Send your news, photos and videos by texting bucksfreepress to 80360 or email
Looking back at women's fight for the vote
A WOMAN not having the right to vote seems an alien concept nowadays but it was the reality facing the female population less than a century ago.
The term suffragette is often associated with the militant stance taken by Emmeline Pankhurst’s Women’s Social and Political Union - with protestors smashing buildings and chaining themselves to railings.
"Burning to get the vote" was a message left at Saunderton train station in March 2013 after the suffragette’s had fire-bombed it.
It is one of a number of protests - both violent and peaceful - documented in Rev Colin Cartwright’s new book, Burning to Get the Vote, which recreates the suffragette’s campaign in Buckinghamshire.
He said: "I have always been interested in it and it was all sparked about three years ago after reading a book by Jean Archer.
"It’s also the hundredth anniversary of the National Women’s Suffrage Pilgrimage through the county and the book looks at that and focuses on the campaigns in each area.
"So there’s a section on High Wycombe and how the movement was started there by Frances Dove, who founded Wycombe Abbey. She was willing to stand up for her rights and during her campaign she almost became the first female Mayor of the town in 1908.
"Chesham has its very own suffragette in Emily Brandon, who tried to set up her own militant branch and was imprisoned in 1911. But, of course, it all seems such an alien concept now, women being unable to vote."
The iconic images of Emily Davidson being trampled a century ago as she attempted to hang a banner on the King George V’s horse at the Epsom Derby symbolises the struggles women faced to win the vote.
People marched through the streets of Chesham on August 3 to mark the anniversary of Mrs Davidson’s death and the pilgrimage through Bucks.
After the event, Rev Cartwright signed copies of his book, which has gained the seal of approval from Richard Pankhurst, a descendant of Emmeline Pankhurst, and Chesham and Amersham MP Cheryl Gillan.
Mrs Gillan’s foreword in the book reads: "It is a story of women - and of men - in central Buckinghamshire, who may not have hit the headlines as some of the proponents of women’s suffrage did. "Yet, in their tireless and patient dedication to the cause, in their efforts to persuade through every means available to them, they were part of the movement which led to women gaining the rights in the twentieth century which had been available to men for much of the nineteenth.
"As a woman politician in the twenty-first century, I find it salutary. Nearly a century after women achieved the vote, many find themselves the first woman to hold a particular post or office - and those landmarks are still there to be attained.
"These links to the past are so important to us and to our democracy. I hope others will draw inspiration from them too.
Rev Cartwright, 48, dedicated the book to his wife and two daughters. He said: "It was nice to have Richard and Cheryl supporting the book.
"My children only became interested in it towards the end of the project but they are fascinated by it now as it all seems so strange to them to read about how women were treated such a short time ago."
Burning to Get the Vote is available to buy on Amazon and at community buildings around south Bucks, including Chesham Museum.
Comments are closed on this article.