Being a woman and living in Morpeth, I can’t help but listen to stories of Suffragette Emily Wilding Davison. Regardless of your political persuasion or nationality, you can only admire a woman who fought hard to give women the vote.
The fact that she hid in the House’s of Commons on three separate occasions, including the night of the 1911 census – meaning she could legitimately give the House of Commons as her place of residence, was just genius. Granted, some of the Suffragette ways of “persuasion” were not always appropriate, but they were desperate to make change happen. Living in a man’s world is tough today, but it was even tougher then. There are many discussions as to whether Emily deliberately wanted to kill herself by throwing herself under the King’s horse, but I think it was just a tragic accident. If I were Emily and had a return ticket back to Morpeth, to be met by a male friend who was going to take me to a dance in my home town of Longhorsley [so I've heard], I certainly wouldn’t want to die.
A couple of year’s ago (before setting up my business, and as a stay-at-home-mum) my children had to write a mining project in school. They learned all about Ashington, which at one point was the largest mining town in the world. One thing that really struck a chord with me were the duties/tasks of men and women 100 years ago:
Women: look after the children; clean the house; do the laundry; make sure the dinner was cooked
Men: go to work,; socialise afterwards in the pub, in a football team or brass band; vote in elections
I asked my children to compare this to my own life and to be honest, they couldn’t see that much difference…. except of course the vote. We now have the right to vote and make decisions for ourselves. I have to be thankful to women like Emily Davison, who fought hard to achieve something that has had a dramatic affect on my life. As a single mum, I now do all the jobs of the women and the man, but at least I can have an opinion on the way my life will be run.
The celebrations this weekend in Morpeth have been really great fun, and enjoyed by the whole town. Thankfully we had sunshine and blue skies and the procession of 100s of Suffragette ladies was remarkable. I felt like we had gone back in time! Emily’s funeral was held in Bloomsbury, London on 14th June 1913. Her coffin was then brought back to Morpeth to be buried in her family grave at St. Mary’s Church – where my own daughter was Christened. On Saturday 15th June 2013, hundreds of women, girl guides and children marched from Morpeth train station to St. Mary’s Church in celebration of Emily’s life.
And where does Emma Bunting fit in? Well, we were thrilled to be asked to make Suffragette bunting for the event – in purple, white and green.
Purple symbolised dignity
White symbolised purity
Green symbolised hope
It’s been a pleasure and an honour to see our bunting in Morpeth’s Market Place and in Sanderson’s Arcade.
If you would like to learn more about Emily Davison please visit Emily Inspires website.
Enjoy some of my photos from the day…. ps Big Thank you to Jane Chase who took the wonderful photo of The Band of The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers!