Saturday, 11 August 2018

Deeds or Words


I've mentioned before on this blog that it is 100 years this year since women, over 30 and who owned property, were granted the right to vote in parliamentary elections in Great Britain. (It wasn't until 1928 that women gained electoral equality.) There's been an interesting exhibition in Shipley College, showing letters, papers and ephemera recently acquired by the Saltaire Archive that had belonged to Isabel Salt. 

Isabel was the daughter of Titus Salt Jnr (and therefore granddaughter of Sir Titus Salt). She was well-educated, well-travelled and was a noted Suffragist. I had not fully appreciated that there were two strands in the battle for women's suffrage. There were the Suffragettes, women like Emmeline Pankhurst, who engaged in direct action and civil disobedience in their fight for women's rights. There were also the Suffragists, women who campaigned and were vocal in their call for women's right to vote but who disagreed with the militant methods of the Suffragettes. 

We're familiar with the purple, green and white colours of the Suffragettes. I hadn't realised that the Suffragists wore red, green and white. There were newspaper clippings in the archive that showed that Isabel, after speaking at a meeting, was described in a newspaper as a Suffragette and wrote a polite but robust denial, claiming herself to be a Suffragist. 

The exhibition was accompanied by a short, original drama, describing the various positions held by Thomas, a soldier (soldiers were not allowed to vote); Isabel Salt, a Suffragist; Maggie, Thomas's sister and a Suffragette; Rev. Oates, a man 'sitting on the fence'; and Mr Henry Beecher, a Conservative MP and prominently opposed to women's suffrage. I believe the actors were members of Bingley Little Theatre, though there didn't seem to be any note of their names anywhere. 


The displays at the exhibition included, with my permission, three of my photos (blushes...) that I took at the Women's March in May. (See HERE) So that was gratifying! 



6 comments:

  1. So glad to hear about how suffragettes and suffragists were different there. I'd learned somewhere that the press had called suffragists the "gettes" as a diminution of their efforts, which of course they would not like. Now I know it was also a matter of their own identification, and those who were jailed would have been the more militant suffragettes. Now to try to remember that.

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  2. I think the colours of suffragist flags were much the same here. In Canada the process of women being given the vote went province by province, starting during the Great War.

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  3. And there is still more work to be done around the world for women!

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  4. Not every woman wishes or is self-driven to reach the top of the slippery pole. Their priority set is quite different.

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  5. I was not aware that the movement had two different threads. I learn so much by reading blogs.

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