Year 12 History students were very fortunate to have been able to take part in an Oxford Suffrage Walk on Tuesday 19th June. The walk was led by Historian Professor Katherine Bradley from the Open University, who specialises in Women’s Suffrage.
It started in the Court Room at the Town Hall, where Professor Bradley gave an overview of the Suffrage Movement nationally, as well as locally, detailing the various local organisations which set up suffrage societies, and the activities they took part in. These included the Oxford Women’s Social and Political Union and the Oxford Church League for Women’s Suffrage, both set up in 1909, the Oxford Men’s League for Women’s Suffrage, set up in 1907, and others. As well as pro-Suffrage Societies, there was also local Anti-Suffrage Societies established during this time.
The group then began a walk through the centre of Oxford to see some of the key sites connected to the movement.
The group visited Holywell Street, where the Suffrage Society offices were located, were visited. We also visited The Oxford Union hosted speakers and debates. The University was quite divided with a large number of students being anti-suffrage, so suffragettes and suffragists were often heckled and hounded by students. A group of students once trashed the offices in Holywelll Street. During the war, these offices became used for refugees. The pro- and anti-suffrage organisations joined forces to organise for this to happen.
We visited Lincoln College, which was where the first organised meeting on Women’s Suffrage took place – at the Rector’s Lodgings. It was led by the Rector Mark Pattison and his wife Emilia.
We also Martyrs’ Memorial was one of the sites where suffragettes staged protests and gave speeches, while being heckled by university students.
We finished with a cup of tea and a chance to chat informally at the Ashmolean about Suffrage as well as the Year 12 personal studies for History.
We are very grateful to Professor Bradley for all her time and energy in delivering this very interesting and informative afternoon of talking and walking through the history of the Suffrage Movement in Oxford.
This event is part of the Rumble Museum’s Women’s Suffrage Season.