Installing the Blue Plaque for the Bristol and West of England Society for Women’s Suffrage

The weather was awful but that didn’t deter us and in true suffrage spirit over thirty people braved a bitterly cold and wet day for the installation of a Blue Plaque to commemorate the Bristol and West of England Society for Women’s Suffrage on Saturday 15 December 2018.

One hundred years after women voted in British Parliamentary elections for the first time, Bristol MP Thangam Debbonaire was guest of honour at the installation of a Blue Plaque at 3 West Mall, Clifton.

The event had a lovely surprise ending when Professor Bhupinder Sandhu and Richard Whitburn invited a group of extremely wet and bedraggled people into their home for coffee and cake. Their hospitality was most welcome and we were all extremely grateful to them.

Photos:

With Thangam Debbonaire MP and Lori Streich of the Blue Plaques Committee (Gordon Young)

The Blue Plaque (Gordon Young)


A Blue Plaque for Bristol’s Pioneering Suffrage Campaigners

One hundred years after women voted in British Parliamentary elections for the first time, Bristol MP Thangam Debbonaire will be guest of honour at the installation of a Blue Plaque at 3 West Mall, Clifton to commemorate Bristol’s first women’s suffrage society.

The Bristol and West of England Society for Women’s Suffrage was set up when Florence Davenport Hill (1828/9–1919) invited a group of like-minded individuals to a meeting at her home at 3 West Mall (formerly 3 The Mall), Clifton, Bristol on 24 January 1868. The society joined the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) in 1896, and continued campaigning until all women won the vote in 1928. Mrs Millicent Garrett Fawcett, the leader of the NUWSS, was honoured by a statue in Parliament Square earlier this year.

Bristol West MP Thangam Debbonaire said, “As a woman voter as well as a woman MP, I know how far we have to come before we have true equality in all aspects of life. But without the dedication and struggle of the women who campaigned for the right to vote, we would have no representation. We would be left out of all decisions affecting our lives. I am proud to be part of celebrating these women’s achievements.”

I’ve set up a crowd-funding page at Just Giving for anyone who would like to contribute towards the cost of the Blue Plaque. If you’d like to make a donation vist Just Giving.

The installation ceremony will take place at 11.30 on Saturday 15 December 2018 at 3 West Mall, Clifton, Bristol BS8 4BH. All are welcome to attend. There is no charge for this event.

For further information, see the Press Release (PDF document).

Photo: Thangam Debbonaire, MP


The Bristol Suffragettes is a South Gloucestershire Libraries’ recommended read

I’m thrilled that The Bristol Suffragettes has been selected by staff at South Gloucestershire Libraries as one of their recommended reads as part of their ‘Inspiring Women: The Legacy of the First World War in South Gloucestershire’ initiative. The book is in good company with Jane Duffus’s The Women Who Built Bristol 1184-2018, Tessa Dunlop’s The Century Girls: The Final Word from the Women Who’ve Lived the Last Hundred Years of British History, and Cathy Newman’s brilliantly-titled Bloody Brilliant Women: Pioneers, Revolutionaries and Geniuses Your History Teacher Forgot to Mention.

The books are available for loan and can be reserved free of charge at Libraries West UK.


The Butcher’s Block is a BRAG Medallion Honoree

I am thrilled to announce that The Butcher’s Block has received a BRAG Medallion and is now listed on the Indie BRAG website.  As only 20-25% of submitted books receive the award, I’m really excited about this – it’s a real honour.

Here is The Butcher’s Block wearing its Indie BRAG Medallion!

The book pitches Dan Foster into a treacherous underworld of vicious pugilists, ruthless murderers, British spy masters and French agents. Find out more about The Butchers’ Block here.

 


Bristol History Podcast

In May 2018 I talked to Tom Brothwell on the History Podcast about writing and researching historical fiction. Amongst other things, we discussed how my interest in the history of protest and reform informs my fiction and non fiction. The podcast is available to listen to on Soundcloud at the Bristol History Podcast website. 

Photo: Camerton church in Somerset was the inspiration for the church which features in The Fatal Coin: A Dan Foster Mystery. If you look closely you can see the elephants…

 


A Problem Beyond Human Solution: Women’s Education in the Eighteenth Century

“Too much education was a dangerous thing: it created dissatisfaction and unsettled the labouring classes.”

I was thrilled to be invited to write a guest blog for Geri Walton’s splendid history site which looks at all things eighteenth and nineteenth century. In my blog, I looked at the issue of women’s education in the eighteenth century, and the debate that raged about how and to what extent women should be educated. You can read A Problem Beyond Human Solution: Women’s Education in the Eighteenth Century here.


Bristol Women into Politics – “an insightful overview of the suffragette movement in Bristol”

There’s a review of the talk Professor June Hannam and I did at Bristol MShed on 15 February 2018 by State of the Arts, a website covering arts, culture and politics from cities across England. The talk – “Women, Citizenship and the 1918 Representation of the People Act: Bristol Women in Politics” – explored the background to the Representation of the People Act 1918 which gave some British women the vote, and looked at how Bristol women responded to the new political landscape. The talk was part of the Regional History Centre’s seminar series at MShed. You can read the review at the State of the Arts website here. Find out more about the Regional History Centre, the University of the West of England, here.