Marking International Women’s Day, this month’s guest speaker was Peter Barratt, great grandson of a British Suffragette. He told members about his incredible ancestor, with stories of her background, her activities and her frequent incarcerations. Peter brought along various memorabilia, including postcards, press cuttings and her prison diaries.
Born in 1863, Alice Hawkins lived most of her life in Leicester. From a working class background, Alice left school at thirteen to spend her working life as a shoe machinist, in the ‘boot and shoes’.
She quickly realised working conditions and pay for women in industry were inferior to men’s and became active in her trade union. In 1907 she attended her first meeting of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in Hyde Park, followed by a march the same day to the House of Commons to demand the vote for women. That afternoon mounted police charged down the women and Alice was arrested and imprisoned for the first time in her life. And so began her tireless work for women’s suffrage in Britain. In the following seven years she was to be arrested and jailed a total of five times, with terms of imprisonment in Leicester and Holloway jails.
You can read more about Alice at Peter’s web site, and learn about her achievements and the involvement of her supportive husband Alfred.
As usual, we had a host of Best of Britain vendors giving members a chance to buy beautiful last minute Mother’s Day gifts. Huge thanks to them all as not only do they pay to attend our meeting, they also provide the raffle gifts some members are lucky enough to win. Thanks also to Marci-Beth as usual, for her entertaining drawing of the raffle prizes.
See you next month when our guest speaker will be Lucinda Hawksley, Charles Dickens' great granddaughter and a very accomplished author and historian. Monday 16th April, 9.30am at Great Fosters.