Martin Costello – South Swindon’s UKIP candidate

Swindon UKIP Chairman Lincoln Williams has welcomed the news of an early election.

Given the cuts and austerity imposed on Local Authorities by the Conservative government, we now have an opportunity to expose and resist the government agenda.

We shall be fighting extremely hard to support the NHS and we want to force a referendum on the Council Tax rises that were placed on the electorate with a flawed consultation process, and demand that this immoral decision that allows Council Tax to be totally uncapped should be reversed.

Currently we have not found anybody in office willing to speak on behalf of the town. We would like to challenge the government on key decisions and ensure that Swindon is not neglected as it so often has been in the past.

We have two very strong candidates including our ‘Farage disciple’ Martin Costello who is extremely passionate about Swindon and is keen to hold those in power to account with the questions many people are thinking but are not asking. Our town is in desperate need of better representation in parliament. As a committed Swindonian and someone who has experienced life outside the ‘Westminster Bubble’ he is anxious to ensuring that our crumbling heritage such as the Mechanics Institute, Carriage Works and Locarno are preserved for future generations to enjoy. Costello is committed to equality for all and he vows to protect the most vulnerable in our society who have been neglected or discriminated against by giving the ‘ordinary people’ back their voice.

It is a tragedy that in 2017 we are seeing homeless people on our streets in the town and hardworking family’s falling into poverty and becoming dependent on food banks. We want to see all of our constituents receiving a good service from the Local Authority and proper support for all those who genuinely need it.

The aim of UKIP is to be a voice of opposition and keep the governments feet to the fire on key issues that will ensure a fair deal for all and not give those in power a blank cheque to push their own centerist agenda.

This is a unique opportunity for Swindon voters to genuinely turn the fortunes of the town and help her inhabitants including those of all faiths and cultures.


Sarah Church – South Swindon’s Labour and Cooperative candidate

As a former Army officer, parent, campaigner and community volunteer, Sarah is now standing for Parliament as South Swindon’s Labour and Cooperative candidate. Sarah is a life-long feminist and is passionate about equal rights for women and men. She is the wife, daughter and grand-daughter of feminists. Sarah’s inspiration to be a woman of action and ideas in the world is her mother Caroline, an NHS doctor for 40 years and mother of five. Caroline showed Sarah that trails can and should be blazed. It seems apt that Sarah has three daughters who she hopes will grow up in a world where they can realise their dreams.

Sarah’s pledges for South Swindon are:

  • Protect jobs in Swindon as we enter Brexit negotiations
  • Fight to increase per pupil funding in real terms for Swindon’s schools
  • Intervene to prevent creeping privatisation of our local health services
  • Promote integration of health and social care services
  • Protect affordable housing as your right

You can contact Sarah in these ways:

Twitter: @Sarah_C_Church

Votes for Women – Vote for Someone!

In 1907, when suffragette Edith New was arrested and imprisoned for the first time, the Prime Minister was Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman of the Liberal Party.  He resigned and was succeeded in 1908 by Herbert Henry Asquith and in 1910 the Liberals won for the last time with the support of the Irish Nationalists.

For Edith’s family back at home in Swindon the men in December 1910 voted as part of the Cricklade Parliamentary Borough.  They had two choices: Liberal candidate Richard Cornthwaite Lambert and Liberal Unionist Thomas Charles Pleydell Calley and the Liberals won by a majority of 128.

Swindon did not get its own constituency until 1918 when it elected one MP.  In 1997 Swindon split into North and South and now elects two MPs.  Edith New and her family lived in various homes in Old Town which now falls under the South Swindon constituency.

On June 8th women and men in South Swindon will have the choice of four candidates and we have offered all candidates the opportunity to share their election pledges and campaign.

The candidates are Sarah Church for the Labour Party, Talis Kimberley-Fairbourn for the Green Party, Stan Pajak for Liberal Democrats and Robert Buckland for the Conservatives.

You still have until the 22nd May to register to vote online https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

This takes 5 minutes and if you are living in the UK all you will need is your National Insurance number and details of your name and address.  If you are living abroad and applying to vote by proxy or postal vote you will need your Passport Number as well.

If you need help registering, learning about your candidates, finding your polling station or voting on the day please get in touch as we know of a number of volunteers, including ourselves who would be happy to help you.

Edith New was imprisoned several times, and went on hunger strike, to enable women to have their voices heard and be able to vote.  We implore women and men everywhere to turn out for this important election and vote.


Edith New in art

Edith New features in the Illustrated Women in History exhibition which is currently on at Central Library, Swindon.  This is a free exhibition and includes work from the curator, Julie Gough, alongside submissions from other artists, all celebrating women’s achievements.  You can also buy a zine which features Edith on the cover – but get in quick as there are limited copies available – http://www.illustratedwomeninhistory.com/

From Illustrated Women in History artist: Julie Gough

The first time we saw Edith depicted in art was when artist Julie featured her in the project ‘Illustrated Women in History’ but we’ve since seen her cropping up in lots of different mediums. 

Art student Stacy Crasto was able to use photographs and letters held by Edith’s great-niece to create her textile art-work below.

Photo of New College art students’ exhibition displayed in the Outlet Village, Swindon September 2016. Artist: Stacy Crasto
Artist: Stacy Crasto
Artist: Stacy Crasto
You can’t see from the photo but this is the text of a letter written by Edith while in prison and is supposed to depict her words trapped behind bars, but still shared. Artist: Stacy Crasto

Swindon Heritage magazine commissioned local artist Lynette Thomas of Artkore Mosaics to create one of her iconic teapots commemorating Edith New.

Teapot commissioned from Artkore Mosaics
Teapot commissioned from Artkore Mosaics

At the Swindon Suffragette Women’s Exhibition and Craft Sale in October 2016 there was a small display of various portraits of Edith created by the United Community Art Group.

Portraits by various members of the United Community Art Group, exhibited October 2016

Back in September 2016 we were very excited when someone posted on our Facebook page that they had just seen some grafitti artists spraying an image that looked a lot like Edith! We were even more pleased to see the finished mural on Cambria Bridge in Swindon.

Edith features in a mural created by Ed Russell and James Habgood of The Visual Drop in collaboration with young people from ‘The Railway Kids’ youth club organised by the Mechanics’ Institution Trust, in partnership with Swindon Borough Council

And finally, on International Women’s Day 2017 we were sent a song about Edith New by local band the Erin Bardwell Collective, have a listen here: https://erinbardwellcollective.bandcamp.com/track/edith-new

Do you have any Edith inspired art you’d like to share with us?  Check back soon for more information about our art exhibition planned for 2018…

On this day 140 years ago…

Edith New was born – Happy Birthday Edith!

We are very fortunate to be able to share some family photos of Edith, before and after her career as a suffragette, these are owned by her great-niece and held in a private collection (copyright applies).

Edith (left), brother Frederick, mother Isabella (centre), sister Ellen (standing), as yet unidentified young man
Another family photo, Edith is at the front, now wearing her hair up
Edith was a teacher, here she is with her class at St Mary’s School in Lewisham
74 Edith and Nea
Edith and her companion Nea, who she was still living with at her death in 1951
Edith in Cornwall, she is buried in Polperro where she lived after retiring
Edith (without hat) and friend
Edith (with hat) and friends
Edith (back row)
75 Edith and Nea
Edith (without hat) and Nea
Edith with her sister Ellen and great-niece Mary

Who was Edith New?

The following is taken from history blog ‘Swindon in the Past Lane’ and reproduced by permission of the author, Frances Bevan, who retains all rights to the text and images as appropriate.

Edith Bessie New was born 17th March, 1877 at 24 North Street, Swindon, the fourth of Frederic and Isabelle New’s five children. Frederic worked as a railway clerk at the GWR Works and Isabelle was a music teacher.

An assistant mistress at Queenstown Infant School from 1899-1901, Edith subsequently left her Swindon home to teach in the deprived areas of Deptford and Lewisham. It was after hearing the charismatic Emmeline Pankhurst speak at a meeting in Trafalgar Square that Edith joined the Women’s Social and Political Union.

In February 1907 a deputation of suffragettes marched on the House of Commons in protest at the omission of votes for women from the King’s speech. What had begun as a peaceful demonstration ended in a violent confrontation with police. Edith was among those arrested and sentenced to two weeks in Holloway gaol.

She continued to be at the forefront of innovative and dangerous protest methods. In January 1908 Edith chained herself to the railings at 10 Downing Street, the first time suffragettes had employed such tactics. It took the unprepared police sometime to release her, allowing Edith to make her protest heard by the assembled Cabinet gathered there. A three-week sentence in Holloway followed.

The hugely successful Women’s Day rally held in Hyde Park on June 21,1908 attracted an estimated crowd of 250,000. Edith, by now an experienced and informative speaker, took her place alongside suffragette leaders.

Later that same month Edith, accompanied by Mary Leigh, broke windows at 10 Downing Street, another new headline grabbing tactic which would be increasingly employed by suffragettes. The women served two months in Holloway. On their release they were taken to a celebratory breakfast party in a carriage drawn by six suffragettes.

Edith resigned from teaching in 1908 to join the WSPU paid workforce. She travelled the country organising support for parliamentary candidates sympathetic to women’s suffrage. In September 1909 she campaigned in Scotland where she was arrested for causing a breach of the peace during a meeting in Dundee. Sentenced to seven days imprisonment, Edith and her fellow prisoners went on hunger strike, the first to do so in Scotland.

Edith returned to teaching in 1911, where she continued to campaign for women’s rights and equal pay within her profession.

Edith died aged 73 on 2nd January 1951 at The Croft, Landaviddy Lane, Polperro, Cornwall. She left property valued at £3,771 to her two nieces.  She never married and her death was registered by her companion of over 40 years, Nea Campion, a fellow teacher from the Lewisham days.

Swindon in the Past Lane – original post