crowd kept being pressed back – I moved away and once, seeing some fighting women & policemen on the pavement coming my way, I stood back to the railing expecting them to go by. But, oh no – a burly policemen, taking me for one of a deputation, caught hold of me with an ‘Out you come’ and for some minutes I was tossed about like a cork on an angry sea, turning round and round – sometimes bumped on to a policeman – sometimes on a hospital nurse, who was fighting for all she was worth – pale to the lips but determined (and I afterwards saw her led off arrested ) – until I was with the others pushed out of the danger zone.
The others went back but I sat down by the railing for a few minutes. I can’t say the man actually hurt me and I was too excited to realise quite what was happening and I was so thickly dressed as not to feel the bumps much – but it wasn’t nice. I don’t know I could have spoken if I had wished to – but I didn’t wish and I didn’t speak. What I felt was – I am not going to get out of the trouble by saying I am not one of them for I am in heart and anyway he will probably think I am trying to trick him and it will do no good and if these women can stand so much I can stand this little. And of course it was nothing really – only a new experience.
Two ladies – one quite elderly came out of their first battle determined not to go back into it. They were a pitiable spectacle – their nerve had gone. One felt so sorry – they were beside themselves and were not aware they had in fact turned ‘coward’. A little lady – evidently there to plead with the faint hearted – spoke quietly to them, urging them to go when they felt rested. ‘But we couldn’t’, they said, ‘we have been half killed’. ‘Oh, but you must – you must go back again and again and again’ and so on. And I spoke to them – thinking an outsider’s word might turn their attention. Their eyes were brimming. They told me that they were supposed to go on till their strength was exhausted – they thought theirs was – but it wasn’t. But poor souls – their fight – of course they had never realised the awfulness of the business and what they would have to endure until they should fall fainting or injured. I wonder if they went back. Perhaps courage did come back to them but who could blame them – they were very saddening.
On the next page of the diary entry Kate laid in the WSPU’s pamphlet prepared as a result of ‘Black Friday’
I couldn’t seem to leave even when I had crossed to the station side. I stood and watched the arrested being led off – & gave them a send off – but soon after 2 I gave it up and, leaving the horrid spectacle, went in to Westminster Bridge station. They were beginning to clear the Square of people. Hundreds of policemen were arriving and one could less than ever see the plan of it all. A lot of Yankee sailors had been mystified but delighted and a lot of people were frankly puzzled by it all – and it was a sad business explaining to them. I got back cold to the bone – fetched my lunch on a tray – and was glad of hot soup.
After a visit to friend for tea on way home] grabbed up some evening papers then home. Couldn’t keep my mind off the morning’s experience and we talked of little else. 105 have been arrested. It was about the most bitterly cold night I have ever been out in.’
As a result of what she had witnessed on ‘Black Friday’ Kate Frye joined the WSPU
Campaigning for the Vote: Kate Parry Frye’s Suffrage Diary edited by Elizabeth Crawford. Now, alas, out of print
‘Campaigning for the Vote’ – Front and back cover of wrappers
Selfridge’s opened its glamorous, purpose-built store in Oxford Street on 15 March 1909 and Kate Frye, an ever curious shopper, paid her first visit there on 29 March. (For Kate’s published suffrage activities see here.)
In the morning Kate attended a meeting of the Dance Committee of which she, along with the actress Eva Moore, was a member – they were organising a fund-raising dance for the New Constitutional Society for Women’s Suffrage. Then she met her fiance, John Collins, and, together, they went along to inspect Selfridge’s.
‘We had some lunch there and did the roof and tried to make ourselves giddy – it was lovely up there. Then we systematically did the shop beginning with the top. We had 2d of gramophone each and generally played about and it was 4.30 by the time we had finished. It is a wonderful building but there is nothing in the goods to especially attract. The place was packed and a good many people were buying.’
Kate was, of course, a keen suffrage sympathiser and, although she may not, on that first visit, have appreciated it, Selfridge’s was to be generally supportive of the suffrage cause. For four years later, advertising itself as ‘Selfridge and Co: The Modern Woman’s Club-Store’ on the book’s purple cover, Selfridge’s put its stamp on what is now one of the most useful research tools available to suffrage historians.
The Suffrage Annual and Women’s Who’s Who, published in 1913, contains irreplaceable details about women involved in the suffrage campaign – both militants and constitutionalists. It is likely that Selfridge’s underwrote much of the expense of producing it for, as you see, besides its cover advertisement, the store took running advertisements along the foot of every page.
It is reported, but I have yet to verify, that on occasion Selfridge’s dressed their windows in the purple, white and green colours of the WSPU and even flew the WSPU purple, white and green flag from the store’s flagpole.
Gladys Evans (photo courtesy of Ward Skinner)
However, one clear link between Selfridge’s and the suffragettes is this woman, Gladys Evans, the daughter of a man, now dead, who had owned the British weekly magazine Vanity Fair –a very influential ‘society’ paper ( not to be confused with the Conde Naste magazine which in 1914 adopted the name). Gladys joined Selfridge’s in 1908 in preparation for the opening of the new store and worked there for over a year before leaving to take over a WSPU shop. In 1911 she emigrated to Canada, where a sister had settled, but returned in March 1912 after learning of the arrests of Mrs Pankhurst and Mr and Mrs Pethick Lawrence.
Firmly back on the WSPU warpath, in July 1912 Gladys went over to Dublin where Asquith was on a formal visit and, with other suffragettes, Mary Leigh and Jennie Baines, set fire to a theatre – empty at the time – but the one in which Asquith was due to speak that evening. Gladys Evans was given a long prison sentence, went on hunger strike and was forcibly fed for 58 days.
There was a good deal of lobbying to get her and her companions given the status of political prisoners – which would have allowed them better conditions. One of those who wrote on Gladys’ behalf was Selfridge’s staff manager, Mr Best. and 253 of the store’s employees signed a Memorial sent to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland pleading for a remission of Gladys Evans’ sentence – see Votes for Women, 6 September 1912. Apparently, even Mr Selfridge himself was sympathetic, though reluctant to put pen to paper in Gladys’ support because, as an American, he thought it might look as though he were trying to interfere in matters that didn’t concern him. Gladys and Mary Leigh were eventually returned to England, where they promptly gave the police the slip and went on the run.
For most of her later life Gladys Evans lived in the US, dying at the age of 90 in Los Angeles. Evans’ family history relates that Gladys gave all her suffragette papers to the New York Public Library. I have not, however, been able to find a listing for them. That might be a research project for an interested New Yorker.
Selfridge’s suffrage sympathies may have stood the store in good stead when the WSPU went on its window-smashing campaigns in November 1911 and March 1912. Many department stores- even those which, like Swan and Edgar, were regular advertisers in Votes for Women – were targeted. But Selfridge’s windows – 21 in all, of which 12 contained the largest sheets of plate glass in the world – escaped unscathed.
Sarah Bennet, photographed by Lena Connell
However in February 1913, in protest against the fact that the government had been withdrawn the proposed Franchise Bill, Sarah Benett, one-time treasurer of the Women’s Freedom League, was sentenced to six month’s imprisonment after breaking one of these windows. Incidentally, Sarah Benett in 1916 sent a donation to Maud Arncliffe Sennett towards the expense of employing Gladys Evans as an organizer for the Northern Men’s Federation for Women’s Suffrage.
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
There is no end to the interesting family histories one unearths while digging into the suffrage boycott of the 1911 census.
I recorded in the Women’s Suffrage Movement: a reference guide that in 1913 a certain ‘H.M. T Lehmann’ was the honorary secretary (pro tem) of the Bristol branch of the Men’s Political Union for Women’s Enfranchisement and that his address was ‘Rock Mount, Shirehampton’. As a child I lived in Bristol very close to Shirehampton, so this address stayed with me and I thought that when I had an idle moment I would investigate this 3-initialled man about whom I knew nothing.
When I came to look at the census return for ‘Rock Mount’ I was very interested to discover that, although there was no mention on the form of ‘H.M.T’ Lehmann – the householder, Caroline Edith Lehmann, was a census boycotter. She wrote firmly across the form: ‘Being an unrepresented ratepayer I refuse to give any information respecting myself or my household for the benefit of an Un-Liberal government. C.E. Lehmann. ‘ But who were Caroline Edith and H.M. T. Lehmann? Their names, as far as I know, appear nowhere else in suffrage history.
Well, it took some untangling – but here goes.
Caroline Edith Mayne was born in 1859 in Kidderminster, daughter of a former captain in the 10th Dragoons In 1883 she married John Harold Watson, a minor Kidderminster industrialist, with whom she had 2 daughters, Hilda and Joyce. Ten years later, in 1893, Watson filed a petition for divorce against her, citing a Weston-super-Mare pharmacist, Henry Ruck. The petition goes into considerable detail, describing adultery committed in 1888 and 1893 – and presumably at times in between – at various addresses -in Weston Super-Mare, particularly at 5 Royal Crescent where Caroline Watson was staying. The decree nisi was given in 1895. Ruck’s wife divorced him for desertion in 1895. While the Watson divorce case was being heard Caroline was only allowed access to her children once a week – at her mother’s Kidderminster house. It is clear that her husband was trying to prevent her having any access at all and after the divorce the two daughters remained in Kidderminster with their father. I wonder how often they saw their mother in later life? Neither married.
In November 1897 in London – at 41 Burlington Road, Paddington – Caroline gave birth to a son – Heinz Maurice Talbot Lehmann. On his birth certificate his father is given as Ernst Lehmann, journalist, and his mother as Caroline Edith Lehmann, late Watson, formerly Mayne. The couple had been married in April 1896 in London – with Caroline’s name given as ‘Edith Lillie Watson’.
Four years later, when the 1901 census was taken, mother and son, who was now known as ‘Henry’ rather than ‘Heinz’, were living at Ramsbury Road, St Albans. Caroline Lehmann is described as married, but there is no trace on the census of Ernst Lehmann either here or elsewhere in England. The fact that his son’s name has been anglicized may indicate that by now Ernst was removed from the household. I think that, as Ernest Lewis, he died in Kensington in 1927.
At some point between 1901 and 1911 mother and son moved to Shirehampton, on the outskirts of Bristol, to a house in Station Road that went under the name, variously, of ‘Rockmount’ or ‘Rock Mount’. In 1911 the census enumerator was informed that Henry Lehmann was a pupil at Clifton College. Caroline was to remain living in Shirehampton for the rest of her long life. Her later address was Talbot Cottage, 27 Grove Leaze.
Caroline Lehmann’s interesting marital history and the separation from her two daughters may well have coloured her views on ‘votes for women’. How could they not? Certainly by 1910 she was an active member of the Women’s Social and Political Union. In that November she was part of a Bristol delegation arrested when Mrs Pankhurst led a deputation to Downing Street in the aftermath of the ‘Black Friday’ violence in Parliament Square. In 1911, as we have seen, she followed the WSPU call to boycott the census.
Then, on 2 March 1912, Caroline travelled to London to take part in the WSPU’s window-smashing campaign on 4 March. Her diary for this period survives – describing a few suffrage meetings in Bristol (including one organised by the Labour party), followed by the journey to London with about 16 other Bath and Bristol WSPU members, including Victoria Simmonds (later Lidiard). She described how she felt a little fearful. On 3 March she went to the house of Mrs Beatrice Sanders in Battersea to hear details of the next day’s demo.
Caroline Lehmann threw her stones at a basement window in the Home Office – she was then dragged to Cannon Row police station – where she met up with Victoria Simmonds who was also being charged. Caroline described how she had managed to get rid of one of the number of stones she was carrying on her way to the police station – and then tried to drop the rest under the table. She described how she felt the greatest happiness in having done her bit – saying that while she was waiting to do her deed in Whitehall she kept in mind the horrors of the White Slave Traffic. The arrested suffragettes in that police station were all bailed out at 11pm by Frederick Pethick-Lawrence, a prominent supporter of the WSPU. Caroline was not tried under her own name – but is doubtless ‘Caroline Maurice’ who appeared at Bow Street on Sat 9 March. (Maurice was her son’s second name).
Caroline’s diary then describes prison life in great detail- a day by day description. She had managed to smuggle her knitting, a book, and notepaper and pencils hidden in her bloomers – to keep her occupied in her cell. She describes the games of football played by the younger suffragettes – the ball was a vest stuffed with fibre taken from mattresses. She joined in the hunger strike but was not forcibly fed before the Home Office gave in and allowed them Rule 243A privileges.
Had Caroline encouraged her son to take up the position as ‘hon sec pro tem’ of Bristol’s Men Political Union? He was barely 16 in 1913 but, from what I have learned of his subsequent career, would certainly have been ‘up’ for anything that might set him in opposition to the establishment.
Henry Lehmann joined the army in October 1914. His military record states that he was 19 but he was, of course, actually only 17. I wonder if he consulted his mother before taking this step? I rather doubt it. On 17 December 1915, at the grand old age of 18 and 1 month, Henry Lehmann, now a 2nd lieutenant in the 3rd Essex Regiment, gained his Aero Club Aviator’s certificate. He qualified while flying a Maurice Farman biplane. His address at this time was 192 Redland Road, Bristol. The Royal Aero Club album containing his 1915 photograph can be accessed by subscribers to Ancestry.com. While serving with the Royal Flying Corps, he was awarded the Military Cross.
In 1917 Henry married and with his wife, Joyce, had two daughters – Yvonne and [Bridget] Margaret. The couple divorced in 1925, with Joyce being given custody of children. Matters had obviously become rather desperate as Joyce forewent maintenance on condition that Henry had no communication with her.
In January 1928 Joyce Lehmann was living in Malvern with her younger daughter, working as secretary to Malvern Ladies’ College, having left the elder daughter, Yvonne, in Shirehampton in the care of her mother-in-law, with whom she clearly had a rapport despite the divorce. Henry Lehmann arrived one day at the school and, posing as a ‘Major Brown’ asked to see Mrs Lehmann. Despite this trick, Joyce Lehmann felt compelled to agree to her ex-husband’s request to take their daughter for a walk. She was clearly fearful that he would cause a scene and jeopardise her position at the school.
Henry did not return young Margaret at the due time and Joyce Lehmann was forced to institute court proceedings. After an Interpol search Margaret was discovered two weeks later, enrolled in a boarding school at Lille, and returned to her mother.
Henry Lehmann had an exotic post-First World War flying career, on occasion wing-walking with a flying circus and working as an advisor the the Chinese Nationalist air force. The latter position resulted in questions being asked in the House of Commons.
Clearly a man of parts, in 1940, while based in Sydney, Australia, Henry designed and built a sailing yacht, the Escapee, which, classed as a ‘tall ship’, is still sailing in the 21st century.
Lehmann later emigrated to Canada, flying with the Canadian Royal Air Force and as a commercial pilot – and died in 1956, the same year as his mother.
Anyway, all this is what comes of wondering who was the ‘hon sec pro tem’ of the Bristol branch of the Men’s Political Union for Women’s Enfranchisement. Alas, I am unable to use images of Caroline Lehmann and her diary in order to enliven the story – but perhaps readers may consider it quite lively enough without.
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.
In the following article I discuss the ethics of ‘mining’ the diary that Kate Parry Frye kept for her entire lifetime in order to re-present herin one role only– as a suffragist. The piece is based on a paper I gave at the 2011 Women’s History Network Conference. Campaigning for the Vote: Kate Parry Frye’s Suffrage Diary is published by Francis Boutle Publishers at £14.99
‘Campaigning for the Vote’ – Front and back cover of wrappers
Kate Parry Frye was a diarist. She was also a girl, a young woman, a middle-aged woman, an old woman, a daughter, a sister, a cousin, a niece, a fiancée, a wife, an actress, a suffragist, a playwright, an annuitant, a letter writer, a Liberal, a valetudinarian, a playgoer, and a shopper. She was a rail traveller, a bus traveller, a tube traveller, a reader, a flaneur, a friend, and a political canvasser. She was a diner – in her parents’ homes, in digs, in hotels, in restaurants, in cafés and later, of necessity, a diner of her self-cooked meals. She was an enthusiast for clothes, a keeper of accounts, a reader of palms, a dancer, a holidaymaker, a visitor to the dentist, to the doctor, an observer of the weather, a worker of toy theatres, a needleworker, an animal lover – indeed dog worshipper – a close observer of the First World War and then of the Second.
Kate as a radio listener – 1920s?
She was radio listener, a television viewer, a neighbour and, finally, a carer, recording in detail the effect on her husband of the remorseless onset of dementia and the disintegration of his body and mind.Every one of these roles is played out in minute detail in the diaries Kate Frye kept for 71 years, from 1887, when she was 8 years old, until October 1958, barely three months before her death in February 1959.
Moreover, each role has its variations, depending on time and place. Thus, for example, as a middle-class daughter, Kate Frye played the pampered child, the indulged adolescent and, later, the resentful adult.
Kate photographed c 1897
She was for many years supported financially and lived comfortably. In early womanhood she was afforded considerable freedom, her parents allowing her, indeed encouraging her, to train as an actress and to travel around Britain and Ireland with a repertory company. When that venture proved unprofitable she was able to return to life as a daughter-at-home, a role that appears to have combined the minimum of domestic chores with the maximum of freedom. Until December 1910 the family divided their time between two homes – a house, later a flat, in North Kensington and ‘The Plat’, a large detached, much-loved house on the river at Bourne End in Buckinghamshire.
Details of the auction of The Plat and its contents – the Fryes’ possessions
But Kate Frye was also the daughter of a man whose business failed, whose lack of financial acumen she judged harshly, forcing as it did her mother, her sister and herself to leave their homes and sell all their possessions. Before 1910 there had been periodic indications of financial instability, when, for instance, ‘The Plat’ was let out for the summer, but Kate’s father failed to take his wife and daughters into his confidence, making the ultimate catastrophe all the more shocking. To Kate’s shame the family subsequently relied on the charity of her mother’s wealthy wine-merchant relations, the Gilbeys.Her role in this performance might be studied, shedding as its does a clear light on the precarious reality of the long Edwardian summer. One year Kate could take for granted a life of boating and regattas, dressmakers, cooks and maids, the next she was living in dingy digs, attempting to raise money by hawking the family jewellery and old clothes around shops, while wondering if her relations had remembered to send the remittance and what she would do if they forgot..
Or perhaps one could look through Kate Frye’s eyes at the reality of working the towns of Edwardian England, Scotland and Ireland as an actress.
Kate Frye photographed in costume for her part in J. M. Barrie’s ‘Quality Street’ – on tour in 1903
For instance, between September and December 1903 she was a member of a Gatti and Frohman touring production of J.M. Barrie’s Quality Street and writes in considerable detail of company train travel, theatrical lodgings and the other members of the cast, among who was a young May Whitty. Kate was paid £2 a week and includes in the diary some weekly accounts, which could be studied in conjunction with the management’s financial accounts of the tour. Or her diary could be used to give an insight into the issue of class and gender in the Edwardian theatre; Kate’s experience does not indicate that family and friends felt that her new role was in any way either imprudent or declassé. Or her diary might be used to research the behind-the scenes world of post-1918 theatre, as Kate reports on her husband’s attempt to earn a precarious living as actor and stage manager. Kate’s involvement with theatre saw her performing on both sides of the stage – in her role as an actress and, in the auditorium, as a spectator – and her diary might also be used to study of the habits of playgoers over the decades, recording as it does her comments on the vast number of performances she attended. On occasion she thought nothing of seeing two plays in one day.
Kate kept a separate record of all the plays she saw – including Elizabeth Robins’ ‘Votes for Women!’
Or perhaps one could use her diary to study the nature of ill-health, real or perceived. Menstrual pain – ‘the rat pain’ – lurks behind some of Kate’s continuous complaints of ‘seediness’ and included in some of the diaries are small yearly calendars with the date of each menstrual period marked in pencil.
Kate’s menstrual calendar
But the feeling of ill-health suffered by Kate, by her elder sister, Agnes, and their mother was due to more than menstruation. For weeks at a time, year after year, one or the other, or all three, are confined to their beds. The doctor calls – and is paid – medications are prescribed and taken. For some of the time ‘seediness’ is endured and Kate, at least, gets on with things. It is noticeable that when she has an active life to lead, whether on tour as an actress or as a suffrage organiser, she makes many fewer complaints of ill-health. It is difficult to avoid the thought that some, at least, of the malaise was due to depression occasioned by lack of occupation. Kate did, after all, continue fit and healthy until she was 80. The diary could be read and edited to bring this aspect of her life to the fore, studying the links, in the first 50 years of the 20th century, between status, expectation and occupation – or lack of it – and mental and physical wellbeing Certainly Kate’s sister, who never worked and appears to have had few interests, seems to have given up on life, spending much of her later years in bed and drifting into death.However, although these aspects of Kate Frye’s life are intriguing, it is for her involvement with the Edwardian suffrage movement that she is now likely to be remembered. For Kate Frye’s diaries have been directed, by chance, towards an editor whose research interests centre on suffrage.
Kate was what one student of diary writing terms a ‘chronicler’, that is her diary was a ‘carrier of the private, the everyday, the intriguing, the sordid, the sublime, the boring – in short a chronicle of everything’ and in its extent is not a little daunting. But, reading the volumes covering the years prior to the First World War, one quickly realises that involvement in one of the major campaigns of the day provided Kate’s life – and her diary – with a focus. For the Frye family’s descent into near, if genteel, destitution coincided with the growth of the suffrage movement, which subsequently provided Kate with employment. Although she was untrained for any career other than acting, which she had found, in fact, did not pay, work of a political nature was not outside her sphere of knowledge, for one of her earlier roles had been that of the daughter of an MP. Kate’s father, Frederick Frye, had been the Liberal member for North Kensington from 1892 to 1895 and an interest in politics was taken for granted within the family. Over the years Kate had helped her mother with the regular ‘At Homes’ held for the Liberal ladies of North Kensington and had accompanied her father to many a political meeting.
Flyer advertising the NUWSS ‘Mud March’
The diary entries trace her growing involvement in the suffrage campaign, from participation in the first NUWSS ‘Mud March’ in early 1907, through her performance as a palm reader at numerous fund-raising suffrage bazaars and dances, attendance at meetings of the Actresses’ Franchise League, marching in all the main spectacular processions, stewarding at meetings, bearing witness to the ‘Black Friday’ police brutality in Parliament Square on 18 November 1910, to her employment, from early 1911 until mid-1915, as a paid organiser for the New Constitutional Society for Women’s Suffrage. The diary, as edited as Campaigning for the Vote, highlighting the detail Kate provides of daily life as a suffragist and illustrated with the wealth of suffrage ephemera with which she embellished the original, is an interesting addition to published source material.
But what are the ethics of spotlighting this one role – or any role – from a lifetime performance? Kate’s diary seems to lend itself quite naturally to a style of editing that sets her entries, replete with delightfully quotidian suffrage detail, within a linking narrative, explaining the greater campaign and providing information on people she meets in the course of her days. But, increasingly uneasy, the editor of Kate Frye’s diary felt it necessary to take soundings from commentators on diary writing in order to discover whether the perceived problem, that of highlighting only one of the diarist’s multiple roles – one of her many selves, is one that others have resolved.
Robert Fothergill’s Private Chronicles, published 35 years ago, is generally considered the earliest academic work to have made a serious study of diary-writing. In his study Fothergill considered the diaries both of men and of women but since then much of the attention the genre has received has concentrated on diary writing by women. For in the 1980s and 1990s, with the growing interest in women’s history, academics such as Margo Culley, Cheryl Cline, Harriet Blodgett, Suzanne Bunkers and Cynthia Huff saw women’s diaries as an exciting new source through which to re-examine and re-envisage women’s lives. As Bunkers and Huff wrote, ‘Within the academy the diary has historically been considered primarily as a document to be mined for information about the writer’s life and times – now the diary is recognized as a far richer lode. Its status as a research tool for historians, a therapeutic instrument for psychologists, a repository of information about social structures and relationships for sociologists, and a form of literature and composition for rhetoricians and literary scholars makes the diary a logical choice for interdisciplinary study.’ These writers use metaphors such as ‘weaving’, ‘quilting’, ‘braiding’ and ‘invisible mending’ to describe the way in which a woman fashions her diary, a diary of dailiness rather than of great moments. But that ‘weaving’ or ‘quilting’ or ‘braiding’ lies at the heart of the problem. Is it legitimate to unravel this self-construction and fashion it into something else?
That question might be answered quite simply by a judgment made in 1923 by Sir Arthur Ponsonby and much quoted, even by the American women historians of the 1980s. For in English Diaries, Ponsonby was adamant: ‘No editor can be trusted not to spoil a diary.’ For his part, Robert Fothergill stated that the only respectable motive behind the amputation of a diary was the desire to make it readable – ‘commonly the abridgement or distillation of an unwieldy original, through the elimination of whatever was considered stodgy, pedestrian or repetitious’. But such an ‘amputation’ is not unproblematic, for what might be considered stodgy and pedestrian to one reader, or in one decade, might be lively and interesting to the next. To anyone interested in the daily life of a suffragist, even the repetitions in Kate Frye’s daily life are revealing. Cheryl Cline elaborated Fothergill’s point, writing, ‘The most sensitive and careful editors, in cutting what they may feel unimportant, irrelevant, repetitious or even “too personal”, walk a very fine line. They may end up, for all their good intentions, ruining the work. Many editors have been neither sensitive nor careful. Editors have cut manuscripts they felt were too long, padded those they thought too short; re-arranged material to suit themselves; bowdlerized writings which revealed the less-than-perfect character of their authors. Too often, they have destroyed the originals once the edited version was published’.So reservations about editing Kate Frye’s lifetime performance to refashion it as a ‘suffrage diary’ are, perhaps, not unjustified, althoughKate Frye’s published diary will be neither ‘padded out’, or ‘bowdlerized’, nor will the original be ‘destroyed’. However, the charge of ‘re-arrang[ing] material’ is, perhaps, not inappropriate. It is not that the published entries will have been re-arranged, rather they will have been accorded a prominence they did not have in the original.
It is worth remarking that much of the academic literature on diary writing concentrates on the published diary. There appears to be little recent consideration of the ethics of, as Bunkers and Huff put it, ‘mining’ a manuscript diary for the light it throws on particular aspects of the past, other than the difficulty this creates for those critiquing diary writing per se. Indeed, these authors appear to suggest that it was only in the past that a diary would be treated in this way. Fothergill touched on this point, condemning most severely ‘the ravages of editors, committed in, amongst other things, the name of thematic unity, writing that, from the point of view of his study of diaries, ‘A fatally damaging editorial approach is the subordination of a diary’s general interest to a specialist one, retaining only what is of use to the political or religious historian, for example.’ HoweverCheryl Cline has taken a more tolerant attitude to this aspect of diary editing, commenting ‘The urge to make a “good story” out of a diary that seems rambling and disjointed…is the motive which guides many an editor’s blue-pencil. While many diaries..are written around a theme .. or an event .., most private writings are disjointed and far-ranging. In this case material may be extracted from them and shaped into a more cohesive narrative.’ She then cites, as a well-known example of editing for story, A Writer’s Diary, compiled from Virginia Woolf’s diary by Leonard Woolf. Kate Frye’s diary, edited to tell her suffrage story, might, therefore, be said to be keeping exalted company.However it is certainly true that since the middle of the 20th century, the move in diary editing has been towards the unabridged text, complete with full scholarly apparatus. But Kate Frye would never be given that kind of treatment. So is it better to give a wider audience a ‘ravaged’ text – or to leave it, unpublished, in its wholeness on the archive shelf? An argument for leaving it untouched might well be made by the academics who have stressed the importance of the diary as a complete self-construct, a form of autobiography or life writing. The author has considerable sympathy with this viewpoint, while recognising the specific interest to students of women’s suffrage in retelling the story of Kate’s suffrage years.
But perhaps, if theory cannot provide a clear answer, we should look for guidance to the diarist herself. What would Kate Frye have liked done with her text? Although she has been dead for 50 years that text is still alive with her personality and it is not inconceivable that someone who put so much of herself onto the page, developing her writing skill as she shaped her life, would have been happy to have known that she would one day reach out to a wider audience.
In this context it is worth considering for whom Kate Parry Frye had been performing. Most certainly in her diary she acted out her days for herself. From her very early years the diaries had become an essential part of her life. On occasion she discusses whether to bring her diary writing to an end, but always decides to carry on. Until mid-1916, utilising the format that Cynthia Huff describes as ‘self-determined,’ Kate wrote her entries in a large ledger-type book, embellishing them with the addition of relevant ephemera. When, on 16 November 1913, on reaching the end of yet another of these books, she wrote ‘And so I have come to the end of this volume with no book to go on with though I have written to Whiteleys. It would be more sensible to leave off writing a diary – at any rate such an extensive one – but more lonely’. But she did acquire another volume from Whiteleys, although that was to be the last of this kind and she afterwards continued her record in purpose-made diaries, adhering, more or less, to the space allocated for each day and no longer inserting additional material..
So that is one explanation as to why Kate kept her diary; it was her daily companion. In it she depicts herself as slightly aloof from her parents, sister and husband, her abilities unappreciated. As Fothergill has observed, ‘the function of the diary is to provide for the valuation of [self] which circumstances conspire to thwart.’ Financial circumstances certainly thwarted Kate’s ability to maintain the class position that for some years she had enjoyed, but in her diary she could continue to present herself as an aspiring member of the upper-middle middle class, although, after 1910, always conscious of the financial chasm that existed between this idea of herself and the reality. OnMarch 17th 1913, when meeting her Kensington contemporaries, she notes: ‘They all seemed so smart and so well dressed and so of a different life – the life really that we have left behind. Oh what a difference money makes.’ Lack of money is a recurrent theme, although in her entry for 22 December 1913 she does try to overcome her regrets, writing, ‘I always feel given nice clothes … I could look nice and attractive. I hate being shabby. It is bad enough to grow old, but to grow dowdy with it, but what can one do without money and lots of it. I do seem to grumble. I seem to forget I am aiming for “goodness” in an advanced and suffrage meaning, and that really any other state is very petty.’ It was not that she struck extravagant poses in her diary, rather that there she felt that there her days were being re-enacted in front of an appreciative audience – herself.
Kate seldom dwells on the act of diary writing, but on Sunday 8 February 1914 was prompted to record:
‘I am reading ‘The Journal of Marie Bashkirtseff’. It is too absolutely interesting for words – and yet all so natural….it isn’t far off me in the inmost soul. Only in performance she was a genius – she could do – I can only dream that I could and do – accomplish. It made me want to read my old Journals but how tame after Marie’s. I was always for putting time and place and leaving out the really interesting bits in consequence – though I sometimes think I catch atmosphere. That is the disadvantages of writing a diary instead of a Journal – one only ought to write when one is inspired and at the moment the feeling or idea strikes one – but with a diary the date and correctness is the thing.’
Perhaps it is fortunate for us the Kate did not write what she terms a ‘Journal’; it is the ‘putting time and place’ that makes Kate’s diary so interesting. We can sit with her on the tube or bus, travelling around London; we can reconstruct the route taking her from Notting Hill Gate to the Criterion Restaurant in Piccadilly for a meeting of the Actresses’ Franchise League – and then eavesdrop on the proceedings; we can go with her to Covent Garden to see the Russian Ballet – ‘as for M Nijinsky, well, words fail me’; we can travel with her around the country roads of Norfolk, searching out suffrage sympathisers; and accompany her as she organises the transport of her boxes, a complicated business, to and from stations and ‘digs’ in the small towns of east and southern England.
For Kate Frye’s diary keeping makes no distinction between the daily chores – brushing her dog, having lunch, changing her books at Smith’s – and life-changing events. Even so, like all diarists, it is clear that she edited her day and, unsurprisingly, for her diaries had no locks, did not make explicit the details of everything that happened to her. For instance, it was only the reading of an entry in a post-Second World War diary that gave a clue to what lay behind her long association with – and eventual marriage to – John Collins, a fellow actor in the 1903 touring production of Quality Street, a relationship that, as presented in Kate’s words, seems rather puzzling. That post-war entry referred to the one for 20 September 1904, the day that Kate finally agreed to marry John. The entry itself is, naturally, of interest because she is writing of the day of her engagement but, when read in context, is constructed – or self-edited – so as not to include anything particularly revealing, merely that, after some, perhaps rather melodramatic, hesitation, Kate had finally acquiesced to John’s repeated offer of marriage. However, on re-reading the entry in the light of the later comment, a rather different story emerges. Kate’s words – ‘..I had to promise, it is the only right thing left to do …I couldn’t marry anyone else now, as he says. I have burnt my boats and no one must ever know that my real self is hesitating’ – appeared to be those of a woman who had realised that she had to make a decision, that she could no longer keep the man hanging on. But, alerted by the entry written nearly 50 years later, a re-reading reveals a rather different story. For, it transpires Kate had acted in such a way that ensured that, this time, she had to agree to marry John. It is hardly worth speculating on what actually had occurred, although in this entry Kate does write of passion and desire. In fact his lack of money, coupled with her lack of inclination, meant that it was a further 11 years before Kate and John married. Although she often debates with herself as to whether she can continue with the engagement, Kate feels unable to escape what she sees as her obligation. The story of that day in Croydon digs – with the landlady out shopping – is only one, albeit major, episode where the diarist, while ostensibly being frank, has not made all explicit.
The ‘Wedding Day’ page – 9 January 1915 -of Kate Frye’s diary
There are doubtless very many other such occasions on which the doings of the self as portrayed in Kate’s diary do not reflect exactly the experience of the self that enacted them, the self of the diary having been refashioned by the diarist’s pen. For Kate Frye recognised her diary’s usefulness in providing her with the daily discipline of putting words on paper. Her diary is written in direct, colloquial prose. Her writing is fluent and she makes virtually no corrections. As we have seen, she was interested in ‘catching atmosphere’ and, although she never intended her diary for publication, she did aspire to literary success. Over many years she mentions time spent on ‘writing’ and a quantity of her manuscripts and typescripts, together with the rejection letters from agents and publishers, survive. Unsurprisingly, for one so enamoured of the theatre, these works are all plays, but only a one, co-written with John Collins, was ever published.
Kate as writer
Regretting as she did her lack of literary success, it is difficult to believe that she would be averse to seeing her words in print now.
Recognising the affection Kate felt for her diary and the time and care she had spent on shaping it, it is worth considering what she had thought might happen to it after her death. In fact her will reveals that the diaries were in effect her main bequest. She left the many volumes, together with the lead-lined bookcase in which they were kept, itself an indication of the concern she felt for their well-being, to the son of one of her cousins. That cousin, long dead, had been the only one of her relations to have had similar literary aspirations, albeit rather greater success. For, Abbie Frye was a prolific Edwardian novelist who wrote under the name ‘L. Parry Truscott’. Kate had clearly wanted the diaries preserved and had not been worried at the thought of their being read by a member of the younger generation – and, by inference, a later general public. But would she have objected to being presented to the general public only in her role as a suffragist – for that is in effect how she is now re-created?
So let us now view the problem from the other side and consider the contribution that Kate Frye’s diary may make to our understanding of the suffrage movement and of the lives lived by its members. How does Kate’s diary stand among other diaries dealing with the suffrage movement? What makes it worth the trouble of editing and publishing? The main difference between the diary of Kate Frye and most others recording suffrage involvement that survive in the public domain is that the latter were written primarily because that involvement represented a singular experience, a highpoint in the diarist’s life. Thus, for instance, the militant campaign is well represented by diaries kept by imprisoned suffragettes, recording the horrors of forcible feeding. For the constitutionalists, two diaries kept by Margery Lees have survived. Leader of the Oldham NUWSS society, she has recorded in one the work of the society and, in the other, gives an account of her participation in a great NUWSS event, the 1913 suffrage pilgrimage.
Apart from that of Kate Frye, only a handful of other diaries with suffrage-related daily entries are known. Those of the delightfully Pooterish Blathwayts of Batheaston, father, mother and daughter, have proved an excellent source for researchers of WSPU personalities and of the militant campaign in Bath and that of Dr Alice Ker provides short factual notes on the suffrage scene in Birkenhead and Liverpool. The diary of Eunice Murray, a prominent Scottish member of the Women’s Freedom League, is in some ways comparable to that of Kate Frye, although the former’s comments on the suffrage campaign are more measured, while her actual accounts are less detailed. Like Kate, Eunice Murray spoke at suffrage meetings but was not required to organise them and was certainly less concerned with ‘catching the atmosphere’ when writing up her diary entries. The diaries of the actress and novelist Elizabeth Robins (held in the Fales Library, New York) record her involvement with the English suffragette movement but, again, although she contributed as a speaker, she was not working at the suffrage ‘coal face’, as it were. None of these diaries, suffragist or suffragette, has yet been published. Excerpts from the diaries of Ruth Slate and Eva Slawson make clear their interest in the Cause and, interwoven with material from their letters, have been published, but within the overall narrative of their lives and concerns suffrage plays only a relatively minor part.
Kate’s diary is valuable because it records her continuous involvement as a foot soldier in the suffrage campaign. She is writing without the benefit of hindsight, recording the inconsequential details of, say, finding a chairman for a suffrage meeting in Maldon or dealing with an imperious speaker in Dover, as well as the rather more momentous suffrage occasions, such as waiting on the platform at King’s Cross station as the train carrying Emily Wilding Davison’s coffin is about to leave for Morpeth. We can trace day by day, week by week, Kate’s growing participation in the movement, reflecting as it does both the increasing publicity given to and acceptance of the suffrage campaign and the decline in her family’s fortunes.
In 1913 Kate was campaigning for the New Constitutional Society in Whitechapel, distributing NCS leaflets translated into Yiddish
Although we cannot say that she became an increasingly militant (although never actively militant) supporter because she regretted her lack of education, in the very first entry in which she refers to suffrage, on 3 December 1906, she writes: ‘I really do feel a great belief in the need of the Vote for Women – if only as a means of Education. I feel my prayer for Women in the words of George Meredith: “More brains, Oh Lord, more brains” ‘ – or, again, in 1914, ‘Neither do I understand why I was born if I wasn’t to be educated.’ Kate’s education had been that considered suitable for her gender and class. She did not attend school, but until she was 16 was visited by a ‘daily governess’, although visits were not invariably daily. After that she received somewhat erratic tuition from teachers of French and music. Nor can we say she became a suffragist because she lacked economic power. But she was certainly aware that those two factors – a lack of education and a lack of funds – made life as a woman without the shelter of family money, or the ability to earn her own, very difficult.
Like so many other women at that time, Kate Frye saw the acquisition of the vote as one step towards autonomy. It is our luck that for a few years she attempted to solve her economic problem by propounding the political solution, that is, she earned a living, of sorts, by becoming a suffrage organiser. It is extra fortunate that she did so for a society, the New Constitutional Society for Women’s Suffrage, about which very little has hitherto been known. In fact Kate Frye’s diary contains more information about the NCSWS and more of the society’s ephemera than exists anywhere else.
A page from the ‘Organiser’s Book’ kept by Kate for perusal by the Committee of the NCS
Her elaboration of diary entries by the addition of leaflets advertising the suffrage meetings she attended, even on occasion leaflets she herself had arranged to have printed, and for the processions in which she took part, demonstrates how prominently the campaign figured in her life. Virtually no other ephemeral material is included during this period.
We need only look to the diary for the answer to the question as to whether Kate Frye would object to being remembered as a suffragist. For on ‘Sunday 10 February 1918’ she wrote, ‘One of my afternoon letters was to Gladys Simmons in commemoration of the passing of the Franchise Bill. Haven’t had a single letter from anyone concerning it – I said I wouldn’t but it seems very strange – that someone hasn’t thought of me in connection with the work.’ Now that her suffrage diary is published, at last Kate Frye will ‘be thought of in connection with the work’ and be recognised as a suffragist. However, the very act of publication highlights just this one of her many roles. Out of the multiplicity of Kate Frye’s self-constructions, it is the ‘self’ of her suffrage years that emerges.The reader will have to accept that ‘mining’ a diary in order to view an historical episode from a fresh angle may come at the expense of maintaining the integrity of the diarist’s conception of ‘self’.
Kate’s diary entry for 21 May 1914 in which she records witnessing the WSPU demonstration in front of Buckingham Palace
 Katharine Parry Frye (1878-1959), daughter of Frederick and Jane Kezia Frye. Frederick Frye was a director of a chain of licensed grocery shops, Leverett and Frye, a firm financed by the wine merchants W.& A.Gilbey, as a useful outlet for their wines. When Frederick Frye became an M.P., Gilbey’s took over the running of the business. The Irish branch still operates. Frederick’s father had been a ‘professor of music’ and for 64 years organist at Saffron Walden parish church. Jane Frye’s father was a Winchester grocer. In 1915 Kate married John R. Collins.
 In August 2010 correspondence on Guardian Online, which included contributions from members of the Women’s History Network, demonstrated that it is by no means unusual for contemporary women to keep daily diaries over decades of their lives..
 Kate’s Aunt Agnes (1834-1920, née Crosbie), her mother’s sister, was the widow of Alfred Gilbey (d. 1879). For details of the Gilbeys of Wooburn House, Wooburn, Buckinghamshire see B. B. Wheals (1983) Theirs were but human hearts: a local history of three Thameside parishes (Bourne End: H.S. Publishing). From their relatively humble origins the brothers Walter and Alfred Gilbey grew wealthy as they developed England’s largest wine merchant business, W. & A. Gilbey.
 ‘Accounts and Legal’, Quality Street tour accounts (Theatre Museum), cited in Tracy C. Davis (2000) The Economics of the British Stage 1800-1914 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p.217.
 For a discussion of the entrance of middle-class women into the acting profession see Tracy C. Davis (1991) Actresses as Working Women (London: Routledge) pp. 13-16.
 In the 1920s and 1930s Kate often joined her husband on tour. For instance, over many years she spent some time each year at Stratford-on-Avon, where her husband was stage manager for productions at the old Memorial Theatre.
 See T. Mallon (1995) A Book of One’s Own: people and their diaries (St Paul, Minn: Hungry Mind Press) p. 1.
 Robert A. Fothergill (1974) Private Chronicles: a study of English diaries (London: OUP).
 See Jane DuPree Begos (1977) Annotated Bibliography of Published Women’s Diaries (issued by the author); Margo Culley (Ed) (1985) A Day at a Time: the diary literature of American women from 1764 to the present day (Old Westbury NY: Feminist Press); Harriet Blodgett (1989) Centuries of Female Day: Englishwomen’s Private Diaries (New Brunswick, London: Rutgers University Press); Cheryl Cline (1989) Women’s Diaries, Journals and Letters: an annotated bibliography (New York and London: Garland Publishing); Harriet Blodgett (Ed.) (1992) The Englishwoman’s Diary (London: Fourth Estate); Suzanne L. Bunkers and Cynthia A. Huff (1996) Inscribing the Daily: critical essays on women’s diaries (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press) Suzanne L. Bunkers (2001) Diaries of Girls and Women: a midwestern American sampler (London, University of Wisconsin Press).
 Suzanne L. Bunkers and Cynthia Huff ‘Issues in Studying Women’s Diaries: a theoretical and critical introduction’, in Bunkers and Huff (Eds) Inscribing the Daily, p.1
 Sir Arthur Ponsonby (1923) English Diaries (London:Methuen & Co), p. 5.
 Exceptions include Bunkers, Diaries of Girls and Women. See also Cynthia Huff (1985) British Women’s Diaries: a descriptive bibliography of selected 19th-century women’s manuscript diaries (New York: AMS Press).
 Whiteleys was a large department store, which, when Kate wrote this 1913 entry, was in Queensway. The store’s owner, William Whiteley, ‘the Universal Provider’, had been a close friend of the Frye family and his murder and subsequent trial are recorded in detail in Kate’s 1907 diary.
 .Marie Bashkirtseff, a young Frenchwoman, filled 85 notebooks with her journal, which was edited for publication after her death in 1884. An English edition, Mathilde Blind (Ed. and Trans) 1890, The Journal of Marie Bashkirtseff (London: Cassell) 2 volumes. Philippe Lejeune has described the Journal as foreshadowing ‘a line of diaries where introspection, active contestation of the condition of women, and interest in writing stand out as defining features’, see Philippe Lejeune The “Journal de jeune fille” in Nineteenth Century France in Bunkers and Huff, Inscribing the Daily, p119.
 Some attention has been paid to this distinction by scholars of diary writing. Suzanne Bunkers, after initially believing that what distinguishes a journal from a diary is that the diary is ‘a form of recording events, and the journal is a form of introspection, reflection, and the expression of feeling’, comes to the conclusion that the distinction is untenable, see S. Bunkers, Diaries of Girls and Women, p 12.
 Katharine Parry and John R. Collins (1921) Cease Fire!: a play in one act (London: French’s Acting Editions).
 Gertrude Abbie Frye (always known as Abbie), later Mrs Basil Hargrave (1871-1936). The works of ‘L. Parry Truscott’ were mistakenly attributed to Katharine Edith Spicer-Jay in Halkett (1926) Dictionary of Anonymous and Pseudonymous English Literature, (Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd), Vol 1. By 1926 ‘L. Parry Truscott’’s star had waned and Abbie, by now a widow, was vitually penniless. A considerable amount of information about the interesting life of Abbie Frye can be gleaned from Kate Frye’s diary.
 See the manuscript prison diaries of Mary Anne Rawle, Elsie Duval and Katie Gliddon (Women’s Library); the manuscript prison diaries of Olive Walton and Florence Haig (Museum of London); and the manuscript prison diary of Olive Wharry (British Library); The manuscript prison diary of Anne CobdenSanderson (London School of Economics) has been edited by Anthony Howe but is, as yet, unpublished.
 Both Margery Lees’s diaries are held by the Women’s Library.
 The Blathwayt diaries are held in the Gloucestershire Record Office. See June Hannam ‘Suffragettes are Splendid for Any Work’: the Blathwayt Diaries as a Source of Suffrage History in Clare Eustance, Joan Ryan and Laura Ugolini (Eds.) (2000) A Suffrage Reader: charting directions in British Suffrage History (London: Leicester University Press).
 Dr Alice Ker’s diaries are held in a private collection.
 The manuscript of Eunice Murray’s diary are held at the Women’s Library, together with a bound copy of the Diary of Eunice Guthrie Murray, transcribed by Frances Sylvia Martin.
 T. Thompson (Ed.) (1987) Dear Girl: the diaries and letters of two working women (1897-1917) (London: Women’s Press).
 Kate Frye joined the WSPU in November 1910, after witnessing the ‘Black Friday’ demonstration, but was soon appointed as a paid organiser for the newly-formed New Constitutional Society for Women’s Suffrage.
 The quotation is taken from Modern Love by George Meredith, first published in 1862.
 As Gladys Wright, she had been a very old Kensington friend of Kate Frye and hon. Sec. of the NCSWS.
Campaigning for the Vote: The Suffrage Diary of Kate Parry Frye, is published by Francis Boutle
The arrival of the first issue of the admirable Swindon Heritage magazine has reminded me of a slight connection I had some years ago with an interesting object created by Edith New – the subject of one of its articles.
It was in 2006 that I was approached by a BBC TV producer planning a spin-off of the Antiques Roadshow -to be called the Antiques Roadshow Greatest Finds. The idea was that they would take a few of the more intriguing items that had been brought to Roadshows in the previous year and research and discuss them in greater depth. The item that was brought to my attention was a Suffragette Doll. My research into its history and that of the woman who had owned it proved utterly fascinating. In addition I had a most enjoyable couple of days making the film that developed from the research.
I am only sorry that I do not have a photograph of the doll, which was dressed as a suffragette in prison uniform. Items such as this may occasionally appear on ebay or at auction but it is not that difficult to ‘forge’ a Suffragette Doll and what one needs is provenance, linking it to its original owner. This ‘Roadshow’ doll was just such a treasure – handed down through a family. What is more to my great pleasure I was able to discover more of the original owner, Mrs Alice Singer, than, when given the commission, I thought would be possible. For, like Kate Frye (the subject of my latest book, Campaigning for the Vote). Mrs Singer had kept a diary which, although a very much more sketchy affair than Kate’s, did reveal a good deal of her involvement with the Women’s Social and Political Union. The diary is now held in Israel by a branch of the family, but they were kind enough to let me have a look at it for the purpose of researching the programme.
Mrs Alice Singer(1873-1955) was born Alice Emma Isabel Isaac, the eldest of three daughters of Stephen Hart Isaac (1850-1877) and his wife Sime Seruya Isaac. Sime Seruya was of Portuguese extraction, although she was living in London when they married in 1872 at Bayswater Synagogue. At this time, and presumably later, when Alice was born, Stephen Isaac was working as the assistant manager of a coal mine at Colwick in Nottinghamshire. When he married he was living at Colwick Hall with his uncle, Saul Isaac, who was the lessee of the mine. Saul Isaac, was at this time MP for Nottingham (1874-80).
When Stephen Isaac died, aged 26, (at 31 Warrington Crescent, Paddington) on 2 January 1877, he was a widower. His death certificate shows that he had been ill for c. 9 months, probably with TB. His wife had died in Lisbon on 4 September 1876, a week after the birth of her third child. It is possible that they were in Lisbon for the sake of Stephen’s health. Lisbon was a place favoured by those suffering from TB. The fact that Sime had family there would have been an obvious attraction.
The three young girls, Alice, Daisy and Sime Seruya Isaac (who was now more than 6 months old) were left under the guardianship of their grandfather, Samuel Isaac, although Sime was brought up by her Portuguese grandparents. Alice, therefore, was orphaned by the time she was 4 years old. She lived at Warrington Crescent until her marriage, I think. [NB across the road, at no 2 Warrington Crescent, there is a plaque to Alan Turing. Interestingly – and the ghosts pile up in London – that was also the address in 1866 of Louisa Garrett Smith (eldest sister of Millicent Garrett Fawcett and Elizabeth Garrett Anderson) the very first secretary of the first London women’s suffrage society.]
Samuel Isaac was an army contractor – his firm was the largest European supporter of the southern (Confederate) states during the American Civil War – and failed on the fall of the Confederacy. After a while he became the main promoter of the Mersey Tunnel, which he was responsible for building.
Samuel (1812-86) and his wife, Emma (nee Hart), with the 2 elder girls, continued living at 31 Warrington Crescent until at least 1881. By 1886, when Samuel died, they were living at 29 Warrington Crescent. [Warrington Crescent, north of Paddington, was a smart address – houses were then new, large and italianate]. In 1891 Sime Seruya Isaac was boarding at a school at Kew. She went on to become an actress – a leading member of the Actresses’ Franchise League and one of the founders of the International Suffrage Shop.
Alice was educated at home by a governess and in 1895 married Julius Singer (1870-1926), son of Simeon and Charlotte Singer. In 1899 her sister, Daisy, married Julius’ brother, David.
Simeon Singer (1846-1906) was a leading light in the Jewish establishment in England, minister of the New West End Synagogue, St Petersburgh Place, Bayswater, from 1878 until his death. He was the translator and editor of the Authorized Daily Prayer Book, still the standard prayer book of Orthodox Jews in Britain. He is clearly still, a hundred years after his death, a strongly felt presence in the synagogue. Julius had four brothers and a sister and the family was clearly at the heart of Anglo-Jewry. Julius died in 1926 (18 Reynolds Close, Golders Green). During the course of the diary Alice is definitely anti-religion – of any kind.
When the census was taken in 1901 Alice and Julius Singer were living at Darby Green Farm, Darby Green, Yateley, Hampshire, which Alice had bought in 1900. Julius was described as a ‘wine and spirit merchant’. However, around 1908 his work seems to have involved the tea industry in some way –probably Lyons – and by then the family had moved to London. In 1911 they were living at 18 Reynolds Close, Golders Green where, on the day of the census, only two servants were at home. There is no trace elsewhere of the Singers – were they evading the enumerator to join in the suffragette boycott of the census?
In 1906 Alice and Julius appear to have been Conservative supporters. In later life Alice lamented that she wished she had been brought up in Fabian circles and, like her sister, Sime, moved dramatically to the Left. She visited Russia in the 1930s. She was keen to use women doctors (Dr Honor Bone) and opticians (Amy Sheppard – who worked at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital for Women). She was keen on passing fads – such as vegetarianism, psychology etc – which clearly infuriated her children!
Alice Singer joined the WSPU after attending one of their meetings on 18 February 1907 and by November was prepared to give some time to the cause, addressing envelopes in the office at Clement’s Inn. A week later, when she and her husband attended a WSPU rally in the Queen’s Hall, Julius bought a copy of the new card game – ‘Suffragette’. for my post about this game click here. At the end of the month the Singers took the momentous decision to adopt a child – being themselves still childless. In the casual fashion typical of the time a girl, Mary, was found for them by Mrs Ernestine Mills, a fellow suffragist. (For an example of Ernestine’s work as a jeweller, see here). The Singers were on very friendly terms with the Ernestine and her husband, on occasion staying with them at their Dorset home at Studland.
The Singers continued to be involved members of the WSPU, Alice’s activities only briefly curtailed in 1909 by a long-awaited pregnancy. Emmeline Christabel Kenney Singer (known as ‘Christabel) was born on 10 December. A studio photograph, taken by Lena Connell, is still held by the family, showing Alice with Mary and Christabel. Baby Christabel has a WSPU badge pinned to the hem of her frock.
It was in 1908/9 that Alice Singer bought the Suffragette Doll – presumably at a WSPU fund-raising event. Remarkably in a diary entry of 1931 she reveals that she had met again, at a Suffragette party, the maker of the doll – Miss Edith New. It was such luck that she chose to put this connection on paper – such an ephemeral link but one that gives the doll such an excellent provenance.
WSPU Breakfast celebrating the release of Edith New and Mary Leigh from Holloway Prison, held at the Queen’s Hall on 22 August 1908 (courtesy of LSE Library)
On 22 August 1908 Alice Singer had attended the WSPU breakfast honouring Edith New and Mary Leigh on their release from Holloway. For much more about Edith New do read the Spring 2013 edition of ‘Swindon Heritage’ – and in her entry in my The Women’s Suffrage Movement: a reference guide
There is a strong Antiques Roadshow connection linking Edith New and Alice Singer’s Suffragette Doll – for in 2011 a quantity of Edith’s suffragette memorabilia, now held in the Swindon Heritage Centre (see http://www.swindonheritage.com), was brought to the Roadshow when it visited Swindon. Coincidentally it was the Roadshow expert Hilary Kay who discussed this collection, as she had the Suffragette Doll a few years earlier.
In March 1912 Alice Singer was arrested after taking part in the WSPU window-smashing campaign. When arrested she had a hammer in her hand and when charged said of the windows, ‘I thought it was only one, they seemed like marble, not going to break.’ Alice had chosen to break three windows in the West Strand Telegraph Office, close to Trafalgar Square. Her family thought it appropriate that she, essentially law abiding and a respecter of property, should have chosen quasi-official premises, rather than privately-owned property.
Alice was remanded in Holloway until she appeared in court on 13 March. By now the Singers were living in Golders Green and a solicitor was organised by Mrs Lilian Hicks to represent the Hampstead women. Alice was charged under the Malicious Damage to Property Act and in court declared, ‘I only did it as a political protest. I admit I did it, but not for malice. I plead not guilty to malice.’ She agreed to be bound over – that is, not to commit any other such acts – for 12 months. Only one other woman also agreed to be bound over – all the other women (over 100 had been arrested) were sentenced to prison – their sentences varying but some repeat offenders getting as long as six months. Most of the other women were either single or with older families. Christabel was only 2 years old and I imagine Alice could not contemplate being away from home – in prison – for any length of time. The diary does not reveal any guilt at not opting for imprisonment.
Julius was very supportive while Alice was in prison – he visited her – but was kept waiting for 2 hours before seeing her for a short time ‘We forgot all we really wished to say in the fluster of the time limit and presence of wardresses..’
Alice Singer continued to work actively for the WSPU, in 1913 becoming treasurer of the Hendon and Golders Green branch. In November 1918 she was at last able to cast her first parliamentary vote – ‘I recorded for Mrs Edith How-Martyn for the new constituency of Hendon’. Edith How-Martyn, who had been a leader of the Women’s Freedom League, was standing as a Labour candidate but was unsuccessful.
The Suffragette Doll, treasured by Alice’s descendants, is silent testimony to her involvement in the ‘votes for women’ campaign and her indirect connection to Edith New, Swindon’s own suffragette.
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On 30 April 1913 WSPU headquarters at Lincoln’s Inn House in Kingsway were subjected to their first police raid. See here for a photograph (Museum of London) showing a subsequent raid in progress.
Lincoln’s Inn House 2013, former headquarters of the WSPU
The WSPU had moved into the imposing new office building during the summer of 1912 – vacating their previous quarters in Clements Inn which had been very much Pethick-Lawrence territory. The geographical separation heralded the political separation that occurred in October 1912 when the Pethick-Lawrences were dismissed from the WSPU.
The elegant and imposing entrance hall of Lincoln’s Inn House -through which both suffragettes and police once purposefully made their way – and its mezzanine floor – is now a ‘Bill’s Restaurant‘. I doubt that the bones of the space – the pillars, the stair case and the ironwork – have changed much in the last century and it is not difficult to imagine – as one sits eating one’s ice cream on a warm summer’s morning – the shades of our foremothers going about their business here.
The police raid was one element in the increasing Home Office crackdown on the WSPU which had begun in February 1913 when, on the day after a house being built for Lloyd George had been damaged by a suffragette bomb, Mrs Pankhurst declared,’For all that has been done in the past I accept full responsibility. I have advised, I have incited, I have conspired.’ The speech was seized on by the Home Office as the opportunity for which they had been waiting to arrest Mrs Pankhurst. She was charged with procuring or inciting women to commit offences contrary to the Malicious Injuries to Property Act and on 2 April was found guilty and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment. She immediately went on hunger strike. See here for the article on this episode commissioned from me for the No 10 website.
WSPU poster protesting against the ‘Cat and Mouse’ Act
It was no coincidence that a day later the bill that was to become known as the ‘Catand Mouse Act’ received its Second Reading in Parliament. The passage of this Bill demonstrates how quickly Parliament could move when the Government was determined to act, for the Bill rapidly became an Act, receiving its Royal Assent on 25 April.
At the beginning of April both Annie Kenney and Flora Drummond were also arrested, the Home Office invoking obscure statutes to ensure that they would appear before the courts. A few days later managers of halls were encouraged by the Home Office no longer to let to the WSPU, who were also proscribed from holding meetings in public parks.
This is the context in which the raid on Lincoln’s Inn House should be seen. The chief office organizers, Harriet Kerr, Beatrice Sanders, Rachel Barrett, Agnes Lake and Flora Drummond were arrested and were to spend most of May in front of the Bow Street magistrate, Mr Curtis Bennett. The police, under the command of Inspector Quinn of Scotland Yard, loaded a pantechnicon with WSPU papers seized from Lincoln’s Inn House, papers, incidentally, which were never returned. I must say I lament their loss as they would most certainly have shed more factual light on the workings of the WSPU – Emmeline Pethick Lawrence had been a very business-like manager. In their absence the WSPU story has had to rely to a great extent on hindsight memories and the information culled from Votes for Women and The Suffragette, sources biased in a way that business letter, receipts and account books are not.
As part of their campaign to cut off WSPU funding, the Home Office intended to trawl through the records seized in order to discover the names of WSPU subscribers and then prosecute them for supporting an organization that encouraged its members to damage property. This plan was never put into practice. The Home Office did, however, prosecute the printer of the WSPU paper, The Suffragette, driving the paper underground but never preventing its publication. On 2 May the Home Office asked the General Post Office to cut off all telephone communication with Lincoln’s Inn House; but the GPO replied that it was not entitled to do so.
These attempts at suppressing the WSPU had, as might have been predicted, the effect of creating a void that was filled by even more extreme words and deeds. Between February and April there were over 30 arson attacks ascribed to the ‘work’ of suffragettes, as well as many lesser attacks – on golf courses, letter boxes etc. Moreover, when combined with the publicity given to Mrs Pankhurst’s successive hunger strikes, it is unsurprising that matters reached a crisis point – at the Derby on 4 June 1913.
A year later the police again raided Lincoln’s Inn House, arresting Grace Roe. Christabel Pankhurst’s chief deputy, seen here being marched out of the building. Nearly a century later the rusticated stonework is still the same – a’ Bill’s’ menu now substituted for The Suffragette poster.
In early summer 1912 Kate Frye was in Norfolk, based in East Dereham, organizing the ‘votes for women’ campaign for the New Constitutional Society for Women’s Suffrage in Norfolk. In May the sitting MP for the Northwestern Division of Norfolk died and a by-election was called. Kate hurried to Hunstanton to organise the NCS campaign – rather at a disadvantage vis a vis the other suffrage societies, the WSPU and the NUWSS, both of which had many more organisers, money, and, above all, cars at their disposal to cover the constituency. But Kate did her best. For example:
On 28 May she hired a motor for 22/- from Johnson’s Garage in Hunstanton to take the Society’s speakers, Miss McGowan, Mrs Chapman (the Society’s president) and Mr Lloyd (supposedly an Australian although she began to have her doubts) to Burnham Market. Tuesday May 28th 1912 [lodging in Hunstanton at Palace House, Westgate] Had a lot of writing to do in the morning and had to go out to make arrangements and then a great rush to get something to eat and off to Burnham Market at mid-day. I took the Literature to the Hotel, left it here and ordered tea – then I canvassed hard and walked all the way to Burnham Overy.
Hoste Arms, 2013
Came [back to Burnham Market] to Hoste Arms Hotel – found one of my Irish friends [these were Irish political organisers also in the area campaigning for the by-election] still there- the younger married one- at least the other was married too – but I gathered he was separated from his wife. My friend greeted me quite tenderly – we met as old friends – there were two other Irishmen – Anti Home Rulers and two Liberals – a young coming-on Politician – quite nice looking – and an older man who, I was told afterwards, was Mr Ouithwaite – a candidate somewhere. We all had tea and eggs and Suffrage discussions – Mr Ouithwaite was quite violent – but I really had him every time – quite a roar went up at some some my answers – I enjoyed that tea party immensely. I think we all did – Mr Ouithwaite least of all, perhaps, but I felt I was scoring – and as only the two odd Irishmen were inclined for Votes for Women I had no help. No 1 Irish was not so rabid though.
Burnham Market, 1912
I only got to the Schools just in time to have the doors open and let the crowd in – no policeman there so the boys had to go – it looked like a rowdy meeting from the first. The place was pretty full when the car arrived – Miss McGowan with Mrs Chapman and Mr Lloyd. Miss McGowan took the Chair – and they were fairly quiet while she spoke – but directly Mrs Chapman got up the trouble began. No one could hear her – she was feeling so dreadfully ill with a feverish cold – she must have had a miserable evening and I felt so sorry for her – and the people were so insolent. I went and stood right at the back amongst the rowdies and it was a lively evening – and so stuffy. Mr Lloyd (from Australia) stood on a Chair and bellowed – ‘Oh men of England’ over and over again – he tried his best and was cheery but not much of what he shouted could be heard. I took a collection – which was brave I think – but I felt I had to do something. I was so disappointed and we drove off amidst groans. A very Liberal place – but the boys were the mischief – once in they wouldn’t quiet. We motored back to Hunstanton – left Mrs Chapman at the ‘Golden Lion’ – then Mr Lloyd at the Temperance Hotel in our road – then home. The WSPU had been holding a meeting in the Town Hall and Miss Mansell had been down to help Steward – but only about 100 people turned up – some said 50 – so they had an open air afterwards as Mrs Massy and Mrs Haverfield were there. That was just over so we three tramped off to Roberts Room where Mr Hemmerde [the Liberal candidate] was speaking – a small room but well filled. He was just answering questions put to him by our lively friend Mr Lloyd – so when the people came out we gave away our handbills. ‘ Campaigning for the Vote: Kate Parry Frye’s Suffrage Diary edited by Elizabeth CrawfordFor a full description of the book click hereWrap-around paper covers, 226 pp,over 70 illustrations, all drawn from Kate Frye’s personal archive.ISBN 978 1903427 75 0£14.99Copies available from Francis Boutle Publishers, or from Elizabeth Crawford – email@example.com or from all good bookshops.
‘Campaigning for the Vote’ – Front and back cover of wrappers
‘The Plat’ at Bourne End in Buckinghamshire had been the Frye family’s country house since the late 1880s.
The Plat, Bourne End
The house was right on the River and teas were served on its lawns during the annual Bourne End Regatta.
Bourne End Regatta
Kate’s father, Frederick Frye, had been an influential figure in the neighbourhood but by 1911 had lost control of his business and the family finances were in dire straits. In order to earn her keep Kate now took employment as a paid organiser for the New Constitutional Society for Women’s Suffrage. She spent much of the time working away from home but in the autumn of 1911 did succeed in launching the Bourne End and District Women’s Suffrage Society.
Thursday October 19th 1911 [Bourne End: The Plat]
So hot – very foggy and dull, some rain but fortunately it didn’t keep on. Agnes and I walked up to Mrs Bleek-Leech’s at Lindenhurst as she was most kindly having the first meeting of the Bourne End and District Women’s Suffrage Society. It was such a success – about 50 people present. Miss Dove [headmistress of Wycombe Abbey School] was going to take the Chair but in her absence Daddie did so. Mrs Cecil Chapman [president of the New Constitutional Society] came to speak. She spoke for an hour and was most stirring. Mrs Graham from Henley also somehow got there and spoke for a few minutes on the sweated workers at Reading. Mrs Smart proposed a Vote of Thanks all round. Then tea. Mrs Leech had arranged it all most beautifully and was quite charming about it. I was as busy as a bee, of course. A good bit rested on me but I was delighted at the success. Mrs Chapman must have touched her hearers’ hearts and although we only made 10 or so members. People said that they had never heard suffrage before but were so interested they promised to come on Dec 15th. Every one was pleased. We stayed last finishing up things. Then after supper accounts for the 3 Suffrage Papers and the Standard.
Campaigning for the Vote: Kate Parry Frye’s Suffrage Diary edited by Elizabeth Crawford
Between 1911 and 1914 Kate Frye spent over 20 weeks organising the New Constitutional Society for Women Suffrage’s campaign in Norfolk. For the greater part of that time she was based in East Dereham.
In Campaigning for the Vote entries – such as these samples below relating – at random – two days in Kate’s Norfolk experience – are fully annotated, giving biographical details of most of the people she mentions. Thus Kate’s diary is of interest to local historians over and above the light it sheds on the suffrage campaign in the area. For instance, ‘Miss Cory’ was Violet, daughter of the London and Provincial bank manager. The Corys lived above the bank, now Lloyds TSB and still there at 38 Market Place. For a most interesting tour around Dereham’s Market Place – an area with which Kate became intimate – see here.
Tuesday March 25th 1913 [lodging at 63 Norwich Street, East Dereham]
Most of the day spent in hunting about for rooms for Mrs Mayer with no success – even the Kings Head refused to have her. Canvassing and bill distributing – beginning, as usual, to feel anxious about the success of next Monday’s meeting. Changed and out at 4 to Miss Cory’s to tea. I went to call on Mrs Pearse when I left there and saw Mr Pearse and asked him to take the Chair but he would none of it. We had all been so ‘naughty’ etc and of course the destruction of the golf links had been the last straw. He is a pasty-faced Villain. But I wish he would take the Chair for us because if he does not I don’t know who will and I shall have to do it – the very idea curdles my blood.
On 10 March 1914 a WSPU member, Mary Richardson, attacked the Velasquez painting, ‘Venus with a Mirror’, hanging in the National Gallery, in order to draw attention to what she saw as the slow destruction of Mrs Pankhurst, who had, on 9 March, yet again been arrested.
Wednesday March 11th 1914 [lodging at 3 Elvin Road, East Dereham]
Miss Cory here at 10.30 and we went through the people I am to call upon. Out 12 to 1. To see Miss Shellabear. Very off, of course, the latest – the Rokeby Velasquez – is upsetting everyone now. Out 2.45 to 6.15. Calls.
Quebec Hall is now a Christian Eventide Hall. Photo courtesy of Quebec Hall website
Happened on the new people at Quebec Hall who are keen WSPU. Had tea with Miss Louisa Gay who has done 8 months [in prison]– a very jolly girl – she means to do some waking up if she can. Then to see Mr and Mrs Hewitt – I do like them so. Miss Cory and Mrs Goddard here 8 to 10. Talking. Talking. Talking.
Campaigning for the Vote: Kate Parry Frye’s Suffrage Diary edited by Elizabeth Crawford
Wrap-around paper covers, 226 pp,over 70 illustrations, all drawn from Kate Frye’s personal archive.
ISBN 978 1903427 75 0
Copies available from Francis Boutle Publishers, or from Elizabeth Crawford – firstname.lastname@example.org (£14.99 +UK postage £3. Please ask for international postage cost), or from all good bookshops. In stock at London Review of Books Bookshop, Foyles, National Archives Bookshop.
‘Campaigning for the Vote’ – Front and back cover of wrappers
In the course of the years 1911-1914 Kate Frye spent over 20 weeks organising the New Constitutional Society for Women’s Suffrage’s campaign in Kent. She recorded every detail of her daily life in the entries she made in her diary and a selection, relating to the conduct of the campaign, are included in Campaigning for the Vote.
Kate spent time in Ashford, Folkestone, Hythe and Dover, canvassing house-by-house and organising meetings in drawing-rooms and public halls.
Below are three samples of Kate’s Folkestone experiences.
Saturday October 21st 1911 [Folkestone: 4 Salisbury Villas]
Quite a mild day and needed no fire till evening but inclined to shower. I wrote letters – then at 11 to Mrs Kenny’s – 63 Bouverie Road, Folkestone.
The Kennys’ house in Bouverie Road
She had asked me to lunch but Mrs Hill wanted me back again so, as there wasn’t much I could do, I just had a chat with her and Mrs Chapman, who is staying there, and came back again. Changed and got back to Mrs Kenny’s at 2.30 for her party at 4. Miss Lewis of Hythe took the Chair and Mrs Chapman spoke. There were between 70 and 80 people – mostly very smart – a military set. Mrs Kenny is very nice and Colonel Kenny is quite sweet. Some of the men were very amusing. I got a golf ball from one and sold it for 2/6. And got one young officer to buy The Subjection of Women. There was a most gorgeous tea, which no-one hardly touched. Mrs Hill and I walked home together – got in about 6.30. Another evening of gabbling chat and to bed about 10 o’clock. She is very nice but so intellectual. I feel sorry for the child. A most terrific gale raged all night. I thought the house must be blown in.
Kate spent two weeks in Folkestone on that occasion, returned for another two in February 1912 and that autumn spent a further three weeks attempting to galvanise the Kent campaign into a semblance of life.
Saturday October 5th 1912 [Folkestone: 33 Coolinge Road]
In my morning of calls, I only found two people at home. At 12.30 I gave it up. I did feel depressed. More so when, having met Mrs Kenny at the Grand Hotel at 3.30, where she was attending a wedding reception of a Miss Cooper, and whose good-byes I just came in for, Mrs Kenny and I called together upon the manager’s wife, Madame Gelardi, and to my horror I found that her husband would not contemplate for a moment letting us have a Suffrage At Home in the reception room. Well that does put the lid on things.The time is slipping away here – the days fly, I love the place and am very comfortable in my rooms but I cannot seem to work here and I feel utterly miserable about it.
Kate’s mention – in the entry below – of ‘this split’ refers to the announcement Mrs Pankhurst had made on 17 October at an Albert Hall meeting that the Pethick-Lawrences were no longer involved with the WSPU. The Pethick-Lawrences’ departure had been unilateral. Lady Irving was the – long-estranged – widow of the actor, Sir Henry Irving
Coolinge Road, Folkestone
Tuesday October 22nd 1912 [Folkestone: 33 Coolinge Road]
As for the work I am doing here I am clean off it – I am doing nothing towards ‘Votes for Women’ – what do the people of Folkestone care and what is the good of trying to make them care? Propaganda may have had its uses in the past, it may still please some people, but I don’t want to go on talking about the Vote – I want to get it! And I am wondering more than ever what is the way to get it. This split, if split it is between the Pankhursts and Pethick-Lawrences is depressing, but I am not at all sure there it not more in it than meets the eye. Anyway here one feels so out of things – the Vote seems a very tiny speck in an ocean of talk and twaddle.
Back to tea and to write letters, then at 8 o’clock I tidied myself and went off to call on Lady Irving by appointment at 8.30. I was interested and so much enjoyed the interview, and she joined us as a member. I had been told of her powdered face, how, like the cat, she always walked alone, that all Folkestone hates her. I liked her immensely, she seems the only real person I have met, the only understanding person. I am told her temper is abnormal, that may be, she was sweet to me, and, after all, these sweet-tempered creatures can be temper trying enough for anything. That she and Henry Irving could not get on together I can quite understand. ‘No surrender’ is writ large in her composition – and after all why should the woman always give way. I imagine she had very strong views as to what was fitting for a wife and probably he did not live up to these. I did not stay long but we got a lot in the time and I think she liked me.How wonderfully young she is. Suffrage to her finger tips, and Suffrage before it was passably comfortable to be Suffrage.
Campaigning for the Vote: Kate Parry Frye’s Suffrage Diary edited by Elizabeth Crawford
Wrap-around paper covers, 226 pp,over 70 illustrations, all drawn from Kate Frye’s personal archive.
ISBN 978 1903427 75 0
Copies available from Francis Boutle Publishers, or from Elizabeth Crawford – email@example.com (£14.99 +UK postage £3. Please ask for international postage cost), or from all good bookshops. In stock at London Review of Books Bookshop, Foyles, National Archives Bookshop.
‘Campaigning for the Vote’ – Front and back cover of wrappers
‘Saturday June 14th 1913. [Kate is lodging in Baker Street, London] I had had a black coat and skirt sent there for Miss Davison’s funeral procession and the landlady had given me permission to change in her room. I tore into my black things then we tore off by tube to Piccadilly and had some lunch in Lyons. But the time was getting on – and the cortege was timed to start at 2 o’clock from Victoria.
We saw it splendidly at the start until we were driven away from our position and then could not see for the crowds and then we walked right down Buckingham Palace Rd and joined in the procession at the end. It was really most wonderful – the really organised part – groups of women in black with white lilies – in white and in purple – and lots of clergymen and special sort of pall bearers each side of the coffin.
She gave her life publicly to make known to the public the demand of Votes for Women – it was only fitting she should be honoured publicly by the comrades. It must have been most imposing.
The crowds were thinner in Piccadilly but the windows were filled but the people had all tramped north and later on the crowds were tremendous. The people who stood watching were mostly reverent and well behaved. We were with the rag tag and bobtail element but they were very earnest people. It was tiring. Sometimes we had long waits – sometimes the pace was tremendous. Most of the time we could hear a band playing the funeral march.
Just before Kings Cross we came across Miss Forsyth (a fellow worker for the New Constitutional Society) – some of the New Constitutional Society had been marching with the Tax Resisters. I had not seen them or should have joined in. I had a chat with her.
Near Kings Cross the procession lost all semblance of a procession – one crowded process – everyone was moving. We lost our banner – we all got separated and our idea was to get away from the huge crowd of unwashed unhealthy creatures pressing us on all sides. We went down the Tube way. But I did not feel like a Tube and went through to the other side finding ourselves in Kings Cross station.
Saying we wanted tea we went on the platform and there was the train – the special carriage for the coffin – and, finding a seat, sank down and we did not move until the train left. Lots of the processionists were in the train, which was taking the body to Northumberland for interrment – and another huge procession tomorrow. To think she had had to give her life because men will not listen to the claims of reason and of justice. I was so tired I felt completely done. We found our way to the refreshment room and there were several of the pall bearers having tea. ‘
Campaigning for the Vote tells, in her own words, the efforts of a working suffragist to instil in the men and women of England the necessity of ‘votes for women’ in the years before the First World War.
The detailed diary kept all her life by Kate Parry Frye (1878-1959) has been edited to cover 1911-1915, years she spent as a paid organiser for the New Constitutional Society for Women’s Suffrage. A biographical introduction positions Kate’s ‘suffrage years’ in the context of her long life., a knowledge of her background giving the reader a deeper appreciation of the way in which she undertook her work. Editorial comment adds further information about the people Kate meets and the situations in which she finds herself.
Campaigning for the Vote constitutes that near impossibility – completely new primary material on the ‘votes for women’ campaign, published for the first time 100 years after the events it records.
With Kate for company we experience the reality of the ‘votes for women’ campaign as, day after day, in London and in the provinces, she knocks on doors, arranges meetings, trembles on platforms, speaks from carts in market squares, village greens, and seaside piers, enduring indifference, incivility and even the threat of firecrackers under her skirt. Kate’s words bring to life the world of the itinerant organiser – a world of train journeys, of complicated luggage conveyance, of hotels – and hotel flirtations – , of boarding houses, of landladies, and of the ‘quaintness’ of fellow boarders.
This was not a way of life to which she was born, for her years as an organiser were played out against the catastrophic loss of family money and enforced departure from a much-loved home. Before 1911 Kate had had the luxury of giving her time as a volunteer to the suffrage cause; now she depended on it for her keep. No other diary gives such an extensive account of the working life of a suffragist, one who had an eye for the grand tableau – such as following Emily Wilding Davison’s cortége through the London streets – as well as the minutiae of producing an advertisement for a village meeting.
Moreover Kate Frye gives us the fullest account to date of the workings of the previously shadowy New Constitutional Society for Women’s Suffrage. She writes at length of her fellow workers, never refraining from discussing their egos and foibles. After the outbreak of war in August 1914 Kate continued to work for some time at the society’s headquarters, helping to organize its war effort, her diary entries allowing us to experience her reality of life in war-time London.
ITV has selected Kate Frye – to be portrayed by a leading young actress – as one of the main characters in a 2014 documentary series to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.
Wrap-around paper covers, 226 pp,over 70 illustrations, all drawn from Kate Frye’s personal archive. ISBN 978 1903427 75 0 Copies available from Francis Boutle Publishers, or from Elizabeth Crawford – firstname.lastname@example.org (£14.99 +UK postage £2.60. Please ask for international postage cost), or from all good bookshops. In stock at London Review Bookshop, Foyles, Daunt Books, Persephone Bookshop, Newham Bookshop and National Archives Bookshop.
‘Campaigning for the Vote’ – Front and back cover of wrappers
In early March 1912, after members of the WSPU had launched a window-smashing campaign in the West End of London, the Home Office determined to hold their leaders accountable and immediately arrested Emmeline Pankhurst and Frederick and Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence. Christabel Pankhurst, however, nimbly escaped over the English Channel to the safety of Paris.
9 rue Roy
9 Rue Roy, now the Hotel Saint Augustin, is where she took refuge and where she lived for well over a year. It would appear that she rented an apartment in the building – perhaps not then functioning as an hotel.
Here we see Christabel photographed in her room, looking out of the window – perhaps one of those in my photograph. Not that there was much to see – Rue Roy is a narrow, somewhat nondescript little street, a turning off the Boulevard Haussmann. But this district, still relatively recently developed, was a usefully central and anonymous location in which a fugitive might take up residence. Did Christabel avail herself of the nearby Metro station in Place Saint Augustin?
Christabel looking out of the window at 9 Rue Roy
Place Saint Augustin
Christabel could not have taken with her much in the way of personal possessions (though one imagines she perhaps did not regret being forced to acquire a suitably Parisian wardrobe) – but she did arrive well-armed with useful introductions. A mere four or five days after her arrival she was visiting the salon of Winaretta Singer, Princesse de Polignac – an entrée arranged through the good offices of Ethel Smyth, the Princesse’s sometime lover.
Princesse de Polignac’s music room (courtesy of The Blue Lantern blogspot)
It was in these glamorous surroundings that Annie Kenney, on her first visit to Paris, was asked to meet Christabel. One would love to know more – but in her posthumous memoir, Unshackled, Christabel is distinctly discreet as to how her time in Paris was spent. Or, indeed, how her prolonged sojourn there was financed; she did no work – in the conventional sense – during the two and a half years that she lived in Paris until the outbreak of war in August 1914 made it safe for her to return to England.
11 Avenue de la Grande Armee – on right
Indeed, after the French had refused to extradite her, by the autumn of 1913 Christabel had moved to a rather more central – and presumably more expensive – Parisian address -11 Avenue de la Grande Armeé, later -crossing the Avenue to live at a flat at no. 8. It was from here, in the very heart of Paris, that she conducted the last frenetic months of the WSPU campaign.
Number 8 Avenue de la Grande Armee – across the road from number 11
and a stone’s throw from the Arc de Triomphe
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NUWSS South-West branch of the Pilgrimage photographed in 1913
In the summer of 1913, in the aftermath of Emily Wilding Davison’s spectacular funeral procession, while WSPU members were reading in the pages of The Suffragette details of Mrs Pankhurst’s successive hunger strikes, numerous reports of increasingly dangerous suffragette militancy, and Christabel Pankhurst’s denunciation of prostitution and venereal disease (eventually published as The Great Scourge), the constitutional suffragists, the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, were planning a ‘Woman’s Suffrage Pilgrimage’.
The Pilgrimage was intended to act as a counter to suffragette militancy, to create a spectacle demonstrating that women, while disciplined, were also law-abiding. The air of spirituality that had surrounded Emily Davison’s coffin was paralleled by the consciousness-raising intent of the Pilgrimage. It is interesting to note that the model, which had been enacted the previous autumn when a small group of women had journeyed from Edinburgh to London, was known as the ‘Women’s March’. By mid-1913 the mood had changed – the women were no longer marchers, they were pilgrims.
Now, to mark the centenary of the Pilgrimage, the Dreadnought South West Association is planning to tour a new play, ‘Oxygen’, playing at many of the stopping places of the south-west route of the Pilgrimage, which began at Land’s End on 19 June. One of those involved in planning the Pilgrimage commemoration is Dr Julia Neville, details of whose latest book are given below.
Viva Juanita: Juanita Phillips: Champion for Change in East Devon between the wars by Julia Neville
‘”Juanita Maxwell Phillips, OBE (1880 – 1966) was eleven times Mayor of Honiton, Alderman and Freeman of the Borough, Devon County Councillor and County Alderman, JP and OBE. Her extraordinary story – from Chile to Honiton, from suffragette to pillar of the establishment, from amateur dramatics to theatre impresario – was uncovered in 2009 by the Senior Council for Honiton. It was brought to life in Honiton in newspaper articles, presentations, commemorative events, and a Honiton Players production, Viva Juanita! Now this fascinating illustrated book tells her story in words and pictures.”
While being generally interested in NUWSS activities, I have an interest slightly more personal in the Devon branch because for some years before 1913, its secretary was Miss Jessie Montgomery, who was also a mover in establishing the college that eventually became Exeter University. When I arrived as a student I was among the first intake at a hall of residence that went by what seemed the rather cumbersome name of ‘Jessie Montgomery House’. We were never told who this Jessie Montgomery was – or had been – and I must say I never inquired – although I do remember being rather pleased when I could give her some reality, after coming across a commemorative plaque to her in Exeter Cathedral. Anyway, Miss Montgomery is now once more history – I see that ‘her’ hall of residence, along with others on that campus, have now been demolished. Sic transit…
On 13 October 2008 I gave the following talk in King’s Norton, Birmingham. It was part of a series of lectures to commemorate the restoration of the Old Grammar School and the Saracen’s Head, which in 2004 had won the BBC’ ‘Restoration’ television series.
I chose the title ‘From Frederick Street to Winson Green’ because it is interesting to trace the growth of the women’s suffrage movement in Birmingham through the streets and buildings in which the men and women of the city conducted their campaign. We will see that this campaign moved slowly from a domestic environment, from the villas (particularly the drawing rooms) of its main protagonists – into the public buildings and then the streets of Birmingham. And it was in Winson Green, the city’s castellated jail, that in 1909 the campaign which had begun 43 years earlier, took on a completely different and very much more dangerous aspect, that for which it has become notorious, when it was in there that suffragettes were forcibly fed for the first time in Britain.
But to begin at the beginning – it is worth bearing in mind that the campaign for women’s enfranchisement was just one among many in which liberal-minded men and women of the mid-19th century were interested. The campaigns for, example, land reform, anti-vaccination, compulsory education, early closing, and the Sunday opening of museums and art galleries were ones to which equal attention was devoted by their adherents. In 1866 the country was aware that parliamentary reform was in the air. It was over 30 years since the last attempt at reform and those who had industrialised Britain were determined that their exclusion from the franchise should be remedied. John Bright, who from 1858 had been Birmingham’s Radical MP, was at the forefront of this agitation. It was not, however, around Bright, who, unlike the rest of his remarkable family, was never in favour of giving any women the vote, but around another Radical MP, John Stuart Mill, that the campaign to include women in this potentially enlarged electorate was to centre. When Mill was elected to the Westminster seat in 1865 it was on a manifesto that included women as a category in a proposed enlarged franchise
A year later, in June 1866, he presented to Parliament a petition, signed by 1499 women, asking that the vote should be given to women on the same terms as it was given to men. This did not, of course, mean that all women should have a vote – any more than it meant all men – the capacity to vote was still to be determined by a property qualification. This petition includes only three names definitely from the Birmingham area – one woman lived at King’s Heath and two in Hockley. None of these women played any significant part in the ensuing campaign and it is likely that they were each asked to give their signature by a friend or relation from outside the area. There was clearly not yet an existing ‘feminist network’ in Birmingham, although this situation was soon to be remedied by the arrival at 10 Chad Road,
10 Chad Road (with thanks to Carole McKeown)
Edgbaston in c. 1867 of William Taylor and his young family. He was a member of a family that was closely involved both by business and marriage with the Courtaulds, manufacturers in Essex of that most eminently Victorian material – crape. Courtauld and Taylor fortunes were built on the backs, literally, of mourning Britons. William’s brother, Peter Alfred Taylor, was the very wealthy and very radical MP for Leicester. P.A. Taylor’s wife, Clementia, had been very active in the campaign to abolish slavery – as well as in numerous other radical causes – and was a member of the committee that organised that first women’s suffrage petition. William Taylor’s wife, Caroline, had signed the petition while they were living in Bridgwater. The family was Unitarian (as were so many others of their fellow campaigners of this period) and William is described in the 1871 census as an iron merchant and manufacturer.
The 1867 Reform Bill, when passed, did not, of course, include women in the enlarged franchise and groups of men and women in London and Manchester slowly formed themselves into the nuclei of a continuing campaign to put further petitions before parliament. At the time this was seen as the correct way in which to exert pressure on parliament; methods were to change over the years.
A committee of this National Society for Women’s Suffrage was formed in Birmingham on 21 April 1868 ‘in accordance with the request of Mrs P. Taylor, the Secretary of the London Suffrage Society, who had urged Mrs William Taylor, of Birmingham, and Miss Johnson to take up the matter’. A month later the committee held its first public meeting at the Exchange Rooms in New Street. William and Caroline Taylor were from the first members of the Birmingham executive committee and in 1868 Caroline was its treasurer. The first secretary was Mary Johnson, who had already been subscribing to the main London suffrage society in 1867. She lived with her parents, George and Fanny Johnson, at 90 Wheeley’s Road in Edgbaston. George Johnson is described in the 1871 census as an Independent minister. Lydia Becker, who was secretary of the very influential women’s suffrage society in Manchester, acted as Mary Johnson’s mentor, giving her guidance in setting up and running the society.
However in 1870 after her marriage, Mary Johnsonmoved to West Bromwich and was succeeded as secretary by Eliza Mary Sturge who lived at 17 Frederick Street (long ago renamed ‘Frederick Road’). She was the 28-year-old daughter of Charles Sturge, alderman of the city, brother of Joseph Sturge. The latter was by then dead, but very much alive in the Birmingham municipal memory. In the 1820s he had been one of the most vociferous campaigners against slavery and had been secretary of the Birmingham Anti-Slavery Society – even going out to the West Indies to inspect conditions there for himself. In the 1840s Joseph Sturge had been a leading campaigner in favour of the repeal of the Corn Laws, had throughout his life been an ardent supporter of free trade, peace and temperance, an advocate of manhood suffrage, founder of the Complete Suffrage Union, but, like John Bright, was not prepared to include women in any proposed enlarged franchise.
After his death, in 1862 a fountain and statue had been dedicated to his memory at Five Ways, in Edgbaston and it is still there, despite all the road alterations. His brother, Charles, who worked in business with him as a corn merchant, was also involved in Joseph’s philanthropic endeavours but, unlike him gave practical, financial, support to the women’s suffrage movement. In 1871 he lived with his two daughters, Eliza and Maria, at 17 Frederick Street and it was from her home that Eliza conducted the business of the Birmingham Women’s Suffrage Society. The Sturges were Quakers and were related to the Clark family – the Quaker shoe makers – of Street in Somerset, who with other Sturge cousins were influential in the Bristol women’s suffrage society.
Having taken over the role of secretary in Birmingham, Eliza quickly became an active speaker in the suffrage cause. It was the policy of the suffrage societies around the country to attempt to influence both the existing, male, electorate and the women of the country by holding public meetings, using both local and imported speakers to lay out the arguments for women’s right to a vote in pithy speeches. In December 1871 there had been such a meeting in Birmingham, held in the Masonic Hall and described as crowded and highly successful.
Millicent Garrett Fawcett came from London to speak at it. Eliza Sturge herself also took to the road as a suffrage speaker. In 1872, for instance, she was a speaker at suffrage meetings in both Bristol and Rochdale. A speech she gave on 6 December that year at BirminghamTown Hall was reprinted as a pamphlet. In the course of this speech she mentions that ‘I know that I can go and return from public meetings alone at night without experiencing the slightest difficulty or annoyance’, which says something about the streets of Birmingham at the time and gives us an idea of how Eliza Sturge occupied her evenings! Millicent Garrett Fawcett was again a speaker and her speech was also reprinted. In it she made the point that ‘I can scarcely imagine that the Birmingham politicians, who took so prominent part in the reform agitation for the extension of the suffrage to working men, can be blind to the patent fact that all the most convincing arguments used during that agitation in favour of admitting the working classes to representation apply with equal cogency to the case of women.’ In 1873, very soon after women became eligible to stand, Eliza Sturge was elected as a member of the Birmingham School Board, of which Joseph Chamberlain was then the chairman. She was a Liberal supporter but in the 1870s despaired at the Liberal Party’s lack of interest in the woman’s cause.
As well as holding public meetings, members of the Birmingham society also undertook personal canvassing and the distribution of pamphlets in some of the wards of the city. However they were always at this time hampered by a lack of funds. At the beginning of the 1870s the society had a subscribing membership of about 30 and had only slightly increased its numbers by the end of the decade. The society’s annual reports are notably brief in comparison with those of, for instance, the Manchester or Edinburgh societies, But in March 1873 the society did manage to move its affairs out of Frederick St and into an office in central Birmingham, at 4 Broad Street Corner and spent £3 13s on its furnishing.
In 1872, the executive committee of the society also included the Rev Henry Crosskey and his wife, who, like the Taylors, were also recent arrivals in Birmingham. He was a Unitarian minister and had previously been living in Glasgow.
Church of the Messiah
In Birmingham he became minister of the congregation of the Church of the Messiah in Broad Street, a large Gothic building which reflected, as Pevsner put it, ‘the importance of Unitarians in Birmingham in the second half of the 19th century’. Under Crosskey the Church of the Messiah became an intellectual centre, a place where ideas about society were openly and critically discussed. Crosskey had long been associated with such radical causes as the Young Italy movement (Garibaldi and Mazzini were heroes to all the early supporters of women’s suffrage) and in Birmingham found a comrade in George Dawson, another independent nonconformist minister. Dawson had been a Baptist but in 1847 had opened his own church, the Church of the Saviour, in the middle of the city. His congregation included many people – Kenricks, Martineaus and Chamberlains -who were to become influential in the civic life of Birmingham. Dawson’s message was that the church should eschew fixed creeds and work towards the greater good, urging citizens to give all their talents for the service of the city. Dawson, thus, was a promoter of the ‘civic gospel’ that led Birmingham, in the 1870s and 1880s, to acquire the reputation for being the best-governed city in the world. Dawson had as early as the 1840s made clear that he was concerned about the position of women in society. It is unsurprising, therefore, to discover that his wife was also a member of the executive committee of the suffrage society at this time.
By 1878 Eliza Sturge had moved with her father and sister to Bewdley, from where, for a time she continued to act as secretary to the suffrage society. But by 1885 the honorary secretaryship had been taken over by Catherine Osler, who was finally to retire, as president of the society, 35 years later in 1920. As Catherine Courtauld Taylor, daughter of William and Caroline Taylor of 10 Chad Road, she had subscribed 1/- to the Birmingham Women’s Suffrage Society when it was founded in 1868; she was then 14. In 1873 she had married, in Crosskey’s Church of the Messiah, Alfred Clarkson Osler, a member of the wealthy Birmingham family of glass manufacturers. From both their families Catherine and Alfred Osler inherited a radical liberal tradition and from about 1884 Catherine was president of the Birmingham Women’s Liberal Association. All 4 of their children were to become active in the women’s suffrage movement. With increasing prosperity the Oslers moved to a large house in Edgbaston, ‘Fallowfields’, in Norfolk Road, the scene of a plethora of drawing-room meetings at which the question of women’s suffrage was discussed.
Mrs Osler (c) Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation
When Catherine Osler became secretary of the suffrage society her unmarried sister, Edith, became treasurer. It will have become clear that the 19th-century suffrage campaign in Birmingham, as in the rest of the country, was very much a middle-class affair – indeed very much an Edgbaston affair. With the vote firmly allied to a property qualification, it would only be householders and ratepayers who would benefit from any extension of the vote. There were, however, even within the middle-class pro-suffragists, degrees of liberalism. The 19th-century campaign split in 1888 along the lines of the split in the Liberal Party over Home Rule for Ireland. In Birmingham, as in the country at large, Joseph Chamberlain was one of the most prominent of the Liberal Unionists (those against Home Rule); the Oslers, unlike most of the Birmingham industrial families, who followed Chamberlain, were members of the more radical wing – followers of Gladstone in supporting Home Rule. This schism was reflected in a split in the national suffrage society so that for most of the 1890s the suffrage movement rather lost its focus, although individual members and societies were extremely active.
In 1892 Birmingham was chosen as the venue for a national conference organized by one of the splinter societies, the Women’s Emancipation Union, perhaps the most radical of these societies, with an agenda that demanded equality with men in every aspect of life. Although it is doubtful that Catherine Osler was actually a member of this society she did chair one session of this conference and proposed a resolution supporting the inclusion of women in any reformed scheme of local government. One of the leading members of the Women’s Emancipation Union was an interesting Birmingham woman. She was Caroline Smith, the sister of George Jacob Holyoake, Chartist and secularist, the last man in England to be sentenced on a charge of atheism. They were the eldest children in a large family, living in the 1820s in comparative poverty at 1 Inge Street in central Birmingham. As a child George Holyoake worked as a whitesmith alongside his father in the Eagle Foundry. Their mother had a small home workshop making horn buttons, before being put out of work by the growth of larger manufacturers. The Holyoakes were obviously an able family. However nothing is known about Caroline’s early life except that at some point she married a William Benjamin Smith, who had been born in Kings Norton around 1822. When the 1871 census was taken they were living at 19 Carpenter Road, Edgbaston. Although the Smiths’ house has now disappeared, it was presumably not unlike those that do remain – that is to say a large stucco Regency villa – a far cry from the house cum workshop in Inge Street where Caroline grew up. She was a member of the executive committee of the Birmingham Women’s Suffrage Society in 1885 but had clearly been attracted to the more radical movement and by 1892 was the national treasurer of the Women’s Emancipation Union.
It was doubtless its central position in the country that made Birmingham a popular venue for national conferences because again it was here, in 1896, that the main suffrage societies made a concerted effort to regroup. It was proposed that past differences be put aside and that they should unite as the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, it being recognised that, after 30 years of campaigning – and the goal little nearer achievement – there was a need to present a common front from the centre. Although no parliamentary bill in favour of women’s suffrage was presented between 1897 and 1904 the suffrage movement did benefit from a more effective central organisation and this enthusiasm permeated down to the local societies. In October 1900 the minutes of the Birmingham society record that one of its best ever drawing-room meetings had been held in a private house at which 100 ladies were present and 26 new members enrolled. In 1902 the annual meeting of the Birmingham society – held in the Grand Hotel – was addressed by Sir Oliver Lodge, principal of Birmingham University. His speech was published as a pamphlet‘ so that today we can read that he thought, ‘The vote itself is a trivial affair, but its artificial withholding is a gratuitous insult: I am not surprised that the arbitrary withholding on that small function is one that galls out of all proportion to its importance. I recognize the desirability of doing away with artificial obstacles, and giving to everyone a clear field and an equal chance – a fair share in education, an open entrance to the professions, and a fair and reasonable opportunity of service in every direction.’
By this time Catherine Osler had become president of the Birmingham society and in 1903-4, with help from paid organizers (the movement was definitely moving away from involvement on a purely voluntary basis), she had supervised the opening of new branches in Coventry, Warwick, Redditch, and Leamington. At this time the Birmingham Women’s Suffrage Society thought it advisable to undertake work among working women, as was being done in Lancashire among the women textile workers. The Birmingham society began with the women chain makers of Cradley, paying for an organizer to go around from yard to yard, talking to the women about the suffrage issue.
Women chainmakers at Cradley Heath
In early 1904 they conducted another campaign amongst the Cradley nail makers. During 1907 the society held 30 meetings in Birmingham and the surrounding district and in 1908 drew in £8 6s 3d in subscriptions – making it the second largest society (after London) in England.
The increasing activity of the Birmingham Women’s Suffrage Society was not only due to better central organization but doubtless owed something to the impetus provided by the arrival on the suffrage scene of a new ginger group. This was the Women’s Social and Political Union, which had been founded in October 1903 in Manchester by Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst, but which had only really begun to make an impact with the arrest and imprisonment in October 1905 (in Manchester) of Mrs Pankhurst’s eldest daughter, Christabel, and of Annie Kenney on charges of obstructing the police.
The WSPU determined to win the vote by what they termed ‘militant methods’, that is, in order to bring pressure to bear on the Cabinet they were prepared to do more than hold orderly public meetings and present petitions to parliament through MPs. The political process itself had evolved since the 1860s; it was clear that individual members of parliament had little real power (that now resided in the Cabinet) and that no bill in favour of women’s suffrage would have a chance of passing into law unless it was presented as a government measure. What actually were ‘militant methods’ was never clearly defined by the WSPU – members more or less set their own limits, and that militancy escalated as the years passed. Initially WSPU strategy was to hold large meetings at the beginning of each session of parliament in a hall, such as Caxton Hall, close to the House of Commons, and for a deputation, often led byMrs Pankhurst herself, to attempt to present a petition to the Prime Minister, who would invariably refuse to see them. The police would attempt to prevent them reaching Parliament and brawling would ensue.
Mrs Pankhurst arrested while leading a deputation to Parliament
This all attracted marvellous publicity, in a way in which drawing-room meetings in Edgbaston never had. The WSPU provided newspapers with ‘news’, that is, spectacle that was recorded in the photographs that had only lately superseded the engravings with which newspapers had been illustrated, and with the kind of behaviour that, because it was considered ‘extreme’, was, therefore, ‘news’.
Although the WSPU opened branches around the country it was increasingly autocratically controlled from Clement’s Inn, its London centre, by the Pankhursts and their fellow leaders, Emmeline and Frederick Pethick-Lawrence. The WSPU did not, like the NUWSS societies, foster local centres run by local women, Instead organizers were appointed by Clement’s Inn to the main cities and were expected to work to orders. These organizers were moved frequently around in order that they might not develop too close local attachments.
The Pankhursts’ autocratic system was not put in place without difficulty. In the autumn 1907 one group, which perhaps might be roughly characterized as a more left-wing element, broke away from the WSPU. When first founded in Manchester the WSPU had drawn support from the local Labour party and women had been drawn into it through their interest in furthering the cause of Labour as well as of women. When it became clear that, as well as forbidding any democracy within their own society, the Pankhursts were not interested in supporting the Labour party at parliamentary elections, a group, under the leadership of Charlotte Despard, withdrew and formed the Women’s Freedom League.
Thus in Edwardian Britain there were three main suffrage groupings, the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, which sought the vote using constitutional methods, the Women’s Social and Political Union that employed militant methods, and the Women’s Freedom League that was prepared to use militant methods against the political process (such as attacking the ballot box and picketing parliament) but would not countenance harm to people or property. Interestingly, although by 1913 the WFL had 59 branches, it only had two in the West Midlands, in Wolverhampton and the Potteries, and never supported a branch in Birmingham, although on occasion, during general election campaigns, for instance, WFL speakers, such as its leader, Charlotte Despard, did come to speak in Birmingham.
The most active member of the WFL in the West Midlands was Emma Sproson, who had been a member of the WSPU in 1906, but joined the WFL after the 1907 split. She was a keen supporter of the Labour Party. Mrs Pankhurst had stayed with Emma Sproson when she visited Wolverhampton in 1906 to speak to local members of the Labour Party.
In keeping with their practice, by November 1907 the WSPU had appointed as their organizer in Birmingham Annie Kenney’s younger sister, Nell, who was based at 22 Belgrave Road, Edgbaston. She had worked from the age of 10 in an Oldham mill, until forced by ill health to leave and become a shop assistant. Now in her mid- twenties she set about organizing Birmingham. She calmly notes in her report for the WSPU newspaper, Votes for Women, in November 1907, ‘I am visiting most of the influential people in Birmingham and surrounding districts’. She was also holding a series of drawing-room, open-air and factory-gate meetings, besides addressing different religious societies and women’s co-operative guilds. She notes that ‘Our meetings are being run on strictly economical lines. The outdoor meetings are being advertised by chalking the pavements or ringing the bell, and the audiences so far have been orderly and sympathetic’. On 20 November 1907 a well-publicized WSPU meeting was held at Birmingham Town Hall, with both Mrs Pankhurst and Mrs Pethick-Lawrence as speakers, and Christabel Pankhurst taking the chair. Regular, women-only meetings were held at this time on Thursdays at the Bristol Street Schools. In February 1908 a contingent of women travelled from Birmingham to London to take part in what was called ‘The Women’s Parliament’, a meeting held in Caxton Hall on the occasion of the opening of a new session of the ‘the men’s parliament’. In the ensuing fracas four women from Birmingham were among the 50 or so arrested and subsequently sent to Holloway.
Mrs Pankhurst arrested while leading a deputation to Parliament
Another Birmingham woman was arrested the next day while taking part in the deputation led by Mrs Pankhurst that attempted to approach the House of Commons.
In June 1908 the WSPU organized an extravagant demonstration in Hyde Park to which women from all over the country came. Birmingham was on the line from Wolverhampton along which travelled on the day a Special Train bringing Birmingham supporters to take part in the rally. Tickets for the train cost seven shillings return and could be bought from Stanford and Mann, booksellers in New Street, from James Pass’s music warehouse at 48 Cherry Street, or from Combridge at 4 and 5 New Street. The train left Birmingham at quarter to eight in the morning. When they got off the train at Euston the women lined up with tho