Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Some more militant than others...From Soap Boxes to Tea Pots: a talk about Suffragettes at the Museum of London

I was pleased when a friend suggested we go  to a Gresham College talk at the Museum of London on Monday.  ‘From Soap Boxes to Tea Sets: How the Suffragette Movement got into People’s Hearts and Homes’ sounded interesting.

Antonia Byatt, first woman director of the Women's Library,  focused on how the suffragettes publicised their cause. In the absence of Facebook and Twitter, not to mention radio and TV, addressing rallies and marching with banners was a no-choice option for the suffragettes. Chaining themselves to railings , setting fire to politicians’ homes  and getting arrested was a way to keep the issue in newspaper headlines. When Emily Davison was killed on Derby Day in 1913 by throwing herself under the King’s horse it was the climax of an escalating campaign.

 With the outbreak of WW1 the government had other things to occupy them.  Women's contribution  to the national economy proved to be the most persuasive factors in their  eventual enfranchisement. It was good to be reminded, though, of a time when women did step outside their allotted social roles to fight for justice.

I’m inspired to go back to the museum soon to see their collection of materials and memorabilia.

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