Women's procession attacked by men, 1912

The day was set to auction Mrs Darent Harrison's goods: 10 March. The tax resistors and suffragists planned a procession from Mrs Darent Harrison's house to the Albert Memorial, Hastings, returning to St Leonards along the seafront, finishing at the auctioneers in Norman Road, then a very busy shopping street, where a demonstration would be held. The object was to draw attention to women's inequality in law, which could help attract sympathisers and increase membership, as well as showing disapproval of the actions of the taxman. Suffragists from Bexhill, Eastbourne and Brighton joined the procession.

Before it even started a crowd of anti-suffragists collected outside 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 first banner torn at the start of the procession, outside 1 St Paul's Place

"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."

The procession passing Eversfield Place

Mrs Darent Harrison and Miss Hogg

Miss Hogg's residence, 36 Eversfield Place, decorated with posters

The crowds surround Mrs Darent Harison's carriage outside Matthew's Auctioneers, 60 Norman Road, opposite the Methodist Church.

When the procession reached Norman Road, the attack 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 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.

Suffragettes being led away.
The photo on the right was taken outside 81 London Rd, looking towards the sea.
Photographs and quote from the Hastings & St Leonards Pictorial Advertiser June 1912.
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