Holmwood and the Suffragettes.
My Tickner ancestors lived in the village of Holmwood in Surrey ( 1830-1950)
Holmwood played an important part in the women’s suffrage movement.
One of the most influential women in the fight for votes was Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence. She lived with her husband Frederick in Mascot house (now the Dutch house) in South Holmwood.
This house became the unofficial headquarters of the WSPU (Women’s Social and Political Union). The WSPU was formed in 1903 by Emily Pankhurst and her daughter Christabel and from 1903 to 1917 it was the leading militant organization campaigning for women’s suffrage in Great Britain. They employed tactics such as smashing windows, arson and hunger strikes
Every weekend, between 1906 and 1912, the leaders of the suffragette movement came down by train to Holmwood and held meetings in Mascot House. Emmeline also invited suffragettes, who had been imprisoned, to recuperate there. Her husband Frederick, also a supporter of the movement, helped pay suffragette’s court costs.
At one time Emmeline and Frederick were imprisoned themselves and forcibly fed.
Despite being taken to court and being declared bankrupt Emmeline and Frederick continued to fight for women’s rights and the welfare of children.
Frederick became a member of Parliament and later a Baron. From 1945 to 1947 he was Secretary of State for India and Burma and was a friend of Ghandi.
Emmeline died in 1954 and Frederick married Helen Craggs.
I don’t know what my Tickner ancestors thought of the suffragette movement. My mother, and her sister my aunt Ena Parsons, talked about Holmwood a lot, as they used to stay with their aunts in the holidays, but they never mentioned its connection to the suffragette movement.
My great aunts would no doubt have been aware of what was going on as it was only a small village. Indeed, they may well have met Frederick and Emmeline and the Pankhursts, or seen them in passing at the station. And who knows, some of the suffragettes and their followers might even have stopped off for tea at Brook House in South Holmwood where my ancestors lived!
My gran Grace Parsons ( nee Tickner) and her sister Lizzie outside Brook House.