Struggling to say Goodbye to Suffrage!

January 3, 201912:31 pmLeave a Comment

Rosie, Di and Holly at The March of the Women Community Day.

Hello again and a Happy New Year to all our readers. It has been a while since I last wrote a blog but felt it was important to give you all a bit of an update on what Rosie and I have been up to over the last couple of months.

Well November was very busy with the final preparations for our March of the Women Community Day. That week our team stayed late, had event related dreams and prepped as much as we could in the run up to the big day. Somehow, in the end, everything came together, the Suffrage Selfie booth was a hit, the Suffragette flag cake was devoured with just enough left for one piece each at the end of the day and the day was a healthy mix of talks from authors Elizabeth Crawford and Tessa Boase and local historians Kathy Atherton and Carol Brown, with an excellent extract of ‘While the Cat’s Away – The Ragtime Suffragette’ from LynchPin Productions to revive us all post-lunch. We received only positive comments from the speakers and attendees of the event and would once again like to thank all those who came and worked with us to make the day such a brilliant success.

At the beginning of December Rosie and I were back on the road again with our portable project boards to the University of Kent for their symposium ‘100 years+ of the women’s movement in Kent, Sussex and Surrey’. We have presented at a number of conferences this year but Kent was voted one of our favourites during a rather rainy drive back to Surrey. There was a small attendance to the conference but the friendly and welcoming atmosphere was unmistakable and made for an excellent day of discussion and debate.

Staff and Volunteers of The March of the Women project.

In the run up to the 100th anniversary of the first women voting on 14 December, Surrey History Centre had their volunteers Christmas Mingle. This was a perfect opportunity to say thank you for all the hard work our volunteers have done researching and indexing the suffrage movement and the first time we had been able to get a number of our volunteers in one place since our trip to the London School of Economics (LSE) Women’s Library back in August.

The following day we had been invited to do a ten minute talk at LSE’s final suffrage event ‘Suffrage Stand-Up’, where we were on the bill next to historian Dr Naomi Paxton and Ros Ball of the UK Government Equalities Office. I gave the talk on six notable women we have been representing during the project, including some of the anti-suffrage campaigners, as despite their opposition to the vote they were still strong, powerful women.

Holly presenting at Suffrage Stand Up, LSE.

And so that was our last two months of the year for The March of the Women project, but it was also my last two months as Project Officer as I will be finishing in January 2019. This year has gone by so quickly it is hard to believe that it has actually been a year, yet so much has changed. On a serious note I have developed so many transferable skills, that now as I am job hunting, I feel I can meet the required experience needed for a new challenge. Outside of work I have continued this development passing a practical driving test in July, shortly followed by buying a purple car which could only have one name, Ethel, after Ethel Smyth who has been at the centre of the project from the beginning!

The thing I will miss most, has to be the excellent contacts I have made from such a friendly community of other suffrage projects and researchers. From attending so many conferences, events and digitally through Twitter, there are faces and names that kept appearing so that it was like meeting up with old friends and did not feel like work.

I can honestly say I could not have had more fun this year, travelling around Surrey and beyond representing those brave women and men who stood up for democracy so that 100 years later I could have the right to vote. And so at least until 2028 for the centenary of the Equal Franchise Act, this suffragette is hanging up her sash.

Written by Holly Parsons

One thought on “Struggling to say Goodbye to Suffrage!”

  1. Barbara Wilson says:

    Great blog!
    Wish you all the best for your future career.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *