Tag Archives: WSPU



Edith Morley: the first female professor in Britain




Edith Morley’s 1944 memoir, Before and After, was written a few years after retiring as the first female professor at an English university. This absorbing story, now published in book form for the first time by Two Rivers Press, brings alive a very different era, one foundational to the freedoms we enjoy today.

Barbara Morris, who has edited the volume, talks here about Edith Morley and her memoir.


When in 1907 Reading University College began its quest for full university status all heads of department were promoted

Women as Renegades – Fighting for Peace during War



The split in the Women’s Movement occurring in the United Kingdom over engagement in war was replicated in other parts of the British Empire. When the 1914-1918 war broke out, Emmeline Pankhurst’s rhetoric and actions in unreservedly ‘voting’ to supporting the war and the war effort met with approval and disapproval not only in Britain. The WSPU’s approach in putting women’s rights to one side was complied with or renounced by women in Canada, Aotearoa/New Zealand and Australia.


In Australia, where women had fought for and long since gained the vote, Vida Goldstein led the Women’s Peace Army, attracting to …

Jessie Kenney and women seafarers

What does a woman do after she’s fought for and won the vote? She pursues her next goal. And 90 years ago this April, Jessie Kenney, a key figure in the suffrage movement, fulfilled the first stage of her next dream.

It was this summer, nine decades ago, that this ex-Secretary of the Women’s Social and Political Union found her dream could not be realised. There were too many obstacles for women, even those as determined as Jessie Kenney, to get past.

In researching for a new book about the history of women at sea I’ve found that gendered notions …

Suffragettes and Tea Rooms

Since writing briefly in The Women’s Suffrage Movement: a reference guide on some London cafés associated with the suffrage movement, I had been curious to know more of their reality. It was only when invited to take part – with Dr Alison Ronan – in a short item for the BBC Women’s Hour on ‘Suffragettes and Tea Rooms’, that I felt justified in spending time on research. What follows is a taster of the results, which give a clearer idea of the places in which militant activity was discussed – and practised – a hundred years ago. I have issued …

“You are supposed to be educated”

Alice Paul and Amelia Brown of the militant suffrage Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) appeared in court on 10 November 1909 for breaking windows during the Mayor of London’s banquet at the Guildhall. Alderman Johnston, the magistrate, was puzzled by these “hysterical creatures”. “You are supposed to be educated, and you ought to know a great deal better,” he scolded.

Alice Paul was indeed educated. (Unfortunately I can find no information about Amelia Brown.) An American Quaker, Paul (1885-1977) went to the University of Pennsylvania and then came to England where she studied at Birmingham University and the London …