Wednesday 23 November 2011

No votes! No golf ! Alice Hawkins and the Leicester Suffragettes

Alice Hawkins and the Suffragette movement in Edwardian Leicester by Richard Whitmore is an interesting read.

Alice Hawkins worked in the Leicester shoe industry at the turn of the century and was a founder member of the local branch of the Women's Social and Political Union. The Leicester branch was notable for the level of interest it aroused among working class women

Hawkins was a trade unionist and a socialist who became disillusioned with the hostility women trade unionists received from their male counterparts and in 1911 she helped found a independent women's union in the industry.

Although from 1908 the Chistabel Pankhurst directed the focus of the movement to middle class women-Hawkins remained a committed member-convinced that if women got the vote this would enable an avalanche of change.

When the militant campaign was in full force in Leicester during 1912-1914-women attacked pillar boxes in Leicester either burning them or pouring ink(or some other black liquid) through the slot. They also burned down Blaby railway station and inscribed 'No votes -no golf' on the turf at the Leicester Golf course in Stoughton Drive.

Alice Hawkins kept a scrapbook about the movement and her relatives loaned this to Richard Whitmore for his research.