• March of the Women

The March of the Women: Surrey’s Road to the Vote – Learning Resources

Introduction and How to Use this Resource

Front cover of Ethel Smyth's composition The March of the Women, dedicated to the Women's Social and Political Union, 1911 (SHC Ref. 9180/5)

Front cover of Ethel Smyth’s composition The March of the Women, dedicated to the Women’s Social and Political Union, 1911 (SHC ref 9180/5)

Surrey Heritage was awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant to explore and celebrate Surrey’s role in winning the vote for women. The project, called ‘The March of the Women: Surrey’s Road to the Vote’, marked the 2018 centenary of the 1918 Act of Parliament which gave the vote to women over the age of 30. The project focussed on Surrey’s hugely significant role in the long campaign for women’s suffrage and explored the contributions made by local women and men to the cause.

This online resource is structured around the six episodes of a radio play, created by Grant Watson and Year 9 students from St Bede’s School, Warwick School and Winston Churchill School. This was inspired by some of the events that took place in Surrey during the years of campaigning by the men and women of the county. Surrey was home to key suffrage activists as well as anti-suffrage, suffragist and suffragette organisations and groups. Surrey was also the scene of one of the pivotal moments in the campaign, the death of Emily Wilding Davison following her accident at the 1913 Derby.

Alongside each episode you will find resources and contextual information that can be used in the classroom, together with suggested activities for History, Citizenship and Drama. The activities are suitable for Key Stages 3 & 4 and are linked to the theme of each episode. You can find how the activities meet the relevant national curriculum targets by clicking on the links “Teaching Aims for Episode” next to each episode.

Each episode focuses on a different aspect of the campaign and introduces characters that were created by the young people involved in the project.

Image of Millicent Fawcett speaking at Hyde Park after the Women’s Suffrage Pilgrimage on 26 March 1913. Image courtesy of the Fawcett Society.

Millicent Fawcett speaks at Hyde Park after the Women’s Suffrage Pilgrimage on 26 March 1913.
Image courtesy of the Fawcett Society.

Episode One – The Agenda

Go to Episode One

Teaching Aims for Episode 1

This episode explores the difference between the Suffragist movement and the more militant Suffragettes.

It centres around two characters Grace and Millicent who are attending a meeting of The Croydon Society of Women’s Suffrage. Millicent is interested in a new campaign “Deeds not Words!’ which is spreading and tries to persuade her friend to take a more active path in the campaign.

Image of Suffrage March in Hyde Park Image by Mrs Albert Broom (Christina Livingston) Copyright National Portrait Gallery, London

Suffrage March in Hyde Park Image by Mrs Albert Broom (Christina Livingston) Copyright National Portrait Gallery, London

Episode Two – The March

Go to Episode Two

Teaching Aims for Episode 2

This episode was inspired by the pageants and rallies organized by local women’s suffrage groups.

It is set on a railway station platform where a large group of suffragists from Redhill are gathering for a march in London. Many of them are in fancy dress and carrying banners. A young woman Daisy is impressed by what she sees but her Aunt Louisa has a much more traditional view of how a young lady should behave.

Image of Emmeline Pankhurst addressing a crowd in Trafalgar Square Image by Central Press 1908, Copyright National Portrait Gallery, London

Emmeline Pankhurst addressing a crowd in Trafalgar Square
Image by Central Press 1908,
Copyright National Portrait Gallery, London

Episode Three – Hunger

Go to Episode Three

Teaching Aims for Episode 3

This episode explores the experiences of imprisonment and hunger strike of the suffragettes.

It is set in a prison where a young woman arrested for stealing food for her family is locked up in the cell next door to a suffragette. They strike up a friendship and Carlotta talks about her time spent in Holloway and the practice of forced feeding when she protested through hunger strike.

Episode Four – Brackenside

Suffrage Photograph of Militant Suffragettes Image Criminal Record Office 1914 Copyright National Portrait Gallery, London

Suffrage Photograph of Militant Suffragettes
Image Criminal Record Office 1914
Copyright National Portrait Gallery, London

Go to Episode Four

Teaching Aims for Episode 4

This episode explores the Cat and Mouse Act, in particular the prominent Suffrage supporters who gave sanctuary to suffragettes in the village of Peaslake, Surrey.

Set in Brackenside the home of Hilda Brackenbury and her daughters, we meet suffragette Lucy who is hiding having been released from prison to recover, she is under constant surveillance from the police.

Episode Five – Anmer

Image of Procession of Emily Davison’s Funeral Image by F. Kehrhahn & Co June 1913 Copyright National Portrait Gallery, London

Procession of Emily Davison’s Funeral
Image by F. Kehrhahn & Co June 1913
Copyright National Portrait Gallery, London

Go to Episode Five

Teaching Aims for Episode 5

This episode explores the events that took place at Epsom Derby on June 4th 1913 where thousands witnessed Emily Wilding Davison walk on to the racetrack and be struck down by the King’s horse Anmer.

Two young couples are having a day out at the races but Annabel is fed up with the expectation that she should get married rather than have a career as a teacher. During the afternoon she bumps into a young woman called Emily who talks to her about the importance of taking action to gain the attention of the world.

Episode Six – The Future

Image of Women Labour MPs Image by Unknown Photographer 1929 Copyright National Portrait Gallery, London

Women Labour MPs
Image by Unknown Photographer 1929
Copyright National Portrait Gallery, London

Go to Episode Six

Teaching Aims for Episode 6

This episode considers what the vote might enable women to do in the future.

It was inspired by a large public gathering, in Guildford on 27th July 1913, a few weeks after the death of Emily Davison.

A young woman in a dress shop dreams of running her own business when she meets a successful and independent woman, during a rally with suffragist speakers.

How the play was created

Each school group spent time with archivist Rosie Everritt and historian Juliet Warren at the Surrey History Centre examining first hand the documents held there. They were given copies of the 1911 census that show how many men and women protested through their refusal to fill out the census correctly. Students were asked to pick a name from one of these census documents and using the information given in the documents as a starting point, they created characters, backstories and ideas for how they might behave and what they might think about the suffrage movement. This led to some in-depth workshops in school with writer Grant Watson who worked with each group to produce scenes that explore how the ordinary people of the day might have responded to the events around them.

The play was recorded at Water Rat Studios, edited by Lindsay Chambers and produced by Jane McGibbon. It was premiered at Epsom Race Course on Tuesday 8th May 2018 in front of an audience of young people and parents from the participating schools.

Copies of the play were sent to each of the secondary schools in Surrey.

You can also find the full script for the play here pdf ( PDF ) copy: March of the Women – Playscript

You can find useful contextual information about the Suffrage Movement here: Setting the Scene.

Find out more about The March of the Women: Surrey’s Road to the Vote project.

Find out more about The March of the Women Online Exhibition

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