Today I took a very wet walk around Old Town with BBC Wiltshire presenter Marie Lennon, pointing out places significant to Edith New more than a hundred years ago.
Local woman Edith joined the Women’s Social and Political Union in 1906 and went on to become one of Emmeline Pankhurst’s fearless foot soldiers in the battle for female suffrage. By the end of 1908 she had set a precedent in the Votes for Women campaign. She was the first suffragette to chain herself to railings and the first to break windows as a means of protest.
Throughout October we will be celebrating the life and times of Edith alongside the release of Suffragette, the first time the womens’ fight for suffrage has been portrayed on the big screen.
Suffragette opens at Cineworld Regent Circus and Shaw Ridge on October 12, but before that we kick off our suffragette festival with a talk at Central Library, October 8 at 7.15. Tickets cost £1.50 for library members £2.50 for non members available from the Help Desk, Ground Floor, Central Library. Find out more about this extraordinary woman in Swindon’s Suffragette Edith New: From North Street to Holloway Gaol.
Are you handy with a needle; good at painting banners? Materials and womanpower is required for our Costume and Prop Craft Session on Sunday October 11, meeting at 11 am at Christ Church Community Centre. Want some help creating a costume for the March and Rally? It’s not as difficult, or expensive, as you might think.
Children can also get in on the act with a Childrens’ Craft Session at Christ Church Community Centre on Saturday October 24 12pm – under 10’s must be accompanied by an adult. Come and make a suffragette rosette to wear and banners to wave on the March and Rally.
The Swindon Suffragette March and Rally takes place on Sunday, October 25. We will gather at the High Street entrance to Lawns and march to Radnor Street Cemetery for a rousing rally. We’re hoping that members of the Sixth Sense Theatre Group will be among our number on the march and Linda Lee of the Swindon Community Choir will lead singing of the suffragette anthem March of the Women.
Marie will be broadcasting women talking throughout the week beginning October 12. And join us on the full version of the free guided walk, meet us at Old Town Library in the Arts Centre, Devizes Road on Saturday October 17 at 11 am. Let’s hope it’s not quite as wet as it was today!
Keep up to date with events as they happen on our facebook page Swindon Suffragette.
Edith is featured on the Time Travelling mural painted by The Visual Drop artists Ed Russell and James Habgood and featured in the Link Magazine photos courtesy of Calyx Picture Agency.