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.