Dora Thewlis, baby suffragette
Women in Huddersfield have always been feisty! The ‘Tea & Cake’ group meeting at Tolson Museum was told how the suffragette movement really took hold in Huddersfield. The votes for women campaign was strong in the north and particularly in Huddersfield. In 1906 a crowd of 4,000 suffragettes greeted politicians outside Huddersfield Railway station during a local parliamentary by-election! Amongst them was Dora Thewlis from Honley who, in 1907 at the age of 16, took the train to London and harangued parliamentarians at Westminster.
With others she was arrested and spent time in prison. The work by the working class women of the north in the suffragette movement went largely unnoticed though there was a picture of Dora on the front page of the Daily Mirror being arrested by two burley policemen. She was called the ‘baby suffragette’ which annoyed her as she said that, at nearly eighteen, and having been working in the mill since she was ten, she felt very much an adult.
The campaign went underground during the First World War. However after the war the act of 1919 gave women property holders over 28 years the vote but it was not until 1928 that they attained equal suffrage with men. We owe a lot to the hardworking self educated women of this area.
Katina Bill, curator, showed the small green, white and purple badge of the suffragettes They were reminded that green was for hope, white for purity and purple for dignity. Besides the two small badges the group were shown the famous suffragette banner made by Francis Lockwood on display in the Tolson museum.
The ‘Tea & Cake’ group meet next on Wednesday at 2pm at the Tolson Museum. All are welcome