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.



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