Swindon Suffragette Shopping

We’ve got a few items left over from our Women’s Art and Craft Sale so thought we’d offer people the chance to buy online. Just email us if you would like to order something and you can send the money via PayPal friends and family option or bank transfer. If you’re local to Swindon we might even be able to deliver.

We have four A5 spiral notebooks, they have a glossy soft cover and 150 pages of 90gsm lined paper, in two designs. The first design is an altered image of Edith New’s WSPU portrait, it has a smashed glass effect as Edith New and Mary Leigh were the first suffragettes to smash windows as a form of protest, a tactic later adopted by the WSPU. The second design is an altered image taken from a photograph of Edith New on her release from Holloway for the aforementioned window smashing incident. £7 each (this includes second class postage).


We have a number of notecards, these are 14x11cm, blank inside and come with a white envelope. They feature three glossy images of Edith New. The same two as the notebooks above and an altered image taken from a newspaper photo of Edith New being arrested after chaining herself to railings outside Downing Street. The text reads ‘well-behaved women seldom make history’. Three cards, one of each design, £3.50 (this includes second class postage).


We have limited numbers of various designs of our small button badges, any three cost £3.50 (including second class postage) or buy three cards and three badges for £5 (including second class postage).


All items were exclusively designed and made for the Swindon Suffragette Festival Women’s Art and Craft Sale, in order to celebrate and remember Edith’s contribution. Money raised has gone towards supporting the free activities and events we organise.


Churchyard Walk – 2pm – 10th June

Militant suffragette Edith New could trace her family history in Swindon back to the 18th century. She was the first, in fact the only woman in her family to leave a lasting legacy.

But of course, this is a simplification of women’s lives throughout history. While Edith made headline news, without the lives of all those other women standing behind her she might never have found the courage to fight for female suffrage.

It was the experience of those women whose names might only appear in parish registers and on birth, marriage and death certificates; those women whose status and occupation are recorded as someone’s wife or daughter on Victorian census returns. It was those women who inspired Edith to fight for the cause.

What was life like for women in 19th century Swindon? Find out during a free guided churchyard walk at Christ Church on Sunday June 10th at 2 pm – part of the Swindon Suffragette Festival.

Struggle and Suffrage in Swindon – Women’s Lives and the Fight for Equality by Frances Bevan will be published by Pen and Sword towards the end of 2018.


Characters of Swindon Exhibition

Swindon Stitch and Bitch’s Characters of Swindon exhibition launches on Wednesday 28th March at 2pm, at the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery in Old Town. We know readers of this blog will recognise one familiar face in this fantastic exhibition…

Swindon Stitch and Bitch’s Characters of Swindon exhibition launches on Wednesday 28th March at 2pm, at the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery in Old Town.  We know readers of this blog will recognise one familiar face in this fantastic exhibition which comprises of 35 crocheted dolls depicting people who have all, in their own way, helped in the making of Swindon.

At the event you will be able to meet some of the members of Swindon Stitch and Bitch who made the dolls and see how many of them you know.  Characters will be available to buy after the exhibition finishes with all proceeds going to Swindon Mind.

For more information about opening times and to bid on a character doll please contact the Museum directly:  01793 466556  or smag@swindon.gov.uk



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

Welcome to our new blog

The small but perfectly formed ‘Swindon Suffragette’ team of local historian Frances Bevan and event organiser Leah Bevan-Haines began holding events in October 2015, often in partnership with Swindon Heritage.

This blog will keep you up to date with events planned to take place in 2018 to celebrate the achievements of the suffrage movement and in particular Edith New, Swindon Suffragette.


Swindon Suffragette Women’s Art and Craft Sale and Exhibition

In November 2016 we held a Women’s Sale and Exhibition inspired by the WSPU Women’s Sale held in London in 1909.

We celebrated the best of local women’s art and crafts from independent traders and small business.  Here is a small selection of photographs from the day.

Blue plaque

On 19th March 2016 the first Swindon Heritage blue plaque was installed on 24 North Street, the home and birth place of Edith New.

Edith’s great-niece helped with the unveiling and we held a celebration tea party at St Saviours Church where Frances Bevan and Tamara Dugdale talked about Edith’s life and work to a crowd, many of whom were wearing suffragette costume and proudly made a pilgrimage to her plaque.