Posts Tagged suffragettes

Collecting Suffrage: Mrs Amy Sanderson, Scottish Speaker For The Women’s Freedom League

 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.

Email me if interested in buying. elizabeth.crawford2017@outlook.com

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Collecting Suffrage: Anna Munro, Organizer For The Scottish Council Of The Women’s Freedom League

 

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. elizabeth.crawford2017@outlook.com

 

 

 

 

 

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Collecting Suffrage: Photograph Of Cicely Hamilton By Lena Connell For The Suffrage Shop

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

If interested in buying, do email me. elizabeth.crawford2017@outlook.com

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Collecting Suffrage: Mrs Charlotte Despard Photographed by Christina Broom

 

A lovely photograph of Mrs Charlotte Despard, leader of the Women’s Freedom League. It was taken on a rooftop, possibly at the time of the WFL’s White, Gold and Green Fair in 1909.

The photographer and publisher of the resultant postcard was Mrs Albert Broom (Christina Broom), who photographed several groups of those participating in that WFL Fair.

In fine, unposted, condition. A scarce image. Sold

Email me if interested in buying. elizabeth.crawford2017@outlook.com

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Collecting Suffrage: This Is The House That Man Built

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

Email me if interested in buying. elizabeth.crawford2017@outlook.com

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Collecting Suffrage: Portrait Postcard Of Christabel Pankhurst, c. 1908

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. elizabeth.crawford2017@outlook.com

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Collecting Suffrage: Photograph Of Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst c 1907

This photograph of Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst probably dates from c 1907, taken at her desk in Clement’s Inn, headquarters of the Women’s Social and Political Union.

The photograph comes from the collection of Isabel Seymour, who was an early WSPU supporter working in the WSPU office.

The photograph is mounted and is 15 x 20 cm (6″ x 8″) and is in good condition for its age. SOLD

Do email me if interested in buying. elizabeth.crawford2017@outlook.com

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Collecting Suffrage: The WSPU Holloway Prison Brooch

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.

£5000 + VAT (in UK and EU)

Email me if you are interesting in buying. elizabeth.crawford2017@outlook.com

 

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Collecting Suffrage: ‘Punch’ Cartoon, 17 January 1906

 

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

If interested in buying, do email me elizabeth.crawford2017@outlook.com

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Collecting Suffrage: ‘Punch’ Cartoon, 21 October 1908

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

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Suffrage Stories: ‘The Lost World Of The Suffragettes’ – New Documentary Now Available On Radio iPlayer

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.

 

 

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Suffrage Stories: Woman’s Hour Discussion: Who Won The Vote For Women – Suffragists or Suffragettes?

Millicent Fawcett c 1912

Millicent Fawcett c 1912

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).

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Suffrage Stories: ‘Lloyd George’s War’ on BBC Wales

First World War Prime Minister David Lloyd George

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.

Dan Snow

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hurst Park pk cat 182

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

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Suffrage Stories: 1911 Census: Vanishing For The Vote

TO BE PUBLISHED ON 6 MARCH 2014

Vanishing for the Vote 1 001

As readers of this blog will know, since 2009 I have been involved in research on the suffrage boycott of the 1911 census. With Dr Jill Liddington, I worked to uncover the women who followed the call to boycott the census. We studied the circumstances of those who did – and those who did not – refuse to complete the census form and produced, first, a paper for the Women’s History Network Conference, held in Oxford in September 2009, and then an article ,‘Women do not count, neither shall they be counted’: Suffrage, Citizenship and the Battle for the 1911 Census‘ published in the History Workshop Journal in 2011.

It was intended to develop this research into a book, but I decided to pursue other projects  – such as the setting up of the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Gallery and writing Campaigning for the Vote: Kate Parry Frye’s Suffrage Diary as well, of course, as running my bookselling business,’ Woman and Her Sphere’ –  while Jill turned the census research into Vanishing for the Vote. 

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:

Hardback £65

Paperback: £16.99

37 Lavender Gardens, Battersea -home of John Burns, minister in charge of the Census

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 parties 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.

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.

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 enumerator was handed out through this door a census form returned with 'Informaiton Refused'.

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'.

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 estimate 25 women and one man.

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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Christmas List 2013 – To Give Or Receive

Woman and her Sphere

 

List for Christmas 2013

 

Elizabeth Crawford

5 Owen’s Row

London EC1V 4NP

 

Send orders to me by email: e.crawford@sphere20.freeserve.co.uk

Payment may be made by cheque, Paypal or by direct bank transfer

FRYE Xmas card 1903 front 001Frye xmas card 1903 inside 001

Item 178

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.

Kate Frye cover

 

Campaigning for the Vote: The Suffrage Diary of Kate Parry Frye

Edited by Elizabeth Crawford

An extract

‘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. [Plus much more description of the procession as Kate follows it into King’s Cross station]

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. 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.

Excerpts from Campaigning for the Vote featured in ‘The Women’s Rebellion’, episode 2 of Michael Portillo’s Radio 4 series, 1913: The Year Before –listen here http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b02mxyyz

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.

 And there are plans under discussion to make Kate’s story more widely known…..

Published by Francis Boutle Publishers – http://www.francisboutle.co.uk/product_info.php?products_id=102&osCsid=f25354bc872ffc120b251b6b63915492

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

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

Francis Boutle, 2002 338pp 75 illus paperback

http://www.francisboutle.co.uk/product_info.php?cPath=17&products_id=7

Signed copies available from me: £14.99 plus £3 postage to UK addresses.

** 

Woman and her Sphere List for Christmas 2013

NON-FICTION: WOMEN

1.       BLAIR, Kirstie Form & Faith in Victorian Poetry & Religion  OUP 2012 [13415] 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 [13341] 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 [8936] 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 [13422] 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) [10288] 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) [13411] 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) [10297] 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 [13421] 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 [13340] 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 [13407] 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 [13436] 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 [9060] 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) [13338] 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 [9344] 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 [13432] 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 [13413] 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 [13431] A cornucopia! Mint in d/w – heavy – 808pp. (pub price £95)                                                        £50

18.     SLATER, Michael The Great Dickens Scandal  Yale University Press 2012 [13420] 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 [13570] 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 [10275] 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 [13417] 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 [13412] ‘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 [12870] Mrs Vince had been a pupil of the pioneer ‘House Decorator’, Agnes Garrett. Very good in rubbed d/w                £18

         

 

BIOGRAPHY

24.     (ADDAMS) Louise Knight Jane Addams: Spirit in Action Norton 2011 [13405] 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 [13426] 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 [13478] 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 [13406] ‘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 [13258] 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 [13433] 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) [13482] 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 [13335] 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 [13409] 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

 

EPHEMERA

33.     The Home Friend (New Series)  SPCK 1854 [8313] 4 vols of miscellany of fact and fiction. Very good in embossed decorative original cloth – together                                                                       £45

34.     HOSMER, Harriet     [13465] 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)     [13520] 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    [13332] 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    [13254] 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     [13279] real photographic postcard published by the Church Socialist League, London branch, pre – First World War. Fine – unposted                               £25

39.     KITTY GILLOW     [10700] 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 [10675] 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 [10678] 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 [10681] 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 [10682] 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 [10688] 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 [10684] 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 [10687] sings ‘Glad Rag Doll’ and is photographed in male evening dress on the cover of the sheet music. Good                                                     £5

47.     MISS VESTA TILLEY     [10695] 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     [10693] photographic postcard of her in male attire. Very good – posted in 1906                                                                                                                                                      £5

49.     ‘MR WINIFRED WARD’     [10697] 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 [10670] 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 [10672] 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 [10683] sings ‘By the Sad Sea Waves’ and is photographed in colour on the cover of the sheet music. Good – though spine strengthened    £7

 

FICTION

53.     BRONTES, The Tales of Glass Town, Angria, and Gondal: selected writings OUP 2010 [13427] Edited  with Introduction and Notes by Christine Alexander. Soft covers – mint                     £6

54.     GASKELL, Elizabeth Cranford  OUP 2011 [13428] With introduction by Dinah Birch. Soft covers – mint                                                                                                                                              £4

55.     NELSON, Cary (ed) The Oxford Handbook of Modern and Contemporary American Poetry  OUP 2012 [13429] Mint in d/w – heavy – 716pp (pub price £95)                                                      £50

56.     VYNNE, Nora The Pieces of Silver  Andrew Melrose 1911 [13337] 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

 

WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE

 

57.     DOBBIE, B.M. Willmott Dobbie A Nest of Suffragettes in Somerset: Eagle House, Batheaston Batheaston Society 1979 [13585] 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 [13272] 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 [13265] 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 [13336] 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 [13505] 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      [12587] (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? [9519] 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     [11274] 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 [1907] [12760] 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 [13150] 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    [13195] 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 [9033] 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     [12607] 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 [13146] 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 [13147] 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 [12946] 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) [13145] 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 [13155] 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 [12931] 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    [13508] ‘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 [13502] ‘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     [12407] 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 [11357] ‘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    [13511] ‘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     [12767] 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     [12768] 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     [12772] 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     [12777] 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 [1966] [13107] 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     [13274] 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     [13190] 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     [13176] 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     [13496] Complete issue. Chipped and rubbed and with some – interesting – annotations                                                                                                 £60

90.     VOTES FOR WOMEN ADVERTISEMENT     [13262] 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 [13151] ‘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 [13156] ‘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   [13396] 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 [12937] 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     [12914] 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     [12954] photograph by Lena Connell. Fine – unposted             £120

97.     COUNTESS RUSSELL     [13241] 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     [13542] 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     [13168] 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     [12955] 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     [12875] – 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     [13163] 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     [13558] 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     [12958] 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     [13553] 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     [13240] 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     [13239] ‘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     [11634] – 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     [13255] 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     [13549] 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     [11824] 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     [13243] 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     [13545] 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     [12877] ‘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     [13256] 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    [12950] 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    [12919] 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    [12917] 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    [12921] 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’     [12507] 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’     [12506] 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     [13551] 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     [13550] ‘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     [13552] ‘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     [13555] – 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     [13230] 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) [12577] 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 [8646] 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 [11675] Soft covers – mint                                                                       £15

130.   DEARMER, Mabel Letters from a Field Hospital: with a memoir of the author by Stephen Gwynn Macmillan 1916 [12640] 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 [12636] 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 [12645] 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 [12884] 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 [12638] 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 [11926] Hardcover – fine in fine d/w                                                                                                      £12

136.   (ROSS) Ishobel Ross Little Grey Partridge  Aberdeen University Press 1988 [12153] ‘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 [12631] 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 [12879] ‘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    [11472] 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’    [12590] 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     [12892] 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 [12802] 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 [12622] 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  [1916] [13002] 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

GENERAL STOCK

145.   BULKELEY, John And BYRON, John The Loss of the ‘Wager’: the narrative of John Bulkeley and John Byron Boydell Press 2004 [9784] 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 [7634] 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 [9279] 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 [8627] 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 [9275] Mint in mint dustwrapper                                                                                                                       £10

150.   (GOYA) Julia Blackburn Old Man Goya  Jonathan Cape 2002 [10975] 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 [7811] 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 [8632] Mint in dustwrapper                                                                                                      £10

153.   HUGHES, Les Henry Munday: a young Australian Pioneer Next Century Books 2003 [9291] 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 [9971] Soft covers – good                                                                                                                       £5

155.   MAYERS, Kit North-East Passage to Muscovy: Stephen Borough and the first Tudor explorations Sutton 2005 [9274] 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 [9786] Mint in d/w                                                                                                                                         £10

157.   ROBINS, Gay Women in Ancient Egypt  British Museum Press 1993 [11867] Soft covers – fine   £6

158.   WASSERMAN, James An Illustrated History of the Knights Templar  Destiny Books (Vermont) 2006 [9777] Soft covers, large format, heavily illustrated – mint                                                      £10

159.   (WOODHOUSE) Ronald Woodhouse John Woodhouse: a remarkable Mormon pioneer Trafford Publishing 2006 [9772] 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 [13437] Mint in d/w (pub price £45)                                                                      £30

161.   (DOYLE) Douglas Kerr Conan Doyle: writing, profession and practice OUP 2013 [13424] 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 [10658] Hardback – mint in mint d/w                                                                                                                                                      £8

163.   MACKIE, Alastair Some of the People All the Time  Book Guild Publishing 2006 [10659] Autobiography of a former H-bomber pilot who became vice-charman of CND                       £9

164.   STOKER, Bram Dracula  OUP (World’s Classics) 2011 [13440] Edited by Roger Luckhurst. Soft covers – mint                                                                                                                                £5

165.   TOLSTOY, Leo War & Peace  OUP 2010 [13444] ‘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 [13445] Edited by Dinah Birch. Soft covers – mint                                                                                                              £5

167.   TROLLOPE, Anthony The Duke’s Children  OUP (World’s Classics) 2011 [13443] 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 [13439] Edited by Simon Dentith. Soft covers – mint                                                                                                                        £5

169.   TROLLOPE, Anthony Phineas Redux  OUP (World’s Classics) 2011 [13442] Edited by John Bowen. Soft covers – mint                                                                                                                        £5

170.   ANDREWS, Malcolm Dickensian Laughter: essays on Dickens & humour OUP 2013 [13418] 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 [13441] 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 [13434] 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 [13414] 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 [13423] 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 [13416] ‘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 [13419] 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 [10655] 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

DO LOOK AT MY LATEST FULL CATALOGUE: No 182

https://womanandhersphere.com/2013/11/22/books-and-ephemera-for-sale-catalogue-182/

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Suffrage Stories: The 1911 Census: The Bradford Boycotters

Mary Phillips

Mary Phillips

‘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)

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

Copyright

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

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WALKS/Suffrage Stories: The London Opera House, Kingsway

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)

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.

Pankhurst The War 001It 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.

Virginia Woolf BuildingThe  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.

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Suffrage Stories: The 1911 Census: More Birmingham Boycotters

John Burns, the suffragettes and the census boycott

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

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.

See also: Suffrage Stories: An Entire Birmingham College Boycotts the Census

Suffrage Stories: ‘From Frederick Street to Winson Green: the Birmingham Women’s Suffrage Campaign 

To listen to a talk I gave on the suffragette boycott at a National Archives conference on the 1911 census click here

Copyright

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

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

Mrs Thomson Price's goods being sold

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

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

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

Reverse of photo

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

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

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

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Suffrage Stories: June 2013

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.

OUP Blog Why is Emily Davison the first suffragette martyr?

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!

 

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Suffrage Stories: Emily Wilding Davison and Kate Frye – Derby Day 1913

The memorial brooch to Emily Davison that Mary Leigh kept all her life

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

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.

Victoria Station

Victoria Station

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,
  • 1 key,
  • 1 small memo book’

Some of these items survive in the collection of the Women’s Library @ LSE

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

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.

Kate Frye coverIf 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.

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Suffrage Stories: Emily Wilding Davison On The Eve Of The Derby 1913

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 Summer Fair, June 1913

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.

Kitty Marion

Kitty Marion

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.

 

 

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Campaigning For The Vote: Kate In Dover 100 Years Ago: A Sunday Visit From John, May 1913

Kate Frye coverKate 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

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

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

For a full description of the book click here

Wrap-around paper covers, 226 pp, over 70 illustrations, all drawn from Kate Frye’s personal archive.

ISBN 978 1903427 75 0

£14.99

Copies available from Francis Boutle Publishers, or from Elizabeth Crawford – e.crawford@sphere20.freeserve.co.uk, 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!)

Campaigning for the Vote cover

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Campaigning For The Vote: Kate Frye and ‘Black Friday’, November 1910

Kate Frye coverKate 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 November 1910

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

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'

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

receipt 001

Campaigning for the Vote: Kate Parry Frye’s Suffrage Diary edited by Elizabeth Crawford

For a full description of the book click here

Wrap-around paper covers, 226 pp, over 70 illustrations, all drawn from Kate Frye’s personal archive.

ISBN 978 1903427 75 0

£14.99

Copies available from Francis Boutle Publishers, or from Elizabeth Crawford – e.crawford@sphere20.freeserve.co.uk, from all good bookshops – especially Foyle’s, London Review Bookshop, Persephone Bookshop, British Library 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!)

 Campaigning for the Vote cover

‘Campaigning for the Vote’ – Front and back cover of wrappers

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Suffrage Stories/Campaigning for the Vote: Selfridge’s and Suffragettes

 

The Suffrage Annual and Women's Who's Who

The Suffrage Annual and Women’s Who’s Who

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

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

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.

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

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Suffrage Stories: The 1911 Census: A Bristol Boycotter

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? There 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? Had she 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 was unable to discover any images that I could use to enliven the story – but perhaps readers may consider it quite lively enough without.

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Campaigning For The Vote: Book Launch Invitation

An invitation to those interested in Kate Frye – and the Women’s Suffrage Movement.

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Campaigning for the Vote: Kate Frye And The Problem Of The Diarist’s Multiple Roles

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 her in 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

‘Campaigning for the Vote’ – Front and back cover of wrappers

 Kate Parry Frye[1] 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/

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.[2]

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

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

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.[3]  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

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.[4]  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.[5] 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.[6]  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!'

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

Kate’s menstrual calendar

But the feeling of ill-health suffered by Kate, by her elder sister, Agnes,[7]  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.[8]  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'

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.

Procession-Pic-for-Clive2

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.[9] 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.[10] 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.’[11] 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.’[12] 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’.[13]  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’.[14] So reservations about editing Kate Frye’s lifetime performance to refashion it as a ‘suffrage diary’ are, perhaps, not unjustified, although Kate 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.[15]  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.’[16]  However Cheryl 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.’[17] 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.[18]  Kate Frye’s diary, edited to tell her suffrage story, might, therefore, be said to be keeping exalted company.[19]  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.[20]  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.[21] 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.[22] 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.’[23] 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. On March 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.’[24]

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.[25] 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’;[26] 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

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.[27] 

Kate as writer

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’.[28] 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.[29]  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.[30]

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[31] and that of Dr Alice Ker provides short factual notes on the suffrage scene in Birkenhead and Liverpool.[32]   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.[33] 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.[34]

  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

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)[35] 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” ‘[36] – 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

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[37] 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.[38] 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

Kate’s diary entry for 21 May 1914 in which she records witnessing the WSPU demonstration in front of Buckingham Palace


[1] 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.

[2] 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..

[3] 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.

[4] ‘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.

[5] 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.

[6] 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.

[7] Agnes Frye (1874-1937)

[8] See T. Mallon (1995) A Book of One’s Own: people and their diaries (St Paul, Minn: Hungry Mind Press) p. 1.

[9] Robert A. Fothergill (1974) Private Chronicles: a study of English diaries (London: OUP).

[10] 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).

[11] 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

[12] Sir Arthur Ponsonby (1923) English Diaries (London:Methuen & Co), p. 5.

[13] Fothergill, Private Chronicles, p. 5

[14] Cline, Women’s Diaries, p xxvii-xxviii.

[15] 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).

[16] Fothergill, Private Chronicles, p. 5.

[17] Cline,  Women’s Diaries, p. xxviii.

[18] L. Woolf (Ed) (1953) A Writer’s Diary. Being extracts from the diary of Virginia Woolf (London, Hogarth Press).

[19] Although, after Leonard Woolf’s ‘dismembering’, the diaries were reconstructed, in five volumes, edited by Anne Olivier Bell.

[20] For instance, Martin Hewitt (2006) Diary, Autobiography and the Practice of Life History in David Amigoni (Ed) Life Writing and Victorian Culture (Aldershot: Ashgate).

[21] Huff, British Women’s Diaries, p xiv.

[22] 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.

[23] Fothergill, Private Chronicles, p.82.

[24] .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.

[25] 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.

[26] Diary entry for 9 July 1912.

[27]   Katharine Parry and John R. Collins (1921) Cease Fire!: a play in one act  (London: French’s Acting Editions).

[28] 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.

[29] 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 Cobden Sanderson (London School of Economics) has been edited by Anthony Howe but is, as yet, unpublished.

[30] Both Margery Lees’s diaries are held by the Women’s Library.

[31] 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).

[32] Dr Alice Ker’s diaries are held in a private collection.

[33] 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.

[34] T. Thompson (Ed.) (1987) Dear Girl: the diaries and letters of two working women (1897-1917) (London: Women’s Press).

[35] 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.

[36] The quotation is taken from Modern Love by George Meredith, first published in 1862.

[37] As Gladys Wright, she had been a very old Kensington friend of Kate Frye and hon. Sec. of the NCSWS.

[38]  Campaigning for the Vote: The Suffrage Diary of Kate Parry Frye, is published by Francis Boutle

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Suffrage Stories: Mrs Alice Singer, Miss Edith New And The Suffragette Doll

Feature on Edith New in Swindon Heritage magazine

Feature on Edith New in Swindon Heritage magazine

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.  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’ – a lively and well-produced model of a local history magazine – click here for details.

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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WALKS/Suffrage Stories: The Raid On WSPU Headquarters, 30 April 1913

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

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.

Lincolns Inn House interior 2

Lincolns Inn House interior 3The 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

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.

grace roe

 

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Campaigning For The Vote: Kate Wrestles With North Norfolk, 1912

Kate Frye cover 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

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

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 Crawford For a full description of the book click here Wrap-around paper covers, 226 pp, over 70 illustrations, all drawn from Kate Frye’s personal archive. ISBN 978 1903427 75 0 £14.99 Copies available from Francis Boutle Publishers, or from Elizabeth Crawford – e.crawford@sphere20.freeserve.co.uk  or from all good bookshops.  

'Campaigning for the Vote' - Front and back cover of wrappers
‘Campaigning for the Vote’ – Front and back cover of wrappers

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Campaigning For The Vote: Kate Converts Bourne End, Buckinghamshire

Kate Frye cover‘The Plat’ at Bourne End in Buckinghamshire had been the Frye family’s country house since the late 1880s.  

The Plat, Bourne End

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

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.

Bourne End and District Society

Campaigning for the Vote: Kate Parry Frye’s Suffrage Diary edited by Elizabeth Crawford

 

For a full description of the book click here

 

Wrap-around paper covers, 226 pp, over 70 illustrations, all drawn from Kate Frye’s personal archive.

 

ISBN 978 1903427 75 0

£14.99

 

Copies available from Francis Boutle Publishers, or from Elizabeth Crawford – e.crawford@sphere20.freeserve.co.uk

 or from all good bookshops.

 

 

'Campaigning for the Vote' - Front and back cover of wrappers
‘Campaigning for the Vote’ – Front and back cover of wrappers

 

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Campaigning For The Vote: Kate In Norfolk: East Dereham

Kate Frye coverBetween 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

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

For a full description of the book click here

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 – e.crawford@sphere20.freeserve.co.uk  (£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
‘Campaigning for the Vote’ – Front and back cover of wrappers

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Campaigning For The Vote: Kate In Kent: Folkestone

Kate Frye coverIn 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

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

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

For a full description of the book click here

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 – e.crawford@sphere20.freeserve.co.uk  (£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
‘Campaigning for the Vote’ – Front and back cover of wrappers

 

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Now Published: Campaigning For The Vote: Kate Parry Frye’s Suffrage Diary, Edited By Elizabeth Crawford


Kate Frye cover

An extract:

‘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.

See also ‘Kate Frye in “Spitalfields Life”‘ and ‘Kate Frye in “History Workshop Online”‘

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 – e.crawford@sphere20.freeserve.co.uk  (£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

‘Campaigning for the Vote’ – Front and back cover of wrappers

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Suffrage Stories: Where Did Christabel Pankhurst Live In Paris?

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

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

Christabel looking out of the window at 9 Rue Roy

Place Saint Augustin

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)

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

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

Number 8 Avenue de la Grande Armee – across the road from number 11

and a stone's throw from the Arc de Triomphe

and a stone’s throw from the Arc de Triomphe

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

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Suffrage Stories: Devon Suffragists


NUWSS South-West branch of the Pilgrimage photographed in 1913 as they set off from Land's End

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.

In my Women’s Suffrage Movement: a reference guide  I give an account of the various strands of the Pilgrimage, which, beginning at various distant points in England, approached London along eight main routes.

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.

vivajuanitaViva 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.”

For details of how to buy Viva Juanita see here


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…

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Suffrage Stories: ‘From Frederick Street to Winson Green’: The Birmingham Women’s Suffrage Campaign

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.Winson Green

 

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)

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.

Sturge statue

Sturge statue

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 Fawcett

Millicent Fawcett

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

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

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

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 by Mrs 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

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.

Emma Sproson

Emma Sproson

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

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 thousands of others to process to Hyde Park.

One of the main speakers in Hyde Park, with her own platform from which to address the vast crowds, was Gladice Keevil,

Gladice Keevil

Gladice Keevil

considered one of the prettiest and most effective of WSPU speakers. She was a Londoner and was then 24 years old – she had already spent six weeks that year in Holloway. The Daily News report of the Hyde Park rally singled her out : ‘Miss Keevil was a particularly striking figure.  Robed in flowing white muslin, her lithe figure swaying to every changing expression, and the animated face that smiled and scolded beneath the black straw hat and waving white ostrich feather, was the centre of one of the densest crowds’, showing that then, as now, it is the messenger rather than the message that captures the attention of the reporter. It was around this time that Gladice Keevil came to Birmingham, appointed WSPU National Organizer in the Midlands.  She had already played her part in the conducting of the WSPU campaign at a by-election in Wolverhampton in May.  WSPU election policy was to oppose the government (that is the Liberal) candidate in order, as they hoped, to bring pressure to bear on the government. At this Wolverhampton election the Liberal retained his seat with a majority of only eight (reduced from over 2800); the WSPU of course claimed that it was their campaign that had produced this close call. By the end of October 1908 Gladice Keevil had opened a WSPU office in Birmingham at 14 Ethel Street, which was to act as the headquarters for the Midlands. Evening At Homes were held there at 7.30 on Tuesdays, presumably attracting women who were working during the day,  while afternoon

Edgbaston Assembly Rooms

Edgbaston Assembly Rooms

meetings were held for the leisured at the Edgbaston Assembly Rooms.  Working closely with Gladice Keevil at this time was Bertha Ryland, the daughter of Mrs Alice Ryland, of 19 Hermitage Road,

Hermitage Road (thanks to Carole McKeown)

19 Hermitage Road (thanks to Carole McKeown)

Edgbaston, who in the mid 1870s had been a member of the executive committee of the Birmingham Women’s Suffrage Society and who had, with her daughter, transferred allegiance The Birmingham WSPU took its campaign into the Bourneville works and reported that many of the girls there wore the  WSPU ‘Votes for Women’ badges. In February 1909 Christabel Pankhurst was the speaker at a meeting at the Town Hall and, as Votes for Women reported, ‘received an ovation the like of which no woman has ever experienced in Birmingham’.

A month later Mrs Pankhurst addressed a reception at the Midland Hotel, and a month after that Mrs Pethick-Lawrence led another Town Hall meeting.  Birmingham was certainly not allowed to forget the women’s Familiar names appear in the list of WSPU activists; Miss Mathews and Miss Saxelby, for instance, have the same surnames as married women members of the 19th-century suffrage society, presumably attracted by the opportunity of more direct action offered by the WSPU. Catherine Osler’s daughters, Nellie and Dorothy, remained active members of the constitutional society and their brother, Julian was by this time a member of the Men’s League for Women’s Suffrage, the male counterpart of the NUWSS. Their other brother, John, was running the London side of the glass business and his wife was secretary of the Hampstead NUWSS society.

Gladice Keevil had introduced plenty of amusement for the young women of Birmingham; they could join the Votes for Women Corps and take to the street, standing in the gutter and attempt to persuade passers by to buy the WSPU newspaper. Again this activity seems to have been aimed at the leisured because quarter to 12 on a Friday morning was the rendevous time for the Corps to meet.   Those sufficiently active could join the Cycling Scouts who, covering a 10-mile radius around Birmingham, took the suffrage message to out of the way places.  There was also a Midlands WSPU horse-drawn caravan which in the summer toured the surrounding countryside. 

Throughout the spring of 1909 there was also rather more sedentary activity that could be dedicated to the cause; the WSPU held in London a vast fund-raising bazaar, to which each district was encouraged to contribute goods for sale. The Midland group supported two stalls, one presided over by Mrs Kerwood, who had been one of the WSPU prisoners in March 1908, and the other by Mrs Gertrude Howey of Malvern, who had donated the campaigning caravan and whose daughter, Elsie, was one of the most active of the younger WSPU members. Women were encouraged to come from all over the country to visit the  Exhibition, which was beautifully decorated by Sylvia Pankhurst, another of that remarkable family.  Parties came down from Birmingham for the occasion on special excursion tickets. Birmingham women jewellers, including a Miss Myers and Annie Steen (of Woodfield Cottage, Woodfield Road, King’s Heath) contributed jewellery for sale on the Midland stall.  Annie Steen was a regular advertizer in the pages of Votes for Women. In the 1901 census she had been described as an Art Teacher living at Mayfield Road, Kings Norton. Some of this jewellery would have been rendered with enamelling or stones in the WSPU ‘colours’; Annie Steen advertised in October 1909 ‘Handwrought jewellery in gold and silver set with stones in the colours’.  Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence had introduced the colours, purple, white, and green, as ‘favours’ to be worn at the Hyde Park rally the previous year and WSPU branding had taken off in Birmingham. In a May 1909 report Gladice Keevil reminded members that hats, ties etc in the colours could be obtained from Romney, a milliner at 150 Broad Street and noted that one member was having the colours introduced into her wedding in every possible way, including the bouquets and the cake. Besides supplying jewellery to the cause Annie Steen also volunteered her drawing room for WSPU At Homes. Such meetings were also held at this time in the Women’s Hospital and in Queen’s College.

Mary Leigh in her uniform as leader of the WSPU Fife and Drum Band

Mary Leigh in her uniform as leader of the WSPU Fife and Drum Band

Birmingham hit the headlines in September 1909 when suffragettes (as WSPU members had been nicknamed in order to be differentiated from members of the non-militant societies, the suffragists) dramatically interrupted a meeting that Asquith was attempting to hold in the Bingley Hall. Birmingham had tried to protect itself against any likely outrage; nine-foot high barricades had lined the station platform and the main streets along which the prime minister had travelled. However one intrepid suffragette had penetrated the defence and had reached the roof of the hall, from where she proceeded to hurl down slates to the ground. The five suffragettes, only one of whom (Evelyn Hilda Burkitt, a secretary  who lived at 214 Wellington Road, Perry Barr) was native to Birmingham, were arrested.  Four were sentenced to three months’ imprisonment and the fifth, Mary Leigh, who was regarded as a repeat offender, was sentenced to four months’ imprisonment with hard labour in Winson Green. There they went on hunger strike. Mary Leigh had used the tactic, both in Holloway and in Walton jail, Liverpool, and on both occasions had starved herself out of prison before the end of her sentence. However by late September the Home Office, whose officials had been giving advice to the prison medical officers, decided that enough was enough and Winson Green staff were instructed to institute a regime of forcible or, as the Home Office preferred to call it, ‘artificial’ feeding.

The minutes of the Prison Visiting Committee for this period make interesting reading.  Unlike the issues of Votes for Women in which the suffragettes told their story, the Committee minutes give a dispassionate account of the procedure, recording that attempts were first made to feed Mary Leigh with a spoon, and when she resisted, resort was made to feeding by a nasal tube, but that by the end of the month she was taking food from a feeding cup.  The WSPU brought a case on her behalf against the Home Office and the Governor of Winson Green, to the effect that a prisoner had a right to refuse such ‘treatment’ as feeding, However, the Lord Chief Justice eventually ruled that it was a medical officer’s duty to prevent prisoners committing suicide. A statement made by Mary Leigh, ‘Forcible Feeding in Prison’, based on her experiences in Winson Green, was published by the WSPU. The Birmingham WSPU did what they could to capitalise on the prison’s notoriety; parades were organised to march around outside, the women singing to offer encouragement to the inmates, I have seen a postcard sent at the time by a certain Arthur Lewis, who wrote to his correspondent No doubt you have heard of the Birmingham suffragettes being forcibly fed in the prison.. It is occurring only about 3 minutes walk from our house and nearly every night the suffragettes who are at liberty ride to the prison in sometimes wagonettes and sometimes a fruitier’s cart and blow bugles. There are always some policemen there and do not let the conveyance stop. One suffragette Mrs Leigh was released yesterday, Saturday.’ Indeed Much had been made of the release of Mrs Leigh who was taken to the Ethel Street office in a cab and then straight to a nursing home.

The sight, as it were, of the Liberal government forcibly feeding suffrage prisoners was too much for Catherine Osler and at the end of the year she resigned as president of the Birmingham Women’s Liberal Association, a position she had held for most of her adult life. She did not, however, condone militancy, as she made clear in a pamphlet, ‘Why Women Need the Vote’.

By January 1910, when the general election that resulted from the House of Lord’s rejection of Lloyd George’s budget was held, Gladice Keevil had been moved on from Birmingham to Exeter, a very marginal Liberal seat, which went, with an equally small majority to the Conservatives; obviously Gladice’s winning ways were thought an essential tool in this aspect of the campaign. Liberalism was presumably too entrenched in Birmingham for it to be thought worth more than the usual measure of campaigning. The new organiser was Dorothy Evans and a new office, which stayed open until 8 in the evening, was opened at 33 Paradise Street. Throughout 1910, with the Liberal government dependent on a greatly reduced majority, the WSPU put militancy on hold, taking at face value Asquith’s assurance that if a reform bill were to be introduced the government would make the question of a women’s suffrage amendment open to a free vote. Activity therefore in the country concentrated on keeping the issue in front of the electorate.  Bertha Ryland and Hilda Burkitt were still active WSPU workers, attracting a range of high- profile WSPU speakers to Birmingham. Through the pages of Votes for Women the minutiae of the campaign can be traced; it certainly involved an incredible amount of organisation.  By the end of the year the WSPU activists were even able to employ electricity to advertize a meeting at which Mrs Pankhurst was speaking in the Town Hall; lanterns were ‘fitted with electric light which shone through’ throwing up the words ‘Mrs Pankhurst, Town Hall, November 15’ and were carried around the streets.  The lanterns had been made by members of the local Men’s Political Union – the WSPU’s male counterpart.  Women might agitate for the vote but they obviously didn’t mess with electricity.

The Birmingham NUWSS society had reopened an office c 1908 at 10 Easy Row – it was apparent that they had been without a central office for several years. Catherine Osler had by now an extremely competent secretary to run the society – Mrs Florence Carol Ring. I have been unable to find out anything about Mrs Ring – perhaps some local researcher can – but believe she was a most efficient organizer.  A notebook in the Archives is labelled ‘Town Hall Meetings: Method of organizing and procedure’ and is full of the most detailed notes of how to organize and advertize the suffrage society’s meetings. All the items are costed and this notebook highlights the orderliness and forward planning that went into NUWSS meetings in this period.

In the summer of 1910 the country’s NUWSS and WSPU societies jointly staged in London a grand rally, wonderfully decorated with banners. There would have been trainloads of participants from Birmingham.

MRs Aubrey Dowson (ed), The Women's Suffrage Cookery Boook

MRs Aubrey Dowson (ed), The Women’s Suffrage Cookery Boook

The Birmingham Women’s Suffrage Society was behind the production of one of the NUWSS’s most appealing fund-raising projects, the Women’s Suffrage Cookery Book, edited by Mrs Aubrey Dowson, whose husband was a nephew of Catherine Osler. The recipes were gathered from suffragists all over the country – the first in the book, for Egg Croquettes is from Mrs Julian Osler, Catherine’s daughter-in-law.

The suffrage peace came to an end in November 1910 when it was announced that parliament was to be dissolved  without women being any closer to getting the vote. This was not the outcome for which the suffrage societies, both constitutional and militant, had been working; the WSPU put in place prepared plans for a deputation to the House of Commons.  This met with firm police resistance in Parliament Square.

'Black Friday', Parliament Square, November 1911

‘Black Friday’, Parliament Square, November 1910

Women were assaulted and the occasion went down in suffrage history as ‘Black Friday’.  Dorothy Evans was among the women arrested but, because the Home Office realised that the occasion would be used as a wonderful source of propaganda by the WSPU, no charges were brought against her or any of the many others.  However women who, a couple of days later, protested about the Parliament Square debacle by throwing stones at government offices, were arrested and charged.  One of these, who was sentenced to two weeks’ imprisonment, was a Mrs Pattie Hall, who although originally from Manchester, where she and her husband had been very close associates of the Pankhursts in their Labour Party days, now lived in Edgbaston, at 56 Hagley Road.  Her young daughter, Nellie, had taken part the previous year in the parades outside Winson Green and was to remain a supporter of Mrs Pankhurst until the latter’s death.  A wonderful collection of Nellie Hall’s suffrage papers and ephemera (including a  suffragette tea service and  her hunger strike medal) is on loan to the Birmingham Museum.   By mid 1911 the WSPU office had moved again – to 97 John Bright Street.

In April 1911 some members of the Birmingham WSPU joined in the boycott called on the census. One of these was Mrs Ethel Adair Impey, a Quaker,  of Cropthorne, Middletonhall Road, King’s Norton. She was described on the census form, filled in by the registrar, as a ‘Suffragette, Information Refused’. In fact  information was refused not only by her, but also by her husband, her son, her servant and about 6 nameless females.

In November 1911 after yet another long period of truce, Asquith announced that the government planned to introduce a manhood suffrage bill, which might, if the House of Commons desired, be amended to include women. An unlikelihood. This was the signal for women to take to the streets in London with stones, breaking more windows of government offices. Amongst the many arrested was Bertha Brewster, a young Birmingham woman whose mother had also long been a suffrage supporter. She was sentenced to 21 days’ imprisonment and on her release, with other Birmingham prisoners, she was given a hero’s welcome, in a room in Queen’s College, by the local WSPU. Dorothy Evans was among the many women arrested in London in March 1912 after smashing windows in the West End; Mrs Pankhurst had told the WSPU that ‘the argument of the broken pane of glass is the most valuable argument in modern politics’.  Dorothy Evans was sentenced to two month’s imprisonment and a Miss Grew took over as organizer in Birmingham. Because there were too many suffragette prisoners to be accommodated in Holloway many were farmed out to prisons around the country.  Twenty-five ordinary prisoners were moved from Winson Green in order to make way for suffragettes, who then went on hunger strike and were forcibly fed.  Miss Grew organized members to go each night to stand outside the prison and cheer them on.

The prisoners appear to have made the most of their incarceration. They produced a hand-written, illustrated magazine, entitled The Hammerer’s Magazine – ‘for private circulation only’, its cover showing a hammer striking a pane of glass. One of the sketches, drawn on toilet paper, shows the 25 suffragettes in two rows seated on chairs, backs to the artist, with the prison gallery above, one warder at the front and another on the first-floor gallery. This is quite an important sketch, giving a rare view of life inside Winson Green..

The best poem in the magazine is probably one entitled ‘Winson Green in April & May 1912’ which appears to be written on the back of a Robertson’s Golden Shred marmalade wrapper! It begins:

Cling, clang of prison keys,

Slam bang of doors,

Wash slosh – Monday morn,

Water on the floors –

Tramp, tramp of prison feet,

Ring, rang of bells,

Clash smash of prison bars,

Suffragettes in cells.

Among the women imprisoned at this time was Maude Kate Smith from Birmingham, with whom Professor Brian Harrison recorded an excellent interview now held in the Women’s Library.  Besides giving very graphic detail of her experience of forcible feeding, during the course of the interview Miss Smith reveals that there were plans afoot to blow up a Birmingham canal – for during 1912 and 1913 WSPU militancy escalated  as the government’s intractability became more apparent.

10179254_b~Automatic-Suffragette-Exterminating-Pillar-Box-a-Comment-on-Militant-Suffragettes-PostersPillar boxes were fired – here is one comical comments on this method of militancy. More seriously, property (always at least intended to be empty) was also targeted. The actions of the government contributed towards what might now be seen as ‘terrorism’. In April 1913 parliament passed ‘The Cat and Mouse Act’, by which  women prisoners who were being forcibly fed were to be released for a few days to recover their health and were required to return to prison to resume their sentence. Most of those released – the mice – did not bother to return to prison and in many instances the police did not bother to look for them.  This ‘underground’ life did, however, have a momentum of its own. Mice, already branded as criminals, thought nothing of repeating their acts of arson (or, as they called it, ‘work’) and much of the damage, which was really quite extensive, was carried out by a dedicated few,  travelling around the country, given shelter by well wishers.

For instance, on Christmas Day 1913 one young suffragette, Lilian Lenton, who had been arrested on a charge of setting fire to a house in Cheltenham, was released from prison after going on a hunger-and-thirst-strike – into the care of Mrs Edith Impey of King’s Norton.  In April 1913 suffragettes were suspected of setting fire to a boathouse in Handsworth Park.  In the same month the Morning Post reported that the suffragettes had planned to set fire to the Old Grammar School at Kings Norton, but had changed their minds when they saw its beauty. In June 1913 a house in Solihull was destroyed and in July one in Perry Bar and another in Selly Park was set on fire.  Nellie Hall was charged on suspicion of having been involved with this last arson attack; she had been caught on 13 July after throwing a brick at Asquith’s car when he visited Birmingham and was sentenced to three weeks’ imprisonment. In October 1913 two local railway stations -Northfield  (not far from here) and

Hagley Road Station c 1913

Hagley Road Station c 1913

Hagley Road were fired and in February 1914 Northfield Library  was destroyed – the damage was estimated at £1000 – and on the same day a bomb exploded at Moor Hall Green. Soon after there were several other serious arson attempts in Birmingham; two houses and two cricket pavilions were set alight  – at Smethick and Harborne. The slogan left at Harborne was ‘Down with sport, up with fair play for women’ – and there was a fire on the Midland railway at Kings Norton. .In March 1914 the Cathedral was defaced by suffrage slogans – including  ‘Stop Forcible Feeding’ –which were daubed on much of its interior in white enamel paint. ‘Votes for Women’ was painted across the middle of the Burne- Jones window. On the vestry door was painted ‘The clergy must rise on our behalf’  Edgbaston Parish Church and St Stephen’s Selly Hill were also attacked.

On 17 May a grandstand at Bromford Bridge racecourse was destroyed and on 8 June Bertha Ryland, cleaver in hand, slashed a picture, ‘Master Thornhill’ by Romney, in Birmingham Art Gallery . She carried a letter giving an explanation of her conduct, saying ‘I attack this work of art deliberately as a protest against the government’s criminal injustice in denying women the vote, and also against the government’s brutal injustice in imprisoning, forcibly feeding, and drugging suffragist militants, while allowing Ulster militants to go free..’ The gallery was immediately closed for six weeks. After that it was not open after 5 in the afternoon and was closed all day Sunday; presumably the level of security had to be increased and the gallery could not afford to open for so many hours. A rule of ‘No muffs, wrist-bags or sticks’ was subsequently enforced.. Bertha Ryland, the presumably gently-nurtured daughter of Edgbaston (whose mother had 30 years earlier been intent on bringing art to the working-classes), had already spent a week in Holloway in November 1911 and, after taking part in the March 1912 window-smashing campaign in London, had been sentenced to six months’ imprisonment. She had spent four months in Winson Green prison, had gone on hunger strike and been forcibly fed.

Bertha Ryland's WSPU hunger-strike medal (together with her Coronation medal) courtesy of Christie's

Bertha Ryland’s WSPU hunger-strike medal (together with her Coronation medal) courtesy of Christie’s

After her arrest in the Art Gallery she went on hunger strike while held on remand.  She then accepted bail, was too ill to stand trial at the July assizes, and still had not been sentenced when war broke out.  She suffered permanent kidney damage as a result of her treatment in prison.

With Mrs Pankhurst in and out of prison under the Cat and Mouse Act and Christabel based in  Paris, to where she had fled to escape the police, the WSPU leadership was

Christabel Pankhurst relaxing in France

Christabel Pankhurst relaxing in France

increasingly out of touch with day-to-day reality and the campaign was ricocheting out of control. It is my contention that the WSPU was only saved from real disaster by the outbreak of war. The Pankhursts then dropped all suffrage activity and rallied to the flag leaving many, but by no means all, of their supporters dumbfounded. Some of the latter group founded the United Suffragists, to carry on campaigning.  In 1915 Bertha Brewster founded a Birmingham branch of the United Suffragists, with an office at 15 New Street.

The NUWSS had, of course, eschewed all the pre-war violence and concentrated on spectacle and politicking. The constitutional or ‘law-abiding’, as they termed themselves, societies had organised themselves into Federations to concentrate their efforts.   Birmingham played a leading part in the Midlands (West) Federation and in June 1913 joined with the other societies in The Pilgrimage, a grand attempt to bring a dignified campaign to the country and the prime minister.   The Birmingham society travelled along the route that brought pilgrims, with cockleshell badges pinned to their hats, from Carlisle to London. On 14 July 1913 the Birmingham Daily Mail carried a report of the arrival of the pilgrims in Birmingham. ‘At 5 o’clock a strong contingent of the Birmingham Women’s Suffrage Society marched from Easy Row to meet the pilgrims who had started early in the afternoon from Wolverhampton. At Great King St, Hockley, the visitors were joined by the local suffragists, and a procession was formed, headed by the Baskerville Band. Banners bearing the legends ‘Law Abiding’ and ‘By Reason, Not Force’ were prominently displayed’. The pilgrims that passed through Birmingham would have been among those who continued on to Oxford.

As far as politics was concerned, the NUWSS entered into an electoral alliance with the Labour party in order to support Labour candidates at by-elections and thereby subject Liberal candidates to rather more opposition that the usual lone Conservative – that is, they were prepared to turn by-elections into three-cornered fights.  Catherine Osler supported the national executive in this, although by no means all local societies did.  Birmingham was still radical. By 1913 the society had enrolled 1600 ‘Friends of Women’s Suffrage’, mainly working-class women who could not afford to pay the annual membership fee but were prepared to sign pledges of support.  The society at this time suggested founding ‘Women’s Study Circles’ at which working women could meet in each others homes to discuss the suffrage issue; Mrs Osler’s pamphlet ‘Why Women need the Vote’ was one of the suggested texts, as was John Stuart Mill’s Subjection of Women. At this time the Society had over 700 full members.

Unlike the WSPU, the NUWSS societies carried on campaigning during the First World War, as well as supporting the war effort. There was a split in the NUWSS; a majority of its committee wished to withdraw this support and to join in a Women’s Peace Conference to be held at The Hague and it was in Birmingham in June 1915 that at a national conference this move was defeated.

Whether it was because of women’s contribution to the war effort, matters were at last reaching a resolution. In March 1917 Catherine Osler presided over a meeting held in the Midland Institute in support of the move to include women in the proposed Electoral Bill.  When the first installment of enfranchisement (that is, to women over the age of 30) was granted in 1918 the NUWSS’s work was ostensibly finished.  Catherine Osler was in the chair at the meeting in which the proposed amalgamation of the Birmingham Women’s Suffrage Society and the local branch of the National Union of Women Workers (‘workers’ in this usage were not working-class women but women workers in a cause – in a 19th-century sense – philanthropists).  The amalgamated society became the Birmingham Society for Equal Citizenship. Catherine Osler, radical to the end, was keen that the lack of representatives of women’s labour organizations on the new body should be rectified, suggesting that the Women’s Co-operative Guild should be given three representatives.  She finally resigned as president in 1920; a portrait of her was commissioned and was presented to the ArtGallery (see above).    The surplus of the money raised to pay for the portrait was used to fund a scholarship in her name at Birmingham University, to allow women graduates to read for a postgraduate degree in the Faculty of Arts.  It is still awarded from time until very recently.

As well as all this activity from the two main suffrage societies, Birmingham also had other smaller but active suffrage groups.  In 1913 the Birmingham branch of the Church League for Women’s Suffrage operated from the home of Miss Griffiths at 34 Harborne Road, Edgbaston; that of the Conservative and Unionist Women’s Franchise Association from the home of Miss Adams at 56 Carlyle Road, Edgbaston, the Birmingham branch of the Men’s League for Women’s Suffrage was run by Mr Evans from 382 Moseley Road, and that of the Friends League for Women’s Suffrage from the home of Miss Joyce at 12 Frederick Road, Edgbaston (a few doors from where Eliza Sturge, also a Quaker, had campaigned nearly 45 years previously).

Mrs Margery Corbett Ashby

Mrs Margery Corbett Ashby

At the 1918 general election, the first at which women (albeit only those over 30 years of age) could both vote and stand as candidates, the main attention was focused on Smethwick where  Christabel Pankhurst stood as a coalition candidate; she was defeated. At that election Birmingham’s first woman candidate (at Ladywood) was  Mrs Margery Corbett Ashby, who stood as a Liberal, again unsuccessfully. The Women’s Library archive includes a 1975 interview with Dame Margery, as she had then become, in which she says that the idea of her standing against a Chamberlain in Birmingham was greeted by her family with hoots of laughter. She goes on to say that she didn’t have ‘the faintest idea of getting in – which would have been very inconvenient – but did so in order to get people used to the idea of a woman standing. That she did as well as other Liberal candidates around. And her candidature was greeted with surprise but with no ridicule.

Dame Elizabeth Cadbury

Dame Elizabeth Cadbury

The first woman to stand as a candidate for King’s Norton’s at a general election – in 1923 – was Elizabeth Cadbury, widow, by then, of George Cadbury, the chocolate manufacturer. She was a Liberal and was also unsuccessful. She lived at Manor House, Northfield, and was a city councillor for Kings Norton from 1919 to 1924. In 1928, 60 years after Birmingham’s campaign had been launched at the meeting in the Exchange Rooms, New Street, all women were given the vote on the same terms as men. However Birmingham did not have a woman MP until after the Second World War – with Mrs Edith Wills elected as Labour member for Duddeston in 1945 and Mrs Edith Pitt (Conservative) elected for Edgbaston in 1953 – the culmination of the campaign that had begun in 1866 with a mere three Birmingham names on that very first ‘women’s suffrage’ petition.

See also:

Birmingham Stories: Votes for Women

Fight for the Right: the Birmingham Suffragettes

Suffragette Acts in Birmingham: Parliament UK

Suffragettes in Handsworth

Birmingham Archives and Heritage

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Kate Frye’s Suffrage Diary: ‘Campaigning for the Vote’ Is Here

Kate Frye coverHere is the front cover of Campaigning for the Vote: Kate Parry Frye’s Suffrage Diary –   published by Francis Boutle Publishers

The key points about the book are:

  •  Drawn from a new primary source, Campaigning for the Vote tells, in her own words, the efforts of Kate Frye, a working suffragist, to convert the men and women of England to the cause of women’s suffrage. The detailed diary Kate kept all her life (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.
  • 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.
  • With Kate for company we can 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 world 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.
  • 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 headquarter, helping to organize its war effort, while allowing us to experience her reality of life in war-time London.
  • Campaigning for the Vote is over 200pp long and contains over 70 illustrations, all drawn from Kate Frye’s personal archive. ISBN 978 1903427 75 0 £14.99
  • Advance orders may be placed either with me or with the publisher – or with any good bookshop.
'Campaigning for the Vote' - Front and back cover of wrappers

‘Campaigning for the Vote’ – Front and back cover of wrappers

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Kate Frye’s Suffrage Diary: Myra Luxmoore, Suffrage Artist

57 Bedford Gardens (now renumbered as 77)

57 Bedford Gardens (now renumbered as 77, courtesy of wikipage on William Magrath)

I first came across mention of ‘Miss Luxmoore’ in the pages of Kate Frye’s diary. Obviously a suffragist, with a Studio at 57 Bedford Gardens, Campden Hill, I presumed she was an artist.  But who was she? Her name is not recorded in, for instance, Lisa Tickner’s Spectacle of Women, the vademecum  on suffrage artists. Intrigued, I thought it worth finding out more about Miss Luxmoore and her world.

So, to begin at the beginning, here are three entries from Kate Frye’s diary in which she records meetings held at Miss Luxmoore’s Studio.

Tuesday February 9th 1909

Dinner at 7.30. Off at 8 o’clock to Bedford Gardens – Miss Luxmoore’s Studio to a Suffrage meeting. Got there in good time and started to work at once stewarding and trying to make converts. Got a young man student to join the Men’s League. Mr Mitchell and Miss Clementina Black were the speakers and did very well. Alexandra [Wright] was in the Chair. I waited at the end  helped count the money etc and walked up to Notting Hill Gate with the Wrights and Miss Black and walked all the way home. Was not in till after 11 o’clock. Very much enjoyed the meeting and the Suffrage atmosphere and meeting all those students was like a page out of a book.

Tuesday March 30th 1909

I changed my dress had a bit of something to eat then off at 7.30. Walked to Richmond Road took a bus to Bedford Gardens and went to Miss Luxmoore’s Studio Suffrage meeting. Gladys was there. Mrs Graves took the chair. Miss Meyer helped and Mrs Stanbury spoke – but, besides ourselves, there were only 15 audience. Mrs Henry of the Camden Institute was there. I had sent her a card and she quite disgraced herself and made Mrs Stanbury very uncomfortable by hissing loudly, then walking out with her poor unfortunate daughter. Something Mrs Stanbury said upset her – she was only talking history but Mrs Henry took it to mean the Queen of Spain – but I could not understand it till I got home and found from Daddie that Mrs Henry has become a ‘pervert’ to the Roman Catholic Church. It made a nasty impression on us somehow. We had a chat afterwards and all got very low spirited. There has been another raid on the House – several arrests and the women much knocked about – it is all so awful.

Tuesday May 4th 1909

Went off at 7.30 [pm] Walked to Richmond Road – a bus from there to Bedford Gardens – and to Miss Luxmoore’s Studio for a Woman’s Suffrage meeting. Such a crush of people and no end of helpers. Mrs Carl Hentschel, Miss Abadam and Mr Walter McLaren were the speakers. Miss Hentschel [her father, Carl Hentschel, was a lithographic printer, responsible for some suffrage posters], Miss Porter, Miss Meyer and, of course, Gladys and Alexandra. I had sent Miss Lockyer [who had been the late William Whiteley’s housekeeper] a ticket and she was there with Miss Clara Whiteley – and who should be there but one of the Miss Hollingsworths (Jessie) taken by some friend. I made three members – which wasn’t bad – and I waited with the others to help clear up and walked to Notting Hill Gate with them. Then came home in a bus. Was so tired. Mother was waiting up. Supper & bed. Mrs Carl Hentschel’s maiden speech and she did it very well and I don’t think I ever heard a more rousing speech than Miss Abadam. Mr McLaren [Walter McLaren, Liberal MP] was stupid.’

My research has shown me that ‘Miss Luxmoore’ was Myra Elizabeth Luxmoore (1860-1918), born in Paddington, the only child of John and Jane Luxmoore. By her first marriage, however, Jane had at least three daughters, Myra’s elder half-sisters. John Luxmoore worked for the Great Western Railway as a superintendent locomotive engineer. After a period based in Paddington, the family followed John’s work to Newport in south Wales and finally to Newton Abbot in his native Devon.

By 1888, giving her address as Somerford, Newton Abbot, Myra Luxmoore was exhibiting as an Associate with the Society of Women Artists. By 1891 she had moved to London and was living at 32 Charlotte Street, Fitzroy Square. She then spent a brief time living at 87 Cadogan Gardens before moving, c 1905, to her studio at 57 Bedford Gardens. After that she began exhibiting regularly at the Royal Academy. Around 1912 Myra Luxmoore moved to 80 Redcliffe Square, Kensington, remaining there until her death in 1918.

You can see from the photograph (above) that 57 Bedford Gardens had been purpose-built with artists in mind, with large windows to provide ample light.  A google search shows photographs of the inside of the apartments as they are today – lofty spaces, providing ample room for a suffrage meeting.

When researching suffrage boycotters of the 1911 census I was interested to note that, while the enumerator wrote in his book that Myra Luxmoore was the occupier of a studio at 57 Bedford Gardens, he marked the apartment as unoccupied on census night. Presumably she, along with several other of the artists who shared the address, had opted to spend the night elsewhere. Her distinctive name is to be found nowhere else in the census returns.

MMyra Luxmoore's card published by the Conservative and Unionist Women's Franchise Association

Myra Luxmoore’s card published by the Conservative and Unionist Women’s Franchise Association (photo courtesy of Ken Florey)

I had wondered where Myra Luxmoore’s suffrage allegiances lay and have recently discovered this card (left) illustrated by her and published by the Conservative and Unionist Women’s Franchise Association. I think, therefore, it would not be too far-fetched to think that she was a supporter of the CUWFA. Incidentally, as far as I remember, this is the only postcard issued by the CUWFA that I have ever seen.

The majority of Myra Luxmoore’s exhibited works bear rather wispy titles – such as ‘Roses and Sweet Lavender’, or ‘What’s O’Clock?’ – although a few portraits are noted. One such was the portrait of Norah, the 18-year-old daughter of Sir John Craggs MVO, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1913. By 1910 another of Sir John’s daughters, Helen, was a full-time paid organiser for the WSPU. This was most definitely not a career move of which her father approved and I wonder if he would have commissioned the portrait if he had known that the artist had strong suffrage – although not militant – sympathies?  [Incidentally Helen Craggs in 1957 married, as her second husband, the widowed Lord Pethick-Lawrence.]

One portrait by Myra Luxmoore is known to hang in a public collection, that of the Very Rev Edward McClure (1833-1906), Dean of Manchester.

Verallery, y Reverend Edward C. MClure, Manchester City Art Gallery, courtesy of BBC - Your Paintings

Very Reverend Edward C. MClure, Manchester City Art Gallery, courtesy of BBC – Your Paintings

Other of her works were collected by Mother Agnes Mason, Foundress of the Community of the Holy Family. Click here to read about her connection with Myra Luxmoore and her works. The article also gives some, unverified, information about the Luxmoore family’s friendship with the family of Gerard Manley Hopkins.

 

 

Campaigning for the Vote: Kate Parry Frye’s Suffrage Diary edited by Elizabeth Crawford

For a full description of the book click here

 

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 – e.crawford@sphere20.freeserve.co.uk  (£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
‘Campaigning for the Vote’ – Front and back cover of wrappers

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Suffrage Stories: Alison Neilans Cleans The Stove

Alison NeilansAnother in the Women’s Freedom League ironic series – c 1910 – of ‘Suffragettes At Home’. Here Alison Neilans, then about 26 years old, is seen cleaning her gas cooker. 

The gas stove may have been in the kitchen/scullery attached to the 4 rooms  she shared with her mother and brother at 37 Caversham Road, Kentish Town. (Not that she was there on the night of the 1911 census – she was, rather, enumerated by the police walking with a couple of companions down Hampstead Road in a boycotting attempt.)  Or perhaps it photographed in somebody else’s kitchen – borrowed for this propaganda purpose. Who knows.

Moreover, as ‘Mrs Joseph McCabe Bathing Her Baby’ (the previous card in the series about which I posted), was rather more subverting than the ostensibly homely depiction of a suffragette  mother and her son when one realised that the child was the product of her marriage to an ex-Catholic priest, that the erstwhile ‘Brother Anthony’ was now a rampant aetheist, and that she herself was a secularist – so I would like to think that more can be read into this photograph of Alison Neilans.

The fact that she is photographed engaged in an act of cleaning might be taken as an allusion to the act of sabotage she performed at the 1909 Bermondsey by-election when she poured liquid into the ballot boxes. Is this photograph not saying ‘I may have dirtied and destroyed voting papers in the man’s sphere of the polling station but in the woman’s sphere I am relentless in my  cleansing’? For, from 1917, Alison Neilans devoted her life to ‘Moral and Social Hygiene’ – as Secretary of the Association of Moral and Social Hygiene and editor of its journal.

By the way, I do have a number of leaflets/pamphlets etc associated with Alison Neilans in stock at the moment

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Suffragette Autograph Album To Be Auctioned: Save It For The Nation – And Future Researchers

A very interesting autograph album is to be auctioned by Dominic Winter Auctions on Wednesday, 12 December 2012. How I wish it would be bought by a British library or museum so that all researchers would have access to it. It would be an ideal fit in the collections of either the Museum of London or the Women’s Library. Neither, alas, are likely to be bidding. Is there any other institution that could come to the rescue?

Below is the entry from the Dominic Winter catalogue.

suffragette autograph albumLot 380* Suffragettes. A rare and historically important autograph album containing approx. fifty autographs of suffragettes and sympathisers, 1909 and later, but many dated from the time of the WSPU’s second window-breaking campaign, March/May 1912, the majority signed below quotations and epithets relating to the cause, written mostly in pen and occasionally pencil and inscribed to thirty-four leaves (mostly rectos) with some leaves blank, prisoner (?) pencil number 94472186/3 to front free endpaper, contemp. cloth, rubbed and soiled, oblong small 8vo, 11 x 14.5 cm, together with an Edwardian 9ct gold circular locket, engraved with initials M.E.P. within a shield cartouche amongst foliate scrolls, enclosing two colour portrait photographs of a lady (possibly wearing this locket) and a gentlemen of similar age and social status, Birmingham, 1905, suspended on a 9ct gold belcher link chain, plus an Edwardian 9ct rose gold bar brooch, set with a facet cut blue stone within pierced wavy gold mount, stamped ‘9ct’, 8cm wide with gold safety chain, plus a vignette b&w photo postcard portrait (cut down), showing an unidentified woman and on the verso the same identification number (94472186) as the autograph album, all included in an early 20th-century Mackintosh’s rectangular toffee tin, lid embossed with heraldic knights, sides with geometric scrolls, base printed with retailer’s logo and ‘John Mackintosh & Sons Limited, Toffee Town, Halifax, Eng’, 15 x 23 x 6 cm

 

In order, the autographs are as follows, (names in bold are given separate biographical entries in Elizabeth Crawford, ‘The Women’s Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide 1866-1928’: Emily Redfern, 8th December 1909; Adeline Redfern Wilde, 18th March 1911; J. L. Guthrie (Laura Grey), quotation by Robert Louis Stevenson in pencil, and possibly not in Guthrie’s hand as her name was Joan Baillie Guthrie; Charlotte Despard, 22 October 1911; Emily Diederichs Duval; Sarah Benett, in pencil, 2 March 1912; Janet A. Boyd, in blue pencil; E. Sylvia Pankhurst, ‘Bravely and willingly we bear our share of the world’s burdens. Why then deny us the right to vote which would dignify our labour and increase our power of service?’, below which Pankhurst family friend George Bernard Shaw has inscribed: ‘Ungrateful Sylvia! Did I ever deny it?, Hanley, 15/2/11; Helen A. Archdale, 2nd March 1912; Jennie (?)Itenmy; M. Violet Aitken, Holloway Prison, 6th March 1912; Dorothea Benson, Holloway Prison, 1st March 1912; Anna F. Hutchinson, Bow Street, 6th March 1912 (and details of three previous imprisonments at Holloway); Kitty Marion, Bow Street Station, 6th March 1912; Vera Wentworth, 6th March 1912; Ethel Haslam, 6th March 1912; Janie Tererro, in pencil; Isabella J. A. Casey; Olive Fargus, window breaker, 1st March 1912; L. Caron (?), Winson Green Prison, 1st May 1912; Winifrid Bray, May Day, 1912, Birmingham Prison; Hilda Burkitt, Winson Green, 1909 (one month), Holloway, March 1912 (4 months); Elizabeth Redfern; Clara Giveen, Birmingham Prison, 1st May 1912; V[iolet] H. Friedlaender, Winson Green Prison, 1st May 1912; a further autograph of V. H. Friedlaender to verso of the same leaf with a previously published poem titled ‘The Road’ written in her holograph noting it was published in ‘Votes for Women’ on 19th August 1910 and set to music in the Fabian Songbook, 1912; L. Archibald, Winson Green, May 1912; John Watts; W. Leonard Page; Josiah C. Wedgwood, 9th December 1923; G. M. Cook, Winson Green Prison, 28th April 1912; Cynthia Mosley; Florence Ward, Winson Green, 1st May 1912; Kathleen O’Kell, Birmingham, 1st May 1912; Cicely Neale; Olive Wharry, Winson Green, Birmingham, 1912; Edith M. (?) Begbie, Winson Green, 1st May 1912; Janet Green, in pencil, Winson Green Prison, April 1912; Evelyn Hudleston, Winson Green, March 1912, Charlotte Blacklock, Birmingham Prison, 1st May 1912, with V. H. Friedlaender initialled pencil riposte below; Alice Farmer, 1st May 1912, Emma Bowen; Caroline L. Downing; Aida Knott; Fred J. Kepple, 28 February 1924; Norah Kathleen Lackey, Birmingham Prison, 1st May 1912; Constance Bryer, 2nd May 1912, Birmingham Prison (4 months); Madeleine Caron Rock (in pencil), DX.1.30, March 1912; Hugh Graeme Topping.

 

Following a WSPU window-breaking campaign on 21 November 1911, some 220 women and three men were arrested, about 150 of whom were given short sentences of imprisonment. Subsequently, Lloyd George joined Herbert Asquith in opposition to women’s suffrage furthering outrage among the suffragettes. Mrs Pankhurst told members of the WSPU that ‘the argument of the broken pane of glass is the most valuable argument in modern politics’. A protest planned to take place in Parliament Square on 4 March 1912 was pre-empted when, without warning on 1 March 150 women armed with hammers and instructions as to their timing and use, broke shop and office windows in London’s West End causing an estimated £6,600 worth of damage. This time around 220 arrests were made and sentences of up to six months handed out. The sheer number of imprisoned suffragettes caused disruption to the prison service with an overflow from Holloway being dispersed to Aylesbury and Winson Green in Birmingham. On 5 April the members held in Aylesbury went on hunger strike and were quickly followed by members in London and Birmingham, including members noted here. This led to the contentious force feeding of hunger strikers, and a year later the ‘Cat and Mouse Act’, where weakened prisoners were released to recover and immediately arrested again upon any further wrong-doing.

 

Provenance: The tin with contents originally come from a house in Stoke-on-Trent, but the identity (or identities) of the owner of the locket, the woman in the photograph and the owner of the album have not been established. The most likely suggestion is that the autograph album was compiled by one or other of the Redfern sisters. Adeline, Elizabeth and Emily (whose rallying call begins the album) were the daughters of Frederick and Elizabeth Redfern of Hanley, Stoke. (George Bernard Shaw signed the album in Hanley while there lecturing on the ‘Ideals of Socialism’ in February 1911). The sisters were all active in the Birmingham area and Adeline Redfern-Wilde founded the Stoke-on-Trent WSPU in 1908. The last autograph page in the album has a pencil note: ‘Left Stoke for Birmingham October 16th 1919’. The journal ‘Votes for Women’ (15 March 1912, pp. 380-81) gives details of some of court cases at Bow Street on 7 March, noting several of the names above including Adelaide (sic) Redfern Wilde: ‘charged with breaking windows value £20 at 129, New Bond Street, said: “It was one more blow for freedom”. She was committed for trial.’

(5)

£3000-5000

 

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Suffrage Stories: Beware! A Warning to Suffragists by Cicely Hamilton (The End)

Cicely Hamilton wrote the words – the sketches were supplied leading suffrage artists: Mary Lowndes, Dora Meeson Coates, C. Hedley Charlton – and the ‘Rhyme Book’ was published by the Artists’ Suffrage League, 1909.

I will reproduce this delicious work in a series of posts – a few pages at a time – for your amusement and edification.

Final instalment:

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Suffrage Stories: Beware! A Warning to Suffragists by Cicely Hamilton (6)

Cicely Hamilton wrote the words – the sketches were supplied leading suffrage artists: Mary Lowndes, Dora Meeson Coates, C. Hedley Charlton – and the ‘Rhyme Book’ was published by the Artists’ Suffrage League, 1909.

I will reproduce this delicious work in a series of posts – a few pages at a time – for your amusement and edification.

Instalment 6:

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Suffrage Stories: Beware! A Warning to Suffragists by Cicely Hamilton (5)

Cicely Hamilton wrote the words – the sketches were supplied leading suffrage artists: Mary Lowndes, Dora Meeson Coates, C. Hedley Charlton – and the ‘Rhyme Book’ was published by the Artists’ Suffrage League, 1909.

I will reproduce this delicious work in a series of posts – a few pages at a time – for your amusement and edification.

Instalment 5:

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Suffrage Stories: Beware! A Warning to Suffragists by Cicely Hamilton (3)

 

Cicely Hamilton wrote the words – the sketches were supplied leading suffrage artists: Mary Lowndes, Dora Meeson Coates, C. Hedley Charlton – and the ‘Rhyme Book’ was published by the Artists’ Suffrage League, 1908.

I will reproduce this delicious work in a series of posts – a few pages at a time – for your amusement and edification.

Instalment 3:

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Suffrage Stories: Beware! A Warning to Suffragists by Cicely Hamilton (2)

Cicely Hamilton wrote the words – the sketches were supplied by leading suffrage artists: Mary Lowndes, Dora Meeson Coates and C. Hedley Charlton – and the ‘Rhyme Book’ was published by the Artists’ Suffrage League, 1908.

I will reproduce this delicious work in a series of posts – a few pages at a time – for your amusement and edification.

Instalment 2:

 

 

 

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WALKS/Suffrage Stories: Where And What Was ‘The Votes For Women Fellowship’?

Red Lion Court. The site (on the left) of the offices of the Votes for Women Fellowship

To mark the very welcome co-operation planned for the future between the Women’s Library and the London School of Economics the next few ‘Suffrage Stories’ will demonstrate the past importance to the women’s movement of streets and buildings in the vicinity of  Houghton Street.

In previous posts I described how the Women’s Social and Political Union came to have its offices in Clement’s Inn and to have its campaign publicised in the weekly paper owned and edited by Frederick and Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence – Votes for Women – which was printed close by at the St Clement’s Press  In October 1912 the Pethick-Lawrences, who had been recuperating abroad after enduring a term of hunger-striking imprisonment, returned to England to be told by Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst that they, as Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence herself put it, had ‘no further use for them’. In her autobiography Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence records that she never saw or heard from Emmeline Pankhurst again.

During the Pethick-Lawrences’ absence Mrs Pankhurst had moved the WSPU from Clement’s Inn to Lincoln’s Inn House on Kingsway (about which I will write in a later post). In fact I rather think, from studying the relevant rate book, that the WSPU may actually have been evicted from Clement’s Inn. After their expulsion from the WSPU the Pethick-Lawrences took back their paper, Votes for Women, and continued to publish it, on their own account, from a new office. Again, it may have been that after their imprisonment they were no longer welcome to the Clement’s Inn  management company.

For whatever reason, the Pethick-Lawrences moved a little to the east of Clement’s Inn and set up office in 4-7 Red Lion Court, one of the quaint passages off the north side of Fleet Street. Despite the redevelopment that has swept away their office, the narrow court is still atmospheric. The office was close to Votes for Women‘s new printer in Whitefriars Street, off the south side of Fleet Street. The first issue of Votes for Women published from this address was that of 25 October 1912.

In addition, in Red Lion Court, on 1 November 1912, the Pethick-Lawrences made their paper the centre of another suffrage society, the Votes for Women Fellowship. This group, made up of former members of the WSPU who were no longer in sympathy with the Pankhursts’ tactics, aimed to promote the paper and its policies rather than stand as a new militant organisation. In Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence’s words the Fellowship was ‘giving full expression to the awakened militant spirit of womanhood, that they should associated themselves in various plans for carrying the message far and wide, until in every town and village of this land women realise that they are a living part of a spiritually militant sisterhood that is at war under the triple banner of liberty, compassion, and purity against every form of evil dominance. (Votes for Women, 8 November 1912). The Fellowship’s emblem was of a lady with a lamp and its motto was ‘To spread the Light’.

Without the backing of the WSPU, Votes for Women had a greatly diminished circulation and in 1914 the Pethick-Lawrences gave the paper to the newly-founded United Suffragists. Although there was an overlap of membership, it would be a mistake to construe the United Suffragists as a direct descendant of the Votes for Women Fellowship. Despite being for most of the time in dire financial straits, Votes for Women continued to be published throughout the First World War only ceasing publication in February 1918 when the vote was (partially) won.

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Kate Frye’s Suffrage Diary: Banner Bearer For The 13 June 1908 Procession

Asquith became prime minister in April 1908. In response to his claim that he needed proof that large numbers of women really wanted the vote, the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies – and the WSPU – decided to mount a spectacular summer procession through London. The magnificent banners, such as that for North Kensington, carried some of the way by Kate, were the work of the Artists’ Suffrage League, in particular of Mary Lowndes.

Mary Lowndes’ design for the North Kensington banner – with swatches of suggested material (courtesy of the Women’s Library@LSE)

The design of the North Kensington banner, held in the Women’s Library, can be seen

Banners – 13 June 1908 (courtesy of Women’s Library@LSE)

 The banner itself was photographed during the course of the 13 June 1908 procession. ‘North Kensington’ is being held high; unfortunately the ‘Home Makers’ obscure the North Kensington banner bearers. Was one of them Kate?

Saturday June 13th 1908 [Bourne End]

Kate’s ticket for the June 1908 Suffrage Procession

The great day dawned at last looking rather threatening – dull and very windy. I did not know quite what to wear but chanced the day wisely as it fell out and wore my best cream linen skirt and embroidery blouse and made myself look nice. I took a coat with me. Down to breakfast, had a chat to Agnes, who was very disappointed not to be going but really she was not up to it and it would have been no use attempting such an exacting and arduous day. It took it out of me. I was ‘going’ inside all day. Went up to London by the 9.53 train wearing my decorations – my ‘Votes for Women’ disk – my National Union Suffrage brooch and my red and white ribbon – the one that went through that exciting evening at the Paddington Baths. I wore them all day and it was most amusing to see the looks given to them. I went shopping in Whiteleys. Then a bus to Bond Street, walked through Burlington and along to the Strand – there I began to see some of my fellow marchers and the Lyons where I lunched was crowded with them – every one agog, of course, to see us.

Then I went to the A.A. [the Actors’ Association] tidied myself up and went upstairs. Quite an excitement there to see me and I found Eve Erskine wavering as to whether or not she should join the march. She rather aggravated me by some of the things she said about it. Then she is so tactless and really doesn’t know. It was from her I learned that there would be a contingent of Actresses headed by Gertrude Kingston, Lillah McCarthy and Mrs Pat [Campbell] and I must own I did feel deadly disappointed not to be going with them. I am sure Miss Gladys [Wright] kept it from me on purpose as she knew how eager I was to get the theatrical people to go and I said how I should like to march with them. So for that reason she did not send me a plan of the order of procession, I feel sure. Not quite straight because, any way, if she had said they really needed my help in Kensington I should have gone. But she and Alexandra went with the graduates and they wanted me responsible for N[orth] Kensington. There was really no-one else. Mrs Wright could not have carried the Banner or any of the small women if they could have it would not have looked right and comfortable. So I was offered up as a sacrifice. I think it was only right a Frye should be the Banner Bearer for North Kensington and I loved to do it and felt very proud but at first I must own to feeling a bit sick over it. I had a few words with Mr Halliwell Hobbs, who was crimson in the face with annoyance about it all. I said ‘will you shake hands though I am going to carry a banner.’ He simply could not bear himself – it so upset him to see my decorations. Eve walked or rather ran – we got so excited seeing the crowds – to the Embankment and there I lost her. I suppose she found her Block and marched with them for I saw her no more.

Kate preserved her programme

The crowds and the excitement was terrific and I really didn’t know how I should find my banner in it all. First I saw Miss Corbett who gave me a plan. Eve had one so I am sure Gladys ought to have sent her Banner Bearer one. And then I found I should be Block 8 – and a nice scamper I had right up Whitehall before I came to my place. Whitehall was quieter, but the crowds on the Embankment were terrific. At last I came to the Block for the London Society and found a messenger boy with the little White and Red Banners we had before. He gave it up to me on hearing my name and I was left alone. As I got there soon after 2 o’clock it was alright but I longed for some friendly face. I had had a glance at some of the Banners as I sped along – they were lovely. At last one or two women whose faces I knew turned up and then three girls with a huge and beautiful banner – one of the Artist League ones – the one Gladys meant me to carry and take the responsibility of. They were in too much of a hurry, the girls, to be off to tell me how to manage it and I had my flapping coat and the wind was terrific. I got one of the others to hold the little one till Mrs Wright and a lot of other people came. Then a tall girl carried the little one at the back of the Kensington Block. Some one very kindly carried my coat and I got the frog fixed round the banner more comfortably. Miss Madge Porter carried one cord, Miss Meyer the other.

We were immediately behind the Holborn section and Lady Grove’s pretty daughters carried that Banner – a huge one – but, lucky beggars, they had two poles to support it. Mine was fearfully heavy, especially in the wind – but I was given a gift with it I think. It was a beauty  nauge cloth – brown and yellow silk and cloth of gold. Mrs Percy Harris was just behind. She had to fall out early as she went very strange and there were lots of people I know by sight. We were quite a smart collection – all in our best summer attire. The stewards marshalled us six abreast behind the Banner which had to stand out. The whole thing was most wonderfully organised.

Programme details for the procession

Before we moved off John [her fiance] arrived on the scene with Mr Andrews [a friend] and was most proud to shake hands with me and I think the whole thing quite converted him. They went off to see the Banners, then took up their stand in Trafalgar Square and watched us go. John watched it over an hour. He saw me but I didn’t see him. He says I was laughing away and looked to be enjoying myself. Some of the remarks were enough to make one laugh. I saw Mr Dickenson [the M.P.] go past and G.B. Shaw while I was waiting and there were all sorts of weird and curious men – one dressed up like a Jack in the Box to represent Adam, I think – but I couldn’t make him out.

Before 2.30 we were off to the strains of a Band and marshalled in order and we reached one side of the Embankment. We were given 2.30 to assemble – so those who turned up then must have had a difficulty in finding us. It took some time – then there was half an hour’s wait in line – then we began to manoeuvre about – the police directed us. I don’t really know what we did but we turned back round the road while a stream passed us the other way then round me went again over to the side of the trams which made some of them nervous. The trams were packed with people to see us. Then a long wait again – 3.30 I should say before we moved off – and then a very slow procession up Northumberland Avenue – halts of five minutes at a time, it seemed. We were in the middle of two Bands so we were never dull and sometimes with the clamour of the two together it was terrific but the marches helped me along and we three kept step. Oh the crowds – packed like sardines the other side of Piccadilly – some of the roughest of the rough on the Embankment but for the most part quite friendly and polite. There seemed so few policemen in comparison that if the crowd had liked to be disagreeable it would have been awful. The clubs and hotel windows and steps were thronged. Most of the people seemed interested – some were laughing. We only had passage enough just to pass along till we got to the Square then our pace mended till it grew terrific and had almost to run to keep up and going up Waterloo Place was a great strain. From the bottom we could see the Banners winding up and up.

We were about 10,000 with 70 Artist League banners – lots of others and hundreds of Bannerettes shimmering in the wind. For the most part after Piccadilly the crowd was quite a different class and quiet and respectful – many men raised their hats to us and ladies clapped their hands – lots of children? were in the crowd and ‘Mother’ made one clap his hands at me. One nice old clergyman bared his silver locks to each Banner Bearer. Of course it was a very different thing from last year [ie the February ‘Mud March’] – gigantic in comparison and, as for the crowds, I had never seen anything like them except at Royal Weddings etc and a good long route we had. Up Northumberland Avenue, Lower Regent Street, Piccadilly, Knightsbridge, Exhibition Road to the Albert Hall. The first part of them must have been in the hall soon after we left the Embankment. I was in the last section  – No 8, the London Society – but I could not see our end and after us came all the motor cars and carriages. The Social and Political Union people had a four in hand and were up and down distributing notices of their great demonstration on Sunday week in Hyde Park. The Graduates and Doctors looked simply lovely – I am sure they must have got some cheering ‘Well’ I heard one man say, ‘what I like about them is there isn’t one with a bit of powder on’.

‘Lucky you have dropped your garter’ ‘Have you mended the socks’ Have you washed the baby’ and such remarks as those were rife and, of course, lots of comments on one’s personal appearance – rather painful some of them –‘Oh look at this nice girl’ ‘isn’t she a beauty’ etc but really most of the people were quite kind and sympathetic. I think it must have been rather a stirring sight – it seemed to me ‘magnificent’. I felt it was moving the people. I heard people say in awestruck tones ‘I don’t believe it will ever end’ Miss Meyer took the Banner from me in Piccadilly and carried it to the end – she hadn’t had all that tiring first part and the long waits and she was strong and capable. I must say I was getting a bit done with it but I would have liked it again later only she seemed quite happy and I did not like to take it from her. Gladys had written to say she would help me with it. She took it in the hall and sat with it also.

The approach to the [Albert] hall was very slow again – but the pace all along Piccadilly had been tremendous. I think we must have been catching the first lot up where it had been broken at Trafalgar Square for the traffic. I got in the hall about 5.10 and they started the meeting just as I sank down. I must own to feeling completely done when I left the Banner. I got cramp in both feet at once and felt 1,000 but I dashed into the hall found the seat in my box with the Wrights and Alexandra, like an angel, got me a cup of tea. She, Gladys and another girl looking most awfully charming in cap and gown. Mrs Stanbury was there and Mrs Lambert and several people I knew. I had to keep my eye on the clock but I heard Lady Henry Somerset, Dr Anna Shaw, Mrs Fawcett and [then] Miss Sterling present the Bouquet to Mrs Fawcett – then the procession of Bouquets till the platform looked like a garden. They were just singing ‘For she’s a jolly good fellow’ when I came out. I got a cab, still very lame, and drove to Paddington. There I met John and Mrs Harris and the train was looking out for me – so we travelled down together, talking all the way…

The Actors Association, a club to which both Kate and John belonged, was at 10 King Street, Covent. Garden.

Halliwell Hobbs, 30-year-old actor, was clearly a young fogey.

Margery Corbett (1882-1981- later Dame Margery Corbett-Ashby) was the daughter of a Liberal MP. At this time she was secretary of the NUWSS

Lady Henry Somerset (1851-1921) was a wealthy philanthropist and leader of the temperance movement.

Mrs Percy Harris, née Marguerite Frieda Bloxam, wife of Percy Harris (later Sir Percy Harris), who became a Liberal MP in 1916, lived in Bourne End.

Anna Howard Shaw (1847-1919) US physician, temperance reformer and, at this time, leader of the National American Woman  Suffrage Association.

Frances Sterling (1869-1943) joint honorary secretary of the NUWSS.  

Campaigning for the Vote: Kate Parry Frye’s Suffrage Diary edited by Elizabeth Crawford

For a full description of the book click here

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 – e.crawford@sphere20.freeserve.co.uk  (£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
‘Campaigning for the Vote’ – Front and back cover of wrappers

 

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WALKS/Suffrage Stories: St Clement’s Press

St Clement’s Press, c. 1959, courtesy of LSE Library

To mark the very welcome co-operation planned for the future between the Women’s Library and the London School of Economics the next few ‘Suffrage Stories’ will demonstrate the past importance to the women’s movement of streets and buildings in the vicinity of  Houghton Street.

In the last ‘Suffrage Story’ I described why and how, from the autumn of 1906, the Women’s Social and Political Union came to have its offices at Clement’s Inn, a few hundred yards from the London School of Economics which, since 1902, had taken up residence in premises in Clare Market and Houghton Street.

In the previous post I also mentioned that Frederick Pethick Lawrence had had some experience as a newspaper proprietor and editor. It was, therefore,  natural that he and his wife, Emmeline, should consider it useful for the suffrage society with which they were now so closely associated to have its own proselytizing organ. This would both broadcast the aims and actions of the WSPU  and serve as a point of focus for its swiftly expanding membership.

The first issue of ‘Votes for Women’

The first issue of Votes for Women, as the new paper was unequivocally named, appeared on 16 October  1907. It was financed and edited by Emmeline and Frederick Pethick Lawrence and published from the WSPU office at 4 Clement’s Inn.

The Pethick Lawrences had not had to look far for a printer for their new paper. Housed in ‘Newspaper Buildings’, at the junction of Clare Market and Portugal Street, opposite the end of Clement’s Inn Passage (now St Clement’s Lane), the late-19th-century bulk of  St Clement’s Press towered over the maze of narrow streets bounded by the Strand and the swathe of  Kingsway, still a raw building site.  The Press had begun business in 1889 and was to be printer to a variety of other organisations sympathetic to the suffrage cause – from 1909, for instance, responsible for the Anti-Vivisectionist Review.

Votes for Women was published monthly until April 1908, after which it took on a larger format and became a weekly. This increase in frequency and size was a direct reflection of the WSPU’s great success in attracting members and creating interest in its campaign. By early 1910 Votes for Women had a weekly print run of c. 30,000 copies.

Grace Chappelow, a WSPU member from Essex, selling ‘Votes for Women’. Courtesy of Chelmsford Museum

The paper was sold in newsagents but also by members of the WSPU who were prepared to stand in the gutter (to stand on the pavement counted as obstruction) and sell it to passers by.  St Clement’s not only printed Votes for Women but also a variety of posters to advertise the paper – such as this one, held in the Women’s Library collection.

This arrangement continued for three and a half years until March 1912. At the beginning of that month WSPU members embarked on a dramatic window-smashing campaign, attacking shops and offices in London’s West End. As a result Emmeline Pankhurst and Frederick and Emmeline Pethick Lawrence were all arrested on the charge of conspiracy to commit criminal damage.  Christabel Pankhurst escaped from Clement’s Inn and fled to Paris. The first issue of Votes for Women to be issued after the arrests – the number for 8 March –  appeared with blanks in the text. There was a note on the front page:”The Editors who are responsible for “Votes for Women” in the absence of Mr and Mrs Pethick Lawrence beg to inform their readers that the blank spaces in this week’s issue do not represent lack of interesting matter for publication, but mark the suppression by the printers of articles, comments, and historical facts considered by them to be of an inflammatory nature.’

Whether it was because the temporary editors considered it impossible to continue working with a printer who felt unable to print all the material supplied, or whether  it was that St Clement’s Press declined to be associated with a publication that might bring them into direct conflict with the law – for whatever reason the 15 March 1912 and subsequent issues of Votes for Women were no longer printed by the St Clement’s Press but by Walbrook & Co of 14 & 15 Whitefriars Street, off Fleet Street.

After the Pethick Lawrences were ousted from the WSPU in the autumn of 1912 they retained ownership of Votes for Women, still printed by Walbrook,  making the paper the focus of their new organisation, the Votes for Women Fellowship.  I will discuss this organisation in a subsequent post.

The Economists’ Bookshop, viewed from Kingsway

The site of the St Clement’s Press is now occupied by Waterstone’s Economists’ Bookshop, very much an LSE institution.

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Collecting Suffrage: The WSPU Holloway Brooch

This is the ‘Holloway Brooch’ presented to members of the Women’s Social and Political Union who had undergone imprisonment. As such it is now a very desirable addition to any suffrage collection. If you are hoping to own one of your own, I have one for sale – see https://wp.me/p2AEiO-1CV

The first presentation of the brooches took place at a mass demonstration organised by the WSPU  in the Albert Hall on 29 April 1909. It was held to coincide with the meeting in London of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance. The presence on the platform of a large number of ex-WSPU prisoners and,to honour their sacrifice, the ceremonial presentation to them of the first ‘Holloway’ brooches was designed to make an international impression.

The brooch was designed by Sylvia Pankhurst. 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. Some of the brooches, but by no means all, are marked with dates of imprisonment.

The brooch was first mentioned in Votes for Women, the WSPU newspaper, in the issue of 16 April 1909, described as ‘the Victoria Cross of the Union’. However, in April 1909 WSPU prisoners had not yet begun using the hunger strike as a tool in their battle with the authorities. In recognition of that, which was considered the greater sacrifice, the WSPU instituted the hunger strike medal, the first of which was presented  four months later.

Mrs Pankhurst chose to be photographed wearing her ‘Holloway’ brooch in this photograph- as, 65 years later, did the elderly suffragettes, Leonora Cohen and Grace Roe . The latter two, like many other women, had received both of the WSPU accolades.

 

 

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WALKS/Suffrage Stories: Where And What Was Clements Inn?

To mark the very welcome co-operation planned for the future between the Women’s Library and the London School of Economics the next few ‘Suffrage Stories’ will demonstrate the past importance to the women’s movement of streets and buildings in the vicinity of  Houghton Street.

In previous posts I have described the Tea Cup Inn, which was in Portugal Street in the building which, for the time being at least, houses the LSE Chaplaincy, and the Aldwych Skating Rink, in which the WSPU organized its grand 1911 census boycott meeting. In the latter post I remarked that, all but abutting onto the back of the Skating Rink, were the offices of the WSPU at 3 & 4 Clement’s Inn.

A commemorative plaque, placed on a building now occupied by LSE. marks the site.  See the LSE Library website for the  announcement of the LSE’s plans for the Women’s Library and for the brochure setting out details of its bid. The introduction to the latter includes a photograph of the plaque (left) and the words of Christabel Pankhurst:  ”Clement’s Inn, our headquarters, was a hive seething with activity… As department was added to department, Clement’s Inn seemed always to have one more room to offer.’ [9 February 1907]

But what was ‘Clements Inn’?

The history of the late-19th-century Clement’s Inn buildings are surprisingly sketchy – although I daresay that archival research would uncover more detail. In its original incarnation Clement’s Inn had been one of the original Inns of Chancery, but its purpose and its buildings were swept away sometime during the second half of the 19th century. The exact date of its removal is vague; Pevsner merely puts it between 1868 and 1891, presumably meaning that it was demolished in stages. Suffice it to say that towards the end of the 19th century – probably in the 1880s – large blocks designed for both office and residential use were built on the site of the old Inn.  They stretched in a line, just west of the Royal Courts of Justice – and on the west side of Clements Inn Passage –  north from the Strand up to Clare Market. These blocks were given the name ‘Clement’s Inn’ and  housed a medley of solicitors, architects, chartered accountants, surveyors, publishers and even, at 5 & 6 the Uruguayan Legation and Consulate. The southern-most blocks were numbered ‘1 & 2 Clement’s Inn’ and were still standing in 1977. By then the more northerly blocks  – 3 & 4 – had already been demolished.

Courtesy of the International Institute for Social History

Extraordinary as it seems, photographs of the exterior of 3 & 4 Clement’s Inn seem all but non-existent.  The photograph on the left shows, I think, one corner of the Clement’s Inn range; it was taken in 1912 while police trying to establish the whereabouts of Christabel Pankhurst, for whom they had an arrest warrant. Apart from this I have managed to track down, in the Westminster Archives, only three small photographs of 1 & 2 Clement’s Inn. They form part of a collection taken in 1977 of the Royal Courts of Justice. Very helpfully the photographer  turned his camera, from his position in the RCJ,  across Clement’s Inn Passage to take a distant view of the surviving Clement’s Inn buildings, and followed that with two close-up photographs of the  entrances to the buildings. The collection of photographs is accompanied by a hand-drawn map showing the precise position of each photograph so that there is now no doubt in my mind as to the layout of the Clement’s Inn blocks, now replaced by the LSE Towers.

The photographs show the Clement’s Inn buildings to have been rather imposing –  five storeys high, rising in places to seven. They were built of brick – presumably once red, doubtless very quickly blackened in the London atmosphere, with facings of stone around the windows and doors. Detailing was gothic, doubtless a nod to the adjacent  RCJ buildings. The ‘look’ was not unlike that of nearby Old Square, Lincolns Inn, where in later years Frederick and Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, who are specifically noted on the WSPU plaque, had a flat.

Frederick Pethick Lawrence, photographed at a time when he was living and working in Clement’s Inn

For it was entirely due to the Pethick Lawrences that the WSPU office came to be sited at 3 & 4 Clement’s Inn. Frederick Pethick Lawrence first appears on the London electoral register at  3 & 4 Clement’s Inn in 1904. He and Emmeline – they had married in 1901 -were living in what is termed in the rate book as ‘a residential suite’ – to differentiate this type of apartment from the offices that were also available for rent. The apartments were serviced; the Clement’s Inn  building included a servants’ hall, servants’ dormitories and a kitchen in which meals were cooked for delivery to the tenants. This, I would imagine, was a style of living that entirely suited the Pethick Lawrences whose many interests surely precluded any time for domesticity.

The Pethick Lawrences had presumably chosen Clement’s Inn as their London address – they did also have a house in Surrey – because it was close to the office, at 19 St Bride Street,  of The Echo, a newspaper bought by Frederick Pethick Lawrence c 1902. It had been a Liberal paper – with a bias towards the Liberal Unionist section of the party- but, under Pethick Lawrence was re-directed towards the Labour movement, with Ramsay MacDonald among its contributors. However The Echo ran at a loss and in 1905 Pethick Lawrence closed it and  in May launched a new monthly publication, the Labour Record and Review. Pethick Lawrence was also the publisher of the Reformers’ Yearbook (called, before 1905, the Labour Annual and Reformers’ Yearbook). In the 1905 edition of the Yearbook, printed from information supplied in 1904, the ‘Directory of Useful Addresses’ lists the ‘Women’s Union’ , the secretary of which is Mrs Rachel Scott of Woodbine, Flixton, Manchester.  This was the recently formed Women’s Social and Political Union. Its founders, Mrs E. Pankhurst and Miss C Pankhurst, of  62 Nelson St, Manchester, are also listed as ‘Useful’.

Emmeline Pethick Lawrence, courtesy of the International Institute for Social History

In her autobiography Emmeline Pethick Lawrence records that it was from her roof garden in Clement’s Inn that in January 1906 she saw the general election results ‘as they were thrown by a lantern-slide on the elevated-whitened board in the Strand’. This new technology was displaying a Liberal landslide. But it was, however, the success of Keir Hardie and the Labour Party that particularly pleased the Pethick Lawrences.  A month later Hardie introduced Emmeline Pethic -Lawrence to Emmeline Pankhurst as ‘a practical and useful colleague who could develop in London the new society she had founded in Manchester’ – the WSPU.

Later that year the embryonic London campaign, which had been spearheaded by Annie Kenney and which for several months had held its business meetings around kitchen tables in various hospitable London homes, was given office premises by Frederick Pethick Lawrence in 3 & 4 Clement’s Inn. In the relevant rate book the WSPU is shown as taking up its tenancy at Michaelmas (29 September) 1906 in rooms 68,69 and 70.

This apartment was separate from number 119 shared jointly by the Pethick Lawrences; Frederick had given Emmeline the luxury of ‘a room of her own’.

In Emmeline Pethick Lawrence’s apartment in Clement’s Inn. From the left, Christabel Pankhurst, Annie Kenney, Nellie Martel, Mrs Pankhurst, Mrs Despard. Courtesy of the International Institute for Social History

When, in July 1906, Christabel Pankhurst came to London, after gaining her first-class law degree in Manchester, she lived with the Pethick Lawrences – perhaps in Emmeline’s separate apartment. The rate books show that over the years the Pethick Lawrences occupied several different sets of rooms, the quantities and configuration varying from year to year.

When, in October 1908, warrants were issued for the arrest of Christabel and Emmeline Pankhurst after the WSPU had urged Londoners to ‘Rush the House of Commons’, the pair were photographed hiding from the police on Emmeline Pethick Lawrence’s roof terrace. See here to view the Women’s Library copy of the photograph.

After ensuring that their evasion had been captured on camera, they then went downstairs and were photographed in the course of being arrested by Inspector Jarvis.

Inspector Jarvis making his arrest. Photograph marked for a rather idiosyncratic cropping. Courtesy of the International Institute for Social History

Other WSPU offices were photographed on other occasions – the Women’s Library holds pictures, among others, of Mrs Pethick Lawrence’s secretary’s office, the General Office and of the WSPU Information Bureau at work. In the latter picture Emily Wilding Davison is the woman seated on the left and the young woman, with white collar and cuffs, standing at the back is Cicely Hale. All these photographs can be viewed on the Women’s Library Special Collections catalogue and from them one can glean an idea of the physical surroundings in which the campaign was orchestrated – the furniture, the fireplaces, the typewriters, the bowls of flowers, the posters and the maps on the walls.

This ‘seething hive of activity’ is pictured in at least one contemporary novel. For in Ann Veronica, published in 1909, H.G. Wells furnishes the offices of the Woman’s Bond of Freedom – the  suffrage society that sweeps his heroine off her feet and into prison – with  ‘notice boards bearing clusters of newspaper slips, three or four posters of monster meetings..and a series of announcements in purple copying ink, and in one corner …a pile of banners’. Wells had no need to rely on photographs for his information; during the years when the WSPU was working from Clement’s Inn, it was doing so in close physical proximity to the Fabian Society, of which Wells was a leading member and which had been responsible for the founding of the LSE.  Knowing from the rate book that the WSPU’s basement office was next door to that of the Fabian Society, it requires little stretch of the imagination to envisage Wells finding a reason to combine a visit to one with a brief sortie into the other, the result being good  ‘copy’ for his novel.

It would be surprising if there had not been some tension between the two offices – the one campaigning for votes for some, not all, women while the other backed the cause of adult suffrage. For although, when they agreed to support the WSPU, the Pethick Lawrences were still committed to the Labour cause,  as the women’s suffrage campaign developed its tactics changed and the association with Labour was considered by the Pankhursts no longer to be advantageous.  Despite this, there were many connections between the WSPU, the Labour Party and the Fabian Society. For instance, Beatrice Sanders, working from an office in Clement’s Inn as  financial secretary to the WSPU, was the wife of William Sanders, a Fabian Society lecturer, LCC alderman and Labour parliamentary candidate. Mrs Sanders was herself a member of the Fabian Women’s Group.  However, William Sanders was one of what Wells termed the  ‘Old Gang’ that ranged itself against him when he attempted to reform the Fabian Society and, in retaliation, probably took Sanders as his prototype for ‘Alderman Dunstable’ in Ann Veronica. Wells certainly found plenty to mock in the WSPU and its activities and, unsurprisingly, although Ann Veronica was listed among ‘Books Received’ in the WSPU newspaper, Votes for Women, it never received the accolade of a review.

A very powerful propaganda tool for the WSPU, Votes for Women was brought to life each week in a building even closer to Houghton Street than Clement’s Inn and will be the subject of the next of my ‘Suffrage Stories’.

     

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Collecting Suffrage: The Game of ‘Suffragette’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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Book of the Week: A Nest of Suffragettes in Somerset

A Nest of Suffragettes in Somerset: Eagle House, Batheaston by B.M. Willmott Dobbie for The Batheaston Society, 1979. Soft covers – very good condition  (with a newspaper cutting of an obituary of Bristol suffragette, Victoria Lidiard, laid in). £26 (plus postage) For sale – from my stock of books and ephemera about the suffrage movement. To buy – email e.crawford@sphere20.freeserve.co.uk

‘Annie’s Arboretuem’ and the Suffragette Rest

The story of the Blathwayt family – Col Linley Blathwayt, his wife Emily and daughter Mary -who lived at Eagle House, Batheaston, where for some years they offered a haven to WSPU activists. Annie Kenney – and her sisters – were particular favourites.

Col Blathwayt organised the planting of trees to commemorate visits by both suffragists and suffragettes – such as Lady Constance Lytton.

Lady Constance Lytton photographed by Col Blathwayt

‘Annie’s Arboreteum’ and ‘Pankhurst Pond’ were just two of the features created on the estate. Col Blathwayt was a keen photographer and many of the photographs he took of visiting suffragettes are included in this book. The text includes extracts from the diaries that the Blathwayts kept and which provide us with such a disingenuous view of some of the leading suffragette personalities

For more about Eagle House (and a little about Rose Lamartine Yates and Dorset Hall, Merton, of whom, coincidentally, I wrote in yesterday’s post) see here. For ‘Suffragettes in Bath’ see here. The diaries of Col. Blathwayt, Mrs Emily Blathwayt, and dear Mary Blathwayt, who I describe in the Women’s Suffrage Movement: a reference guide, as the ‘Mr Pooter of the suffrage movement’, are held in Gloucestershire Archives.

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

WSPU china – ‘Angel of Freedom’ design, 1909

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See also here, here, here, and here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Puree aux haricots

Madras Curry

Boiled Chicken and Bacon

Potatoes and Cauliflower

Chocolate Cream

Fruit

Mushroom Toast

Café Noir

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

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

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

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

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

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Suffrage Stories: ‘The Putney Caravans’

John Burns, the suffragettes and the census boycott

As I have already described here, one of the most inclusive acts of civic resistance undertaken by the militant suffrage societies was the boycott of the 1911 census. The argument was that, if the government was not prepared to grant them full rights of citizenship, women would not fulfill the duties of a citizen. On the night of the census – 2 April – those who obeyed the call either went to considerable lengths to evade the enumerator – or, like ‘Madame Mantalini’, refused to supply the required details on their census paper.

There are many stories to be told, but one of the more flamboyant adventures was that of Arthur Marshall, the WSPU’s solicitor, who with his wife, Kitty and nine other rented from a Paddington firm, Rickards, what were described as  ‘smart Pullman caravans’. The caravans,  horsedrawn, of course -were then driven

in the dark from Paddington and into and round Trafalgar Square, where the main suffragette protest was taking place – and then down Whitehall and out to the west, eventually coming to a halt on Putney Common.

As the journalist Henry Nevinson, writing in the suffragette newspaper, Votes for Women, wrote, ‘I had noticed three gypsy caravans….they were driven by women, who whispered me the names of woodland regions not very far off in Surrey. Whether statistics will add them to Surrey’s glorious army of vagrants I don’t know, but they vanished silently down the road, past the decorated windows of the Home Office and the Local Government Board.’ The last office was singled out for mention because it was the LGB – under its minister, John Burns – that was charged with organising the census.

Once they had arrived at Putney Common, not exactly deepest Surrey, the women – and Arthur Marshall – all appeared to have had a jolly dinner and reported that they had refused all information to the police who turned up to take their particulars. In the morning they decorated their caravans with placards saying – ‘If we don’t count we shall not be counted.’ and, thus adorned, travelled back into London.

Although this excursion doubtless attracted publicity, the police knew quite well who the leaders of that ‘suffragette party’, as they described it, were – and the Marshalls’ details were duly entered on a census form. The other nine women did, however, manage to remain anonymous.

It may be that Henry Nevinson was embroidering reality a little – and that it was not the women themselves who were driving the caravans – because a week or so later three men – presumably Rickards drivers – were charged with driving the caravans unlawfully on the turf of Putney Common. This was one of the very few prosecutions brought that related to the census boycott; women who had evaded or resisted were not charged, the government realising there was little to be gained by giving the protest the oxygen of publicity. However, the local Putney magistrate clearly thought the case a nonsense and it was dismissed with the defendants merely having to pay 2s in costs. And the image painted by Nevinson of the caravans with their bohemian crew remains in the memory.

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Collecting Suffrage: Belfort Bax, The Legal Subjection of Men

 

E. Belfort Bax, The Legal Subjection of Men, The New Age Press, new edition, 1908.

There have been few agitations in history which have been characterised by such hard lying and shameless perversions of fact as the so-called ‘Woman’s Movement’.. The ‘Woman’s rights’ (?) agitator has succeeded by a system of pure impudent, brazen, ‘bluff’, alternately of thh whimpering and the shrieking order, in inducing a credulous public to believe that in some mysterious way the female sex is groaning under the weight of the tyranny of him whom they are pleased to term ‘man the brute’. Bax, who wrote extensively on socialism, acknowledges the part played by an Irish barrister, now deceased, in the writing of this anti-suffrageist apologia. Together they set out all the legal advantages enjoyed by women – such as ‘the punishment of hanging has been practically abolished for women who murder mere men. If they murder some other woman or babies of some other woman it is quite a different thing. They are, however, exempt from hanging if they murder their own babies.’

Very good – 64pp – rebound in cloth – with original paper covers bound in. £28 plus postage.

To buy: contact e.crawford@sphere20.freeserve.co.uk

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Collecting Suffrage: Punch cartoon

PUNCH CARTOOON – 2 December 1908 – a Bernard Partridge full-length illustration  shows Asquith (Andromedus) chained to his rock – beset by the sea monster taunting him with her Votes for Women triton and searching for salvation from Persea – the Women’s National Anti-Suffrage League.

In very good condition £12 post free

To buy: contact e.crawford@sphere20.freeserve.co.uk

[The Women and her Sphere logo is not, of course, on the original]

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Suffragette postcards: When Women Vote: Washing Day

WHEN WOMEN VOTE

Father is in the kitchen bathing baby, while his wife and her friends sit in the parlour playing cards and eating chocolates – commenting ‘Yes, my old man is a lazy old wretch’.

And that’s what will happen when women have the vote.

The card was published by Mitchell & Watkins, who had been producing postcards – both topographical photographic and artist-drawn – from c 1906.

This card was posted – on 10 September 1907 – to Miss Ida Currell – who had been born in 1882 and was one of 4 surviving children of the 10 born to a Hertfordshire farmer and his wife. The Currells farm, at 2 Ware Road, Hertford, was called ‘The Chaplains’.

The card is in very good condition and is £45 post free.

To buy: contact e.crawford@sphere20.freeserve.co.uk

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Suffrage Stories: What else is in Emily Wilding Davison’s grave?

A while ago I acquired a small collection of items that had once belonged to Mrs Mary Leigh, the leader of the WSPU fife and drum band and close friend and life-long supporter of Emily Wilding Davison. Among these was a copy of Walt Whitman, Song of the Open Road, published by the Arden Press, Letchworth (1912), containing a lengthy inscription by Mary Leigh on the free front endpaper.

From studying the handwriting I deduced that her comments had been made at two different times – probably decades apart. At the top of the page is an ink inscription ‘From E.W.D. 1912’.- which, I think, was not a presentation inscription from Emily Wilding Davison, but a note by Mary Leigh to commemorate the gift to her. The Emily Wilding Davison archive held by the Women’s Library contains another volume of Whitman’s verse, given by ‘Comrade Davison to Comrade Leigh’. Whitman was clearly a favourite, a poet who spoke to the women – eulogising their bond of close comradeship – and in The Song of the Road Mary Leigh, as in the Whitman in the Women’s Library, has annotated particular verses with some vehemence. The little book itself had clearly been well used; laid in the title-page fold of this copy was a pressed flower.

However it is another piece of information that Mary Leigh added to her endpaper writings that particularly interested me. She wrote: ‘I placed one [i.e. a book] like this from L C. Lytton in E.W.D.’s hand. ‘ In biro, at a later date, as though giving a fuller explanation, she has amplified these details – so that the whole now reads: ‘1913 June 14 in her coffin at Epsom Mortuary I placed one like this (Walt Whitman) from L C. Lytton (Lady Constance Lytton) in E.W.D’s hand open at the page she loved so well. I also placed her Hunger Strike Medals and the 8 Bars of Forcible Feeding also the Medal of Jeanne D’Arc to Fight on God will give the Victory’.

‘Fight on God will give Victory’, Joan of Arc’s assurance, given at her trial, is the message emblazoned on the banner carried at Emily Wilding Davison’s funeral, both in London and then draping the grave in Morpeth.

Here is Emily Wilding Davison wearing her Hunger Strike Medal, with still, I think, four bars, each commemorating a hunger strike and consequent episode of forcible feeding. Further imprisonment lay in the future. It is interesting that Mary Leigh specifically writes of  ‘Medals’ in the plural. As well as the Hunger Strike Medal, with its 8 bars, she may have been referring to the ‘Holloway’ badge, received for an earlier imprisonment, that Emily is wearing in the photograph. In addition, I suspect, but cannot be sure, that she may also have, pinned on her other lapel, a WSPU ‘Boadicea’ brooch.

However I have not yet been able to deconstruct Mary Leigh’s mention of the ‘Jeanne d’Arc’ Medal’. As far as I know there was no WSPU medal directly associated with Joan of Arc – although, 1912 having been the 500th anniversary of her death, she loomed large in the popular – particularly suffragette – imagination, Elsie Howey rode as ‘Joan of Arc’ in Emily Wilding Davison’s funeral procession. It may have been that EWD particularly treasured a medal – there were many issued – acquired in the quincentenary year.

Mary Leigh remained Emily Wilding Davison’s champion for the remainder of her life. Out of a meagre income she arranged each year for a Morpeth florist to supply an expensive bouquet of flowers and travelled north every June- even well into old age –  to lay them at EWD’s grave in St Mary’s Churchyard. The rather pathetic correspondence concerning these arrangements may be read in the Mary Leigh Papers at the Women’s Library. The florist was a credit to her profession, entirely kind and helpful.

Little would Mary Leigh have expected – although she may well have approved (you can never be sure – she was a contrary character) – that into the 21st century EWD’s grave would have become a shrine – the plot now immaculately restored. So many myths have accrued to the memory of Emily Wilding Davison that it is something of a relief to be able to produce a piece of primary evidence, in the form of this copy of Song of the Road, that allows the visitor standing in front of the Morpeth obelisk to picture, with some assurance, the moment in the Epsom Mortuary as Mary Leigh laid in the open coffin Lady Constance Lytton’s copy of this small volume of verse, together with the hard-earned Hunger Strike Medal.

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Suffragette Jewellery

One of my bêtes noires is the misnaming of any vaguely Edwardian piece of jewellery that comprises stones approximating to some shade of purple (or pink or red), white and green as ‘suffragette’. I have long ago ceased remonstrating with reputable auction houses – they should know better. Ebay, of which one cannot expect very much, is, of course, rife with a lack of historical awareness.

While such pieces may be decorative and even of some intrinsic value, I would be very sorry if anyone paid over the odds for a piece of such jewellery thinking that they were buying an association with the suffrage movement.  There are plenty of unscrupulous or ignorant dealers who peddle such notions. I think the term ‘suffragette jewellery’ should be reserved for pieces that have a provenance associated with a suffrage society or an individual who either made or wore it with ‘suffrage’ intent.

Above is an example of  what I mean – a ‘true’ piece of suffragette jewellery – a silver and enamel pendant, bearing the ‘Angel of Freedom’ device designed in 1908 by Sylvia Pankhurst. I bought – and sold it – some years ago – and have never found another. As second best to owning the real thing, I have ever since used the image on my trade cards.

I will tell the stories of some other pieces of ‘true’ suffragette jewellery in future ‘Collecting Suffrage’ posts.

Here and here are two articles that attempt to demistify the subject of ‘suffragette jewellery’. Or you can read the entry on ‘Jewllery and Badges’ in my The Women’s Suffrage Movement: a reference guide.

 

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Suffragette postcards: ‘Who said Votes for Women!!!’

Very British Bulldog – with specs and a pipe – sits foursquare against a background of the Union Jack. It doesn’t look as though he would be interested in allowing women to vote.

The handwritten message on the reverse  – from Will – begins ‘Dear Alf, I think the back of this card describers the question of the age.’ Good – posted from Cowes to Rotherhithe in February 1909.

In very good condition. £12 post free. [The ‘Woman and her Sphere’ logo does not, of course, appear on the original.]

To buy: contact e.crawford@sphere20.freeserve.co.uk

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Suffragette postcards: What Women Want

‘WHEN WOMEN VOTE It won’t be lawful for a man to remain single’. All the men are being rushed into marriage – tweaked by the nose and carried under the arms of women – and all because they have a vote!

The card was published by Mitchell & Watkins, who had been producing postcards – both topographical photographic and artist-drawn – from c 1906.

This card was posted – in, I think, 1913 (the postmark is obscured) – to Miss Ida Currell – who had been born in 1882 and was one of 4 surviving children of the 10 born to a Hertfordshire farmer and his wife. The Currells farm, at 2 Ware Road, Hertford, was called ‘The Chaplains’.

The card is in very good condition and is £45 post free.

To buy: email e.crawford@sphere20.freeserve.co.uk

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Suffragette postcards: real photographic portrait

Here is an example of a real photographic postcard issued by a suffrage society – in this case by the Women’s Freedom League. Its subject is Mrs Lilian Hicks (1853-1924) who, with her daughter, Amy, was at that time of its publication a leading member of the WFL – as well as  a supporter of the Church League for Women’s Suffrage, the New Constitutional Society for Women’s Suffrage and the Tax Resistance League.  Both mother and daughter, by then members of the Women’s Social and Political Union,  heeded the call to boycott the 1911 census.

The Hicks’ association with a wide range of suffrage societies, of which I had written a few years earlier in their joint entry in my Women’s Suffrage Movement: a reference guide,  was made manifest in the magnificent collection of badges and awards – including a hunger-strike medal – that many years ago I acquired from a woman to whom they had been indirectly bequeathed. They are now held in a private collection.

Lilian and Amy Hicks lived here, at 33 Downside Crescent, Hampstead. At the other end of the street was the home – probably the rather unhappy home – of Margaret Wynne Nevinson, a fellow member of the Women’s Freedom League. I realised that a bond of friendship existed between the two women when, all those years ago, I recognised – hanging on the wall of the sitting-room in the small cottage of the woman from whom I was buying the collection of Hicks’ memorabilia  – a large painting by Margaret’s son,  C.R. Nevinson. It was in the guise of ‘the mother of the Futurists’ that Margaret went when she attended a dinner given by the Women Writers’ Suffrage League at the Hotel Cecil on 29 June 1914. Unfortunately there is no record of the form of dress that this witty allusion took.

The photograph of Mrs Hicks on this official Women’s Freedom League postcard was taken by Lena Connell and probably issued around 1909/10.

Mrs Lilian Hicks was a member of the Women’s Freedom League

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