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Thursday, 28 October 2010

Rona Robinson

Rona Robinson studied at Owens College and in 1905 she became the first woman in the United Kingdom to gain a first-class degree in chemistry. She gave up her career in teaching to become a member of the WSPU and suffered hunger-strikes and forced-feeding.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/WrobinsonR.htm

Monday, 25 October 2010

Dora Marsden

In 1911 Dora Marsden and Mary Gawthorpe established the feminist journal, The Freewoman. The journal caused a storm when it advocated free love and encouraged women not to get married. The journal also included articles that suggested communal childcare and co-operative housekeeping. Marsden also attacked the WSPU's strategy of employing militant tactics.
Mary Gawthorpe had suffered severe internal injuries after being beaten up by stewards at a meeting. She was also imprisoned several times and hunger strikes and force-feeding badly damaged her health and in May 1912, she was unable to continue working as co-editor of The Freewoman. Marsden continued publishing the magazine on her own but the original backer withdrew after it was banned by W. H. Smith for immorality.

Harriet Shaw Weaver agreed to give the magazine financial support and it was re-launched as the The New Freewoman. In the June 1913 edition Marsden wrote: "The New Freewoman is not for the advancement of Women, but for the empowering of individuals - men and women." Elizabeth Crawford pointed out that "Marsden... continued her attack on the Pankhursts, using the death of Emily Wilding Davison to highlight her conviction that they were prepared to make use of dedicated individuals, who otherwise were considered as trouble-makers, only when it suited them."

Rebecca West now became involved in publishing the magazine and in 1914 it was renamed The Egoist. Soon afterwards Marsden resigned as editor and decided to concentrate on writing books. However, The Definition of the Godhead, did not appear until 1928. This was followed by The Mysteries of Christianity in 1930.

In later life Marsden suffered from severe psychotic depression, was a patient at the Crichton Royal Hospital in Dumfries. Her fees were paid by Harriet Shaw Weaver.


http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/WmarsdenD.htm

Harriet Shaw Weaver and James Joyce

In 1914 The New Freewoman was renamed The Egoist at the suggestion of Ezra Pound, who was involved in finding contributors, among them James Joyce. Later that year the magazine began serializing A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Joyce was unable to find a publisher for his work and Harriet Shaw Weaver, convinced of his genius, established the Egotist Press to publish his work. Weaver had trouble finding a printer for Joyce's Ulysses and so she arranged for it to be printed abroad.

According to Rachel Cottam: "From 1916 Joyce and Weaver corresponded almost daily: she commented on his manuscripts, corrected his proofs, discussed his frustrations and aspirations, and gradually became involved in every aspect of his own and his family's well-being. Though she was aware that he spent money recklessly and sometimes drank to excess, she endeavoured to provide him with an assured family income by transferring him substantial sums of her capital." Rebecca West argued that without Weaver's dedication, it is "doubtful whether Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom would have found their way into the world's mind".

In 1931, Weaver joined the Labour Party. However, she became a fierce critic of Ramsay MacDonald and his National Government. In 1938 she switched her alliance to the Communist Party of Great Britain. She became a committed member and sold copies of The Daily Worker in the street.

Harriet Shaw Weaver, who never married, died at Castle End, near Saffron Walden, Essex, on 14th October 1961. and was cremated at Oxford.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/WweaverH.htm

Henry Harben

Henry Devenish Harben, the grandson of Henry Harben (1823-1911), the chairman of the Prudential Insurance Company, was born in 1874. He was educated at Eton College and Magdalen College. After leaving the University of Oxford, he trained as a barrister.
A member of the Conservative Party, he was a candidate in the 1900 General Election. However, he gradually moved to the left and he stood unsuccessfully as a Liberal Party candidate in the 1906 General Election.

In 1907, several left-wing intellectuals, including Henry Harbin, Henry Nevinson, Laurence Housman, Charles Corbett, George Lansbury, Henry Brailsford, C. E. M. Joad, Israel Zangwill, Hugh Franklin, Gerald Gould, Charles Mansell-Moullin, and 30 other men formed the Men's League For Women's Suffrage "with the object of bringing to bear upon the movement the electoral power of men. To obtain for women the vote on the same terms as those on which it is now, or may in the future, be granted to men."

Henry Harbin and his wife Agnes became very involved in the struggle for women's suffrage. By 1911 it became clear that Herbert Asquith and his Liberal Party were unwilling to support legislation. At its annual party conference in January 1912, the Labour Party passed a resolution committing itself to supporting women's suffrage. This was reflected in the fact that all Labour MPs voted for the measure at a debate in the House of Commons on 28th March. Soon afterwards Henry N. Brailsford and Kathleen Courtney, entered negotiations with the Labour Party as representatives of NUWSS.

In April 1912, the NUWSS announced that it intended to support Labour Party candidates in parliamentary by-elections. Emily Davies, a member of the Conservative Party, and Margery Corbett-Ashby, an active supporter of the Liberal Party, resigned from the NUWSS over this decision. However, others like Henry Harben, left the Liberal Party in protest against the government's attitude to the suffrage question.

Harben now joined the Labour Party and donated money to the NUWSS Election Fighting Fund (EFF). This money was used to support Labour candidates in by-elections. During this period Harben became friends with Muriel de la Warr, who was also helping to fund the EFF. With her encouragement he joined the board of The Daily Herald. On 14th February, 1913 Harben wrote to Emmeline Pankhurst about his financial support of the newspaper: "It would have been a disaster if the only daily paper which has furiously championed militancy in both the women's and the labour movements, had been allowed to die, and I was at work till after eleven last night to advert this." Sylvia Pankhurst claims that this money was used to acquire the Victoria House Printing Press.

Henry Devenish Harben, the grandson of Henry Harben (1823-1911), the chairman of the Prudential Insurance Company, was born in 1874. He was educated at Eton College and Magdalen College. After leaving the University of Oxford, he trained as a barrister.
A member of the Conservative Party, he was a candidate in the 1900 General Election. However, he gradually moved to the left and he stood unsuccessfully as a Liberal Party candidate in the 1906 General Election.
In 1907, several left-wing intellectuals, including Henry Harbin, Henry Nevinson, Laurence Housman, Charles Corbett, George Lansbury, Henry Brailsford, C. E. M. Joad, Israel Zangwill, Hugh Franklin, Gerald Gould, Charles Mansell-Moullin, and 30 other men formed the Men's League For Women's Suffrage "with the object of bringing to bear upon the movement the electoral power of men. To obtain for women the vote on the same terms as those on which it is now, or may in the future, be granted to men."
Henry Harbin and his wife Agnes became very involved in the struggle for women's suffrage. By 1911 it became clear that Herbert Asquith and his Liberal Party were unwilling to support legislation. At its annual party conference in January 1912, the Labour Party passed a resolution committing itself to supporting women's suffrage. This was reflected in the fact that all Labour MPs voted for the measure at a debate in the House of Commons on 28th March. Soon afterwards Henry N. Brailsford and Kathleen Courtney, entered negotiations with the Labour Party as representatives of NUWSS.
In April 1912, the NUWSS announced that it intended to support Labour Party candidates in parliamentary by-elections. Emily Davies, a member of the Conservative Party, and Margery Corbett-Ashby, an active supporter of the Liberal Party, resigned from the NUWSS over this decision. However, others like Henry Harben, left the Liberal Party in protest against the government's attitude to the suffrage question.
Harben now joined the Labour Party and donated money to the NUWSS Election Fighting Fund (EFF). This money was used to support Labour candidates in by-elections. During this period Harben became friends with Muriel de la Warr, who was also helping to fund the EFF. With her encouragement he joined the board of The Daily Herald. On 14th February, 1913 Harben wrote to Emmeline Pankhurst about his financial support of the newspaper: "It would have been a disaster if the only daily paper which has furiously championed militancy in both the women's and the labour movements, had been allowed to die, and I was at work till after eleven last night to advert this." Sylvia Pankhurst claims that this money was used to acquire the Victoria House Printing Press.


http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Wharben.htm

Friday, 22 October 2010

Anne Cobden Sanderson

Anne Cobden Sanderson, the daughter of Richard Cobden, and a close friend of William Morris, is one of the most important figures in the struggle for the vote in Britain. Yet, there is virtually nothing on her on the web. She does not even have a page on Wikipedia. However, I have just created a page on her.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Wsanderson.htm

The Tax Resistance League (TRL)

The Tax Resistance League (TRL) was formed in October 1909. Founder members of the organisation included Louisa Garrett Anderson, Margaret Nevinson, Cicely Hamilton, Edith How-Martyn, Sime Seruya, Anne Cobden Sanderson, Maud Arncliffe Sennett, Lena Ashwell, Dora Montefiore, Beatrice Harraden, Evelyn Sharp and Eveline Haverfield. The TRL remained under the auspices of the Women's Freedom League.

The motto adopted by the Tax Resistance League was "No Vote No Tax". According to Elizabeth Crawford, the author of The Suffragette Movement (1999): "When bailiffs seized goods belonging to women in lieu of tax, the TRL made the ensuing sale the occasion for a public or open-air meeting in order to spread the principles of women's suffrage and to rouse public opinion to the injustice of non-representation meted out on tax-paying women."

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Wtaxresist.htm

Beatrice Harraden

In 1908 Beatrice Harraden joined the Women's Writers Suffrage League (WWSL). The WWSL stated that its object was "to obtain the vote for women on the same terms as it is or may be granted to men. Its methods are those proper to writers - the use of the pen." Women writers who joined the organisation included Cicely Hamilton, Elizabeth Robins, Charlotte Despard, Alice Meynell, Margaret Nevinson, Evelyn Sharp and Marie Belloc Lowndes. Sympathetic male writers such as Israel Zangwill and Laurence Housman, were allowed to become "Honorary Men Associates".

In March 1908 Harraden read a chapter from Ships That Pass in the Night at a WSPU fund raising event. She also shared the platform with Christabel Pankhurst at a meeting of the WSPU in Hampstead in March 1910. She also wrote several articles for Votes for Women. She joined the Tax Resistance League and refused to pay tax on her royalties until women got the vote.
Harraden left the WSPU during its arson campaign. She was also concerned about the health of hunger-strikers such as Emmeline Pankhurst and Lilian Lenton. She complained to Christabel Pankhurst, now living in exile in France, for risking the health of her members.

Other books by Harraden include Out of the Wreck I Rise (1914), The Guiding Thread (1916), Patuffa (1923), Rachel (1926) and Search Will Find It Out (1928).

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/WharradenB.htm

Agnes Garrett

Agnes Garrett, like her sisters, Millicent Garrett and Elizabeth Garrett, was a strong supporter of women's suffrage and was a member of Central Society for Women's Suffrage. In 1872, while she was still an apprentice, Agnes on a women's suffrage tour of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire with Lilias Ashworth Hallett.

In 1875 Agnes and Rhoda Garrett set up their own "Art Decoration" business. According to Helena Wojtczak, it was the "first all-female design and decorating company, taught interior decoration and won many high-profile commissions for public buildings and private residences." One of their first commissions was the Kensington home of the composer, Hubert Parry.

Agnes and Rhoda Garrett set up home at Firs Cottage, in the village of Rustington. Rhoda died of typhoid in 1882 and is buried at St Pauls Church.

In 1906 Agnes became a member of the London Society for Women's Suffrage. In 1912 the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies established an Election Fighting Fund (EFF) to support Labour Party candidates in by-elections. Agnes helped to fund this venture.

Agnes Garrett, who never married, died in 1935.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/WgarrettA.htm

The Church League for Women's Suffrage

By 1913 the The Church League for Women's Suffrage (CLWS) had 103 branches and 5,080 members. The CLWS never spoke out against the tactics of the Women Social & Political Union. In February 1914 the CLWS lost a lot of members when it rejected a motion, proposed by its Worcester branch, that it should declare itself opposed to militancy.

After the First World War the Church League for Women's Suffrage changed its name to the League of the Church Militant and campaigned for the ordination of women.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Wchurch.htm

The Death of Katherine Harley

On the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 Eveline Haverfield founded the Women's Emergency Corps, an organisation which helped organize women to become doctors, nurses and motorcycle messengers. Elsie Inglis, one of the founders of the Scottish Women's Suffrage Federation, suggested that women's medical units should be allowed to serve on the Western Front.

With the financial support of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS), Inglis formed the Scottish Women's Hospitals Committee. Soon satellite committees were formed in Glasgow, London and Liverpool. The American Red Cross also helped to fund the organisation. Although the War Office representative in Scotland opposed the idea, Dr. Elsie Inglis and her Scottish Women's Hospitals Committee sent the first women's medical unit to France three months after the war started. This included Katherine Harley. By 1915 the Scottish Women's Hospital Unit had established an Auxiliary Hospital with 200 beds in the 13th century Royaumont Abbey.

In April 1915 Elsie Inglis took a group of women, including Katherine Harley, to Serbia on the Balkan Front. Over the next few months they established field hospitals, dressing stations, fever hospitals and clinics. During an Austrian offensive in the summer of 1915, Inglis and some of her staff were captured but eventually, with the help of American diplomats, the British authorities were able to negotiate the release of the women.

In 1917, the 62 year-old Katherine Harley was killed by a shell at Monastir in Tunisia. According to Elizabeth Crawford, the author of The Suffragette Movement (1999): "She worked both in France and Serbia. Not an easy colleague, and not one happy to take orders, she was killed by a shell at Monastir, where, as one woman doctor laconically noted, she had no need to be."

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/WharleyK.htm

Emily Faithfull

In 1859 Emily Faithfull joined with, Jessie Boucherett, Bessie Rayner Parkes and Barbara Bodichon to form the Society for Promoting the Employment of Women. Her biographer, Felicity Hunt claims that: "The group pressed for legal reform in women's status (including suffrage), explored new areas for women's employment, and campaigned for improved educational opportunities for girls and women. Emily Faithfull was at the heart of this multi-faceted campaign and identified with all three dimensions, although she is best known for her work in women's employment. Her public support of the enfranchisement of women developed later from her investigations and practical campaigns surrounding employment, but from the beginning she was actively involved in the successful movement led by Emily Davies to have the university local examinations opened to women."

Faithfull became secretary of the Society for Promoting the Employment of Women and In March 1860 the women established the Victoria Press at Great Coram Street, London. At the time this was a skilled trade that was almost wholly confined to men. Bessie Rayner Parkes bought a small printing press, and she and Faithfull employed a compositor, Austin Holyoake (brother of George Jacob Holyoake), to give instruction in composing.

On 23rd July 1860 The Times published a letter from Faithfull: "I think many will be glad to hear, so great is the success of this office, that I have more work at this moment than my 12 women compositors can undertake, and I shall therefore be glad to receive six or eight girls immediately. They must be under 16 years of age, and apply personally at my office next week."


http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Wfaithfull.htm

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Maud Arncliffe Sennett

In January 1906 Maud Arncliffe Sennett read a letter from Millicent Fawcett about women's suffrage in The Times. As a result she joined the London Society for Women's Suffrage. Soon after she became a member of the Hampstead branch of the Women Social & Political Union (WSPU). According to her biographer "her experience as an actress made her a most effective speaker".

In June 1908 Sennett resigned from the WSPU. She now joined the Women's Freedom League and later became a member of its national executive. In her autobiography she commented on the WFL's two leaders, Teresa Billington-Greig and Charlotte Despard: "Billington-Greig was brilliant, but, I think, weak secretary who held the fort for the absent leader and kept grip of the machine. Mrs Despard, the popular reformer, did not organise; she was president and a sort of flaming torch that toured London and the country." Maud Arncliffe Sennett resigned from the WFL in July 1910.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Wsennett.htm

Ada Flatman

In April 1909 Ada Flatman went to help Gladice Keevil who had been appointed National Organiser in the Midlands and established a regional office in Birmingham. In May she became WSPU organiser in Liverpool where she worked closely with Alice Ker. She asked permission to open a WSPU shop in the city. Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, the treasurer initially said no but eventually changed her mind with the words: "I have confidence in your sense of responsibility... I shall watch the result very carefully." It was a great success and in its first year it raised £592.

Flatman became WSPU organiser in Cheltenham in February 1911. The energy she put into her work helped to unseat the Liberal Party candidate in the by-election. Flatman also organised the WSPU campaign in the Ilkeston where the majority was reduced by 3,000 and in July she helped to defeat the Liberal candidate in the Crewe by-election.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Wflatman.htm

Ray Strachey

After the First World War Ray Strachey was the editor of The Common Cause and then of its successor, The Women's Leader. Ray Strachey was also the author of Women's Suffrage and Women's Service (1928), The Cause: A Short History of the Women's Movement in Great Britain (1928) and Millicent Garrett Fawcett (1931).

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/WstracheyR.htm

Edith Downing

Edith Downing joined forces with Marion Wallace-Dunlop to organise a series of spectacular WSPU processions. The most impressive of these was the Woman's Coronation Procession on 17th June 1911. Flora Drummond led off on horseback with Charlotte Marsh as colour-bearer on foot behind her. She was followed by Marjorie Annan Bryce in armour as Joan of Arc.

The art historian, Lisa Tickner, described the event in her book The Spectacle of Women (1987): "The whole procession gathered itself up and swung along Northumberland Avenue to the strains of Ethel Smyth's March of the Women... The mobilisation of 700 prisoners (or their proxies) dressed in white, with pennons fluttering from their glittering lances, was, as the Daily Mail observed, "a stroke of genius". As The Daily News reported: "Those who dominate the movement have a sense of the dramatic. They know that whereas the sight of one woman struggling with policemen is either comic or miserably pathetic, the imprisonment of dozens is a splendid advertisement."

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Wdowning.htm

Ada Nield Chew and Women's Suffrage

Ada Nield Chew was a member of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) and was totally against the policy of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU). The main objective of the WSPU was to gain, not universal suffrage, the vote for all women and men over a certain age, but votes for women, “on the same basis as men.” This meant winning the vote not for all women but for only the small stratum of women who could meet the property qualification. As one critic pointed out, it was "not votes for women", but “votes for ladies.”

On the 16th December 1904 The Clarion published a letter from Ada Nield Chew on WSPU policy: "The entire class of wealthy women would be enfranchised, that the great body of working women, married or single, would be voteless still, and that to give wealthy women a vote would mean that they, voting naturally in their own interests, would help to swamp the vote of the enlightened working man, who is trying to get Labour men into Parliament."

The following month Christabel Pankhurst replied to the points that Ada made: "Some of us are not at all so confident as is Mrs Chew of the average middle class man's anxiety to confer votes upon his female relatives." A week later Ada Nield Chew retorted that she still rejected the policies in favour of "the abolition of all existing anomalies... which would enable a man or woman to vote simply because they are man or woman, not because they are more fortunate financially than their fellow men and women". As the authors of One Hand Tied Behind Us (1978) pointed out: "The fiery exchange ran on through the spring and into March. The two women both relished confrontation, and neither was prepared to concede an inch. They had no sympathy for the other's views, and shared no common experiences that might help to bridge the chasm."

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Wchew.htm

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Olive Wharry

Olive Wharry became involved in the struggle for women's suffrage and joined the Church League for Women's Suffrage and Women's Social and Political Union. On 4th March, 1912, Wharry took part in a window-breaking demonstration. This time the target was government offices in Whitehall. According to Votes for Women: "From in front, behind, from every side it came - a hammering, crashing, splintering sound unheard in the annals of shopping... At the windows excited crowds collected, shouting, gesticulating. At the centre of each crowd stood a woman, pale, calm and silent."

Wharry was one of the 200 suffragettes were arrested and jailed for taking part in the demonstration. She was found guilty of breaking windows worth £195 and was sentenced to six months in prison. As Holloway Prison was full she was sent to Winson Green Prison in Birmingham. She took part in a hunger strike and was released in July. According to the prison doctor, Wharry was "mentally unstable". However, Elizabeth Crawford argued that "Olive Wharry's prison notebook contains no hint of insanity. It is full of delightful drawings of prison life, along with poems, satirical and amusing."

In July 1912, Christabel Pankhurst began organizing a secret arson campaign. According to Sylvia Pankhurst: "Women, most of them very young, toiled through the night across unfamiliar country, carrying heavy cases of petrol and paraffin. Sometimes they failed, sometimes succeeded in setting fire to an untenanted building - all the better if it were the residence of a notability - or a church, or other place of historic interest." Occasionally they were caught and convicted, usually they escaped. Attempts were made by suffragettes to burn down the houses of two members of the government who opposed women having the vote. These attempts failed but soon afterwards, a house being built for David Lloyd George, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, was badly damaged by suffragettes.

The WSPU began a campaign to destroy the contents of pillar-boxes. By December, the government claimed that over 5,000 letters had been damaged by the WSPU. The main figure in this campaign was May Billinghurst. A fellow suffragette, Lilian Lenton, argued: "She (May Billinghurst) would set out in her chair with many little packages from which, when they were turned upside down, there flowed a dark brown sticky fluid, concealed under the rug which covered her legs. She went undeviatingly from one pillar box to another, sometimes alone, sometimes with another suffragette to do the actual job, dropping a package into each one."

Olive Wharry was one of the young women involved in this arson campaign. Along with Lilian Lenton she embarked on a series of terrorist acts. She was arrested on 19th February 1913, soon after setting fire to the tea pavilion in Kew Gardens. In court it was reported: "The constables gave chase, and just before they caught them each of the women who had separated was seen to throw away a portmanteau. At the station the women gave the names of Lilian Lenton and Olive Wharry. In one of the bags which the women threw away were found a hammer, a saw, a bundle to tow, strongly redolent of paraffin and some paper smelling strongly of tar. The other bag was empty, but it had evidently contained inflammables."

On 7th March 1913 she was found guilty and sentenced to eighteen months. Elizabeth Crawford, the author of The Suffragette Movement (1999): "She was released on 8th April after having been on hunger strike for 32 days, apparently without the prison authorities noticing. His usual weight was 7st 11lbs; when released she weighed 5st 9lbs."

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Wwharry.htm

Alice Schofield

Alice Schofield became a paid organizer for the WFL. Based in Middlesbrough she was arrested in February 1909 after taking part in a demonstration outside the House of Commons and was sentenced to one month's imprisonment. In February 1910 she was attacked at an open-air WFL meeting in Guisborough. She was rescued by Charles Coates, a coal exporter, who later married her. The couple had two daughters and one son. Her husband was very wealthy and the children were brought up in a household on several servants, including a governess and nurse. She continued her political activities and was a member of the Women's Freedom League national executive.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Wschofield.htm

Lilian Lenton

On 28th March, 1917, the House of Commons voted 341 to 62 that women over the age of 30 who were householders, the wives of householders, occupiers of property with an annual rent of £5 or graduates of British universities. After the passing of the Qualification of Women Act the first opportunity for women to vote was in the General Election in December, 1918. Several of the women involved in the suffrage campaign stood for Parliament. Only one, Constance Markiewicz, standing for Sinn Fein, was elected. Lilian Lenton, who played an important role in women gaining the vote later recalled: "Personally, I didn't vote for a long time, because I hadn't either a husband or furniture, although I was over 30."

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/WlentonL.htm

You can here an interview with Lilian Lenton here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/suffragettes/8322.shtml

Elsie Bowerman

On the outbreak of the First World War, Bowerman supported the decision by Emmeline Pankhurst, to help Britain's war effort. In 1914 Eveline Haverfield founded the Women's Emergency Corps, an organisation which helped organize women to become doctors, nurses and motorcycle messengers. Christabel Marshall described Haverfield as looking "every inch a soldier in her khaki uniform, in spite of the short skirt which she had to wear over her well-cut riding-breeches in public." Appointed as Commandant in Chief of the Women's Reserve Ambulance Corps, Haverfield was instructed to organize the sending of the Scottish Women's Hospital Units to Serbia.

On 5th July, 1916, Elsie Bowerman wrote to her mother: "Mrs Haverfield has just asked me to go out to Serbia at the beginning of August, to drive a car - May I go? I know Miss Whitelaw would let me off Wycombe to go. It is what I've been dying to do & drive a car ever since the war started. I should have to spend the week after the procession learning to drive - the cars are Fords - if I went I would come home when I come back I would not have to go to W.A. It is really like a chance to go to the front. They want drivers so badly. So do say yes - It is too thrilling for words."

According to Elizabeth Crawford: "In September 1916 Elsie Bowerman sailed to Russia as an orderly with the Scottish women's hospital unit, at the request of the Hon. Evelina Haverfield, a fellow suffragette whom she had known for several years. With this unit she travelled via Archangel, Moscow, and Odessa to serve the Serbian and Russian armies in Romania. The women arrived as the allies were defeated, and were soon forced to join the retreat northwards to the Russian frontier."

While awaiting her passage home, in March 1917, Elsie Bowerman witnessed the overthrow of Tsar Nicholas II in St Petersburg. She wrote to her mother: "Throughout we have met with the utmost politeness & consideration from everyone. Revolutions carried out in such a peaceful manner really deserve to succeed. Today weapons only seem to be in the hands of responsible people - not as yesterday, carried in many cases by excited youths. Heard that the ministers have now surrendered. Some have been shot, or shot themselves."

In 1917 Elsie Bowerman became a member of the The Women's Party, an organisation established by Emmeline Pankhurst and Christabel Pankhurst. Its twelve-point programme included: (1) A fight to the finish with Germany. (2) More vigorous war measures to include drastic food rationing, more communal kitchens to reduce waste, and the closing down of nonessential industries to release labour for work on the land and in the factories. (3) A clean sweep of all officials of enemy blood or connections from Government departments. Stringent peace terms to include the dismemberment of the Hapsburg Empire." The party also supported: "equal pay for equal work, equal marriage and divorce laws, the same rights over children for both parents, equality of rights and opportunities in public service, and a system of maternity benefits." Christabel and Emmeline had now completely abandoned their earlier socialist beliefs and advocated policies such as the abolition of the trade unions.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Wbowerman.htm

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Catherine Marshall and Clifford Allen

Soon after the outbreak of the First World War, two pacifists, Clifford Allen and Fenner Brockway, formed the No-Conscription Fellowship (NCF), an organisation that encouraged men to refuse war service. The NCF required its members to "refuse from conscientious motives to bear arms because they consider human life to be sacred." As Martin Ceadel, the author of Pacifism in Britain 1914-1945 (1980) has pointed out: "Though limiting itself to campaigning against conscription, the N.C.F.'s basis was explicitly pacifist rather than merely voluntarist.... In particular, it proved an efficient information and welfare service for all objectors; although its unresolved internal division over whether its function was to ensure respect for the pacifist conscience or to combat conscription by any means"

Catherine Marshall, a leading figure in the N, joined the NCF. Catherine fell in love with Clifford Allen, the chairman of the NCF, who was imprisoned in 1916. According to Jo Vellacott "Marshall suffered deeply when he was imprisoned; he was physically frail, and his health deteriorated rapidly in prison. By mid-1917, Catherine Marshall was compulsively driving herself towards breakdown, and Allen's health was further threatened by his intention of embarking on a hunger and work strike in prison. By the end of the year, Marshall had collapsed and Allen was released seriously ill. When both were convalescent they spent several months together in what seems to have been a trial marriage; Marshall was devastated when the relationship ended."


http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/WmarshallCAT.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/TUallen.htm

Kathleen Courtney

Kathleen Courtney became a pacifist and during the First World War became associated with the Friends' War Victims Relief Committee. Her biographer, Janet E. Grenier, has pointed out: "She worked for the Serbian Relief Fund in Salonika, took charge of a temporary Serbian refugee colony in Bastia, Corsica, and was decorated by the Serbian government. Those who knew her during this period described her as full of life and fun and an exceptional administrator. She went on to work for the Friends' committee in France, Austria, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Greece. She was in Vienna for three years where she was horrified by the post-war scenes of starvation, particularly among refugees."

Courtney continued to be involved in the campaign for women's suffrage. She helped establish the Adult Suffrage Society in 1916 and as joint-secretary she lobbied members of the House of Commons for extension of the franchise until the Qualification of Women Act was passed in 1918. The following year she became vice-president of the National Union of Societies for Equal Citizenship. As well as advocating the same voting rights as men, the organisation also campaigned for equal pay, fairer divorce laws and an end to the discrimination against women in the professions.

After the war she became a leading figure in the pacifist movement and was a member of the League of Nations Union and became a member of its executive in 1928. She spent much time in Geneva, working as first vice-president of the Peace and Disarmament Committee of Women's International Organizations. However, in 1933 she resigned from the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom because she believed that the league's pacifism, calling for complete disarmament, was unrealistic.

When Abyssinia was invaded by Italy in October 1935, she mobilized British and European women's organizations in the campaign to prevent civilian bombing. During the Second World War she worked for the Ministry of Information. In 1945 she attended the San Francisco conference that established the United Nations. Soon afterwards she became deputy chairman of the United Nations Association.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/WcourtneyK.htm

Margaret Ashton and the NUWSS

In July 1914 the NUWSS argued that Asquith's government should do everything possible to avoid a European war. Two days after the British government declared war on Germany on 4th August 1914, Millicent Fawcett declared that it was suspending all political activity until the conflict was over. Although the NUWSS supported the war effort, it did not follow the WSPU strategy of becoming involved in persuading young men to join the armed forces.

Despite pressure from members of the NUWSS, Fawcett refused to argue against the First World War. Her biographer, Ray Strachey, argued: "She stood like a rock in their path, opposing herself with all the great weight of her personal popularity and prestige to their use of the machinery and name of the union." At a Council meeting of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies held in February 1915, Fawcett attacked the peace efforts of people like Mary Sheepshanks. Fawcett argued that until the German armies had been driven out of France and Belgium: "I believe it is akin to treason to talk of peace."

After a stormy executive meeting in Buxton all the officers of the NUWSS (except the Treasurer) and ten members of the National Executive resigned over the decision not to support the Women's Peace Congress at the Hague. This included Margaret Ashton, Chrystal Macmillan, Kathleen Courtney, Catherine Marshall, Eleanor Rathbone and Maude Royden, the editor of the The Common Cause.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/WashtonM.htm

Monday, 18 October 2010

Margaret Haig Thomas and Helen Archdale

In 1901 Russel married Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Montgomery Archdale, who was stationed in India. Over the next few years she gave birth to two sons and a daughter.

On her return to England she joined the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU). On 9th October 1909 she took part in a WSPU demonstration in Edinburgh. Later that month Helen Archdale was arrested with Adela Pankhurst and Maud Joachim in Dundee after interrupting a meeting being held by the local MP, Winston Churchill. On 20th October all three women went on hunger strike. They were all released after four days of imprisonment.

After leaving her husband Archdale began a relationship with Margaret Haig Thomas. According to her biographer, David Doughan: "Helen Archdale had an intense relationship with Lady Rhondda, which seems to have begun in committee work during the First World War, though they also shared a background in suffrage militancy. By the early 1920s, she was sharing an apartment, and, together with her family, a country house (Stonepits, Kent) with Lady Rhondda."

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Whaig.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Warchdale.htm

Vincent Sheean

In 1918 Vincent Sheean joined the US Army with the intention of taking part in the First World War. He later wrote: "I was sorry when the war ended. I fumed with disappointment on the night of the false armistice - the celebrated night when the American newspapers reported the end of the war some days before it happened. We were all patriots then. We knew nothing about that horror and degradation which our elders who had been through the war were to put before us so unremittingly for the next fifteen years. There were millions of us, young Americans between the ages of fifteen or sixteen and eighteen or nineteen, who cursed freely all through the middle weeks of November. We felt cheated. We had been put into uniform with the definite promise that we were to be trained as officers and sent to France."

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/SPsheean.htm

Friday, 15 October 2010

Mary Sheepshanks

In 1891 Mary Sheepshanks went to Newnham College to study medieval and modern languages. She later recalled: "College life meant for me a new freedom and independence ... The mere living in Cambridge was a joy in itself; the beauty of it all, the noble architecture, the atmosphere of learning were balm to one's soul ...To spend some of the most formative years in an atmosphere of things of the mind and in the acquisition of knowledge is happiness in itself and the results and memories are undying. Community life at its best, as in a college, brings contacts with people of varied interests and backgrounds and studying a wide range of subjects. Friendships are formed and new vistas opened. For a few years at least escape is possible from the worries and trivialities of domestic life."

While at Newnham College Mary began to teach adult literacy classes in the poor working-class district of Barnwell. This experience turned her into a social reformer. She also became friends with Bertrand Russell, a strong advocate of free love and women's suffrage. He was also highly critical of organised religion. Her sister, Dorothy Sheepshanks, recalled that, "Mary came to hold very advanced views in many respects, views of which father disapproved." John Sheepshanks, who was Bishop of Norwich at the time, was so shocked by Mary's views on politics and religion that he insisted that Mary must not spend any of her future university vacations at home.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/WsheepshanksM.htm

Flora Mayor

Flora Mayor was engaged to Ernest Shepherd. After his death in India in 1903 she kept a grief journal where she carried out a conversation with Ernest. The final entry was nine years later: "It is just ten years ago since our engagement. I am forty. You seem so young, thirty-one. I always love best your letter to Alice and the one about Alice to me. Help me if you can to cure my faults and make me more tender, you are so much much more unselfish. Each year brings us nearer."

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/WmayorF.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/WshepherdE2.htm

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Peter Fryer and Sam Russell

Peter Fryer was in Budapest during the Hungarian Uprising. Fryer, who was critical of the actions of the Soviet Union, found his reports in the Daily Worker were censored. Fryer responded by having the material published in the New Statesman. As a result he was suspended from the party for "publishing in the capitalist press attacks on the Communist Party." The loyal Sam Russell was now sent to the country to report on the uprising.

Sam Russell died last week. He worked for the Daily Worker during the Spanish Civil War and remained loyal during the purges. After the Second World War he became diplomatic correspondent of the Daily Worker. In 1952 he covered show-trial of Czechoslovakian Communist Party general secretary Rudolf Slansky and 13 other party leaders. At the time he considered the evidence as genuine but according to Roger Bagley it was an experience which "left a deep scar." Despite this Russell worked for the Daily Worker and its successor, the Morning Star, until his retirement in 1984.

The Morning Star has posted an obituary on its website. He does not talk about his pro-Soviet reporting instead it points out that:

In the 1970s he became increasingly critical of the Soviet model of socialism and by the 1990s he had turned into a fervent admirer of Tony Blair seeing him as a great leader of a supposed new leap forward for social democracy.

He also supported the destructive leadership faction in the Communist Party of Great Britain which was hell-bent on attacking the Morning Star in the mid-1980s. He backed the short-lived Democratic Left project which quickly morphed into a feeble think tank.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/SPrussellS.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/COLDfryer.htm