(From left to right: Helen Pickstone, Jane Burch, Shirley Lee, Mo Corcoran, Brenda Griffiths, Anne Harriss, Deidre Barr and Janet Shepherd)
On a beautiful Autumn morning a group of Guild members met up with our Blue Badge guide, Mo Corcoran, at St. James’ Park tube station. We were to walk in the footsteps of Emmeline Pankhurst. The term suffragette was first coined by the Daily Mail as a term of abuse. However Emmeline decided it was rather good and decided to use the name from then on.
Caxton Hall was the first destination and where the suffragettes would meet for their “Parliament” when the all male House of Commons were in session. We learned how they were experts in marketing and promotion and how on one protest walk in Hyde Park there were 250,000 women present.
We discovered monuments, plaques and buildings dotted around Westminster that not only marked the suffragette movement, but celebrated pioneering women over the last 150 years. Women who helped transform the health and social well being of the nation, politicians and innovators.
The final monument was to the women of the second world war in Whitehall. It seems that Betty Boothroyd (the only female Speaker of the House of Commons) was a significant donor for the fund to create this worthy tribute to the women who fought for our freedom.
The walk highlighted how in many cases women have been written out of history. With Mo Corcoran leading us their stories were brought to life.
Comments from the walk:
"Many thanks for arranging the Suffragette walk on Saturday. It was an excellent idea and a very enjoyable event"
Really interesting and fun. What a treat! Can’t wait for the next walk.