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Showing posts from July, 2013

Dreadnought Days

I’ve had an exciting few Dreadnought days, with a walk, a play, a panel and my own suffrage pilgrimage to Aldeburgh in Suffolk... In a series of events around the region, the Dreadnought South West project commemorates the 1913 Suffrage Pilgrimage organised by the non-militant National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS). Women’s franchise campaigners from all over the country walked to London along six main routes, including one through the south west starting at Land’s End. The Pilgrimage began on 18 June 1913 and ended with a rally in Hyde Park on 26 July, where Mrs Millicent Garrett Fawcett, president of the NUWSS, addressed the crowd.    I was thrilled to be involved in some of the Dreadnought events here in Bristol.        Suffragette Walk   On 7 July ten of us braved the heat to walk around Clifton looking at sites connected with the militant suffrage campaign in Bristol. In 1907 leading suffragette Annie Kenney came to the city to launch a local branch of th

Were the suffragettes insane?

On 16 March 1912 a leader in The Times explained suffragette militancy by attributing it to women’s “Insurgent Hysteria”. The article suggested that “in a large number of cases, even though in the strict sense insanity is not present, there is a tendency to some form of hysteria or morbid moods akin thereto”. Women’s mental weakness was inherent in their physiology: their “senseless outrages against property” could best by understood by physicians. Amongst the correspondence the leader inspired, one doctor, in a letter headed “What Every Doctor Knows”, agreed that physicians did indeed understand the type of woman referred to. He explained that “when she has reached a certain age, we know that there is no help in us”. To prevent the development of such characters, he added, “the lunacy laws will require revision.”      Medical scientist Sir Almroth Wright produced a whole book – The Unexpurgated Case Against Woman Suffrage – exploring the theme, characterising the suffragettes