27/04/2007

Suffragettes 1910 - updated


With the local elections due in the next week, I thought you might like to be reminded of a time when women risked everything for the right to vote. I suppose I have to ask...was it worth it girls?

The picture is taken from the stage door in Princes Street, looking down towards Addington Street and is interesting for showing not only a gas mantle and a Theatre Royal sign/light but also the fly tower escape ladder, none of which are in existence now. Click on the picture for a better view.

This version of the picture is taken from an issue of Bygone Kent lent to me by the old theatre retainer Brian Wallis who deserves, and will get, an entry all to himself. Bygone Kent is now run by local writer Nick Evans and deserves your support as an archive of days past, it's available from all good newsagents.

ADDENDUM
From information I've now found from the East Kent Times of July 6th 1910 where this picture originally appeared, it was Miss Christabel Pankhurst who spoke at the meeting which took place on Saturday 2nd July 1910. She had spoken on Friday 1st July at Ramsgate's Royal Pavilion and the previous day at Herne Bay. Christabel is central in the picture holding the large bouquet of flowers. The photographer was Mr G Houghton of Margate.

FURTHER ADDENDUM
I've now found proof that earlier that same year Christabel's mother Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst had made the trip to Ramsgate and Margate, the EKT of 21st April reports...

On 22nd April 1910 Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst spoke at Theatre Royal Margate. At the commencement of the proceedings there was some slight interruptions by young men, who finding that no fun was to be had out of the meeting, withdrew in a body, followed by seething remarks hurled at them by the speaker. Mrs Pankhurst claimed that women who paid rates, taxes and rent, or held a university degree should have a vote on equal terms with men. (According to statistics quoted in a letter to the paper of 26th March 1910 that would mean that about a million and a quarter women will then possess the vote in addition to the seven and a half million men) She urged the women of Thanet to support the women's franchise, and added that although the militant party to which she belonged had stayed their hand for the present there would be more drastic measures taken to keep their cause before the public unless their reasonable demands were conceded.

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Here's the full texts from the East Kent Times various entries

East Kent Times July 6th 1910

The Eve of Victory

Christabel Pankhurst spoke to a large meeting at the Royal Pavilion in Ramsgate on Friday evening 1st July. The previous day she had spoken to a crowded audience at the Town Hall in Herne Bay.

The purple, green and white colours of the WSPU were prominent in the hall, and the banner of the Canterbury and Thanet Branch stood upon the platform, together with a banner bearing the inspiring message "Spur thee to thy goal".

Miss Pankhurst spoke for considerably more than an hour. She told the tale of" a man who lost his latch­key and broke a window to get into his won house. The British constitution, she said was women's house. They had been robbed of their latch-key and they were going to break the window to get in (loud applause).

'There is nothing of the "blue stocking" of popular conception in the appearance of Miss Pankhurst - her charm of manner, the frank, open face and winning smile, together with the determined mouth and chin, the expressive eyes and brilliant ability, make in Miss Pankhurst the ideal leader of the cause which she so valiantly champions.

The large audience at the Pavilion included a large number of the voting sex, to whom Miss Pankhurst addressed many of her remarks."

Miss Pankhurst spoke at the Theatre Royal in Margate on Saturday 2nd July at 3pm.



Suffragettes posing for a group photograph outside the Theatre Royal in 1910 which appeared in the East Kent Times of 6ih July 1910. Christabel Pankhurst is in the centre of the group holding the beautiful spray of flowers. The photographer was Mr G Houghton of Margate.





21st April 1910

Mrs Pankhurst spoke at the WSPU meeting in Royal Pavilion Ramsgate. Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst is the widow of Dr Pankhurst who drafted the first Bill for Women's Suffrage, and was largely reponsible for the Married Women's Property Act. She is a woman of remarkable personal magnetism and a brilliant convincing speaker, although physically not a strong woman. Her daughters Christabel and Sylvia are as enthusiastic as herself and prominent members of the WSPU, founded by Mrs Pankhurst in 1903.

Mrs Pankhurst's visit to Ramsgate was accompanied by all the corollaries and additions to the propaganda the ladies of the movement have adopted. The ieader's coming was hugely placarded, for days beforehand a coach was driven about the town blazoning forth the colours of the propagandists, and exhibiting notices of the meeting, and on Thursday in last week, the day of the meeting at the Pavilion Theatre, townspeople awoke to find the pavements and promenades covered with cheap advertisements in chalk announcing Mrs Pankhurst's coming. Mrs Pankhurst succeeded in almost filling the large auditorium at the Pavilion.

She spoke at great length on the extraordinary growth of the women's suffrage movement, due, she claimed, to the fact that its advocates had met with opposition. No one ever thought of opposing a new movement unless headway was being made. Apathy and indifference had been their biggest obstacles, but these were now fast disappearing. The formation of anti-suffragist societies proved this. Mrs Pankhurst quoted Lord Cromer who advanced the opinion that women should not have the vote because "men were men and women were women." This fact she regarded as the best possible argument in favour of their cause. It was just because women were women, and therefore different from men, that it was necessary for their point of view to be studied and for the legislators of the country to be made responsible to women as well as men.

She ended by saying "If you have courage enough, if you are persistent, you are bound to win in the end if only your cause, like ours, is right."

On 22nd April 1910 Mrs Pankhurst spoke at Theatre Royal Margate. At the commencement of the proceedings there was some slight interruptions by young men, who finding that no fun was to be had out of the meeting, withdrew in a body, followed by seething remarks hurled at them by the speaker. Mrs Pankhurst claimed that women who paid rates, taxes and rent, or held a university degree should have a vote on equal terms with men. (According to statistics quoted in a letter to the paper of 26th March 1910 that would mean that about a million and a quarter women will then possess the vote in addition to the seven and a half million men) She urged the women of Thanet to support the women's franchise, and added that although the militant party to which she belonged had stayed their hand for the present there would be more drastic measures taken to keep their cause before the public unless their reasonable demands were conceded.








2 comments:

bishopsfinger said...

brian would have been proud to see his name in print,keep up the good work,the wallis family

Anonymous said...

Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
I've been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

Thumbs up, and keep it going!

Cheers
Christian, iwspo.net