In this event in our programme of events, we concentrate on the role of women in resisting the war. Well-known writer & historian Sheila Rowbotham talks about Alice Wheeldon who was framed and imprisoned, while June Hannam talks about the role of women in the anti-war movement in Bristol.
Women Resisting the Great War
Date: Tuesday 4th November
Venue: Trinity Centre, Trinity Rd, Bristol BS2 0NW
With: Shelia Rowbotham & June Hannam
In 1917 a Derby socialist and feminist in the anti-war movement, Alice Wheeldon was sent to prison on the evidence of an agent provocateur for plotting to kill Lloyd George. The evidence was flimsy, her accuser so dubious the prosecution kept him away from the trial. In this new, revised edition of The Friends of Alice Wheeldon Sheila Rowbotham reveals how militarism and fears about security contrived to devastate the lives of an ordinary family in Derby. The Wheeldon case is both a tragic historical story and contains an immediate reminder for today of the need to protect individual freedoms.
Bristol women campaigning for peace in World War One
June Hannam will focus on women in Bristol who opposed militarism and sought a negotiated peace. The most high profile activists were Mabel Tothill, Annie Townley and Mrs Higgins, all socialists from the Independent Labour Party (ILP). Others, such as the Quaker Helen Sturge, had been involved in the pre-war suffrage movement. The talk will explore what women did to push forward their cause and the ideas that underpinned their peace activism, in particular the extent to which they were gendered. Women used spaces that brought them together as women, notably the Women’s International league, but also worked through mixed sex organisations. It will be suggested that although peace campaigning could bring women together across class and party lines, for socialist women peace would lay the foundations for a new society that could only be achieved through party politics after the war.