Emily Wilding Davison's broom cupboard

>>  Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Well, not really hers, but she made it famous.

Source: John Prescott, Twitter
Emily Davison hid in a broom cupboard in order to be registered as resident at the House of Commons for the census on 2nd April 1911.

A great coup from a fantastically brave women.  Remember women had no right to vote in 1911 and yet were being asked to complete a census form that asked many questions about them personally, about their status, occupation, even fertility.

Some women purposely stayed away from home on the night to avoid having to complete it, some simply wrote on the form 'if I am intelligent enough to complete this, I am intelligent enough to put a cross on a voting paper'.

But what a score to have your address for the night registered as “Found hiding in the crypt of Westminster Hall since Saturday”  and a follow up note that says “apply Common Row police station for more information”.

The original census documents can be seen here.

Emily Davison was no stranger to the police and not just for chaining herself to railings.    Her offences included stone throwing, arson and a violent attack on a man.  In prison she went on hunger strike and was force fed.

The broom cupboard stay, I think, is a great moment, probably her greatest.

But she continued to take extreme measures though. In June 1912 she threw herself down a staircase in Holloway prison to protest about Suffragettes being force fed. She suffered severe head and spinal injuries.

The action she is remembered mostly for is her, probably unintentional, death under the King's horse at Epsom in 1913.  She had a return train ticket, she even had tickets for a dance that night. The thought is she was trying to put a flag onto the horse so it had a protest flag on it as it went through the finishing line.  What a thing that would have been.  But sadly she died as a result of her injuries.

What is even sadder is the jockey, 40 years later, committed suicide.  When Emmeline Pankhurst died he had laid a wreath at her funeral, 17 years after Emily Davison's death.  So it had clearly stayed with him.   Whatever her intention had been, I'm sure it couldn't have been this.

I've always found this film precis of the Suffragette movement an interesting reminder.

Many of these women gave up a lot for the women of today, much more than a night in a broom cupboard.  I wish I could say thank you.


Related Posts with Thumbnails

  © Blogger template Simple n' Sweet by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP