Skip to main content


Showing posts from March, 2013

'The Suffragettes were in the organ'

I’ve been so busy preparing The Bristol Suffragettes for publication (expected in May) that I haven’t had a chance to write a blog for ages. With publication date drawing near, though, I’ve been thinking about dates quite a bit, and in particular how hard they, and other details, are to pin down. Surprisingly, that’s true even for recent and well-recorded events such as the suffrage campaign. You’d think that with newspapers, books, recordings and films available for us to consult, not to mention diaries and autobiographies, it would be comparatively easy to sort out the facts.   Well, it isn’t!    Take the case of the suffragettes who hid overnight in the organ in the Colston Hall, Bristol in 1909 to interrupt local MP Augustine Birrell’s speech the next day. According to A Nest of Suffragettes in Somerset by B M Willmott Dobbie (1979), the suffragettes were Elsie Howey and Vera Wentworth and the event took place on 2 May. Dobbie includes a rousing description of the event tak