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Showing posts from August, 2021

My Month in Books: August 2021

The books I enjoyed most this month were Dreaming of Rose: A Biographer's Journal by Sarah Lefanu, which shares insights into the process of writing a biography, and Monica Dickens's novel The Winds of Heaven, first published in the 1950s, which explores the plight of a woman left penniless when her husband dies. Dreaming of Rose: A Biographer’s Journal , Sarah Lefanu (Handheld Press, 2021) I first read Sarah Lefanu’s Dreaming of Rose in its original edition, published by SilverWood Books, in 2013. I loved it then, and having just reread it in a new edition by Handheld Books, I love it even more. Back in 2013 I hadn’t started work on my biography of suffrage campaigner Millicent Price (née Browne). Writing a biography was more of a vague dream than an ambition, something I’d like to do but didn’t think I could. I love reading biographies, though, and it was as a reader that I was first drawn to Dreaming About Rose , which promised to reveal something about how the bio

‘Those wanton imbecile women’: the Gatty Laboratory and the Militant Suffragettes

This article is based on research and conversations with Edward Warington Shann’s daughter, Hebe Welbourn. Quotations by Edward Warington Shann are from his letter to his mother dated 22 June 1913 and are used with Hebe Welbourn’s permission. Fire destroys a railway carriage…a hotel burned down…a church vandalised…a country mansion gutted… between 1912 and 1914 British newspapers carried reports almost daily of arson and other attacks on public and private property by the women of the Women’s Social and Political Union – the suffragettes – as part of their militant campaign for votes for women. So familiar do these headlines become that it is easy to forget that behind them were real people whose lives were affected by these incidents. One of them was Edward Warington Shann, a lecturer at St Andrew’s University, for whom an act of arson was nothing less than “a calamity”.   Edward Warington Shann was born in York in 1886. His father was a doctor, and his maternal grandfather was