Design by Erica Smith; Artwork by
Publication date 8th March 2018
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About the Author
by Richard Platt
Kramer is a historian and non-fiction writer. Working from her home in
Hastings, she has written more than 60 books for children and adults on
subjects ranging from women spies and conscientious objectors through to
suffragettes, human rights and women’s experiences of the two world
wars. She is passionate about history, particularly women’s history
and has been active in a local women’s group for several years.
Originally from London, Ann has lived in Hastings since the early
When social historian Ann
Kramer, author of books on women spies, conscientious objectors and land
girls, set out to write the story of women’s fight for the vote, she
was amazed and delighted to find out how active the campaign was in
Hastings, her chosen home.
Like most newspapers, the
Hastings & St Leonards Observer reported on women ‘being
given’ the vote but, like so many social justice prizes, the woman’s
vote was not freely given. From discussions in genteel drawing rooms
through to midnight fire- raising women fought for years for the right
to be included in democracy.
tells the story of
these years: how Muriel Matters and Violet Tillard brought the Women’s
Freedom Van from London to Hastings, where they were pelted with fish
heads; how that same Muriel Matters effectively became the first women
to speak in the House of Commons, shouting out ‘votes for women’
before being dragged out still chained to an iron grille; and how local
women took part in a law defying census strike all in their attempt to
win the vote.
peacefully for many years but as time went on some turned to militancy.
The response was brutal: women were kicked, beaten, thrown into jail,
force-fed when they went on hunger strike, sent home when weak and
dragged back to prison on recovery — the pernicious ‘cat and mouse’
strategy inflicted on those ‘turbulent spinsters who were making the
lives of the Cabinet Ministers unbearable,’ in other words, trying to
make their voices heard.
Militancy often alienated
the general public but, as Mrs Pankhurst told an enthusiastic Hastings
audience, the militant methods were ‘milk and water’ compared with
what men had done when they were trying to get the vote. Significantly
however the treatment handed out to militant or non-militant women
remains to this day a perfect example of what happened to women when
they tried to enter what was considered to be an exclusively male space.
Titles by Ann Kramer
info from annkramer.co.uk