(Isabella) Eliza Darent Harrison, née Tait (1855–1943) suffragist tax resister

Isabella —or Eliza, as she preferred to be called -was born at Tradeston, Glasgow, on 20th July 1855. Her father was William Tait (1810–1868) and her mother was Mary Newton (1823–1900).[1] They married in 1844, the bride being twenty-one and the groom thirty-four. William Tait was a mechanical engineer who, after managing a sugar refinery was in 1858 taken into partnership by his employer.[2] Mirrlees & Tait became a highly successful company that employed hundreds of people, and their factory became the largest of its kind in the world. William, Mary and Mary’s mother were injured in a famous railway accident in 1861, when the Glasgow to Euston night train crashed at Harrow.

When William died in April 1868 he left Mary with ten children, the youngest only three months old. Eliza was the fourth and was then thirteen.[3] Mrs Tait raised the younger six without a husband, but at least she did not want for money.

According to the Hastings Observer,

Mrs. Darent Harrison’s adherence to the cause of women’s suffrage dates from her early girlhood. Her childhood was spent in her native country, Scotland. Her mother, more than 30 years ago, threw her house open to Mrs. Henry Fawcett, L.L.D., who addressed large public meeting in that city on the subject. Mrs. Darent Harrison has the liveliest recollection of the time when, a child, she went on tiptoe to the drawing-room to get a peep at the lady lecturer who was then, of course, more of a novelty than she would be at the present day. Mrs. Darent Harrison and her brothers and sisters -a lively family ten boys and girls -surrounded Mrs. Fawcett. Needless to say, they had put their best clothes, and had been ordered to be on their best behaviour.

From ‘a gloomy old house in a gloomy old town’ the family annually migrated to one of the most beautiful lochs in the Highlands, where she and her brothers and sisters ‘ran wild’ among the crofters and fishermen, and their wives and families. This joyous freedom doubtless accounts in large measure for the broadmindedness which leads [her] to describe herself as ‘a citizen of the world’ rather than of any particular country.

As a child Mrs. Darent Harrison developed very distinct talent for music. She was sent to school in Germany at the age of 15. She entered the Stuttgart Conservatorium as a pupil, and there she took her diploma.

When her youngest child reached her mid-teens, Mrs Tait left Glasgow and moved to London, where her daughter Sarah married in 1883. Upon leaving Stuttgart Eliza joined her mother in London, where she was ‘thrown into literary, artistic, and political circles, in which she met minor artist and sculptor William Darent Harrison, whom she married in Kensington on 10th March 1887. The wedding was announced in The Times: an indication of the couple’s social standing..

The 1891 census sees Mrs Tait comfortably off and residing at 3 Lawn Road, Hampstead, looked after by three live-in servants.[4]

Mrs Tait’s youngest child, Mary Stewart Tait (1868–1925) became a student at Madame Österberg’s women-only physical training college for gymnastics teachers (in Hampstead, later in Dartford). Frustrated with having to do physical exercises and sports in long skirts, in 1897 Mary invented the gymslip, which was eventually adopted all over the world. By 1911 the eldest Tait daughter, Mrs Anna Newton Osborne,[5] had opened a gymnasium, at which Anna’s daughter Mary and their niece (their brother Thomas’s daughter) Dorothy Tait were instructors.[6]

William Darent Harrison was described as a ‘refined and delicate’ man with a ‘fine intellect’. Born in December 1841 at Otford in Kent, close to the River Darent, his birth was registered a month later in Kensington. His father was William Harrison (1805–1883), was a wealthy West India merchant, and his mother was Anne Tonge Lake (1819–1876). He grew up in various homes, including Claybury, a Georgian mansion in Essex, all of them boasting a full complement of servants, including a French governess and a butler. His maternal uncle was a prominent London solicitor, his elder brother Edward became a stockbroker, and his only sister, Ethel,[7] married their cousin, Frederic Harrison, when she was only eighteen and he twenty years her senior.[8] A well-known barrister; he later became famous as a philosopher and historian.

William attended Corpus Christi College, Oxford, for five years, gaining his B.A. in 1865; he then worked in the British Honduras (now Belize), In what capacity, it is not known. However, a clue may be found in Eliza’s first novel, Master Passions, in which the main male character was a artist, who trained in Paris, and had spent four years managing a sugar plantation in a tropical country. In 1881 he was living in west London with his widowed father, and his occupation was given as ‘merchant’.[9]

In middle age he turned his attention to developing his negligible artistic talent, and mixing in those circles led him to meet Eliza Tait. Their marriage came later in life than the average: she was thirty-one and he forty-five. After the wedding ‘his career became her most absorbing interest’[10] and so they settled in Paris, so that he could attend the Paris Schools of art. Later they ‘wandered through the art galleries of Germany and Italy.’[11] After their return to London, using his wealth and connections as a gentleman-amateur, he exhibited at the Royal Academy every year, as well as in the New Gallery and several provincial galleries.[12] None of his work attracted critical acclaim and its has lapsed into deserved obscurity.

From about 1897 the Darent Harrisons lived at 6 St Paul’s Studios, Hammersmith, a terrace of eight superb and ornate, purpose-built artists’ homes-cum-studios boasting barrel-vaulted windows which flooded natural light into the double-height studio.[13] ‘It was in her husband’s studio one day that a friend and neighbour—Sir Philip Burne Jones—suggested that Mrs. Darent Harrison should write a short story.’ [14] However, it turned into a full-length novel, which was published by Fisher Unwin in 1899. Master Passions was set in the world of artists which she knew well. It was advertised in The Times, but received mixed reviews; one called it ‘disappointing’. Arnold Bennett, in his review for Hearth and Home­, written under his pseudonym ‘Sarah Volatile’, said it was ‘altogether and entirely too “arty”.’[15]

It is likely that Eliza’s book was published owing to her political connections, and possibly personal friendship, with Jane Cobden-Unwin, the wife of the publisher Thomas Fisher Unwin. Jane was the daughter of the great Radical statesman Richard Cobden and his wife Catherine (signatories to the 1866 suffrage petition). Jane was a prominent suffragist throughout her adult life and was, in 1898, president of Brighton Women’s Liberal Association. Like Eliza she objected to having to pay tax whilst being denied the vote, and later both women joined the Tax Resistance League.[16]

In 1903 the Harrisons moved to St Leonards-on-Sea. According to the local paper, the couple moved there ‘owing to Mr. Darent Harrison’s delicate state of health, he having had a serious illness, which enfeebled him. They were driven by London fogs to a home in our sunny town, [having been] told that they would find not only a genial climate but congenial society here.[17] William’s elder brother Edward Lake Harrison retired from the London Stock Exchange and, with his wife and two daughters, settled in nearby Winchelsea, where they bought Hiham, a sixteen-roomed villa. Edward served on East Sussex County Council, was chairman of the local Conservatives and was made a Freeman of the town. He died in 1907.[18]

The Darent Harrisons purchased 1 St Paul’s Place, a fifteen-roomed end-of-terrace Victorian house in Church Road.[19] Eliza wrote a second novel, The Stain on the Shield, published not by Unwins but by John Long in 1906. It was mentioned briefly in The Times list of new books. This review, in The Athenaeum, reveals that she had turned her attention away from the world of artists and towards current affairs, politics and the emancipated career woman:

This is a novel in all respect much above the average. The action, with occasional interludes in Scotland, takes place mainly in France, and in the scenes laid in the latter country we are brought into contact with some of the most prominent questions of the day, religious, social, and political. As regards characterization, the Scotch woman doctor and her ingénue of a niece seem to us most fully realized; but the tragic actress has at least the merit of originality, and the hero -a French millionaire of ancient lineage -pleases, if he does not always convince us, while some of the minor personages are drawn with much humour and discrimination. The family life of France, with its blended charm and constraint, and the bewildering maze of French politics, are presented with an assured and artistic touch.[20]

It is most interesting that the book was set in France, because Eliza Harrison was later reported to be a close friend of Matilda Betham Edwards (1836–1919), a prolific novelist and writer on French society who lived in Hastings. Miss Edwards was a close literary friend and confidante of Frederic Harrison, who was Mr Darent Harrison’s brother-in-law.[21] It is possible that the two lady novelists became acquainted through him, and Miss Betham Edwards may have advised Eliza Harrison on the French aspects of her book.

William immersed himself in the artistic world, being elected chairman of the East Sussex Arts Club, serving on the committee of the Brassey Institute and becoming involved with Hastings Museum, to which he donated an oil painting of his own creation. Eliza was pleased to find that St Leonards was ‘quite a stronghold of the women’s suffrage movement’[22] and as early as 1904 her name was mentioned (albeit fleetingly) in connection with women’s fight for the vote. At that time, the only local group was the Hastings & St Leonards Women’s Suffrage Society (HSLWSS), founded in 1883 as a branch of the National Society.

Eliza and William were married for over twenty years, but they produced no children. William died at home, aged sixty-five, on 20th February 1908, He was buried next to his brother Edward at St Thomas the Martyr, Winchelsea.[23]

Widowhood left Eliza Harrison a wealthy woman. She had inheritances from her own family, she owned the villa, and William’s bequest of over £4,100 (the equivalent to about £400,000 today) ensured her independence. The rest of her life could be spent in luxury and leisure, in writing more novels, or, as was the usual choice for ladies in her position, in philanthropic work to assist the poor. She chose, however, to devote herself to campaigning for votes for women. By 1911 she referred to this as ‘the cause to which I have devoted my life’.[24] Indeed, an electronic search of her name in the Hastings and St Leonards Observer (HSLO) between 1909 and 1919 produces 93 hits.[25]

Mrs Darent Harrison’s first recorded political activity came just before the General Election of 1906. Whilst she wrote to Harvey du Cros, the Conservative candidate, sister suffragist Jane Strickland wrote to the Liberal candidate (and sitting MP) Freeman Freeman Thomas,[26] to solicit their views on women’s suffrage. Each man pronounced himself entirely in sympathy with the cause.[27] The women reported this excellent news to the NUWSS[28] HQ in London, where the men’s names were placed on a published national list of supporters. Even more exciting, the current MP’s wife, Mrs Freeman Thomas,[29] was elected vice-president of the HSLWSS. In a public speech, du Cros reiterated that he had ‘pledged himself to women’s suffrage’ as early as 1892 ‘and had never swerved’. Hastings was, therefore, able to declare itself a pro-suffrage constituency, and its suffragists could not have been happier: whoever was elected, the next MP would be a supporter of women’s suffrage.

Mr du Cros won the election; however, just two years later he resigned, and his seat was taken by his son Arthur.

The HSLWSS affiliated to the NUWSS in 1908. Mrs Strickland was hon. secretary and, as a staunch Liberal, invited only Liberal politicians as guest speakers. Eliza Harrison was dissatisfied with such partisanship. She felt that a movement for women’s suffrage must not ally itself to any political party. The HSLO of 30th January 1909 published her hard-hitting, rather insulting letter attacking Liberal women suffragists for their loyalty to Liberal candidates. A week later the paper printed a letter from Mrs MacMunn, calling Eliza Harrison’s letter ‘refreshing’.

HSLO 13th February 1909 reported a recent ‘At Home’ of the HSLWSS at 1 St Paul’s Place. Greater activity was needed in the run-up to the 1910 General Election. Eliza Harrison had been to Rye with Miss MacMunn, and found the men there ‘keenly interested’ in women’s suffrage. Eliza heckled the male speakers, then Miss MacMunn spoke publicly. Eliza had also been to Eastbourne with Mrs Strickland to hear Mrs Pankhurst’s speech, and hoped to get some leading speakers to come to Hastings. The local society was independent and affiliated to no other organisation, so could invite anyone to speak, even militant suffragettes. Eliza expressed the hope that the men of Hastings ‘will not make it necessary for the Society to resort to hostile action’ and that the new MP would be sent to parliament with a ‘clear mandate’ in favour of votes for women. At Homes would be held on 9th, 19th and 29th of each month.[30]

The HSLO of 20th March 1910 recorded that a ‘crowded and overflowing meeting’ of the HSLWSS in support of votes for women was held at the Royal Concert Hall. Dr Flora Murray was the guest speaker, and Mrs Strickland presided. She stated that some of her friends were in Holloway Prison for the cause. Others present included Eliza, vicar’s wife Lena Harlow Phibbs, Lettice MacMunn and William Slade.[31] A petition demanding votes for women was signed, to send to the MP for Hastings (four people present voted against).

On 26th March the first meeting of the newly-formed Hastings, St Leonards and East Sussex Women’s Suffrage Union (‘the East Sussex Union’) was held at Capel-ne-Ferne, the home of its president, Fanny Cecilia Tubbs.[32] Lena Harlow Phibbs was secretary and treasurer and William Slade was organising secretary. Chairwoman Jane Strickland led a discussion as to whether it should be a branch of the NUWSS or completely independent and unaffiliated and, in a vote, the latter choice won. The East Sussex Union boasted about 100 members.

The first public meeting of the ESU was held at the Public Hall on 19th April 1909. Eliza Harrison attended, and the speakers were Mrs Philip Snowden and Mr Baillie-Weaver, a barrister and member of the MLWS.[33]

HSLO 10th July 1909 Eliza Harrison attended a garden party at Mrs Strickland’s, at which Cicely Corbett was the invited guest speaker.

HSLO 17th July 1909. Letter from Eliza Harrison calling a meeting at her house on 26th July to form a non-party women’s suffrage group.

HSLO 17th July 1909. Letter from E. Mary Young in support of Eliza Harrison and Mrs MacMunn, and saying that a nonpartisan suffrage group already exists: the East Sussex Union. The group was, however, pledged to non militant methods. Women who believed in using ‘physical force’ were free to form a society of their own.

HSLO 31st July 1909. Eliza Harrison held a meeting at her house to consider the constitution of the East Sussex Union. Madame Sarah Grand of the Executive Council of the NUWSS was the invited guest speaker. Eliza Harrison wore the black, white and gold badge of the Women Writers’ Suffrage League.

HSLO 7th August 1909. Letter from Eliza Harrison .

HSLO 28th August 1909. Letter from Eliza Harrison .

HSLO 9th October 1909. Eliza Harrison attended a meeting of the Church Socialist League, at which George Lansbury spoke of his wish to ban all married women from the workforce.

HSLO 16th October 1909. Eliza Harrison attended a public meeting of the HSLESWSS, at which Mrs Bertrand Russell was the invited speaker.

HSLO 27th November 1909 reporter visits 29 Havelock Road, HQ of the ‘HSL and District Women’s Suffrage Union’ but later it was called the HSL and East Sussex Women’s Suffrage Society. Membership over 100. Miss Shrimpton, who previously worked for the NUWSS, was organising secretary.

In December 1909 Eliza Harrison gathered some members of the HSLWSS at her home and founded the Hastings and St Leonards Women’s Suffrage Propaganda League. It was to be scrupulously non-partisan: no committee member was allowed to be affiliated to any political party. Their policy was to oppose the government by passive resistance such as withholding tax and refusing to complete census forms. Eliza Harrison was elected hon. secretary (a position she held until 1918), and Mrs MacMunn[34] became hon. treasurer. The latter’s two daughters, Nora and Lettice, were also on the committee. Members of the PL included Madeline Daubeny Stratford and Eliza Harrison’s in-laws from Winchelsea. These comprised Amy Margaret Harrison (1858–1944), widow of William Darent Harrison’s brother Edward, and her two daughters Margaret Anne (born 1886) and (Mabel) Barbara (born 1890).

Eliza Harrison must have been much pained to hear that her sister-in-law Ethel, who lived not far away at Elm Hill, Hawkhurst, Kent, was passionately opposed to women’s suffrage and, in the words of her husband Frederic was ‘rousing Kent against these crazy women’. She attended the founding meeting of the Women’s Anti Suffrage League in London in July 1908 and was elected to its national executive committee; she also wrote pamphlets, letters to the press, essays and articles, and also gave public speeches against women getting the vote.[35] She believed that a woman’s place was in the home, not taking part in politics, and that ‘the granting of woman suffrage will probably diminish the value of the vote in the eyes of men.’[36] She was, however, a hypocrite, for whilst her servants cared for her five children she took part in multifarious intellectual, political and philanthropic work outside of the home, held office in the Positivist movement, organised a guild and ran instruction classes, founded and directed a choir, wrote twelve hymns, wrote essays for the Positivist Review, Cornhill Magazine, Temple Bar, the Westminster Gazette, Nineteenth Century, and, of course, devoted a lot of time trying to prevent other women from obtaining the vote.

In early December Eliza Harrison leased 47 London Road -right opposite Christ Church -and set up the offices and a committee room for the Propaganda league. Members of the committee were members of the NUWSS, the MLWS,[37] the WWSL,[38] the WASL[39] and the WSPU.[40] In 1910 the Propaganda League affiliated to the New Constitutional Society for Women’s Suffrage.[41]

The first public meeting of the PL was held on 17th December at 47 London Road. Chairman Lieutenant-Colonel Albany Savile[42] called their methods ‘perfectly gentle, modest, unobtrusive’. They took no part in party politics and ‘did not favour any particular candidate or annoy another candidate’. Dr Flora Murray spoke to an audience that included Eliza Harrison, Miss Willis and the MacMunns.

That evening, Eliza Harrison attended a suffrage play called Manand Woman at the Public Hall, after which she heard a pro-suffrage speech by Mr Ransom of London.[43] The event was organised by the HSLESWSS[44], and Mrs and Mr Strickland, and Mrs and Mr William Slade attended. The play was produced by Mrs and Mrs J.E. Francis of Brighton, who used to co-edit the magazine the Women’s Franchise.


During 1910 Eliza Harrison’s name appeared in the HSLO more than twenty times.

The year opened with the news that there was to be a General Election. In Hastings, a Liberal, Robert Tweedy-Smith, was to stand against Arthur Du Cros. There was a small swing to the Liberals, but Du Cros was returned with a majority of 801 (the electorate was 9,027). Tweedy-Smith had refused to comment on the question of women’s suffrage. In a letter to the HSLO Eliza Harrison claimed that Du Cros had ‘received a clear mandate’ on the subject. Cecilia Tubbs and her HSLESWSS had posted members at the polling stations to collect signatures in favour of votes for women -not from voteless women, but from the electors themselves. They had amassed an impressive 1,500, but Mrs Tubbs was sure they would have collected more had they been able to ‘man’ every polling station.

On 3rd January, ‘With that sublime courage for which women have been famed through all the ages, an Anti-Suffragist boldly entered the camp of the Suffragists in Havelock Road.’ Helen Bulnois’s argument against women having the vote was that ‘women should create a tone by their behaviour in the world, and she urged them not to be ‘fooling their time away’ merely to be able to ‘make a cross on a piece of paper every seven years’.[45]

19th January Scene at Hastings Public Hall

Considerable excitement ensued at the Hastings Lower Public Hall. It appears that the Presiding Officer objected to the presence of…local lady suffragists with their petition in the approach to the polling room...A somewhat heated discussion took place between the Presiding Officer and Mr William Slade…Mrs William Slade is well known for her interest in the Suffragist cause. The controversy…reached such a point that…the Under-Sheriff of Sussex and the Chief Constable of Hastings were called. However, victory remained with the Suffragists, who maintained their right to remain at the staircase leading to the larger Hall.[46]

In a letter to the editor of the HSLO in the issue of 22nd January, Eliza reported on a circular she had been distributing, calling upon the electorate to support women’s suffrage. She and Mrs Tubbs reported that this was responsible for the 1,500 local signatures obtained on the Voters’ Women’s Suffrage Petition. This, Eliza claimed, represented the ‘clear mandate’ for which Arthur du Cros had asked.

5th March: Eliza Harrison participated in a debate about women’s suffrage held by the Debating Society at the Palace Hotel. She addressed the argument that only men should have a vote because only men can back it up with military force with the remark that we had reached a point in warfare where ‘any woman could do almost all the work. More depended upon the mind than upon physical force.’ Later she felt that one speaker had misrepresented what she meant, and wrote to the HSLO:

Replying to the physical force argument, I had said that maternity was woman’s battle-field -meaning, of course, that if the test for citizenship were a physical one (which it is not), the risk taken, and the physical energy extended by women in giving life, was surely equal to that expended by the soldier in taking it. I was represented as having ‘admitted that maternity was woman’s sphere.’

Now, I must have expressed myself very badly if anyone understood me to suggest that it was her whole sphere, and that I based my demand for enfranchisement on woman’s service to the State as the producer -the mother of both sexes. Had I done so, however, I should have been on more logical ground than that occupied by those of our opponents who make motherhood a reason for denying citizen rights to those on whom they impose all its burdens and responsibilities. But it is on no sexual ground that women demand equal electoral rights. There is a vast field of human endeavour in which men and women of all classes must work together for the common weal -a field that lies as high above sex as above party. The voice of the mother-half of the race must be heard, her special knowledge and experience are needed in any government that claims to represent the national will.

If we woman-suffragists had needed anything to convince us that it is high time for our present system of sex-domination to cease, the wild and illogical assertions which served for arguments on Tuesday night amongst those who opposed us, would have more that sufficed. Yours truly,

  1. I. HARRISON, (Mrs. Darent). Hastings and St. Leonards Women’s Suffrage Propaganda league. Office: 47, London Road, St. Leonards-on-Sea.

The issues of 8th January, 5th March, 16th and 23rd April and 7th and 28th May reported the (newly formed) PL weekly ‘At Homes’ at 47 London Road every Monday from 4pm to 6pm.

HSLO 12th March 1910




The debate on Women’s Suffrage commenced last week was resumed by members of the local Debating Society at the Palace Hotel on Tuesday night. Mr. F.W. Morgan presided, supported by an excellent attendance of members.

As upon the last occasion, ladies were invited to attend and speak, and quite a strong array of the voteless sisterhood put in an appearance. The ‘strangers’ gallery’ was crowded.

It will be recollected that last week the Rev. W. Mantle moved a resolution that sex should be no disqualification for the exercise of the Parliamentary franchise. This was met by an amendment from Mr. Cobb for complete adult suffrage.

Councillor Reed, continuing the debate, announced that he would be prepared to vote for wither the resolution or the amendment, as submitted at the last meeting. He pointed out that one section in favour of the franchise for women desired that women should be placed on the same footing as men, whilst another thought it desirable that the matter should be postponed will the whole question of adult suffrage was raised in Parliament. Personally, he favoured the latter course, and thought there would be danger if they did not proceed on democratic lines. Replying to some of the statements made at the previous meeting. Councillor Reed, said if the whole of the women in England had the vote, it would be a revolution, neither dangerous nor bloody, and would be a revolution for be benefit of the country. He contended it should be the aim of every statesman to bring about the co-operation of men and women; there should be no division, and they should be prepared to take counsel with each other in the most frank and free manner. He deprecated the charges of ignorance amongst women, and asked what about many of the men voters of to-day? There was a great deal of crass ignorance amongst men voters, and especially on the most important questions which came just now before the country. Could it be maintained that that the wives of working-men were less intelligent than their husbands? He saw no reason to fear danger in giving votes to the wives and daughters of working-men. (Applause.) As to the statement that women could not serve as soldiers, in the face of a common enemy, he did not think women would be backward; the pages of history told them how in the past women had stepped into the breach in the time of emergency. (Hear, hear.) At the last meeting Mr. Allcorn was funny as usual, but not convincing. (Applause.) He told them something about the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the trappings of a chimney sweep. (Laughter.) But they did not make a chimney sweep Chancellor if the Exchequer!

Mr. Cobb – Better if they did sometimes. (Loud laughter.)

Councillor Reed closed his observations with a Biblical quotation, and reminded the audience that in the old civilisation woman occupied a much more important position than she did in present-day civilisation.

Mr. Patterson opened with an apology to ladies if he should say strong things. Chivalry and drawing-room manners had to give way in matters of State. His principal reason for opposing the franchise in any form was that women were so illogical. (‘Oh!’) He cited instances to show that women had been illogical in the past, and said that women connected with the present militant party were especially illogical. Another reason why he opposed women’s suffrage was if women had the vote the plural voting would become something enormous. (Hear, hear.) He would go not far from there for an instance. He knew a church, which he very much loved, of which the Rector, with women’s franchise granted, would have 400 votes in the palm of his hands. {Laughter.) They knew this absolutely, and if the Rector could not succeed, the curate would. (Laughter.) ‘You know it, ladies’ added Mr. Patterson, amidst renewed laughter. In further remarks, Mr. Patterson referred to Councillor Reed’s quotation from the Bible, and advised him never again to quote Hebrew history in favour of women.

Mr. Busbridge also argued against women having votes. One reason was that women already had voters in Municipal matters, which largely concerned them. Imperial mattes were quite different. He also maintained that the large majority of women did not desire the vote, and had no interest in questions of National and Imperial policy. To give votes to women would lead to disunion, and the setting of men and women against each other. Man would never consent to give way to woman in such matters.

‘Not when his reason has developed?’ came from a female voice in the ‘strangers’ gallery.’

Mrs. Chibnall argued that the women’s cause was not safe in the hands of men. She did think it illogical that women should find money, and have no voice in the conduct of the affairs of the country. (Hear, hear.)

Mrs. R. V. Smith supported the views of Councillor Reed. A friend of hers, who employed 300 hands in London, told her that if he wanted a job well done he gave it to women. This was told her before she became a Suffragette.

It was nonsense to talk about women being soldiers. There were hundreds of things women could do, and if the home wanted defending, women would be found ready to do it. She declared that the ‘vote is coming,’ and said that 440 members of the House of Commons were in favour of the principle of Women’s Suffrage, whilst there were only 70 Members strongly opposed. If the militant tactics had not been indulged in, they would never have heard anything about the question. The militant tactics had done good. (Hear, hear, and laughter.) They did not want to smash any more windows. (Laughter.) That had been done, and had had its effect. In conclusion she invited friends of the movement to join the Men’s League.

A Liberal member submitted that the time had arrived when anomaly should be swept away, and the franchise granted to women. (Hear, hear.) A joke he quoted created roars of laughter. It had been said that Eve gave man the apple, and that the Suffragettes had only given him the pip! ‘Under a petticoat Government,’ he added, ‘things could not be worse than they are to-day.’

Mr. Poynton declared that the Suffragette movement was a class movement. If it were thought that every charwoman, every domestic servant, and every factory girl would get the votes the women now advocating the vote would not want it. (‘Yes.’) The agitators were considering only themselves.

Miss Willis, making some remarks, emphatically denied that there was any objection to giving votes to factory girls and domestics. They all wanted the vote on the same basis. (Hear, hear.) She maintained that women were logical in asking for votes on the same terms as men.

Mr. Woodhams was of the opinion that the women who wanted votes were class agitators, and did not belong to the class to whom votes would be of use. Women were naturally ignorant on subjects which they should have nothing to do with, just as men were ignorant in matters connected with the management of the home. He did not oppose Women’s Suffrage because he thought women were inferior to men, on the contrary he assured the meeting he held women in the highest esteem.

Mr. Hill was in favour of giving votes to women on the same conditions as men. It was not married women who were seeking votes, but those who had to work and support themselves. Women who paid rates and taxes should have the same voice as men. Women were good financiers. This was shown by the way they laid out the money in a working-man’s home. Let a man take the place of the woman and see how he would get on. (Laughter.)

The Chairman said it appeared to him that their bachelor members were opposed to women’s franchise, whilst the married members supported it. Therefore, it would seem that before the question could be brought within the range of practical politics, the position of the bachelors must be changed. (Laughter.) He confessed that some twelve years ago he supported a resolution in the old debating society in favour of giving the franchise to women, but during the last two of three years those views had been shaken by the tactics of the militants. Having detailed some of the antics of militant ladies, to which he objected, he remarked that something had been said about the doings of men in order to get reforms which they wanted. But there was a difference; the men acted spontaneously, whilst the action of the suffragettes was artificial. He asked them to try and remember women of their acquaintance who took real interest in politics, and suggested that the number would be small. Women at present had votes in municipal mattes; they were eligible for seats on the County Councils and Boards of Guardians. Yet they only had one or two coming forward here and there. Till they had manhood suffrage, he saw some difficulty in giving votes to women on the same terms as men. (Hear, hear.)

Mr. Deerlove had not heard ‘one good sensible argument against giving the vote to women.’ (Hear, hear.) He maintained that women who belonged to the Primrose League Liberal Women’s Association, and Trade Unions were interested in politics. They did not join these organisations in order to be in the fashion.

Councillor Reed briefly replied, and on Mr. Patterson giving up his right to reply Mr. Glenister made some observations. He said if it was the idea to give votes to married women it seemed to him that the chief argument in favour of giving votes to women would fall to the ground. His ideal of a woman’s life was that she should attend to the DOMESTIC PART OF LIFE. Women were not qualified to judge on political problems. His great argument against giving votes to women was that it would alter the present status of women.

Mr. Cobb then replied in respect to the amendment which he moved at the last meeting. He said he did not oppose votes to women, but contended for votes for all men and women of age. The giving of the limited franchise would mean the practical disfranchisement of one and a half millions of the working classes. If the ladies were serious and courageous, they would join the Socialists. The Suffragettes were justified in their militant tactics, and he only regretted that the unemployed did not follow their example and ‘not only broke windows, but heads as well.’

Mr. Pearson and the Rev. W. Mantle, as mover and oppose of the resolution at the last meeting, each replied on the debate, the last named evoking loud plaudits from the supporters of women’s suffrage.

On a division, the amendment of Mr. Cobb (adult suffrage) found 15 supporters and 16 voted in opposition. Mr. Mantle’s resolution was then put, and lost by 18 to 10.

It was announced that at the next meeting Mr. Trout would open a debate on Town Council policy.


The religious aspect of the Suffrage question was the first part of an interesting address given by Mrs. Strickland on Women’s Suffrage at the meeting of the League of Progressive Thought and Social Service on Tuesday evening.

Mrs. Strickland pointed out that throughout the New Testament the two sexes are regarded on an equality. Christ made no difference in His treatment of the sexes.

Man and women were made to work together on an equality, the one the complement of the other. The vote stood for equality in citizenship, for a wider outlook for public possibilities, for an uplifting of humanity as a whole. In the course of her further remarks, Mrs. Strickland gave instances of the curious disabilities under which women labored. It had been discovered the other day that if a husband and wife were in the Workhouse, and the wife wanted to leave to earn her own living, the husband had the right to forbid her to go, and the Guardians could not give her her discharge. That showed how much women are still in bondage. She gave instances to show what an advantage the possession of political Candidates went canvassing among the railway men, smiling upon them, and shaking hands with them as if they were boon companions, and I gathered that the railway men were making terms with the Candidates, and the one who could promise them what they wanted got their votes. I saw those Candidates outside the Gas Works talking to the gas men, and coming to terms with them. And it was the same with the post men. But I never once saw them go to the laundries. (Laughter.) I never heard them asking the girls in business, nor the female Post Office employees what their wishes were. The explanation was simple enough. The Candidates were trying to get into Parliament by hook or by crook, and so they made terms with the voters to get their votes. It would not be until women had the power of the vote that they would be able to get their wishes attended to by those who were returned to Parliament.

Speaking of the position of the wife in the household, Mrs. Strickland told the tale of a boy of 15, who after leaving school, started work as an assistant to his father. He spoke with pride of the wages which he was to receive. ‘And who gets your breakfast before you go out to work?’ he was asked. ‘Why, mother, of course,’ was the reply. And so on with the other meals, and the washing and general attention that the lad needed. His mother did it all. ‘And what wages does your mother get’ he was finally asked. ‘Oh! she does not get any wages. You see, she doesn’t do any work,’ he replied. It was actually the case that the wife was not entitled to a penny of wages for her services in the home. When the man says at the altar: ‘With all my worldly goods I thee endow’ he says what is untrue, and I should like to see that expunged from the Marriage Service.’ said Mrs. Strickland.

There followed a brief discussion, in which Mr. Hanbury declared that animals were better treated than women. In racing no distinction was made between the sexes of the horses. Mr. Willard pronounced in favour of adult suffrage, and said that women should have votes because they were women, not because they had property.

Mrs. Strickland pointed out that men had got the franchise step by step, and to expect women to do all at once what had taken them (the men) so long was rather a big order. She also said she had been told that if women had votes the men would cease to be chivalrous. ‘That means, I suppose,’ said Mrs. Strickland, ‘that men are not prepared to give women justice as well as chivalry. Then let them give us justice, and we will waive the other.’

To the Editor of the Observer.

Sir, - Will you permit me, through the medium of your columns, to thank the Rev. W. Mantle, Councillor Reed, and others, who spoke in favour of Woman’s Suffrage at the two meetings held this month by the Hastings Debating Society.

I have heard many speeches on this subject, but none at once so courteous, reasonable, and convincing as the two delivered by Mr. Mantle, who proposed the perfectly just resolution. ‘That sex should not be a disqualification for the franchise.’ I feel certain that had this resolution been put to the vote on March 1st (evening meeting) it would then have been passed, but Mr. Editor, the ‘House’ last night, 8th inst., was quite undoubtedly ‘packed’ and the resolution lost.

Amongst a plurality of speeches against the Suffrage, some sunny, some purposeless, and many weak, there were several grave mistakes made which must be forgiven the speakers on account of their youth, want of knowledge, and logic. It was stated by a young gentleman that ‘the Suffrage movement for women started four years ago, and that four years is too short a time for women to have acquired the education, knowledge and experience necessary to holding the Parliamentary vote.’ Now, with due deference to this young gentleman, who, ambitious citizen as he is, does not even know the A.B.C. of our Suffrage movement. I beg to state this movement started over forty years ago. There are ladies in this town who attended its first meetings. For many years it went on quietly, orderly, and conducted on lady-like, law-abiding principles. After hundreds of disappointments, broken promises, setbacks from Government delays, rudeness, abuse, injustice, and finally ill-treatment from our men defenders it blazed out into the militant tactics of the W.S.P.U. four years ago. These tactics have cost the Suffrage movement the valuable countenance and vote of Mr. Morgan, whose keen sense of logic and justice would deprive thousands of law-abiding women of the vote ‘they need,’ whose courageous actions have brought that great ‘need’ to the public ear.

The statement made, too that this Suffrage movement is one of ‘class’ only is not true. There are some 104 different franchise societies, comprising amongst their members women of every class, type, religion, and shade of political opinions, from the earl’s daughter down through all ranks, authors, artists, actresses, barristers, doctors, military, naval, scholastic, merchant, tradespeople, to factory hands and workers, and the reason that women of education and position have taken the matter up is this: They have the leisure, means, and knowledge for the cause. They wish to help their poorer sisters who cannot help themselves. They are sick of taxation without representation.

They can no longer endure the injustice of the laws of marriage, divorce, testacy, custody of children, etc.

Many other points were mentioned as ‘adult suffrage,’ ‘married women,’ ‘the home sphere,’ ‘property,’ ‘church in fluence,’ I wish I could enter into all of these, but space forbids.

Finally, the uneducated, unbusinesslike, illogical, and emotional character of women which unfits them for participation in their nation’s affairs was emphasized. If this libel be true. Mr. Editor, I will remind those who uttered it that women are, first of all, the daughters of men before they become either wives or mothers of men. Women’s daily life is passed in companionship and under the control and influence of men. Women’s brain power, such as it is, say scientists, derived principally from male progenitors. And I say, with Mrs. Poyser ‘There’s no denyin’ the women is foolish. God A’mity made me to match the men.’

Yours truly,


 Suffrage Propaganda League. London-road, St. Leonards. March 9th, 1910.

To the Editor of the Observer.

SIR, - One of the speakers at the adjourned debate on Women’s Suffrage at the Palace Hotel on Tuesday last, misquoted a remark made by me on the opening evening. Replying to the physical force argument, I had said that maternity was woman’s battle-field-meaning, of course, that if the test for citizenship were a physical one (which it is not), the risk taken, and the physical energy extended by women in giving life, was surely equal to that expended by the soldier in taking it. I was represented as having ‘admitted that maternity was woman’s sphere.’

Now, I must have expressed myself very badly if anyone understood me to suggest that it was her whole sphere, and that I based my demand for enfranchisement on woman’s service to the State as the producer – the mother of both sexes. Had I done so, however, I should have been on more logical ground than that occupied by those of our opponents who make motherhood a reason for denying citizen rights to those on whom they impose all its burdens and responsibilities. But it is on no sexual ground that women demand equal electoral rights. There is a vast field of human endeavor in which men and women of all classes must work together for the common weal – a field that lies as high above sex as above party. The voice of the mother-half of the race must be heard, her special knowledge and experience are needed in any government that claims to represent the national will.

If we woman-suffragists had needed anything to convince us that it is high time for our present system of sex-domination to cease, the wild and illogical assertions which served for arguments on Tuesday night amongst those who opposed us, would have more that sufficed.

Yours truly,

  1. I. HARRISON, (Mrs. Darent). Hastings and St. Leonards Women’s

 Suffrage Propaganda league. Office: 47, London Road, St. Leonards-on-Sea. March 10th, 1910

Votes for Women. Local Debating Society at the Palace Hotel. Mr F.W. Morgan presided. ‘Quite a strong array of voteless spinsterhood put in an appearance.’ Last week the Rev W. Mantle spoke for women’s suffrage. William Mantle boarding at 32 Marina, retired clergyman aged 62. Councillor Reed said there was ‘crass ignorance’ amongst men voters. Mr Patterson said women should not have the vote as they were illogical, and gave several anecdotal instances. Mr Busbridge stated that women did not want the vote, and giving it to them would set men and women against each other. Mrs Chibnall argued that the women’s cause was not sage in the hands of men. Mrs R.V. Smith declared that ‘the vote is coming’ as 400 MPs supported it and only 70 were strongly against. She praised the militants for gaining attention to the movement. Mr Poynton said that the suffrage movement was a class movement. ‘If it were thought that every charwoman and domestic servant would get the vote the women now advocating it would not want it – the agitators were considering only themselves.’ Miss Willis emphatically denied this. Mr Deerlove ‘had not heard one food sensible argument against giving the vote to women.’ Mr Glenister ‘s argument against votes for women was that it would alter the present status of women, whose place was in the home. Mr Cobb said that if women were serious they should join the socialists instead. A vote was taken, 10 in favour and 18 opposed. In a long letter to the HSLO, Madeline Daubeny Stratford later corrected some erroneous points that were made at the meeting. Another letter, from Eliza Harrison, giving her address as 47 London Road, the office of the HSL Women’s Suffrage Propaganda League. She wrote that ‘If we woman-suffragists had needed anything to convince us that it is high time for our present system of sex-domination to cease, the wild and illogical assertions which served for arguments on Tuesday night amongst those who opposed us, would have more than sufficed.’

HSLO 12th March 1910

Mrs Strickland spoke about the religious aspect of the suffrage question at a meeting of the League of Progressive Thought and Social Service. Among other points, she referred to being told that of women had the vote, men would cease to be chivalrous. ‘Let them give us justice’, she declared, ‘and we will waive the other’.

HSLO 20th March 1910

Royal Concert Hall meeting of HSLWSS. President Mrs Tubbs ill, so Mrs Strickland presided. Mrs Harlow Phibbs, Lettice MacMunn (hon. treasurer), Eliza Harrison, the Slades, Miss Bullock, and many others. Dr Flora Murray was the speaker. Mrs Strickland reported that the Hastings Education Committee paid girl pupils less than boy pupils. Mr Davis said that women were injuring their cause by the unladylike way they obstructed meetings. Mrs Strickland replied that women suffragists had worked for many years on peaceful lines and got nowhere. Years ago, men had done some awful things in their fight for the franchise, and their male descendants had no hesitation in using the votes won for them by such terrible means.

HSLO 16th April 1910

Meeting at 47 London Road. HSLWSPL Nora MacMunn’s paper ‘The position of women, in relation to the development of the Constitution’. Historical academic paper. Centuries ago women possessed full civic rights. Mrs Harrison also spoke.

The HSL Women’s Suffrage Propaganda League formed in 1910. Hon Sec in 1913 and 1917 was Eliza Harrison. Hon Treaurer Mrs Charlotte Macmunn. Was affiliated to the New Constitutional Society for Women’s Suffrage. In 1909 it was invited to become a member of the NUWSS but it declined. It was non party and its policy was to oppose the govt by constitutional methods, such as refusing to pay tax. Mrs Chibnall an activist. On 1th March 1918 the League participated in the NUWSS Victory Celebration held at the Queen’s Hall.

On 19th April Eliza Harrison, Lieut-Col. Savile and Lettice MacMunn attended a mass meeting at the Public Hall organised by the HSLESWSU, to hear Mrs Philip Snowden and barrister Mr H. Baillie-Weaver. A choir of ladies, conducted by Mrs Harlow Phibbs (the hon.sec and hon. treasurer), sung suffragist lyrics to popular airs. The hall was crowded, and young ladies wearing white rosettes acted as stewards. Mrs Strickland chaired in place of Mrs Tubbs, and paid homage to her forty years of service to the cause.

HSLO 23rd April 1910

Report of a speech made by Mrs Cecil Chapman to the HSL WS Propaganda League at 47 London Road. Lieutenant-Colonel Savile presided. Those present included Eliza Harrison, Mrs Chibnall, Misses MacMunn Mrs Tillard Bonner, Miss Beckett. Miss Willis, Miss Baines, Mrs Bevan, Miss Beckett, Mrs and Miss Dempster, Mr F.B. Hanbury, Mrs and the Misses Rowe. Mrs Chapman was presiden of the New Constitutional Society for Women’s Suffrage, and Col Savile referred to the proposal to affiliate. Women, Mrs Chapman said, were branded with a stigma as long as they were denied a vote. It perpetuated the custom of think of the woman as belonging to the man. Lettice MacMunn regretted the difficulty of ‘working against indifference’ in Hastings and St Leonards. Many were ‘too ladylike to be indignant.’ Tea was served and the vote was carried to affiliate to the NCS. In 1912 Mrs Chapman withheld her inhabited house duty for a cottage in Roehampton and her goods, a gold watch and chain, were distrained and sold at auction.

HSLO 23rd April announced that a very interesting public debate on women’s suffrage would take place on 29th at the Priory Street Institute.[47] Miss Mildred Ransom of the HSL WSS will open the debate. Miss Pascoe, of the National Women’s Anti Suffrage League would reply, and Mesdames Strickland and Tubbs would also speak.

HSLO 22 April 1911 advert for speeches to be made by NCS FWS members Miss Nina Boyle and Miss Helen Ogston at 5 Grand Parade. In addition Miss Ogston will speak at Tower Road School.

Boyle has a Wikipedia entry. 1865-1943. In 1911 just returned from South Africa where she was employed in a hospital and as a journalist. 1911, on executive, WFL. By 1912, its secretary and head of its political and militant department. She was arrested many times, imprisoned three times. Together with Damer Dawson and Mary Allen in 1914 she established the WPV in 1914 and became one of the first women in police uniform. In 20s, 30s wrote twelve novels.

The HSLWSPL had its usual ‘At Home’ on 2nd May at 47 London Road. Mrs Kineton Parkes was present. She knew of a woman who owned a hotel. She had no votes, yet all nine of her male guests did. She said that Mrs Despard had resisted her taxes and, although her goods were seized, the auctioneers refused to handle the sale. The League felt it was fair for women to pay rates, since their sex was not excluded from voting in local elections. But taxes were another matter: taxation without representation was tyranny. She suggested resisting Inhabited House Duty, since it was less complex than Income Tax.

On 7th May, Eliza Harrison announced that she would be taking part in a march in London and wished to take a banner. On 28th May it was announced that future At Homes would be held at 1 St Paul’s Place.

11th June 1910 Mr Shackleton’s Bill being presented on 14th allowed women to vote if they were ‘possessed of a household qualification’ (as defined by the Representation of the People Act 1884). Married women were not disqualified, but husband and wife could not both be qualified by the same property. Mrs Tubbs thought this the best chance of getting votes for women since 1884.

11th June some members of the PL were planning to take part in the Women’s Procession from the Embankment to the Albert Hall in London on 18th June, under the white, green and silver banner of the PL. Nine would be going up, including Miss Harrison of Winchelsea. They were joined by four from the local NUWSS.

14th June 1910

A women’s suffrage bill is to be introduced on 14th. It has the support of influential members of the House of Commons. There is to be a Women’s Procession from the Embankment to the Albert Hall on the 18th. It is calculated to be two miles long and will take an hour to pass any given point. Hastings will be represented by the white, green and silver banner of the Propaganda League. Those planning to take part include A. R. Savile, Eliza Harrison, Miss Lettice MacMunn, Miss Willis, Mrs Bowerman Chibnall, Miss Bowerman, Miss Rowe, Miss Evelyn Rower, Miss Harrison of Winchelsea. Miss Abadam will be speaking at Rye and Winchelsea.


Magnificent! That was the one word which described it. Magnificent it truly was, in numbers, in organization. In banners, in spectacular display. In enthusiasm, and, above all, in deep set, resolute, unflinching purpose.

Those who have been in all the Suffrage processions of recent years can testify without doubt that by far the most impressive. The most inspiring, and the most purposeful was that of Saturday. As a spectacle it was, as has been well said, a thing of sheer beauty. Ten thousand women, at the very lowest estimate, most of them charmingly attired, and many of them young and beautiful, marching through the heart of London to the music of 40 bands, and carrying over 700 banners, and 4,000 bouquets of lovely flowers, is a sight such as has never before been seen in our great city.

It was two miles long, this wonderful procession, and it covered a route of three miles. It was representative in no ordinary sense; it was international. Suffragists from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Canada, the United States, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Holland helped to swell the ranks; the English women were drawn from every political party, from every religious denomination, whilst great numbers stood aloof from parties and denominations alike. Here no jarring note had place, for once the women forgot all their differences in their strivings to reach a common goal. They marched, militants and non-militants, rich and poor. Learned and ignorant, old and young, side by side, for they marched towards freedom. For this priceless heritage many of them had worked for nearly half a century; others had suffered pains and penalties innumerable, all have given of their time, their strength, their money in order English womanhood may come into its own, that it may enter the pale of citizenship.

It was glorious, a NEVER-TO-BE-FORGOTTEN SIGHT, one full of good promise for the great cause it represented.

At the head of the procession walked Mrs. Pankhurst (cheered from start to finish by the thronging multitudes who lined the streets), with the redoubtable Christabel, Mrs. Pethick Lawrence, Annie Kenney, and Lady Constance Lytton. Then came the 600 white robed women who represented the number of imprisonments suffered on behalf of the cause (strange reading this will make in years to come-a bit of English history none too pleasant to dwell upon) ! As they filed past each carrying aloft the significant broad arrow, silvered for the moment, and glittering in the summer sun, men raised their hats and were silent!

Then followed section after section of the W.S.P.U., flying the colours and displaying their beautiful banners, the well-chosen and significant mottoes raising continuous and resounding cheers. Then came a change in the colour scheme. The purple, white, and green of the S.P.U. gave place to the yellow, white, and gold of the Freedom League, at whose head walked Mrs. Despard, cheered, like Mrs. Pankhurst, all along the line of route. She marched quite alone, looking (as one of the London papers described her) ‘like a Boadicea, with her keen warrior face beneath the thin white hair,’ Following her came the hundreds of women of the Freedom League, one section carrying aloft the names of their contingent of prisoners embroidered on coarse canvas, whilst on a high car sat on of these in the regulation prison garb.

Then the picture changed again, and there came the University women ( hundreds there must have been), who, in cap and gown, made and extraordinary impression on the crowd, which became denser and more enthusiastic as the Albert Hall was neared. Amongst many other NOTABLE ‘INTELLECTUALS were to be seen Miss Dove, of High Wycombe fame, and Dr. Garrett Anderson, England’s solitary lady Mayor.

And then came Leagues innumerable: Writer’s Suffrage League, the Church League for Women’s Suffrage, the Actresses Franchise League (to which Ellen Terry waved enthusiastically from the top of a high car as we marched through Trafalgar Square), the Civil Servants’ League. Carrying a banner inscribed ‘Fair Play and Fair Play for all Servants of the State,’ and this was followed by the Sweated Worker’s League-women whose worn faces and poor clothing told their own and tale. Numerous ‘Constitutional’ Suffragists swelled the ranks, some walking under one banner, some under another-the Hastings and St. Leonards Propaganda League carried its own proudly aloft, and members of the other local Suffrage Society followed under yet another banner. Last, but by no means least, came the distinctive men’s Leagues, which are doing such yeoman service to the women’s cause.

‘Thank God for these brave and chivalrous men,’ was the note of praise in many a woman’s heart that day. ‘We can never go back now,’ we said to one another. ‘The men are closing in; the best of them are standing by us; they can hold aloof no longer; they have made our cause their own; victory is in sight.’ And so we thanked God again, and took courage.

At last the Albert Hall was reached; the sound of the cheers (changed from the jeers of two years ago) had died away; the great procession was over; the great meeting began, at which Mrs. Pankhurst presided. Her note was ‘ Victory.’ The Earl of Lytton, on her right, had a reception of which any many might be proud. ‘Probably (to quote from one of the daily papers) he is the first man of whom 10,000 women have sung to his face, ‘For he’s a jolly good fellow.’ And one of the papers adds, ‘A faint flush rose to his cheek as he stood facing that vast multitude.’

And once again we women say: ‘Thank God for the brave men who have come out so nobly to help us.’

‘In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly! But westward, look, the land is bright.’ Jane E. Strickland


The local Suffragists who marched through the streets of London on Saturday, under the banner of the Propaganda League, have returned greatly encouraged by the hearty reception accorded to them by the dense crowds that watched them all along the three miles of the route.

From the windows, and even the roofs of Clubs and houses, from the tops of omnibuses, and the serried ranks of men and women lining the thoroughfares and every available open space, came a continuous stream of friendly comment and good humoured banter with every now and then great bursts of cheering. If it was not a ease of ‘roses, roses, all the way,’ it certainly was one of fluttering handkerchiefs and faces radiant with implicit faith that the

WINTER OF WOMEN’S DISCONTENT was all but over; that it was on a responsible, self-governing womanhood, man’s helpmate in all things, that the sun of freedom would henceforth shine.

Of cockney humour there was, of course, no lack, of which the new Constitutional Society and its Hastings and St. Leonard’s Branch had a fair share. ‘Ullo,’ ere come the big pots. Ain’t they swells! Bet they’ve all got ‘ouses in park-lyne. Wot? God old Hystings wants the vote too? Bravo St. Leonards! Mind you wyke up du Cros. ‘Ow’s Bexhill gitting on? Give us a flower from good old Hystings. Thank you, thank you, milady.’ And indeed, the bouquets and blossoming branches of the marchers were considerable thinned by the time the Albert Hall was reached.

The local contingent was led by those who have taken the most active part in the work of the league since its formation in November last. Others unable to follow, except in the spirit, had the satisfaction of knowing that their contributions however humble, to the banner and general funds had enabled the league to play an important part on an important occasion. The banner bearers were: Miss Lettice MacMunn and Miss Harrison (hon. Secretary of the Winchelsea Branch). Mrs. de Guerin, Miss Velschlager, Mrs. Pierce. Miss Johnson, and many other friends and sympathizers.

It was considered a good omen that on the day of the procession Mrs. Darent Harrison, as hon. Secretary was able to inform the marchers that the county member, Mr. Courthope, had promised to support the Women’s Representation Bill successfully introduced on the 14th inst. D.E.H.

The Bill passed its first reading, 299 for, 190 against. Mesdames MacMunn and Darent Harrison wrote to the HSLO pointing out how wrong the Prime Minister was in urging members to vote against the second reading. The government, they wrote, had a ‘record of senseless brutality and vindictive treatment’ towards suffragists, and ‘they may count upon our continued and determined opposition’. They also urged women to come forward and campaign to make sure the Bill passed its second reading, and to join them in a mass demo in Hyde Park on 23rd July, where they could be found on the Embankment, close to Cleopatra’s Needle, under their great pale green and white banner. Present at the march were Eliza Harrison, Mrs Bowerman Chibnall, Mrs de Guerin, Lettice MacMunn, Miss Hopkins, Miss Crabbe,[48] Miss Urie and Miss Parr. Mrs DH wrote ‘those who were privileged to take part in it know that to all intents and purposes the women householders have already won their citizen rights’.[49]

‘As was only expected’ ran the text of a report in the HSLO, ‘the Government’s attempt to kill the Women’s Enfranchisement Bill…has called forth a fresh outburst of activity’. The first in a series of open-air meetings was held on the beach near the Fishmarket. Anna Munro[50] from the WFL ‘attracted a large and attentive audience’. Things had changed since 1908 when WSPU speakers were attacked by roughs, and the crowd listened for over an hour, then asked questions -among them: ‘Ow long ave you been in Olloway, Miss?’ Mrs DH called for a vote on the resolution that the government give facilities for the Bill to go forward. It was carried by a large majority, with five against.[51]

The 25th June issue of HSLO carried reports about the procession by Mrs Strickland and Eliza Harrison. The latter was captain of the contingent, which was larger than expected. Lettice MacMunn and Miss Harrison carried the banner.

On Friday 1st July Eliza Harrison, Mrs MacMunn, Lieut.-Colonel Savile and Elsie Bowerman sold copies of Votes for Women on the corner of White Rock and Claremont. On 15th she took part in a PL distribution of suffrage newspapers from an open carriage at White Rock. On 16th a joint letter from her and Mrs MaccMunn was published in the HSLO, in which she pointed out that MPs had voted 299 for and 190 against women’s suffrage, proving that the Prime Minister was wrong in saying that the majority was indifferent or hostile. She accused the government of ‘senseless brutality and vindictive treatment’ of suffragettes. Lastly, she called for women to put forward their names to attend the great rally in Hyde Park on 23rd July.

On 23rd July she went to London to join a suffrage rally at Hyde Park, again marching behind the PL banner, along with six other local women. She wrote the report of the event that appeared in the HSLO of 30th July.

In August she attended an open-air meeting on the beach near the Fishmarket and heard Anna Munro of the WFL, at the end of which Eliza Harrison moved a resolution calling upon MPs to grant facilities for the Women’s Enfranchisement Bill.

At a meeting in Bexhill on 15th August (Cheryl)

Mrs Despard was booked to speak at Bexhill on 22nd August, whilst Mrs Pankhurst and Mrs Pethick Lawrence would shortly visit Hastings. Miss Munro was in Hastings the following Friday, 19th August, to attend a garden party given by Countess O’Clery[52] and her sister, Miss Considine, at their home, St John’s Villa, Church Road, under the auspices of the HSLWSPL. The banner used in the recent London demo was on display.

The highlight of the year came at the end of September, when three leading suffragettes -Mrs Pethick Lawrence, the Hon. Mrs Haverfield and Mrs Mary Clark (Mrs Pankhurst’s sister) -were going to give public speeches, and four days prior to the event, Eliza Harrison took part in a parade from the Memorial to St Leonards and back to advertise it. A dozen women carrying bannerettes bearing slogans marched in single file behind Elsie Bowerman, who carried a green flag, whilst Eliza Harrison brought up the rear, travelling in an open carriage with Mrs Clarke by her side. It took them 90 minutes to process along Robertson Street, White Rock, Eversfield Place, London Road, King’s Road, Western Road, Eversfield Place, White Rock and arriving at the Memorial at 1pm. The meeting took place at the Royal Concert Hall.

24th September 1910

Hon Mrs Haverfield, Mrs Pethick Lawrence (hon. treasurer of the WSPU and joint editor of ‘Votes for Women’) and Mrs Mary Clarke (Mrs Pankhurst’s sister) would be visiting Hastings that week, with Mrs Clarke arriving that day. Between them the ladies had served five prison sentences already.

HSLO 1st October 1910.

Leading suffragists at Hastings.

In connection with the visit of the Hon Mrs Haverfield[53] and Mrs Pethick Lawrence and Mary Clarke, a demonstration took place last Saturday (24th September). A parade from the Memorial to the Royal Concert Hall to advertise the talk.

Miss Lettice MacMunn and a few others arrived first and waited for the Misses Harrison, from Winchelsea. Eliza Harrison arrived in an open carriage. Also present was Lieutenant-Colonel A. R. Savile. About a dozen ladies squared up in single file, and the carriage, containing Eliza Harrison and Mrs Clarke, brought up the rear. Miss Bowerman headed the procession, carrying a green flag, followed by Lettice MacMunn. Mrs MacMunn was there, also Mrs Hatchell from India. The ladies carried pretty bannerettes inscribed ‘No surrender’ and ‘Face to the dawn’. A crowd watched them pass Robertson Street. One lady called the suffragettes a ‘pack of idiots’. Along the seafront several men raised their hats and opposite White Rock one group raised a cheer. The women distributed handbills. Some youthful scoffers followed the procession, shouting ‘Votes for men’ and ‘Why don’t we have free beer?’ It took 90 minutes for the ladies to process along the Front, up London Road, through King’s Road, back down Western Road, along the Front and up Queen’s Road, arriving back at the Memorial at 1pm.

Mrs Clarke set up her HQ for the week at 5 Grand Parade, a building owned by Elsie Bowerman. At the beginning of the following week, Mrs and Miss Pankhurst visited Mrs Clarke. Then, on Wednesday, a meeting was held at the Royal Concert Hall as advertised. Speakers were Mrs Clarke, Evelina Haverfield and Mrs Pethick Lawrence. In the audience were Vicomtesse Myna de Brimont Brassac[54], Countess O’Clery, Lieutenant-Colonel Savile (hon Treasurer of the Women’s Suffrage Propaganda League), Councillor T. Reed, Mrs Darent Harison, Mrs F Strickland, Mrs Bowerman-Chibnall, Miss Bowerman, Michael Sullivan, Mrs Hatchell, G.R. Butterworth. Miss Barbara Harrison of Winchelsea provided the music.

Mrs Clarke moved the resolution that the meeting declared its support for the Woman Suffrage Bill which had just passed its second reading by 100 votes. Savile seconded. Resolution carried, with a couple voting against.

15th October 1910

‘Marina’ wrote to the HSLO that women antis need not fear being ‘driven to the polling booth’ because ‘nobody has ever introduced a Bill to compel’ women to vote. The antis would, therefore, be ‘free to remain voteless as they are at present.’

The PL held its first AGM on 30th October at 5 Grand Parade. Throughout the summer, literature had been distributed and paper selling parties went out once a week, and ‘good business’ was done in Robertson Street and along the seafront.

5th November 1910

Lady Brassey invited the leader of the WSPU Mrs Pankhurst to her drawing room at 24 Park Lane to give a speech to her wealthy, titled friends. Lord Brassey opened proceedings by claiming to have ‘devoted many anxious days and sleepless nights’ to the question of women’s suffrage, and had still not reached a decision. Two days later Lady Brassey invited the leader of the NUWSS, Mrs Millicent Garrett Fawcett.

Meanwhile, back at home, the HSLWSPL held its first AGM at its HQ, 5 Grand Parade. Chaired by Lieut.-Colonel Savile, the meeting heard that the sales of suffrage literature had been particularly good in Robertson Street and along the seafront. A decorated carriage was used as a ‘Press cart’; this served to attract attention and increased the sales by the sellers on foot. The Conciliation Committee’s Bill had passed its second reading by a majority of 110 and had been sent to a Committee of the whole House, so it was important that every constituency must keep up the pressure to ensure that a refusal would be impossible. Funds were needed; volunteers were needed; new branches must be formed; representatives must be sent up to London to take part in demonstrations. The meeting paid tribute to Dr Blackwell, who had recently passed away. Miss Tillard Bonner and Miss Beckett resigned from the committee; everyone else was reelected.

On 18th November Eliza Harrison formed part of a deputation to Parliament, representing the Constitutional Society. She, Lettice MacMunn and Mrs Bowerman Chibnall witnessed the now-famous scenes of police brutality that have given the day the name ‘Black Friday’. Back home she called an ‘indignation meeting’ of the PL at 5 Grand Parade, from which a message of protest was telegraphed to the Prime Minister.

On 2nd December the PL met at Grand Parade and Eliza Harrison read out its manifesto (doubtless written by herself). It concluded: ‘The woman’s cause is man’s; we rise or sink together.’


An indignation meeting was held by the Women’s Suffrage Propaganda League at 5, Grand-parade, on Monday evening, to protest against the treatment accorded to the women of Friday’s deputation outside the House of Commons.

Though only summoned at a day’s notice, a large number attended. After a few opening words from Col. Savile, who took the chair, Miss L. MacMunn described the scenes in Parliament-street and square, of which she was an eye witness and bore emphatic testimony to the orderliness and dignity of the women, until brutally attacked by the police and their plain clothes assistants. The excitement and hysteria described in the daily papers were all on the side of the police and on-lookers, and were utterly uncalled for. A letter was then read from Mrs. Darent Harrison describing the treatment she met with while accompanying the deputation as a representative of a Constitutional Society; and another letter was read from Mrs. Chibnall, who was also one of the deputation, mentioning that she had indignantly refused a request from the Liberal Party for the use of an empty shop in Wellington-place during the Election, at a high rent, being determined to have NO DEALINGS WITH THE PARTY that could treat women as the Liberals had done.

There was great applause when Miss L. MacMunn described the dignified bearing of those well-known and heroic women, Mrs. Garrett Anderson, Miss Neiligan, Mrs. Brackenbury, and other white-haired and life-long pioneers of Women’s freedom.

A resolution was then put and supported also by members of other Constitutional Societies, that:- ‘This Constitutional Society protests against the unconstitutional and violent methods adopted by the Government on November 18th to prevent a small deputation of women bringing a political grievance before the Prime Minister’ This was carried unanimously, and telegraphed to the Prime Minister.

On 3rd December 1910 the HSLO reported that the HSLSS had sent questions to the parliamentary candidates asking whether, if elected, they would press the government to pass a law giving votes to women. Arthur du Cros replied to say he had not changed his mind since the last General Election, held in February 1910, when he had told Mrs Tubbs that, before supporting women’s suffrage, he wanted to see a ‘clear mandate’ given by the country. Even then he would exclude married women from voting.

On 17th December ‘Onward’, on the letters page, pointed out the absurdity of the anti-suffrage league, particularly of its leader, Mrs Humphry Ward,[55] who ‘whilst using her talents as a writer of political pamphlets, etc, to place her son in Parliament, proclaims at the same time that she is ‘quite unfit’ to vote.

The last day of 1910 brought the sad news that Mrs Clarke, WSPU organiser for Brighton since 1909, who had recently spent a week (?) campaigning in Hastings, had died on Christmas Day. Two days previously she had been released from Holloway Prison after serving a month for breaking windows at Cannon Row Police Station. After going on hunger-strike she was force fed. She had first gone home to Brighton, then the next day travelled to her brother’s in London, to spend Christmas with him, his family and her sister Emmeline. She died there, very suddenly, at the age of forty-eight.

The final appearance of Eliza Harrison in the HSLO for 1910 came on 3rd December within a report of a meeting of the PL at 5 Grand Parade.

She was back at the beginning of 1911 with a letter to the editor enclosing a cutting from The Times, exposing a circular from Lord Cromer, an ‘anti’, appealing to business owners for funds to keep the Anti Suffrage League going. She is taken with the fact that he intends to keep the names of all donors a secret. She calls it a ‘Secret Service fund, to be employed in upholding the present system of sex-despotism’ and points out that in contrast suffragists are not ashamed of their names or their cause.

On 20th January she organised a meeting at the Public Hall. A large number of attendees listened to two well known suffragettes and a well-known London magistrate, Cecil Chapman.

On 23rd January 1911 secretary of the National Tax Resistance League Mrs Kineton Parkes gave a long talk at PL HQ explaining the whys and the hows of tax resistance. She said that it worked three ways: as a weapon, as a protest, and as propaganda. They must not withhold their rates, as this would lose them the Municipal Vote, but they could refuse to pay Imperial Taxes, Income Tax, Licence Duties or Inhabited House Tax. When demand notes and reminders arrived, the resistor should ignore them, until the final demand, when she should return it with the words ‘Taxation without representation is tyranny’ or some such wording. A tax collector would then be sent round in person to obtain the money owed. The resistor must then say she is a conscientious objector, and will never pay until women have the vote. Then the bailiff would be sent, and the resistor should give him something to the value of the money owed. This would be taken and sold in an auction room. The night before the auction, the resistor and her likeminded friends should hold an indignation meeting, and just before the auction they should hold a demo outside the auction rooms, and during the sale create disturbances. A group of women should go to a public call office and each in turn should telephone the auctioneer and ask if it is true that Mrs So-and-So’s goods are being auctioned, and express a protest. The intention is that the auctioneer would in future refuse to sell distrained goods on behalf of the council. Mrs Darent Harrison expressed her intention to resist her taxes, and confessed that she was ‘a bit of a militant’. She preferred active to passive resistance, and intended to barricade herself in her house against the tax collector and bailiff.

In February, in a letter on women’s suffrage to the HSLO, Mrs Darent Harrison called herself ‘an individual unit in the great women’s army’. She invited a well-known actress and suffragette to speak at one of the At Homes, and afterwards appealed for volunteers to take part in the census protest; many present expressed their intention to resist the census. In March, at a PL meeting, she suggested that a group of resistors might sleep in the PL offices to evade the census.

In late March Mrs Darent Harrison sent a statement out to local voters defending the evasion of the census. She sent a copy to the HSLO.

The Census Nullified. Last Sunday Night’s Resistance. By Hastings Suffragettes.

A Night in a Shop and an Empty House.

From whatever point of view we regard the attitude of Suffragettes in reference to the Census, whether it be admiration for pluck and principle, or whether it be disgust for ostentatious or hysterical activity, there is one significant point which must be apparent to everybody, namely, that an instrument of ‘the State’ has been nullified.

In order to effect such a condition of affairs only the Suffragettes themselves know as to what their experiences were. Monday morning’s papers were naturally filled with the accounts of such a historic resistance, but perhaps few realised that Hastings Suffragettes were unusually to the force in that campaign, and, to quote from a lady who, on Monday afternoon, consented to give her experiences to her ‘comrades,’ the room at 5. Grand-parade, in which meetings are held, would not hold them all.

This room prominently figured in the local proceedings, and our representative visited it on Monday afternoon, just as a group of ladies was being photographed for the ‘Pictorial Advertiser,’ prior to a meeting to celebrate the victory over the Census Order.

When this had been accomplished the newspaper man ventures to suggest that the photograph might give them a way to the Authorities.

‘We do not care,’ several replied. ‘We are not afraid.’ As to that, from the rejoicings of the subsequent meeting, fear seemed to be the last consideration.

Anxious to hear some of the ladies’ experiences, our interviewer questioned Mrs. Darent Harrison, the secretary of the Hastings and St. Leonards Suffrage Propaganda League, who seemed in excellent spirits.

‘My house was surrounded all day,’ she told him, and she laughed to think that two or three detectives in plain clothes, a police constable, and an inspector of police should have been hovering round her house for the purpose of spying on her guests. ‘But they could not find out how many I had got, because they were coming and going, morning, afternoon, and night.’

Perhaps it should be explained that the practice which appears to have been extensively agreed upon in Hastings was for one lady – possibly selected according to her militant propositions – to invite a certain number of ladies to pass the night with her. Having arrived the host refused to include the name of her guests.

Therefore, a somewhat embarrassing position was provided for the Enumerator when he waited upon these ladies in the morning.

Mrs. Harrison described such a scene to our representative. Having done nothing to her paper beyond writing the significant sentence, ‘No vote, no information,’ she requited that it should be given to the Enumerator when he called. But the latter sought an interview with the lady, and proceeded at once to produce the Act. ‘This he read with great emotion,’ pursued Mrs. Harrison, ‘and I listened to it with great calmness and patience.’ Mrs. Harrison said that he looked puzzled when she pointed out that there was another alternative to filling in the paper besides paying £1. ‘He forgot the month imprisonment,’ she added. In further describing this incident at the meeting Mrs. Harrison said that he read the Act with a trembling voice. He did not seem aware that there was a way out of paying £3, ‘So I suggested the alternative,’ she remarked, ‘and he fled to dismay.’

Having thus signified her protest, Mrs. Harrison followed it up by writing to the Registrar General, as appended, a letter which was read at the meeting:-

‘I regret I cannot fill in the Census paper which has been left at my house.

I cannot put any hand to an instrument intended to assist to the construction of legislation in which I have no voice.’

Of course, when this letter was read, it received a tremendous ovation, but

prior to the meeting Mrs. Harrison, in her chat with our interviewer, said:-

‘We have not done this from any destructive propensity. We do not or at least, those of us who are passive resisters. Mrs. Harrison was apparently speaking generally of the movement in Hastings, because she assume herself militant to the backbones, want to break the law. We are all law-abiding citizens. It is merely a protest, similar to these, only milder, gentler, and more respectable, as were employed by man from time to time. It is more humane than physical force, but it is very deadly.’ Mrs. Harrison consoles herself that these actions are militant in the most emphatic sense of the word.

One lady discovered an empty house at which no paper had been left, so she borrowed the key and spent the night there with other ladies.

Another instance of how a handful of ladies passed a night together in a comfortless room, only disturbed by an energetic police constable was furnished by Miss Norah MacMunn at the meeting, when she unfolded an interesting story of her night at 5. Grand-parade.

‘It was cold,’ she began, ‘so we had to light a stove and the light from this could be seen outside, so that we were not allowed to stay in peace for long. Presently we heard a rattling at the door, and a strong light flash in. We know who it was because it was a very heavy tread, and, unfortunately, we were just getting very sleepy. The rattling, however, went on for some time, but finally the light ceased to shine, and all was peace once more. But in about ten minutes time there was suddenly a great noise above our heads. How anybody could get on the roof is a mystery, but we saw the light shine through the skylight, although it didn’t seem to produce anything from the point of view of the person on the roof, who finally withdrew. This went on at intervals above us, but when we left. I should think about half-past seven, the coast was clear,’ What might have occurred had the policeman discovered what he sought, and clamoured for admittance?

At the meeting previously referred to, it was suggested that the scanty attendance could be attributed to the ‘unrestful night’ some had passed, and that others had to return to a distance outside Hastings.

However, those who were present were in fighting mettle: they sang their ‘warlike’ melodies, one to the tune of ‘La Marseillaise,’ and during the proceedings a note of confidence was struck by several ladies in their future state.

‘There is spring in the air,’ said one young enthusiast,’ and our hearts are full of hope. We expect that very soon we shall be free women.’

Another lady, describing the discomfiture of an Enumerator when he discovered that the paper would not be signed because the lady was a Suffragette, said: ‘He gave a most piteous sigh, and I felt quite nervous for his heart. He then gave one gasp, and left the room.’

Colonel A. R. Savile has much respect for legal technicalities, and arising out of an appeal to the House of Lords, when it was held that a person in the meaning of an Act did not mean a woman, he suggested that they would be able to justify their resistance. The Census paper stipulated that living persons must fill up the papers, but the law said that they were not persons, living or otherwise.

All societies which seek to acclaim women’s rights by giving them the vote have not taken an active position in resisting the Census. The Constitutional members have decided to hold aloof, but they have given their sympathy to the more militant, as was evidenced in a letter read by Mrs. Harrison, in which one of these Constitutional ladies expressed herself in such terms as practically amounted to being willing to go bail for Mrs. Harrison in the event of proceedings being instigated.’

In 1911 the Pelham Hall Electric Theatre showed a film called 'Jes - Plain Dog.' The advertising poster said that the dog was more faithful than any of the director's six wives. According to cinema historian Nick Prince, 'hoards of women, many of them Suffragettes, picketed the Cinema in an attempt to get the picture banned.' They were unsuccessful. (The Entertainer September 1999)

In late April Amy Wolfen, on behalf of the local branch of the National League for Opposing Women’s Suffrage, wrote to Arthur du Cros to advise him of the result of the previous month’s postcard canvass of local female householders who already enjoyed the Municipal vote. The League had posted 2,610 postcards in envelopes, of which 1,244 were not returned. To ensure fair play, the count of returned postcards on Friday, 10th March, was supervised by with the assistance of the Hon. Secretary of the Hastings, St. Leonards, and East Sussex Suffrage Society.[56] The result was, 925 did not want the Parliamentary vote, 425 did, and 20 were neutral. The League concluded that more than twice as many were against women’s suffrage as were in favour of it.

On 4th May Mrs Darent Harrison joined a deputation to the House of Commons, where they presented a memorial signed by twenty-three local female householders, to Arthur du Cros, urging him to support a women’s suffrage Bill being brought to the House by Sir George Kemp on 5th May, and subsequently to support it ‘in every way and in every stage so that it may pass into law this session’. She then wrote to the HSLO stating that ‘the important fact is that Mr. du Cros will not vote against the Bill as he did last time.’

The WFL organised a tribute to John Stuart Mill on 20th May, the anniversary of his birthday, at his statue in Temple Gardens. Someone, probably Mrs Darent Harrison, sent a large, bespoke wreath of lilies and laurels, with the inscription ‘John Stuart Mill. Champion of Liberty. By liberty we mean the power to protect ourselves against the tyranny of political rulers’.

On 17th June Mrs Darent Harrison, along with Charlotte, Lettice and Nora MacMunn and Mrs Bowerman Chibnall, Miss Hogg, Miss Tristram, Margaret Harrison and a dozen others took part in a massive, sumptuous Coronation Procession of Women in London, marching from the Embankment to the Albert Hall behind the PL banner. They were just behind the wondrous pageant of queens and just ahead of the Actresses’ Franchise League. The Albert Hall had been booked for a mass rally, with the Empress Rooms as the overflow venue. The Manchester Guardian reckoned that 40,000 women had taken part; the Evening News said 50,000. There were seventy bands and over 1,000 banners.

Mrs Darent Harrison joined the Women’s Tax Resistance League and set up a small St Leonards branch (membership unknown). The TRL was a national group that existed between 1909 and 1918, and was affiliated to the Women’s Freedom League (founded in 1907 as a breakaway group from the WSPU). The TRL was founded by Dora Montefiore (who would in later years settle in Hastings). Other members included Beatrice Harraden and Margaret Kineton Parkes, whom Mrs Darent Harrison invited to give speeches in Hastings.[57]

Mayhall wrote: ‘Tax resistance proved to be the longest-lived form of militancy, and the most difficult to prosecute. More than 220 women, mostly middle class, participated between 1906 and 1918, some continuing to resist through the First World War, despite a general suspension of militancy. Suffragettes resisted payment of two general categories of tax: the first included property tax, inhabited house duty, and income tax; the second, taxes and licenses on gods, carriages, motor cars, male servants, armorial bearings, guns and game.’[58]

Mrs. Darent Harrison also recalled the " Siege of Hammersmith." " I was impressed that I vowed to myself there and then that if I was ever in position to follow that great example I should do so,"[59]

Mrs Darent Harrison’s first tax protest was held in 1911 and was reported in the HSLO on 1st and 8th July.




‘Despite the Prime Minister’s promise and the attitude of the Liberal Party upon the Women’s question, the various organisations in England which claim the Suffrage will not relax any efforts until the Bill is on the Statute Book.

The local Society, too is working just as strenuously, and acting up to the principles of the Women’s Tax Resistance League, which is based upon the stand that if there is no vote there will be no payment of tax, and Mrs. Darent Harrison, the secretary of the Hastings and St. Leonards Suffrage Propaganda League, will show she is supporting the stand at an auction sale at the [no.22] Norman Road Auction Room, next Tuesday afternoon, at two o’clock.

Mrs. Harrison has resisted the inhabited house duty, and distraint will be made upon her family silver. Naturally, the local Suffragettes will grasp the opportunity for a public demonstration.

They have submitted an appeal to the ratepayers to attend the sale at 3:45 and join in the protest. Permission has been given to Mrs. Harrison to make a speech of protest after the sale in the Auction Room, following which a procession will be organized by Tax Resisters, etc., to march from the Auction Room to the Royal Concert Hall, where, soon after five o’clock an indignation meeting will be held. At this meeting the speakers will be Miss Helen Ogsten, Mrs. Kineton Parkes, the secretary of the Tax Resistance League, and Col. A. R. Savile.’

(8th July)




The war by women advances.

Even in Hastings, where suffrage societies exist calling themselves constitutional, and therefore suggesting patient plodding, and peace we had an echo of militantism on Tuesday which is taking place in every part of the country.

Mrs. Darent Harrison, the hon. Secretary of the Hastings Suffrage Propaganda League, who about a year ago enrolled herself amongst the modern Hampdens who sported the cry of ‘No vote, No Tax,’ had some goods sold by public auction, goods which had been seized to pay the King’s Taxes, the inhabited house duty in this case.

The goods upon which distraint was made comprised several silver spoons and silver soup ladles. These occupied the last lot on the catalogue. No, 181, so that at the opening of the sale, in the Norman Road Auction Room and conducted by Messrs. Cave. Austin and Co., auctioneers [of 15 Grand Parade], there was nothing but the usual business procedure, except that several men at the back confessed that they were out to see the fun.

The sale proceeded quietly for about an hour and a half, various ladies of the Hastings Suffrage organization then began to peep in the door, whilst Mrs. Harrison soon appeared in the escort of many ladies flying banners containing in big print, ‘No vote, no tax.’ This occupied one side, on the other was a catalogue of the day’s sale, with large wording written across it, ‘come and protest.’

Naturally the appearance of these ladies outside, and later their endeavours to bring the banner into the room, caused something not usually experienced in the monotonous bidding of the auction room. In fact, it soon became impossible to hear the Auctioneer’s voice. This gentleman appealed to the ladies to withdraw and take their turn, whilst in the meantime the door was closed.

Their turn came about 4 o’clock.

Upon the announcement of lot 183, there was a stir in the doorway, and the crowd of buyers crouched themselves up tightly to allow the Suffragettes to pass through.

Col. A.R. Savile led the way. He was followed by Mrs. Darent Harrison and a long file of other ladies sporting their colours, and including in their ranks Mrs. Kineton Parkes, the hon. Secretary of the movement and Miss Helen Ogston, a well known advocate.

As soon as the Auctioneer, waving about the silver spoons and ladle, had restored order -a faint cheer having risen as the band entered -Col. Savile declared his protest against the sale.

‘This lady has no desire,’ he said, ‘to avoid paying rates and taxes for the maintenance of the Government and State finances. BUT SHE OUGHT NOT TO PAY without the equivalent recognition from the Government -(cheers) -and ought to have a voice in how the money she contributes to the State ought to be expended. At present she had no voice. Is that right?’

The audience gave a cheer and the ladies cried: ‘No.’

Mrs. Darent Harrison then quietly declared that she protested solemnly and earnestly against the seizure and sale of her goods by the servants of the Government, who were treating women in a way which was a disgrace to this country. (Applause.)

Mrs. Kineton Parkes urged the gathering to come to the Concert Hall, where all details as to why they were protesting would be explained.

‘Is there any beer?’ asked an individual with a clay pipe and his hands thrust deep into his trouser pockets.

Mrs. Kineton Parkes, waiting for a laugh which greeted this remark in the doorway to subside, continued to prophesy that their method of resistance was going to spread if Mr. Asquith went back upon his promise. Mrs. Darent Harrison was the first to protest in Hastings, but there would be plenty to do the same thing next year.

The Auctioneer then put up the spoons for auction.

The bidding started at 10s and rose by other bids of 5s, to £5 10s, when the Auctioneer withdrew the articles.

‘£5 10s,’ he said, ‘satisfies my claim. Shall I settle it? Once, twice, and gone at £5 10s.’

Miss Harrison of Winchelsea, a niece of Mrs. Darent Harrison, proved to be the purchaser, and she bought them on behalf of her mother.

The Suffragettes then formed up outside the auction room, and made a procession down Norman-road and Warrior-square on to the Front, from where they went to London-road, up London-road, down King’s-road, to the Concert Hall. About fifty took part.

Arrived at the Concert Hall, an indignation meeting was held in the small ball room.

Colonel Savile presided and tendered to Mrs. Harrison the thanks of the meeting for her spirited step in vindication of women’s rights. She was the only one so far in Hastings who had shown the pluck -the real pluck -of coming forward publicly and refusing to pay the taxes.

Mrs. Darent Harrison’s sister [sic],[60] who had formed a branch at Winchelsea, then stepped up and presented a bouquet to Mrs. Darent Harrison on behalf of the sister branch, whilst Miss Hogg on behalf of some householders of the Women’s Suffrage Propaganda League at Hastings, also presented a bouquet in appreciation of Mrs. Harrison’s stand, and with the assurance that if the Government did not keep to their promise a good many would follow her example in1912.

Mrs. Darent Harrison, upon rising to return thanks, was given an enthusiastic welcome. She had been dubious, she explained, as to how the members of their society would receive her decision to resist. She thanked them for their support, and declared that tax resistance mist be an inevitable part of their policy. They could not submit to injustice.

Mrs. Kineton Parkes was received with applause. She moved a resolution that the women of England would pay no taxes until they received the Parliamentary vote, and were able to have some voice in deciding how the large amount of money contributed by women was to be spent. It protested against the sale of Mrs. Harrison’s goods, and called upon the Government to grant immediate facilities for passing the Conciliation Bill into law. The speaker considered that there could be no more dignified protest than tax resistance, and they could also use it for propaganda.

They were also able, by their stand, to influence people, and to get such people as Magistrates, the survivors of taxes, etc., men in official positions, to see the justice of their cause. It was not so much because they wanted women to resist the taxes as the chance which it gave them of spreading the gospel. It was not so much the fact that they did resist as to why they resisted. She described how this method of propaganda was firmly influencing those people whose duty it was to attend to the taxed. Bailiffs would express their sorrow, and auctioneers would give them a hearing. Occasionally an auctioneer might not allow them to speak.

‘When he says that,’ she continued, ‘we have to make a row. And we do it.’ She went on to refer to their acts in resisting as constitutional rather than unconstitutional because they were told that taxation and representation should go together. It was only because they believed that the women should be free that they were willing to do this sort of thing. It was not a question as to whether Mrs. Smith wanted the vote, or whether Mrs. Brown did not want it, that they should have it or the reverse. It had become an economic necessity for the nation. The Government was wasting time and money in trying to solve questions which affected women and children, and they could not know, they could not understand those questions without consulting the women of the country. Although people had asked why they should resist in the face of the Government’s promise, their answer was that they knew Governments, and that they know Prime Ministers. A promise was all very well, but they were going TO WAIT AND SEE if what they said they would do.

Miss Helen Ogston followed by seconding the resolution. In dealing with the present position of the Suffrage, the speaker alluded to the unjust position in which women were being placed in Mr. Lloyd-George’s Insurance Bill. Women were going to be affected as well as men, and Mr. Lloyd consulted every single Society of any standing as to what should be done, but there was not a single women’s society that he ever approached, even the Women’s Trade Union League. She proceeded to analyse the Bill in order to argue how women would be penalized, and how it practically amounted to cheating. She thought the women of the country had rather accepted the Bill of lying down. She wound up by saying that area if they expected peace they must be prepared for war. If they did not get what they wanted, she said, go on fighting until they did get it.

Mrs. Strickland added a few words I support of the resolution, which was then carried unanimously.

Mrs. Harrison was again applauded as she rose to propose a vote of thanks to Colonel Savile. She confessed that in the auction room she had felt very womanly, and that it was good to have a man present with strong lungs.

The vote of thanks was heartily received, and after a brief reply the gathering dispersed.

One of the most successful and effective Suffrage demonstrations ever held in St. Leonards was that arranged jointly by the Women’s Tax Resistance League and the Hastings and St. Leonards Women’s Suffrage Propaganda League, on Tuesday, July 4, on the occasion of the sale of some family silver which had been seized at the residence of Mrs. Darent Harrison for non-payment of Inhabited House Duty. Certainly the most striking feature of this protest was the fact that members of all societies in Hastings, St. Leonards, Bexhill and Winchelsea united in their effort to render the protest representative of all shades of Suffrage opinion. Flags, banners, pennons and regalia of many societies were seen in the procession. Not the least satisfactory feature was the courtesy and respect shown by the authorities, the general public, and the Press towards the demonstrators. The hearty response from the men to Mrs. [Margaret] Kineton Parkes’s call for ‘three cheers for Mrs. Darent Harrison’ at the close of the proceedings in the auction room, came as a surprise to the Suffragists themselves.[61]

In August 1911 Arthur du Cros and 123 other MPs sent a memorial to the Prime Minister H.H. Asquith contending that the great majority of both men and women in the UK were opposed to women’s suffrage, and that the subject had never even been considered, let alone approved by the electorate. Because of this, the government should not progress with the change until a referendum was held to establish whether the electorate wanted women to have the vote. In response, Mrs Darent Harrison wrote to the HSLO arguing that the issue had been before the electors of this borough ‘as the back piles of the Observer will prove’ during the last three elections, and that no other issue had been the subject of such persistent and vigorous agitation up and down the country for the last seven or eight years’. But Mrs Darent Harrison was trying to smother the point with a lot of verbiage: it was true that the electorate had never been asked or given a mandate. She pointed out, quite correctly, that other important laws were changed without resorting to a referendum.

In October Mrs Darent Harrison wrote twice to the HSLO. In her first letter (14th) she expressed satisfaction with his reasons for handing over his salary to the borough: ‘that the people were being taxed without their consent.’ She stated that his protest ave ‘great encouragement to all those women taxpayers who feel they can no longer conscientiously submit to despotic legislation and taxation’. In the second (21st), she suggested that Arthur du Cros should have handed his salary to the PL ‘in defence of the principal that he upholds’ instead of to the anti-suffrage mayor.

The following week the PL met with Dorothy Bowker, who had been sent by the WSPU to organise Hastings, and discussed how to divide the labour so that there was no overlap or gaps. Mrs Darent Harrison advised the members of the PL to look for a new hon. sec., because she feared that her sympathies with the militant suffragettes made her unsuitable.

In November she wrote to the HSLO taking issue with their heading ‘Sex War’ to describe the fight for the suffrage, pointing out that there were supporters and antis of both sexes and, ‘strange as it may seem’ there were women who were ‘urging the Prime Minister to uphold the present system of despotic taxation and legislation for women’. She wrote again in December, another letter infused with fighting spirit and fighting talk, taking the columnist ‘Vigilant’ to task for his comments about the suffragettes. She also said that the truce was over and ‘we have now no choice but to fight to a finish with such weapons as seem to us good’.

She attended a great suffrage rally at the Public Hall on 15th November, held by the HSLWSS. It was packed to overflowing and in fact arrangements were made for the lower hall to be opened to cope with those unable to get in. Earl Brassey presided, and he, Mrs Garrett Fawcett and Earl Lytton were the speakers.

The HSLO of 2nd December reported Arthur du Cros’s views on women’s suffrage. He stated that there had never been any ambiguity about his position. Personally, he was opposed to giving women the franchise. However, what had his individual opinion to do with the enfranchisement of six or seven million women? If he received a clear mandate from the men and women of the country he would vote in favour. But as things stood, he would go on voting against the Conciliation Bill, as he had done. He had been told that he was turning his back on the local ladies who helped him during his election campaigns, but he said he did not do so under false pretences: everyone knew his views on women’s suffrage. Besides which, he thought most of them held his views on the subject. In response, Mrs Darent Harrison wrote to the HSLO (23rd), referring to ‘the Borough Member’s present hostile attacks.’ She continued: ‘The proper time for Mr. du Cros to have made a bold statement of his opposition to the principle of women’s enfranchisement was when the question was officially put to him by the local Branch of the N.U.W.S.S., prior to his adoption as Candidate for this borough. He did precisely the opposite. He expressed sympathy with our demand -only drawing the lines at votes for married women. His supporters made every use of his answer to popularize his candidature amongst Suffragists.’

‘Quite recently he has re-affirmed his belief in the principle that taxation and representation should go together. He protests against being paid out of the pockets of the people of Hastings without their consent. But we protest against his accepting our widows’ and spinsters’ mites, and making generous gifts of them to the borough, unless it is done -as it was professedly done -for the purpose of vindicating our rights. For we have the presumption to include ourselves amongst the people of Hastings. But Mr. du Cros’ attitude is of no consequence except in so far as he is supposed to represent this constituency in the House of Commons. Now, we indignantly deny that he has received any mandate to oppose the principle of women’s enfranchisement. As Member for this borough, he is pledged to support it, just as Mr Courthope was pledged, as Members for the Rye and East Sussex Division. There is no Anti-Suffrage movement in either constituency. As I have already had occasion to point out in your columns, resolutions passed in ladies’ boudoirs, and postcard canvasses, are quite valueless for any political purpose.[62]

By ‘ladies boudoirs’ and ‘postcard canvasses’ Mrs Darent Harrison was alluding to Madame Wolfen, who held anti-suffrage meetings in her home and whose canvass of local women ratepayers found that the majority did not want the Parliamentary vote. She was adamant that resolutions passed at suffrage meetings, and the 1910 petition of 1,500 pro-suffrage signatures, amounted to a mandate, but resolutions from Amy Wolfen’s meetings, and her postcard canvass, did not.

Summing up, Mrs Darent Harrison called upon men to ‘stand by the women’s side as the women have never failed to stand by theirs in every great struggle against tyranny and unjust laws.’

‘Vigilant’ remarked that ‘the Borough Member has shown courage in making his position on the matter clear. A man who deliberately provokes the militant spirit of the Suffragettes is as brave as they make them nowadays.’[63]


In publishing the following letter I need only say I have nothing to add to my previous remarks on the subject:-

Sir, I had not intended to address you again on the subject of the Borough Member’s attitude towards Women’s Suffrage, but ‘Vigilant’s’ criticism of my letter in your last issue seems to invite me to further controversy. He says he does not agree with my proposition that the ultimate responsibility for lawless acts committed by militant Suffragists rests upon the electorate. But, as a responsible unit in a so-called self-governing state, he must surely admit that his duty does not end in the casting of a vote for a Member of Parliament. He must admit his further obligation, as a good citizen, to see that his Parliamentary Representative fulfills his election pledges and uses the power that is placed in his hands to enforce the will of his constituents upon the Government of the day. But whether ‘Vigilant’ agrees with me or not does not alter the fact that the enfranchised are ultimately responsible for the misgoverning of the unenfranchised, and consequently for every manifestation of revolt which such misgovernment must give rise to, so long as there are men and women in the world with sufficient spirit and sense of duty to rebel against tyranny and injustice. Mr. du Cros’ recent announcement that he intends to wait and see what the country thinks about Women’s Suffrage is subversive of all the principles of representative government. If I were ‘Vigilant,’ instead of inviting local Suffragettes to applaud Mr. du Cros for his courage, I should ask that gentleman two very pertinent questions: —1. ‘Why did you express sympathy with the principle of Women’s Enfranchisement at the General Elections of January and December 1910? 2: -Supposing every Member of Parliament decides, as you have done, to ‘wait and see’ what the feeling of the country is, what becomes of the House of Commons as a representative assembly, and what machinery would you employ for ascertaining the will of the people? The Referendum is no longer seriously advocated. The more far-sighted Anti-Suffragists recognise that far from allaying the militant agitation it would only provoke beyond endurance the women who, rightly or wrongly, consider that after 50 years of peaceful methods, patience and sweet reasonableness are no longer a virtue but a vice. The present Home Secretary, Mr. McKenna, an Anti-Suffragist, lately informed his constituents that the exclusion of a few thousand latchkey voters from the register in South Monmouthshire ‘was more than flesh and blood could bear.’ Well, women are of the same flesh and blood as their fathers and brothers. They are suffering under wrongs which they find to be intolerable, and their blood is up. There is only one right way to deal with this agitation, and if we are to retain one shred of respect for English manhood, that way must be taken at once and without any further shuffling, trickery and delay.

Yours truly, (Mrs. Darent) E. I. Harrison, Hon. Sec Women’s Suffrage Propaganda League, 1. St. Paul’s-place, St. Leonards. December 28th, 1911

Mrs Darent Harrison spent the Christmas period organising a joint demonstration of the WSPU and the PL to be held at the Public Hall on 8th January 1912, with famous speakers coming down from London, but before that she wrote to the local paper about Mr du Cros.

23 Dec 1911


Sir, - While we gratefully acknowledge “Vigilant’s sympathy with our cause, and admiration for the women engaged is the struggle, I should like to point out that they would have been still more gratifying had he not last week expressed a similar admiration for the Borough Member’s present hostile attacks. The proper time for Mr. du Cros to have made a bold statement of his opposition to the principle of women’s enfranchisement was when the question was officially put to him by the local Branch of the N.U.W.S.S., prior to his adoption as Candidate for this borough. He did precisely the opposite. He expressed sympathy with our demand – only drawing the lines at votes for married women.

His supporters made every use of his answer to popularize his candidature amongst Suffragists. Quite recently he has re-affirmed his belief in the principle that taxation and representation should go together. He protests against being paid out of the pockets of the people of Hastings’ without their consent. But we protest against his accepting our widows’ and spinsters’ mites, and making generous gifts of them to the borough, unless it is done – as it was professedly done – for the purpose of vindicating our rights. For we have the presumption to include ourselves amongst the people of Hastings’. But Mr. du Cros’ attitude is of no consequence except in so far as he is supposed to represent this constituency in the House of Commons. Now, we indignantly deny that he has received any mandate to oppose the principle of women’s enfranchisement. As Member for this borough, he is pledged to support it, just as Mrs. Courthorpe was pledged, as Members for the Rye and East Sussex Division. There is no Anti-Suffrage movement in either constituency. As I have already had occasion to point out in your columns, resolutions passed in ladies’ boudoirs, and postcard canvasses, are quite valueless for any political purpose. Meanwhile, if Mr. du Cros has suddenly become a conscientious objector to votes for women householders, he will no doubt profit by Mr. Asquith’s hint. He and his supporters will ‘take off their coats’ and the anti-ladies will divest themselves of whatever panoply they can best dispense with for effective militant co-operation on Constitutional lines. On Constitutional lines! In these three words the Prime Minister gives away the whole anti-position: for well he knows that no war can be waged on Constitutional lines by women until they are armed with the Constitutional weapon, which the militant women are out to win, if it cost them life itself. Let ‘Vigilant’ and other electors who hate violence show us that they love justice and freedom by coming out and making our cause their own. Let them stand by the women’s side as the women have never failed to stand by theirs in every great struggle against tyranny and unjust laws. Let them reflect that the ultimate responsibility for every lawless act tests upon the electorate which tolerates the present political outlawry of women. – Yours faithfully (Mrs. Darent) E. I. Harrison, hon. Secretary Hastings and St. Leonards Women’s Suffrage Propaganda League. 1. St. Paul’s-place, St. Leonards-on-Sea.



One does not like to contradict a lady, even in these days when women, by demanding equal rights with men, virtually admit that they are ready to submit to similar treatment, but there are just two points in the above letter on which I mist beg to differ from Mrs. Harrison. First, I do not agree with the proposition that the responsibility for the lawless acts of women Suffragists rests upon the electorate, and second, I object to the situation that I am something like a weathercock, in that one week I express sympathy with the women’s cause, and admiration for the women, after having the previous week, expressed similar admiration for the Borough Member’s “present hostile attitude towards the Women’s Suffrage movement” I first of these point, I hold in my original suggestion that the women are to blame for their own lawless acts, and that by doing willful damage, and proceeding with organized disturbances, they are injuring their own cause. On the second point, the Borough Member’s “present hostile attitude” towards the Women’s Suffrage movement. I can only say that Mrs. Harrison has done me the injustice of reading into my Note something which does not appear there. If she will read the Note again she will see that I expressed no opinion whatever on the Borough Member’s “present hostile attitude towards the Women’s Suffrage movement.”

All I said was that though his reply to a question put to him on this subject might not altogether please local Suffragettes, they would at least give him credit for having the courage of his convictions. I do not know that my opinion on the Women’s Suffrage question is of very much value, but it is not in accordance with that of the Borough Member. Happily, this is not a party question, and, therefore it cannot be said that because I disagree with Mr. Arthur du Cros on the subject I am attacking the party to which he and I belong. Mr. du Cros says he is opposed to Women’s Suffrage, and will only support it in the majority throughout the country declare in favour of it. Were I a member of Parliament I should take a very different course. I should declare in favour of Women’s Suffrage, not vote for it, whether the majority were with me or against me. Still, this does not affect my opinion that the Borough Member has shown courage in making his position on the matter clear. A man who deliberately provokes the militant spirit of the Suffragettes is as brave as they make them nowadays. After this remark, I cannot help saying that if I felt as Mr.du Cros does about this movement I should go even further than he does, for I should oppose it, no matter how pugnacious the women might become, or what the majority in the country might think about it.

January 6th 1912 WSPU At Home. ‘Mrs. Darent Harrison advised action of a rigorous character, particularly tax resistance. They must also find out other means of expressing their resentment against the Manhood Suffrage Bill. Mrs Harrison also referred to her correspondence in the local Press, asking if there was Anti-Society in Hastings, and if so, to come out. "But not a word." she said. "There is no anti-movement here."‘

Her claim that ‘not a single meeting has been publicly convened for the purpose of opposing women’s enfranchisement’ is erroneous. As she must have known, the antis had held a public meeting three months previously, as reported in the HSLO of 27th January. Flora Tristram and Albert Sellens had attended (as suffragists) and both had written to the HSLO (3rd and 17th February) referring to that meeting.

13th January. The unlatched door. WSPU.

HSLO 10th February 1912

At a PL meeting at the Palace Hotel on 6th, women spoke about ‘resisting the King’s taxes, as an opportunity for those women who for several reasons are prevented from militantly demanding the vote’. Mrs. Cobden-Sanderson and Mrs. Kineton Parkes spoke, on behalf of the Tax Resistance League. Mrs Darent Harrison said that ‘since the last meeting in this town, on the occasion of the sale of her goods, when a very successful protest was made, several things has happened which had tended to strengthen their determination to resist payment of taxes to the Government without having a voice in how the money was spent. One of these was the payment of Members of Parliament, who did not represent them, and then they had the Insurance Act, against which even the “Antis” had risen up in revolt. The final culminating insult was the Manhood Suffrage Bill.

Mrs. Cobden-Sanderson said that the Manhood Suffrage Bill ‘was the greatest insult women had yet been offered, and it was no wonder that they were becoming more militant and more determined to how that they had physical as well as moral force.’ She hoped that ‘hundreds of thousands’ of women would not any longer consent to have their money taken from them by a Government which ignored them entirely.’ Mrs Kineton Parkes ‘told the meeting that victory was close and urged members to be able to say ‘that they had done their share in helping it.’ Mrs Darent Harrison said that when he heard that her goods had been distrained and sold, County Member Mr Courthope replied that he was ‘exceedingly sorry to hear that a sale had been forced upon her’, but Mr du Cros ‘said nothing.’

Following a massive window-smashing raid on London on 1st March, at which over 120 women were arrested, the suffragette leaders were arrested on charges of conspiracy. Mrs Pankhurst asked women to protest by assembling in Parliament Square on Monday 4th March. ‘By six o’clock the neighbourhood of the Houses of Parliament was in a state of siege. Shopkeepers in almost every instance barricaded their premises… and prepared for the worst … A few minutes before 6 o’clock a huge force of police, amounting to nearly 3,000 constables, was posted in Parliament Square, Whitehall, and streets adjoining … By half past eight Whitehall was packed from end to end with police and public … No real disorder of any kind took place … Mounted constables rode up and down Whitehall keeping people on the move.’ Votes for Women 8th March 1912. Mrs Darent Harrison and Miss Benziger went for the WSPU but neither was arrested. Dorothy Bowker had been arrested the previous Friday 1st March for breaking windows.

16th March she present at WSPU meeting. She had been in the demo last week. She made a clever remark to a man attendee. (see cutting).

On 23rd March the following letter appeared in the HSLO.

Militant Suffragists

Warn Mr. Arthur Du Cros.

To Act In Accordance With His

Statements When A Candidate.

We have been asked to publish the following letters sent this week to Mr. Arthur du Cros, M.P., and Mr. G.L. Courthope, M.P., by the Hastings and St. Leonards Women’s Suffrage Propaganda League. We may point out that the urgency of the Coal Strike Bill has made it necessary to postpone the second reading of the Women’s Franchise Bill to next Thursday, 28th inst.


Arthur du Cros, Esq., M.P.

Dear Sir, -I am requested by my Committee to remind you that the Conciliation Bill, in connection with which you received a deputation of women householders of this borough last year, will be re-introduced by Mr. Agg-Gardener on Friday, 22 inst.

You are aware that this Bill last session passed its second reading by a majority of 167, and that the Prime Minister has promised a week of Government time for the Committee stage, should it again pass its second reading as it undoubtedly will. The idea of submitting it to a referendum has only been conceived by the hostile minority, for the purpose of delaying the measure of justice which they must know is bound to triumph over every obstacle in the end.

I have to inform you that any attempt to shelve this question in any manner whatsoever would be bitterly and actively resented by the women of this League. Since we last had an opportunity of laying our views before you, many public meetings have been held in this borough, and our resolution has invariably been carried either unanimously or with not more than two dissentients. On the other hand, not a single meeting has been publicly convened for the purpose of opposing women’s enfranchisement, nor has any attempt been made to carry a resolution to that effect.

The mandate which you received at the General Elections of January and December, 1910, remains, therefore, unaltered, and we call upon you to act in accordance with the statements made by you as a candidate for election, and duly published in the local Press.

Yours truly,

(Mrs. Darent) E. I. Harrison. Acting Hon. Secretary, Hastings and St. Leonards Women’s Suffrage Propaganda League.

30th March letter from DH to HSLO. Mrs DH forwarded her MP’s reply, but made no comment on it. Mr du Cros reply. Dear Madam, Upon my return from abroad I have duly received your letter (undated) upon the question of Women’s Suffrage. In reply, I beg to say that, acting in accordance with the statements I have made, both as a Candidate and Member of Parliament, I shall again record my vote against the Conciliation Bill when it is presented to the House. I am, Yours faithfully, Arthur du Cros.

6th April member reproached

13th April ~ nothing

20th April. He replied to her accusations in a Primrose League meeting. (see cutting) He challenges her to prove he lied.

27th April. She accepts his challenge. She warns he must “face the consequences”.

4th May. Mrs Darent Harrison again withheld her inhabited house duty.[64] But, this time, when bailiffs arrived from Hastings Borough Council to seize her goods in lieu of payment, she barricaded herself inside her home. To avoid opening the front door, her provisions were delivered by friends and raised up to the window in a basket on a rope.

?On an earlier occasion, Harrison had barricaded herself inside her home. Supporters brought her food and supplies by means of a basket she lowered from a window by a rope




Mrs. Darent-Harrison, one of the leaders of the Hastings Suffragettes, has commenced this week a demonstration by which she intends to defy the operation of the law.

It may be recalled that at about this time last year (1911) Mrs. Harrison, as a member of the local branch of the Tax Resistance League, refused to pay the inhabited house duty. In consequence seizure of her goods was effected, followed by a sale by public auction, a protest in the sale room by herself and others against taxation without representation, a procession round the streets of St. Leonards, and an indignation meeting at the Concert Hall.

This year Mrs. Harrison is adopting much more militant methods, which will necessarily involve for a time imprisonment in her own house.

Notice of the payment of the State's demand has been served; the time limit specified has already expired by over a fortnight and in anticipation no doubt that the Government might soon be making a move, the residence of Mrs. Harrison, 1, St. Paul's-place, was seen on Tuesday for the first time to be smothered in placards bearing many mottoes, such as “No Vote no Tax,” “Be Just and Fear Not,” “For God and Right,” “The only Terms of Peace,” and so on, whilst in the afternoon Mrs. Harrison invited fellow members of the local branch of the Suffrage Propaganda League to a conference, and which future developments were discussed.

It will be of interest to assume what probable course of procedure will be adopted in order to secure the money. Apparently a bailiff will be appointed when it is known that the Government cannot count upon Mrs. Harrison's voluntary acquiescence to its demand, but when he gets there to find the doors barricaded -which means too that Mrs. Harrison becomes a temporary prisoner -it will be necessary to have issued a break-open warrant, assuming of course, the bailiff decides that there is little hope of possession as a result of continuing the siege. Then, in order to force an entrance, Mrs. Harrison points out that damage must be done to private property at the instance of the Government, because it considers it has a just demand, and, coming at a time when Suffragettes have damaged private property because they consider their demands to be just, the ladies are of opinion that they will thereby be establishing what the lawyers call a fine point.

After this goods will be seized and subsequently sold by auction, together with a protest on similar lines, no doubt to the one made last year.[65]

At the 11th May WSPU meeting, Miss Mayo was the speaker. Mary Allen urged everyone to join the demo at the auction rooms, promising that Mrs Kineton Parkes and Miss Fagin would speak at the demo. There was a report on the siege, and a letter from Mrs Darent Harrison regarding Mr Chamberlain MP’s speech on Ulster, drawing parallels with the suffrage movement.

On 18th May, Mrs Darent Harrison explained why she is resisting tax.

25th May. Long letter DH to HSLO about Mrs P and Mr and Mrs PL’s verdict, and about previous convictions for terrorism and rape.

1st June. Mrs Darent Harrison forwarded letters she has written to MPs asking for the release of the three prisoners. Letter Tristram re suffrage. Letter from I Willis about Annabel.

8th June. Month-long Siege ended on Monday 3rd June. 5th June Mrs DH wrote letter forwarding ADC’s reply and thanking him for saying he would support moves to move the suffragette leaders to the First Division.

The Suffragette barricade at Mrs. Darent Harrison’s house, 1, St. Paul’s-place, St. Leonards, has fallen. The house was entered on Monday by the pantry window, by which a lady visitor had entered the garden to gather flowers. A protest was made by Mrs. Harrison, who resisted the levy. The Collector threatened a £50 fine if wilful obstruction was offered. Mrs. Harrison said: ‘I stated publicly I would resist to my last breath. This is literally and actually true. This does not mean that I pit my muscular force against yours, but that I do pit my spiritual force against all the tyrannical governments of the world.’ The Collector replied: ‘I am a collector of taxes, not a hired bully, and rather than use physical violence I would resign my post.’ The goods were then seized.[66]

The story in the HSLO was slightly different.







“In the name of the King I come to demand the payment of the taxes due.”

With this dramatic challenge the suffragists’ castle at St. Leonards has fallen.

Back came the answer from the lady besieged:

“In the name of Justice I forbid you to enter this house.”

For over a month Mrs. Darent Harrison has resisted a siege of her residence, I. St. Paul’s-place, by barricading her doors as a militant protest against the law’s demands on the ground that taxation and representation should go together, and her premises were broken into on Monday morning, when a tax collector took possession of some of Mrs. Harrison’s goods.

The crisis arrived at 10:30. There was “a violent and imperious sort of peal” at the front door bell. Mrs. Harrison told our interviewer. A maid from behind the locked door challenged the comer, and was met with the response. “I am the collector of taxes.” Mrs. Harrison was informed of this warning, and upon reminding the maid of her instructions, she replied, “I have orders to admit nobody.” Then Mrs. Harrison entered the arena, and was met with the demand described above, followed by the information from the collector that he possessed a break-open warrant. “I simply said,” observed Mrs. Harrison. “I have nothing further to say to you.” We then heard them depart,” she went on to say.

“For five or ten minutes nothing seemed to have happened, until we heard a most ferocious bang, a fierce onslaught on the trademen’s entrance. But they failed! It was doubly locked and chained. Then we heard them try another door in the basement, but this evidently was found impossible. The noise was terrific. It sounded as if the whole house was coming down. Finally they effected an entrance through the scullery window, which was simply bolted. Having got into the scullery, they found they were imprisoned, as the entrance to the kitchen, which was the only way into the house, was firmly locked. They, however, removed the bolts, or picked the locks in a most expert way. How it was done was a mystery. I had gained my point. I said they could not enter this house except by militant method, to which they have such violent objection.”

When the men entered the room occupied by Mrs. Harrison they appealed to her as to what articles she would prefer to have seized. “But I,” said Mrs. Harrison, “was not going to enter the friendly negotiations with the messengers of the King. I was militant through and through: it was war all along the line.” The articles seized were a gold watch and chain with the family crest engraved, a silver teapot, and silver sugar basin.”

We understand that Miss Hogg, of 36, Eversfield-place, has also passively refused payment of the King’s Tax, on the principle of “No vote, no tax.” And some silver plate has been seized. Miss Hogg, besides belonging to the Tax Resistance League, is a member of the W.S.P.U., and a very active member in the local Branch. She also distinguished herself at the time of the Census last year, not only refusing all information herself but filling her house with others who wished to evade.

Both these ladies goods will be sold by, auction at Mr. Matthews’ Auction Room. Norman-road, on Monday afternoon, at five o’clock. A great demonstration of protest has been arranged, which includes a procession from Mrs. Harrison’s residence at four o’clock to the rooms, picking up Miss Hogg at her house: a protest in the Auction Room, and a mass meeting at the Public Hall in the evening, at eight o’clock, to be addressed by Mrs. Cobden Sanderson and Mrs. Kineton Parkes, secretary of the Tax Resistance League. All local Suffrage Societies are joining the Women’s Tax Resistance League in their protest not only against taxation without representation but against the sentences passed upon the leaders of this Women’s Social and Political Union. We understand that the procession will be joined by Suffragists both from Bexhill and Eastbourne. 8 jun

For the second year running, in May 1912 Eliza Harrison withheld her inhabited house duty. But, this time, when the bailiff arrived from Hastings Borough Council to seize her goods in lieu of payment, she barricaded herself inside. He announced: ‘In the name of the King I come to demand the payment of the taxes due’. She replied: ‘In the name of Justice I forbid you to enter this house.’ To avoid opening the front door her provisions were delivered by friends and her servants hauled them up to the window in a basket on a rope. Her month-long siege ended at 1030am on 3rd June when the bailiff arrived with a break-open warrant.

Mrs Harrison ‘heard a most ferocious bang, a fierce onslaught on the trademen’s entrance. It was doubly locked and chained. Then we heard them try another door in the basement, but this evidently was found impossible. The noise was terrific. It sounded as if the whole house was coming down. Finally they effected an entrance through the scullery window, which was simply bolted. Having got into the scullery, they found they were imprisoned, as the entrance to the kitchen, which was the only way into the house, was firmly locked. They, however, removed the bolts, or picked the locks in a most expert way.’

He threatened her with a £50 fine if wilful obstruction was offered. Mrs Harrison said: ‘I stated publicly I would resist to my last breath. This does not mean that I pit my muscular force against yours, but that I do pit my spiritual force against all the tyrannical governments of the world.’ The Collector replied: ‘I am a collector of taxes, not a hired bully, and rather than use physical violence I would resign my post.’

When the men entered the room occupied by Mrs. Harrison they appealed to her as to what articles she would prefer to have seized. ‘But I,’ said Mrs. Harrison, ‘was not going to enter the friendly negotiations with the messengers of the King. I was militant through and through: it was war all along the line.’ The articles seized were a gold watch and chain with the family crest engraved, a silver teapot, and silver sugar basin.’ These were to be sold at public auction to pay her tax.

Mrs. Harrison then gave instructions for the tradesmen’s entrance and windows to be locked and bolted, and herself opened the inner front door, closing it behind her and keeping her hand on the handle. The Tax Collector, who was standing with the bailiff inside the outer front door, asked if he was addressing Mrs. Darent Harrison, and hoped she would allow him to execute his trying task and produced his paper. Mrs. Harrison asked and was told the names of the local magistrates who had signed the warrant, and explained that her house could only be entered by force.…The Tax Collector protested that he could not employ force against a woman — that was quite out of the question. Mrs. Harrison then suggested that if he did not intend to stand there till he or she collapsed he must either employ force or call in the police to do so. He scoffed at the idea of sending for the police, but finally sent the bailiff to see if he could find any. But no police were to be found. The bailiff was next sent to get his dinner, and when he returned he reported “still no police anywhere to be found.” It was a complete impasse. They had been facing one another for three hours, and the Tax Collector seemed equally determined to “do his duty” and not to be guilty of even a technical assault on an elderly woman. It was only after being taunted with cowardice — with fear of the consequences of meeting moral with physical force — that he finally made an effort to get control of the handle of the door, and so with the assistance of the bailiff to force his way in.

Resisting the King’s Taxes

Suffragists’ Goods Sold

Enthusiastic Scenes at St. Leonards

In Demonstration of Protest.

Full Descriptive Report.

Brilliant sunshine and a cloudless sky brought gladness to the hearts of all those Suffragists from Hastings. Eastbourne, Brighton, and Bexhill who had joined hands with the local branch of the Women’s Tax Resistance League in its demonstration and procession of defiant protest against the siezure and sale of goods to pay the King’s taxes from two Hastings ladies, Mrs. Darent-Harrison and Miss Hogg.

The grounds of argument, as already pointed out in previous issues describing the barricade Mrs. Harrison had erected at her house to prevent the admission of the tax gatherer except by force, is that taxation and representation should go together. On this principle, therefore, of “no vote, no tax.” the ladies resisted and an entrance having been effected by breaking into Mrs. Harrison’s premises, 1, St. Paul’s-place, and goods being seized there, as well as at Miss Hogg’s residence. 36, Eversfield-place, the sale was specially arranged for five o’clock on Monday afternoon at Messrs. Matthews and Co.’s auction rooms, Norman-road, St. Leonards.

A great demonstration of protest against the demands of the Government for claiming taxes from women who have no representation or voice as to how it is to be spent was consequently organised.

 Answering the dramatic appeal of “Come and Protest,” Suffragists came from Eastbourne, Brighton, and Bexhill to join a procession to the auction room, and participating from Hastings were members of the National Union and the Women’s Social and Political Union, the organiser, Miss Allen, being at their head. In addition it brought out hundreds of people who lined the streets and crowded round Mrs. Harrison’s house, from which the procession started. A military band had been engaged. This marched at the head, a banner followed displaying the time-honoured resister, John Hampden, and then came a carriage resplendent in coloured ribbon, containing Mrs. Darent-Harrison and Mrs. Kineton Parkes, the secretary of the Women’s Tax Resistance League, who specially came down from London to take part. Following behind, Miss Mrs. Pope and Miss Kirk-Bullock sported the W.S.P.A. banner, and then, in ranks of four abreast, came the ladies bearing flags with such mottoes as “Taxation without representation is tyranny.” “Votes for Women,” “Deeds, not words.”

As the cavalcade moved forward the band struck up the warlike strains of “La Marsellaise,” and followed by a large concourse of people, the women marched to Eversfield-place, where Miss Hogg was awaiting them. Miss Hogg’s house had been draped with the colours of the W.S.P.U., of which she is a member, and the Tax Resistance League, and prominent amongst the mottoes was “Dieu et Mon Droit,” the sine qua non of the resister. Having picked up Miss Hogg the procession turned and marched along the Front, up London-road and into Norman-road. An enormous crowd gathered at the corners of the roads, and was especially large in front of the auction room. The carriage and women were surrounded by a demonstrative assembly, and a cordial welcome was extended by numerous men and women. Norman-road, in fact, was a compact mass of humanity, which huddled itself together in the road, the pavement, and on doorsteps.

Arrived at the auction room, and there being nearly half-an-hour to spare before the sale commenced, Mrs. Harrison hailed the crowd of enthusiastic supporters, and briefly introduced Mrs. Kineton Parkes. This lady, speaking from the carriage amidst the din of many voices, stated the reasons which had induced Mrs. Harrison to pursue her present line of conduct. Chiefly, she observed, it was to bring the present Government to book. It was not Mrs. Harrison, or Miss Hogg, who had invented that wonderful phrase that taxation and representation should go together. It was the Liberal Government. (Cries of “No, no,” and “Order!”) If they said that it must go together, how was it that those ladies were asked to pay taxes year after year without any representation? That was what the whose fuss was about. If the Government said it they must stick to it, and if they wished to make their position logical they must either remove the burden of taxation from women or give them the vote.
When Mrs. Darent Harrison resisted last year she believed that women would have votes by this time, because of the Conciliation Bill, but that Bill having been lost, and Members of Parliament having decided to pay themselves €400 a year, to which she had to subscribe, she felt that she must do something sterner. That was why she said she would not voluntarily pay the money, and if they wanted the money they would have to break into her house.

“But would you be satisfied with the vote?” interrupted a man. “Wouldn’t you want to get into Parliament?”

“When you go to the ballot box,” retorted Mrs. Parkes, “nobody asks you whether you want to sit in Parliament. (Loud cheers.) If by any chance we got there it would only be because you men had sent us there, for, if the Conciliation Bill had become law, there would only be one woman to seven men with votes.”

The chief actors in the demonstration then withdrew to the porch to await the opening of the door into the auction room. They were immediately surrounded by a large crowd, jostling and elbowing one another in all directions, and when finally the door opened, those near the entrance found themselves literally lifted from their feet and deposited safely under the eye of Mr. H. Matthews, sitting with ponderous dignity at his post. Mr. Matthews, with a good-humoured and friendly glance at the crowd round him, observed that he had received instructions from the King’s Tax Collector to sell lots, and –giving a merry twinkle all round-he was pleased to see so many there. “The first lot I have to submit,” he went on, “is a silver teapot, sugar bowl, and gold watch and chain. What say you?” Before anybody had an opportunity to respond Mrs. Harrison rose and exclaimed: “I protest against the seizure and sale of my goods.”

She was quickly seconded by Mrs. Kineton Parkes, who said in the name of Mrs. Darent Harrison and Miss Hogg she wished to point out that they never allowed a bid to be taken before they raised their voices in protest. They, therefore, protested against the sale of those goods, because they said that taxation and representation must go together. Those ladies were citizens, free born public citizens in the full sense, and yet they were denied the rights of citizenship. She would put the case to them in the way that a friend had put it to her. She lived in a road with eight houses, all the same, paying the same rent, but seven were occupied by men, and one by a woman, herself. When the tax collector called for the money he did not trouble to enquire as to whether a man or woman lived there, but when the Parliamentary Representative came round canvassing he passed by her house, and she was given no voice in how the money was to be spent. Why should that man pass by her house and not the tax collector? “We contend,” she said, “that the word householder ought to be sexless, and so they should be for representation as well as taxation.” Therefore, they were obliged to take that stand because they said they could not subscribe the tyranny of unrepresentative government.

Mrs. Harrison then outlined why exactly she was taking the step. She resisted in a more passive way last year, because she was hopeful that something might come of the Conciliation Bill. She thought they had friends in the House of Commons, and she had a little faith had gone, so this year she thought sterner methods were necessary. That was why she decided to barricade, and she went ont o give her reasons by quoting the letter sent by her to the tax collector. This was as follows:-“When you called upon me in May, 1911, and made a personal demand for payment of income tax and house duty, I refused on the ground that I could no longer be a consenting party to despotic government by providing funds to be employed in furthering legislation in which I had no voice. This year I feel it to be my duty t o refuse you admission to my home in consequence of the new and more glaring forms of injustice for which the Government is responsible. I refer more especially to (1) the payment of Members of Parliament responsible to men only; (2) the women’s clauses in the National Insurance Act, against which even anti-Suffragists have risen in revolt; (3) the proposal to enfranchise every adult man, in response to the 50 years’ long demand for the vote for fully qualified women; (4) the wrecking of the Conciliation Bill; (5) the blocking of the White Slave Traffic Bill; (6) the exclusion of women from the Home Rule Bill; (7) the shameful treatment of women political prisoners. Against such tyrannous abuse of power I, as a patriotic British subject, protest and rebel.” The last sentence, dramatically pronounced by the speaker, was received with an enthusiastic outburst.

Miss Hogg also protested against the seizure of her goods.

The sale then proceeded of the lot already described and seized from Mrs. Harrison’s house. The bidding commenced at £4 from a man at the rear, who answered by his acquaintances to the Dickensian soubriquet of “Jerry.” Miss Harrison, a niece of Mrs. Harrison, went 10s, higher, and from that the two mounted the price to £8 by alternate bids of 10s. each. Then Miss Harrison ventured a pound, and it was being handed down at this when “Jerry” scrambled in a final 10s. However, Miss Harrison bid £10 and at this the hammer dropped.

Miss Hogg’s lot was next submitted. The same individual again commenced at £3, and Miss Willis this time opposed him. The ma would not go beyond £6 10s., at which figure the article was knocked down to Miss Willis.

This concluded the business portion of the demonstration, which was completed, with the speeches of protest, in ten minutes.

After this the procession got underway again. The route lay down London-road, and via the Front to the Fishmarket, and back through George-street to the Public Hall. All the way a large number followed, and the procession at various points was watched by a large number of people. This was especially so at the Memorial, whilst up in the Old Town a number of fisher women applauded the occupants of the carriage. Spectators gathered as the host advanced, so that by the time the Public Hall was reached an unusually large crowd had collected. The procession here broke up at 6:15, prior to the mass meeting later on in the evening.


The mass meeting was attended by a large and enthusiastic audience.

Mrs. Cobden Sanderson presided, and was supported by Mrs. Darent Harrison, Miss Hogg, Mrs. Kineton Parkes, and Miss Naylor. Amongst those in the audience were the following Hastings Suffragists:

Miss Willis, Miss Tristram, Miss Thomas, Mrs. Pope, Miss L. MacMunn, Miss Allen (Hastings organiser for the W.S.P.U.), Miss White Law, Mrs. Kirk-Bullock, Miss Kirk-Bullock, Mrs. Rodmell, Mrs. Butterworth, Miss L. Page, Miss Davidson, Mr. B. Hanbury, Miss Lobley, Mr. and Miss Maxton, and Miss Rance, Miss Allen (organiser for the W.S.P.U.) was present from Brighton; the Eastbourne supporters were: Miss Margaret Hall, Miss Sibella Jones, Mrs. Le Trielle, Mrs. Murray, Miss Goldingham, Mrs. Sinclair, and Miss Smith; and from Bexhill: Miss Stewart, Miss Barrett, and Miss Holden.

Mrs. Sanderson, rising amidst applause, remarked that they had come there to do honour to two brave ladies of Hastings. (Applause.) It would have been far easier to pay, but they refused from conscientious motives. Those ladies paid their Municipal taxes willingly, because they had something in return. They were recognized as citizens, citizens of their town, and they could vote for the men who were to represent them, but when it came to Imperial taxation they had no word to say how that money should be spent, and they had no word in saying what laws should be passed which they were to obey. Women knew a little about housekeeping; they had done it in private, and now they wanted to do a little bit in public. That was why the politicians did not want them. They (the women) looked upon the vote as a part of evolution, the evolution of women, that she could come out and be a human being, and not merely a sex. Why should it be only the woman to have her sex pointed out to her as a reason why she could not take a part in public life? The women knew more than the men what was required for the homes and for the children’s happiness, and for their future. It was the Industrial question which brought her out, and made her feel that she could not sit at home, and it was these things which made her honour Mrs. Harrison and Miss Hogg. They had spoken long enough; they had asked, and entreated, and tried to convert them. Now they would show something to prove that they could suffer as men had in the past in order to prove the depth and strength of their convictions. John Hampden did the very thing they were doing, but he was not alone, because there were three women who also refused to pay their taxes. Now the women had begun because they could not stand still in civilisation or evolution, which made revolution, but it came so quietly, and slowly, and peacefully that even if they had a few panes of glass broken it was not revolution: it was only a part of evolution. She was very proud to hear that there were six or seven auctioneers in Hastings who refused to sell the goods of those women. (Loud applause.) By degrees the feeling of chivalry would be so strong that all auctioneers would refuse, but she did not think they would have to wait for that, because she believed they would soon have to retire from the platform of asking, and take part in that work of administration which was very difficult to carry on at present, because they could not get the Government offices to pay attention to the small details which were the real thing in administrative work. She begged them not to think that that was a sex war. They did not want to take anything from men; in fact, they wanted to give them something. “We want,” she said, “to give them our votes”-(laughter and applause)-and, she said in conclusion, they would all vote like the men did; that was, to try and find the best man to go to Parliament to represent them. (Loud applause.)

Mrs. Sanderson then mentioned that resolutions were to be proposed, and, if carried, would be sent to the Borough Member, “who wants,” she added, “a little bucking up, I am told.”

Mrs. Kineton Parkes first of all read three letters, the first one being from a woman they all knew and respected, and was a member of the Tax Resistance League-Mrs. MacMunn. She wrote to Mrs. Harrison regretting absence from home, which prevented her from attending the meeting and applauding her constitutional action in resisting taxation without representation. The other letter interested her (the speaker), because it was from Mrs. Strickland, a vice president of the National Union, a constitutional society. She wrote to Mrs. Harrison: -“Were I in Hastings on Monday next I should most certainly accept your invitation to take part in the demonstration and public meeting which you are arranging to follow the sale of goods which have been seized for the King’s Taxes. As a lifelong Free Churchwoman, and for many years a worker for the Liberal cause, I feel that this policy of tax resistance on the part of voteless women is not only a constitutional but also a very effectual means of bringing before the public the injustice which is inflicted by the present Government on the taxpaying women of the land. Were I in a position to do so I should assuredly join your League, for I hold most strongly to the Liberal principle (which alas! is so strangely set aside where the women are concerned) that taxation and representation must go together, and that taxation without representation is tyranny. I hope you will be well supported on Monday, especially by those local Free Churchmen and women who have made a like a protest against what they hold to be the unfair Education Act of 1902. With all good wishes for the success of the meeting.” The other was also of interest, because it was from a well-known lady who was a member of the same League as herself, the Writers’ League, namely, Madame Sarah Grand. This lady wrote Mrs. Harrison: “I wish I could have gone to your meeting on the 10th. Tax resistance is a logical as well as heroic form of protest, with which I have much sympathy and more admiration. Unfortunately, I am tied by many local engagements just now, and cannot get away, but many thanks for kindly asking me. With all good wishes for the success of your meeting, very sincerely yours, Sarah Grand.” Mrs. Kineton Parkes went on to move the two following resolutions: (1) “That the taxpaying women of this country are justified in refusing to pay Imperial taxes until the Government grant them the vote on equal terms with men.” (2) “That this meeting protests against the severity of the sentences passed on Mrs. Pankhurst and Mr. and Mrs. Pethick Lawrence, and calls upon the Government to accord them the treatment given to political offenders in other civilised countries and in this country at various times in the past, by transferring them immediately to the First Division.” The speaker said that she was pleased indeed to move the last resolution, together with the one belonging to their League, because every Suffragist upheld it, even the women who condemned militant tactics. She went on to deal with the way their work had increased during the past year, and especially during the past few months. She was often asked: how was it that constitutional women and militant women, who disagreed on so many questions, both refused to pay their taxes? With regard to being constitutional, it was not any Suffragist who invented the phrase that taxation and representation should go together, it was the Government; so the Government had gone wrong somewhere. But the point was this: they never had a bad law altered until the people who actually suffered under it rebelled. So that it was the duty of the governed to show up the Government. If they (the women) said that taxation without representation was tyranny, and then paid the money, it would not be logical. The reason why they had got such a number of militant members was simply that a woman who broke windows and sacrificed her freedom for four or six months was not expected to go on calmly paying her taxes. The time had come when something else had to be done. They simply asked one thing. They said to them as men: “You do not have a vote because you are men, but because you fulfil a certain qualification, and if you have a woman who fulfils the same qualifications she ought to have the same receipt for her money in the shape of the ballot-box.” People asked them: “Why do you do these things?” Because they had tried everything else. She pointed out that the Government had tried every other way to get the tax from Mrs. Harrison, but when they had failed they had to try militant methods. She wanted the numbers of women who resisted to increase, so that the Government would realise that they were absolutely sincere and earnest about the thing. She thanked all those Suffragists who had so splendidly supported the protest. She thought it was admirable when they got the local Branch of the W.S.P.U. to do such magnificent work, and when they got members of the Tax Resistance League coming over from Brighton, Eastbourne, and Bexhill to join. She finally appealed to all householders to make up their minds that they were not going to pay their taxes until they got the vote.

Miss Naylor seconded the resolution. She would remind the Government, she said, of what Mr. Gladstone had said about taxation without representation being tyranny. It was more than that, he once said -it was legalised robbery. Then she would like to know how it was that a Government who professed such righteousness went on being legal robbers. Women paid for the Army, although they had no voice as to whether they should go to war, and they paid for the Navy. Members’ salaries, the enormous salaries of Cabinet Ministers, etc. Yes: it was pay, pay, pay all along the line, and those who ruled them were prepared to say: “Pay up promptly, or take the consequences.” They got tired if the so-called laws in a free country. It was said that a woman was a person when she had a duty to perform, or had responsibilities, but she was not a person when she demanded the rights which went along with those duties, and the privileges which went along with those responsibilities. Duties and rights went hand in hand, and those for whom the responsibility was claimed, the right should be given also, “Peace at any price” was a coward’s motto; they must always couple “Peace with honour,” and if other means had been tried, violence might be necessary. Violence was justified when a cause was a right one, and all constitutional means had failed. Speaking in the second resolution, she said it was scandalous, on top of the Jury’s recommendation as to the pure motives of the prisoners, to pass a sentence of nine, months’ imprisonment. As a parting word, she would ask the men: “Don’t you think it rather foolish to run the country on half of the intelligence and half of the goodness available?”

The resolutions were then carried, there being three dissentients to the first, and two to the second.

The ceremony of presenting Mrs. Harrison and Miss Hogg with the goods seized was then observed. Miss Harrison handed Mrs. Harrison her watch and silver, and at the same time congratulated her on her brave stand against injustice, and said that if more women had done so they would not be fighting to-day.

Mrs. Harrison, in reply, explained that the gold watch and chain was presented to her by her mother on her 21st birthday. She thanked them for the splendid way they had supported them that day.

Miss Willis handed Miss Hogg her silver teapot, and took the opportunity of congratulating that lady for her bravery in resisting taxes, and having set such a good example to all women taxpayers.

Miss Hogg, in reply, said she hoped that, if they did not get the vote, to resist another year, and she was sure there would be a great many more in Hastings who would do the same.

The meeting closed with three cheers to the tax resisters.15 june

Suffragists came from Bexhill, Eastbourne and Brighton to join the procession. Before it even started a crowd of anti-suffragists collected outside Mrs Darent Harrison’s house and began a noisy protest, grabbing and tearing at the banners. Despite this, the procession set off. It was repeatedly ‘rushed’ by unruly mobs of hostile men. The women, dishevelled but not deterred, continued:

The march was a continual struggle, varied by a free fight between the Antis and the Police and male friends of the Suffragists. The police did their best to hold back the crowd and prevent actual rough handling of the Suffragists, who showed considerable courage in continuing their march under the circumstances.’ Hastings & St Leonards Pictorial Advertiser June 1912.

When the procession reached Norman Road, the violence reached its peak. Antis again seized and tore the marchers’ banners, ripped off their hats and tried to overturn their carriages -one actually rolled over. This was now a serious riot and the police could not cope. As the attacks increased women were physically attacked by roughs who tried to rip off their clothing. The women fled, some taking refuge in a nearby forge, others in stables. When all was calm, the women held a meeting in the Public Hall. Mrs Darent Harrison’s goods were auctioned at a later date, bought by a sympathiser, and returned to her.

The HSLO 15th June also carried a report of the auction and riot. (Cheryl)

Over in Brighton WSPU member Minnie Turner, who owned a boarding house called Sea View in Victoria Road, which was much used by suffragettes, had carried out the same protest and siege as Mrs Darent Harrison. Her distrained goods were auctioned on 23rd April 1912. This was mentioned in the suffragette newspaper, Votes for Women, but I can find no mention of Mrs Darent Harrison’s 1912 siege. It is in the Standard. BAILIFFS AND BARRICADES

29th June. WSPU moved to Claremont. Mrs Haverfield sent apologies. Mrs Brailsford spoke. Mrs DH asked her for advice on how to act with reference to Insurance Act papers, in which she was asked to pay and do certain things. Mrs B said that was a question for the TRL.

All quiet till

28th September. DH letter about the ‘Tyranny of the Government’. Also DH letter about meeting of Hastings NUWSS in which Jane Strickland asked the prospective Conservative candidate Mr Wilson Crewdson JP about women’s suffrage. He sat down, and his chairman Alfred Blackman said that subject was not going to be discussed. Mrs DH asserted that she would get an answer somehow. It was outrageous that such a topical question should be ignored. She said that ADC had received more public-meeting resolutions on that subject than on any other. She concluded:

Meanwhile, Hastings and St Leonards is represented in Parliament by Mr Arthur du Cros, who has retained the seat won by his father, Mr Harvey du Cros, in 1906, from the Liberals as a pledged supporter of the principle of Women’s Enfranchisement, and whenever they have to face a by-election or an early General Election, the women of this League are ready.

5th October. Follow up on the case of Mr Wilks.

12th October. WSPU members attack Mr Crewdson. Meeting. Eva Moore and Mary Allen. They had written to Crewdson before his address and got no reply. Also, a letter from Mrs DH needs transcribing.

HSLO 9th November Pay Up or Resign letter. Jpg

30th November. Mrs DH present at Mrs Pankhurst’s speech. She also wrote a letter about the antis. Jpg.

On 3rd December she attended a meeting of the PL at the Grosvenor Hotel, presided by Edith Hulme and Miss Barwell. 10th December, an At Home at 1 St Paul’s Place.

Nothing more from Mrs DH that year.

But arguably the most significant point in the WTRL’s identification with John Hampden came fittingly in Aylesbury in 1912, at the

unveiling of his statue there (above). Originally thwarted by the town council, the women tax resisters were ultimately able to present

their wreath, which honoured the four local women who joined Hampden’s original protest. On that day the women were able to sell

all 200 copies of the booklet telling John Hampden’s story. Written by Mrs. Darent Harrison of Hastings WTRL, the source material

for the booklet was most likely provided by Lady Margesson herself.



Patrons of the Hastings Gaiety Theatre on Tuesday night [11th] found that the local Suffragettes had provided them with some unlooked-for amusement.

It appears that over fifty members and friends of the Women's Social and Political Union were present, many of them having booked seats during the day. The box office officials naturally expected that there might be some fun, but they were not let into the secret the women were nursing in their breasts.

"A Place in tbe Sun " is a play which has a good deal to do with women's rights and wrongs in life, and it was evident to the unitiated [sic] early in the evening that there was some unusual element in the theatre, because of the vigorous hissing when things portrayed on the stage were not as they should be, and the hearty applause when things were put in their right phase.

At the end of the first act, an unprecedented scene occurred. Leaflets were let loose from the gallery, the upper circle, and the dress circle, upon the heads of those beneath, and there was a general flutter of excitement. Then, when an excited female in a box unfurled a banner demanding the release of Mrs. Pankhurst, the audience as a whole saw through the joke.

Then Miss F. C Tristram from a box commenced to harangue the house. she shreiked out the words: 'Women of England' and at intervals further on in her remarks were heard the words: "Release Mrs Pankhurst," but that was all. The banner had done the trick, and the audience which had come to the play did not give a kindly ear to the Suffragettes. They howled and shouted, catcalled and laughed, and in the general din were heard thundered from all parts of the house the orders: "Shut up." "Turn 'em out," " Sit down," and so on, and then, to add to the final discomfiture of the demonstrators, came the orchestra, which started to play a selection from "Maritana" - appropriately enough, the refrain, "Scenes that are brightest," being a prominent feature. It really was a bright little ten minutes, and none of the audience lost their tempers. The actors and actresses in the Company could not control their curiosity at to the cause of all the din, and they were to be seen peeping from behind the curtain.

After the outburst the ladies settled themselves to the play again, and had the good taste not to interrupt it except for their enthusiasm mentioned before. At the final fall of the curtain they gave three cheers for Mrs. Pankhurst, and again outside they cheered each other, arousing the curiosity of passers-by. Those who had been in the house smiled good-temperedly, and remarked, "Well, they've made some fun, and have not hurt anybody."

Miss Tristram, the local organiser sends us the following statement, which she say was made by her:

"Ladies and Gentlemen,- Where is English justice? Why is a woman thrown, into prison as a common criminal for inciting against property, when Sir Edward Carson is at large though he is inciting to take life, inciting a nation on to civil war? Men of Hastings, do you know that women are actually being tortured in prison? Hot wires run into their ears, drugged when a Bishop goes to see them. Our women are willing to bear just punishment. It is unjust punishment which makes them go on hunger strike. If a man who is voteless and for political reasons for concience's sake, destroys property, he is put in the First Division, and treated as a political prisoner. If a woman, for precisely the same reason, commits the same crime, she is treated as a common criminal, and she protests against this injustice by refusing food."

(Hastings & St Leonards Observer 14 March 1914)

An unusual spectacle was witnessed on the Hastings Front just before noon on Wednesday when twelve members of the local branch of the W.S.P.U. arrayed in robes of the colours of their Society and wearing dominoes, marched in single file towards St Leonards. The procession met with some ridicule but no violence was offered. Some of the crowd reminded them not to forget the fire at Levetleigh. On Thursday there was a painted umbrella parade. (Hastings & St Leonards Observer 4 April 1914)

Resisted tax in 1915. And in 1917.

From the 13 July 1917 issue of The Vote:

Tax Resistance.

Mrs. Darent Harrison’s at St. Leonards-on-Sea.

When the Tax Collector called on Friday morning he was met with Mrs. [Isabella] Darent Harrison’s formula for tax collectors since she was made the victim of an organised riot in 1913?—?“Not at home.” On this occasion the maid returned to say he had come with a warrant and a bailiff to leave in possession, and must be admitted. Mrs. Harrison then gave instructions for the tradesmen’s entrance and windows to be locked and bolted, and herself opened the inner front door, closing it behind her and keeping her hand on the handle. The Tax Collector, who was standing with the bailiff inside the outer front door, asked if he was addressing Mrs. Darent Harrison, and hoped she would allow him to execute his trying task and produced his paper. Mrs. Harrison asked and was told the names of the local magistrates who had signed the warrant, and explained that her house could only be entered by force. She had been looking forward to paying her taxes within a very short time, and had been on the point of writing to Somerset House to say so; but as they had not scrupled in war time, and when the measure of justice for which she was fighting was almost certain to be on the Statute Book within a month or two, to come with warrants, bailiffs and all the old hateful methods of coercion, they could only be met by the same old spirit of revolt against tyranny and injustice. The Tax Collector protested that he could not employ force against a woman?—?that was quite out of the question. Mrs. Harrison then suggested that if he did not intend to stand there till he or she collapsed he must either employ force or call in the police to do so. He scoffed at the idea of sending for the police, but finally sent the bailiff to see if he could find any. But no police were to be found. The bailiff was next sent to get his dinner, and when he returned he reported “still no police anywhere to be found.” It was a complete impasse. They had been facing one another for three hours, and the Tax Collector seemed equally determined to “do his duty” and not to be guilty of even a technical assault on an elderly woman. It was only after being taunted with cowardice?—?with fear of the consequences of meeting moral with physical force?—?that he finally made an effort to get control of the handle of the door, and so with the assistance of the bailiff to force his way in. Mrs. Harrison at once told the maids, who had been watching for some time through the glass door, that she was quite ready for luncheon, while the men disappeared into the drawing-room, which the bailiff has occupied ever since. Mrs. Harrison has not seen him again, but she hears the Tax Collector has left a paper on the piano on which is written something about 5s. per day.From the 13 July 1917 issue of The Vote:

Her Broadwood grand piano was auctioned in July 1917. She declared the sale to be illegal and it was held without her permission. Moreover, it was not properly advertised and so not many came and a good price was not obtained: it went for just £70.

In 1919 Tanton’s Estate Agent offered her house for sale, but evidently it was not

sold, for she lived there until 1943.

In 1924 meetings of the WFL were held at 1 St Paul’s Place. In 1924 she was president of the Hastings WFL and meetings were at her home. She gave a thé chantant in August at which she played a piano solo by Rubenstein. In 1926 she wrote a letter to the HSLO about a great Peace Pilgrimage to Hyde Park. In 1927 she was president of the Hastings WFL.

In 1930 the WFL held a meeting with Isobel Goddard, prospective Labour candidate for Hastings. It was held at Furness Mount, Holmesdale Gardens and presided over by Jane Strickland so perhaps that was her house.

On 20th January 1932 the Hastings WFL gave an 80th birthday lunch for Dora Montefiore at the Yelton Hotel. She is one of the senior members of the Hastings branch and her daughter Mrs Broad, lives in Pett. Those present included Mrs Darent Harrison (now vice-president); Miss Marian Reeves of the National Executive; Mrs Prelooker (president); Jaakoff Prelooker; Miss Florence Underwood and Dr E. Knight, treasurer of the League and Jane Strickland JP.

In 1939 she was elected vice president of the Hastings branch of the League of Nations Union. In 1943 part of her house was hit by a bomb but she refused to move out.

 Mrs Darent Harrison lived the rest of her life at 1 St Paul’s Place and died there on 17th August 1943, aged eighty-eight.

Her obituary was written by E.H.B. and was factually wrong.

In 1944 someone posted an In Memoriam notice in the HSLO declaring ‘I hope you are in Heaven now, That holy place of rest, Where the good alone are blest’. Rest in peace. From Annie.

An advertisement in 1946 offering 1 St Paul’s Place ‘for investment or occupation’ stated that it contained fifteen rooms, three bathrooms and kitchens over four floors, and could easily be ‘converted into four flats’. A few weeks later Mr J.B. McCowen applied to convert it into flats.

[1] William’s parents were Janet McCall (1790-1860) and John Tait, a blacksmith.

[2] William and Mary Tait and family appear in the 1851 and 1861 census living in Glasgow. In 1861 he employs 155 men and the family are well-off.

[3] The other children were: Ellen b.1845 m. William Gill; Jess (1847–1872) m David Osborne; William (1849–1894; lived Australia); Anna (1849–1945) m Thomas Osborne (lived New York in 1880s); Robert b.1857; Sarah b.1858; Thomas (1860–1901) m Lilian Crosskey (lived Edgbaston); John Colville b.1862 (died in Canada); Mary Stewart (1868–1925).

[4] Family present on census night: Mrs Mary Tait, Eliza Harrison (married, husband elsewhere); Sarah, thirty-three, yet twice widowed; Mary; and Dorothy Lilian (toddler daughter of Eliza Harrison’s brother Thomas). Later, Mrs Tait lived with her son Thomas and his family in Edgbaston, where she died in 1900.

[5] Anna had married fellow Glaswegian Thomas Osborne, who died in 1901.

[6] Dorothy Lilian Tait was born in 1887.

[7] Ethel Bertha Harrison (1851–1916). Frederic was a well known Positivist and essayist. See DNB.

[8] (1831–1923) See DNB; Wikipedia. Their son became editor of the English Review.

[9] In what capacity, it is not known. However, a clue may be found in Eliza’s first novel, Master Passions, in which one of the main characters, a artist who trained in Paris, had spent four years managing a sugar plantation in a tropical country.

[10] HSLO 24th November 1906.

[11] HSLO 24th November 1906.

[12] One of his landscapes was donated to the Brassey Museum.

[13] The studios are still standing.

[14] HSLO 24th November 1906.

[15] 4th May 1899.

[16] Jane Cobden-Unwin (1851–1947). Her sister was Mrs Anne Cobden-Sanderson, one of the first suffragettes to be imprisoned.

[17] HSLO 24th November 1906.

[18] His estate was worth £35,000. His widow and daughters left Winchelsea in 1912.

[19] In September 1901 the contents of 1 St Paul’s Place were auctioned after the death of Miss Ellen Mary Sarah Wills-Sandford. I suspect the Darent Harrisons purchased the house from her executors; perhaps they also bought the contents.

[20]The Athenaeum Journal of Literature, Science, the Fine Arts, Music and the Drama, July–Dec 1906.

[21] Sarah Grand’s note about accompanying Mrs DH to visit Miss Edwards in her declining years appears in Betham Edwards’s Mid-Victorian Memories. Miss Edwards’s deep friendship with Frederic Harrison is described in Rees, J. (2006) Matilda Betham Edwards, Hastings Press.

[22] HSLO 24th November 1906.

[23] It is puzzling that Eliza Harrison is not mentioned in his obituary or the report of his funeral, where the chief mourners were cited as his sister Bertha and her husband Frederic Harrison.

[24] HSLO 25th March 1911.

[25] In the British Newspaper Archives. The search omits any misspellings of her name or renderings that OCR mangled.

[26] Major Freeman Freeman-Thomas (1866–1941) later Viceroy of India, Governor General of Canada and 1st Marquess of Willingdon.

[27] The correspondence was later published in the HSLO.

[28] National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies.

[29] Marie Freeman-Thomas, née Lady Marie Brassey (1875–1960), daughter of 1st Earl Brassey. She became the Marchioness of Willingdon GBE.

[30] An ‘At Home’ was a pledge to be ‘at home’ at a particular time and date, and ready to receive guests.

[31] Mr Slade was Mrs Strickland’s brother.

[32] Fanny Cecilia Tubbs (1831–1922) often known as Mrs Colonel Tubbs, was an heiress and philanthropist whose grandfather was the High Sheriff of Kent, and whose nephew was Admiral of the Fleet. She was the widow of Colonel Tubbs, who left £9,800 (the equivalent to £6m today). Capel ne Ferne was built for them in 1880. In 1885 she attended a local suffrage meeting and in 1889 signed a petition for women’s suffrage organised by the National Society. She left £32,800, the equivalent to about £8m. A fuller account is in the biographies section.

[33]HSLO 24th April 1909.

[34] Charlotte Edith MacMunn (1842–1927) was the daughter of the Rev. George Mathias, M.A., chaplain at the Royal Hospital and Chaplain in Ordinary to the Queen. She married Dr J. A. MacMunn, Principal Medical Officer at the Royal Chelsea Hospital, and had two sons and three daughters Gertrude Edith (1871–1961), Lettice Anne (1873–1951) and Nora Eileen (1876–1967). One of her sons became Major General Sir George Fletcher MacMunn, High Commissioner of Palestine. She had lived in St Leonards since 1896, firstly at 3 St Paul’s Place, then at 1 Blomfield Road.

[35] Ethel Harrison née Harrison (1852–1916). In 1912 she moved to Royal Crescent, Bath.

[36]The Review of reviews, Feb 1909.

[37] Men’s League for Women’s Suffrage.

[38] Women Writers’ Suffrage League.

[39] Women Artists’ Suffrage League.

[40] Women’s Social and Political Union.

[41] President: Mrs Cecil Chapman, 8 Park Mansions Arcade, Knightsbridge.

[42] Lieutenant-Colonel Albany Robert Savile (1844–1917) was honorary treasurer of the Hastings Women’s Suffrage Society and a member of the Men’s League for Women’s Suffrage. He lived at 9 Holmesdale Gardens, a 14-roomed villa. Born in Edinburgh, in 1869 he married Sybella Twemlow (d1929, at Hollingdene, St Leonards). Retired commander of the Royal Irish Regiment, he was a keen cyclist and his regiment were on bicycles. They were featured in an illustrated article in the Strand Magazine. He was at some point based at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst.

[43] HSLO 25th December 1909.

[44] HSLESWSS: Hastings, St Leonards and East Sussex Women’s Suffrage Society.

[45] HSLO 8th January 1910.

[46] HSLO 22nd January 1910.

[47] The building later became a snooker club and has been demolished.

[48] There were two Miss Crabbes, Grace and Winifred, both young assistant mistresses at the Uplands School, St Leonards.

[49] HSLO 30th July 1910.

[50] Miss Munro (1883 1962), like Mrs DH, hailed from Glasgow. She had left the WSPU for the WFL in 1907. She spent six weeks in Holloway in 1908 and was imprisoned again in 1913, just after her marriage. After WWI she became a magistrate.

[51] HSLO 22nd August 1910.

[52] Wife of Count Patrick O’Clery, barrister and Conservative Home Rule MP for Co. Wexford 1874-1880. They married in Hastings in 1898. He was created a count by Pope Leo XIII and was a Private Chamberlain to the Vatican Court. He died in 1913. She was Kate Considine. Katherine Countess O’Clery, died aged 77 on 4 August 1919 at St. John’s Villa, St. Leonards-on-Sea.

[53] Evelina Haverfield nee Scarlett (1867-1920) was the youngest daughter of Lord and Lady Abinger. She bankrolled the WSPU and lead marches mounted on horseback, and wore hunting gear even when not on a horse. She was very militant and was arrested numerous times.

[54](1840–1913) A Parisian Republican who was boarding at Gertrude Allen’s, 1 St Margaret’s Road in 1911. She died in St Leonards.

[55] Mary Ward (1851–1920) born in Australia into a wealthy family of intellectuals, she married an Oxford don and became a career wife, contributing entries to the Dictionary of Christian Biographies and writing a series of successful novels, one of which was the best-selling novel in the USA in 1903, as well as a large number of articles and tracts on politics and other social issues. She also worked among the poor as an educator.

[56] Possibly Miss Mary Stanham.

[57] The national office was at Talbot House, St Martin’s Lane, London.

[58] Mayhall, Laura, The Militant Suffrage Movement. OUP.

[59] HSLO 23rd January 1932.

[60] In fact she was William Darent Harrison’s sister-in-law. Born Amy Margaret Wright (1858–1944), she married Edward Lake Harrison in 1884. She had two daughters: Margaret Anne (born 1886) and (Mabel) Barbara (born 1890).

[61]The Vote 15th July 1911.

[62] There was a small branch of the National League for Opposing Women’s Suffrage, started in January 1911, 1912? and headed by Madame Wolfen.

[63] HSLO 23rd December 1911.

[64] Inhabited house duty. A tax assessed in England on inhabited dwelling- houses, according to their annual value, payable by the occupier.

[65] HSLO 4th May 1912.

[66]Hastings & St Leonards Pictorial Advertiser, 9th May 1912

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