Local author, Pat Stevens, will explore the ‘death and dastardly deeds’ of famous suffragette Emily Wilding Davison.
She will give her talk ‘Emily. Death and dastardly deeds’ at the Old Low Light Heritage Centre on North Shields Fish Quay on Saturday 10 June at 11am. Places at £4pp (Old Low Light members and children under 16 free) can be booked online by clicking the button above.
Pat will talk about how Emily, who died 110 years ago after being hit by King George V’s horse at the 1913 Epsom Derby, was initially believed to have given her life to the suffragette cause. However, it is likely the incident was a tragic accident as. years after the event, theories emerged that Emily walked onto the racecourse to tie a scarf in suffragette colours to the King’s horse. Also, around 50 years after she died, a family solicitor was going through boxes and found the handbag that Emily was carrying on the fateful day. Inside was a return train ticket, indicating that she intended to return home after the race.
She will explain how Emily, who had strong North East family connections and is buried at Morpeth, became involved in militant activities during the fight for voting rights for women and was arrested, imprisoned, and force-fed on a number of occasions.
Emily was born in London but her grandparents had owned a gun shop in Pilgrim Street, Newcastle before buying property in Morpeth. Their son, Emily’s father moved to London with his first wife and they had six children. His wife died and Emily’s mother went down to London from her home in Northumberland to be his housekeeper, eventually marrying him and having three children, including Emily.
When he died, her mother returned to the North East and bought a sweet shop in Longhorsley, where Emily spent time recuperating after her prison sentences.
Pat will also talk about a lesser known suffragette, Cissie Wilcox, who was sentenced to imprisonment at Newcastle after attempting to burn down a school in Whitley Bay.
She said: ”It is fitting to be talking about Emily Wilding Davison within days of the 110th anniversary of her death. We know so much now about Emily’s life and her support for the suffragette movement. However, there are others, who were also very active, including Cissie Wilcox, but very little has been written about them.”
This is Pat’s second talk at the Old Low Light. Her first, a year ago, was based on her book ‘Gan on Hinnies’ about how the women of Tyneside helped to win the vote. That talk was linked to a special display at the heritage centre about Norah Balls a celebrated North Tyneside suffragette, whose life and achievements were honoured with a blue plaque outside the family home in Tynemouth.
Pat, a retired teacher, now lives in Tynemouth and is a Newcastle City Guide.
Caption: This statue of Emily Wilding Davison, by Ray Lonsdale, stands in Morpeth’s Carlisle Park.