Muriel Matters:
former Suffragette who wanted to be Hastings' MP

She became, in 1908, one of the first women to make a speech in the House of Commons in London. She managed this by chaining herself to the grille of the ladies gallery, along with two other women. The police were unable to unchain them, and thus Muriel and her two accomplices gained enough time to make several speeches while the attendants struggled fruilessly to remove them. Eventually they were removed, still attached to the chain and heavy, wrought-brass grilles. The following year she flew over parliament in an airship inscribed 'Votes for Women'.

I had already won my spurs by chaining myself to the grille of the ladies gallery in the house of commons. As a result of this I was intrusted with the aerial demonstration on the day of the opening of parliament. That morning I went to Hendon and met Mr Henry Spencer who had his airship all ready near the Welsh Harp. It was quite a little airship, 80 feet long, and written in large letters on the gas bag were three words, Votes For Women.

After the vote was won, Muriel stood for election to Parliament as Labour candidate for Hastings, in the 1924 election. She was unsuccessful; Hastings never had a Labour MP until 1997.

Muriel Matters-Porter died of pneumonia at St Anthony's, 82-4 West Hill Road, St Leonards, on 17 November 1969 and was buried at Hastings borough crematorium on 24 November.

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