Sunday, February 03, 2008

Beckenham Suffragists

This advert from the Beckenham Journal, 1 May 1882, testifies to an early meeting in support of the campaign for women's suffrage, held at Christ Church Lecture Hall, Beckenham. The advert mentions the existence of a 'Local Executive Women's Suffrage Committee', with supporters evidently including Miss Eliza Orme, Mrs. C. McLaren, Mrs Harvey (address given as 8 Bromley Grove, Shortlands) and Mrs Isabel Willis. Rev. Charles Green, Vicar of New Beckenham chaired the meeting.

A report of the meeting in the following edition of the Journal (1 June 1882) records that it passed a resolution asking that 'Parliamentary suffrage be extended to women on the same conditions as it is, or may be, granted to men'.

According to The Women's Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide, 1866-1928 by Elizabeth Crawford (2001): ‘Bromley, Beckenham and Shortlands Suffrage Society’ was ‘formed in 1882, as a branch committee of the National Society for Women’s Suffrage. Mrs Daniel Harrison, who was a sister of Mary Howitt, had been a member of the London National Society in 1867, and was a founding member of the Bromley Society.. The society was still active in 1907 (when Miss Heppel, headmistreess of Bromley High School was present at a meeting) but appears to have disappeared before 1913’.

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