After months of research and writing, Mike Shuker launched his pamphlet exploring the history of the Suffragettes in Loughborough. Mike described the origins of the Campaign for Universal Suffrage in national and local contexts. He explained the events of 1800s, in particular comments by Loughborough Conservative MP Edwin de Lisle when he declared that the vote for women would wreck the domestic happiness of half the homes of England. Mike described how his opinion was countered by the commitment of activists such as Annie Kenney, a part time mill worker and Trade Unionist who stated that women would use the vote to promote welfare not warfare. With equal reference to figures such as Thomas Corcoran, father of the famous Loughborough sisters, MP Maurice Levy, Mrs Pankhurst and her compatriot Gladys Keavil who protested when told that enfranchisement would be ‘unwomanly’ the story of the suffragettes in Loughborough came to life including reference to the sister’s presumed culpability in the assault on Red House, Burton Walks on the night of the 18th/ 19thOctober 1913 (also see Research above). The pamphlet covered the origins of the movement locally from the 1870s when, the National Society for Women’s Suffrage’s Mrs Jane Ronniger addressed a meeting at Loughborough Town Hall. During the discussion, Mike spoke of the 1913 ‘outrage’ when, there was an attempt to set ‘Red House’ on Burton Walks alight along with many more interesting insights into the lives of the great women that fought for universal suffrage.
Mike also mentioned that at the time, there were 75 branches of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) across the UK with 50 local members, so the status of Loughborough as a stronghold of local activism reinforced by the visit of Mrs Pankhurst was significant.
The Pamplet is available to view in the History section of this website.