The final speaker this season at the Chatelaine Ladies’ Luncheon Club was “A strong woman” – Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst.
Mrs Pankhurst, arriving in sensible clothing, with a hat tied firmly under the chin, because otherwise it would undoubtedly be knocked off, encouraged us to join the WSPU, the Women’s Social and Political Union, fees only 6 pence per year, payable in installments if necessary. She then hoped that we would join her and her members in marching to Parliament and to prepare ourselves for street brawls and some rough and degrading treatment at the hands of police. We were to be prepared to assault those police officers, smash windows, and tie ourselves to railings. “Wrap the chain around your waist, under your clothes, and padlock the other end, not forgetting to leave the key at home”. She did warn us of the possibility of being arrested and imprisoned and of the horrors of force feeding as a result of our hunger strikes, but “Women, we must do the job ourselves”, she said.
Louise Reed, as Mrs Pankhurst, convinced us that here, in 1912, we had a fight on our hands and said that she was sure that, eventually, we would achieve equality for women and win the right to vote.
We all pledged to be with her all the way and knew that her name would still be remembered in a hundred years’ time.
If you are interested in joining the club, it meets on the fourth Thursday of the month, from September to May, in the Belmont Hotel, De Montfort Street, Leicester, and is always happy to welcome new members.
For further details please contact Norma Grimes on 0116 260 8412,
e-mail: [email protected]