Sunday, 23 June 2013

The Bristol Suffragettes – Lucienne Boyce

One of the very first UK suffrage centres was established in Bristol, and outside of London we saw the most active suffrage activity here in Bristol. So now local author Lucienne Boyce has celebrated the work of the militants in the city with her new book The Bristol Suffragettes.

Focussing on the militants (rather than the suffragists), Lucienne’s book launches us into the world of 1907 when former Lancashire mill worker Annie Kenney was dispatched to Bristol by the Pankhursts to head up the South West branch of the Women’s Social & Poltical Union (WSPU).

From this point on, Lucienne guides us through the following years as the suffragettes ramped up their activity, including arson attacks, whipping Winston Churchill, and disrupting political speeches. But along the way, we also hear about rousing suffrage plays performed at a (now vanished) theatre on Park Row, coffee mornings at the Victoria Rooms and the suffragette wood in Batheaston.

The Bristol Suffragettes is a very nicely put together and accessible book, with a clean design and voting ‘x’ motif throughout. It also includes a foldout map offering a walk around the Clifton area to take in some buildings of suffragette significance, as well as lots of appendices with timelines, biographies, and further reading suggestions. A very neat resource.

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