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News Report Page 18 of 22
Publication Date:- 2018-06-09
News reports located on this page = 2.

Liverpool sites of suffragette protest and sabotage among those officially recognised in nation's heritage list

THE grave of Emmeline Pankhurst, leader of the suffragettes, has been upgraded to II, on 8 June 2018, by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the advice of Historic England. 41 other places across the country, which witnessed acts of protest by the suffragettes, have also been relisted. These places are already listed buildings but until now there has been no record of their suffragette history on the National Heritage List for England.

100 years on from the 1st women in the country being granted the right to vote, women's history is still under represented in national records. Through its Her Stories project, Historic England has been working with researchers from the University of Lincoln to address this imbalance and officially recognise suffragette stories that are told in bricks and mortar on:- 'The List.'

►  Suffragette sabotage...   The suffragettes were predominantly members of the radical Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), set up by Emmeline Pankhurst in 1903. They followed a different course of action to the suffragists, led by Millicent Fawcett, who lobbied MPs peacefully for women's right to the vote.  The suffragettes' motto was:- "deeds not words" and to fight for the vote they waged campaigns of sabotage and destruction on public property across the country.  In February 1912 Emmeline Pankhurst declared that:- "the argument of the broken pane of glass is the most valuable argument in modern politics." The suffragettes used toffee hammers to smash windows in prominent locations, making a political statement without endangering lives. They also burned post boxes, attacked paintings in galleries and placed homemade bombs in empty buildings in a co-ordinated attack on the public realm.

►  History of suffrage added to 41 listed building records... Among the 41 places relisted today for the events they witnessed in the suffragettes' campaign for the vote are Manchester's Free Trade Hall, where the militant suffrage campaign began and Epsom racecourse, where the renowned suffragette Emily Wilding Davison was trampled by the King's horse when she ran across the racecourse during the Derby. Also officially recognised on The List are the sites of more unusual suffragette protests, from the School in Birmingham which so charmed a pair of suffragettes they left a note on a blackboard saying they couldn't bear to set it on fire, to St George's Hall in Liverpool where a suffragette hid in an organ loft for 24 hours so she could noisily disturb a speech by a local MP, the next day. Each site has an important story to tell in the fight for women's rights.

The Liverpool sites are:-

►  St George's Hall, Liverpool... The Hall was the scene of an imaginative protest by the local branch of the WSPU. In reaction to the WSPU's campaign of direct action against the government, political meetings by the Liberal party were tightly controlled with entry only by ticket, or in some cases with women excluded altogether. In May 1909 Earl Crewe and Augustine Birrell MP were awarded honorary degrees by the University of Liverpool in a ceremony at St George's Hall. Mary Phillips, the local WSPU organiser, managed to get into the Hall the night before and hid in the organ loft and under the stage. After 24 hours without sleep she interrupted Birrell's speech to protest against the imprisonment of local suffragette Patricia Woodlock. It was several minutes before she was found and removed from the Hall. St George's Plateau, outside of the Hall, was used for large local demonstrations. In 1908 the local Men's League for Women's Suffrage (1 of the earliest provincial branches of this organisation) arranged a large demonstration with platforms for militant and constitutional suffrage societies.

►  Sefton Park Palm House, Liverpool... Sefton Park was subject to an attack by militant suffragettes in November 1913. The attack was 1 of a number of attempts to cause criminal damage in public parks nationally. A park keeper discovered a home made bomb in the porch of the palm house; its fuses had been lit, but had blown out in the wind. In keeping with the WSPU policy, the perpetrator was not formally identified, although it is likely to have been carried out by Kitty Marion, a self confessed suffragette arsonist and bomber who had suffragette friends in Liverpool, and who pasted press cuttings relating to this attack in her scrap book.

►  Walton Prison (now known as HMP Liverpool), Liverpool... Walton Gaol was the site of 1 of the most important suffragette prison protests in 1910 when Lady Constance Lytton sought to highlight the unfair treatment of working class suffragettes compared to their more aristocratic sisters. The imprisonment of members, and their activities once locked up, had become a key part of the WSPU's campaign, with the organisation demanding its incarcerated members be recognised as political prisoners. From July 1909, following the example of Marion Wallace Dunlop, suffragette prisoners began to go on hunger strike. Dunlop's swift release had encouraged other suffragette prisoners to follow suit. In response, in September 1909 Government and Prison authorities began to feed suffragette hunger strikers by force, rather than release them. This was a controversial practice. A full medical examination was required before forcible feeding could take place, but suffragettes complained that this was not always done. When Lady Constance Lytton, who had a heart condition, was arrested in Newcastle in October 1909, she was released after starting a hunger strike. Lytton believed that this was because of her aristocratic status. In January 1910 she disguised herself as Jane Warton, a working class suffragette, and took part in a protest outside Walton Gaol where 2 suffragettes were being held. She threw stones at the windows of the governor's house and was arrested. Her medical examination as 'Jane' was cursory and did not pick up on her heart condition so she was forcibly fed. Lytton was released when her identity was revealed but her health never fully recovered. She wrote several accounts of her treatment in Walton, consistently arguing that the legal system treated working class suffragettes more severely.

►  Wellington Column, Liverpool... The Wellington Column was the regular site for outdoor meetings by the Liverpool branch of the WSPU. The Union followed the Independent Labour Party tradition of outdoor propagandising and used recognisable venues in crowded thoroughfares to try to get its message across. The Wellington Column was used from 1907 up to 1914 when the WSPU's campaign was suspended on the outbreak of the 1st World War. Suffragette speakers at the Column included Patricia Woodlock, Liverpool's most prolific suffragette prisoner, and Alice Morrissey, a founding member of the WSPU, and the wife of Liverpool's 1st elected socialist.

►  The Church of St Anne, Aigburth Road, Liverpool... In December 1913 suffragettes from the WSPU targeted the Church of St Anne as part of their militant campaign of direct action against property. The attack on St Anne's was typical of the activities of WSPU arsonists, carried out secretly overnight while the building was empty to be sure of damage only to property, not people. The perpetrators were never formally identified, but the discovery of copies of the WSPU's newspaper 'The Suffragette' and notes about the WSPU's demands linked this to other arson attacks. The pulpit and choir stalls were destroyed, and the new organ seriously damaged. Insurance and donations covered a renovation scheme the following year.

You can read about all 41 places via this link.

Celia Richardson, Director of Communications at Historic England said:- "The history of suffrage can be traced through the fabric of our City streets and buildings, and even though there are few tangible markers left 41 of the listed buildings and places the suffragettes used as their public theatre of protest have had their official records updated, ensuring the part they played in the struggle for suffrage is fully recognised."

Helen Pankhurst said:- "On the centenary of 1918 it is wonderful to see Historic England playing a part in helping to preserve 41 sites of suffragette protest by identifying and sometimes upgrading their listing as part of their HerStories Project. The whole initiative is wonderful and I'm personally delighted that the tomb of my great grandmother, Emmeline Pankhurst in Brompton Cemetery is included in this project. Hopefully Historic England's initiative will help ensure the grave site is given the care and attention it deserves."

Heritage Minister Michael Ellis said:- "A century after the 1st women won the right to vote, it is vital that we continue to remember all those who campaigned so hard for greater equality. I am delighted we are recognising the places that were at the heart of suffragette action 100 years ago."

►  Emmeline Pankhurst's tomb upgraded... Emmeline Pankhurst was born and raised in Manchester but died aged 69 in a Wimpole Street nursing home in London, on 14 June 1928. She was buried at Brompton Cemetery in London and her tomb, designed by the emerging female sculptor Julian Phelps Allan, has been newly upgraded to Grade II listed to reflect Pankhurst's pivotal role in the suffragette movement but also to recognise the monument's elegance and sculptural beauty. Before becoming an artist Julian Phelps Allan served in the army in both world wars, leaving with the rank of colonel. She was born Eva Dorothy Allan but dropped this name for the more androgynous Julian around 1929, probably to be taken more seriously as a sculptor, but others have suggested it was a way to declare her lesbian identity.

►  Making Histories HerStories... Historic England's HerStories campaign will continue throughout 2018 and on Sunday, 10 June 2018, its representatives will take part in Processions, a mass participation art event to mark the centenary of some women being given the right to vote. Historic England has commissioned artist Lucy Orta and the London College of Fashion, UAL to work with the last ever inmates of the notorious former suffragette prison, HMP Holloway, to produce a banner for the event.  On Monday, 11 June 2018, Historic England will be holding a discussion at the Royal Academy. In Sites of Sabotage; a history of protest the panel will consider the heritage value of places that have been targeted by protestors and how this should be recorded, shared and looked after.

Over 1.5 million people were destitute in the UK in 2017

THE Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) is calling for the redesign of the social security system to ensure that nobody in the UK is left without the bare essentials that we all need to eat, stay warm and dry, and keep clean.

The report found that 1,550,000 people were in destitution at some point in 2017, including 365,000 children. This is more people than the populations of Birmingham and Liverpool combined.

Levels of destitution have declined by around 25% between 2015 and 2017, and a reduction in benefit sanctions appears to be the most significant factor behind this.

For those left destitute, JRF has identified that social security policies and practice can in many cases directly lead to destitution "by design" from gaps, flaws and choices within the social security system; meaning that people are being left without support when they most need it.,

People were defined as destitute in this study conducted by Heriot-Watt University if they or their children have lacked 2 or more of the following 6 essentials over the past month because they cannot afford them, or their income is so low, less than ₤10 per day for a single person (excluding housing costs), that they have been unable to purchase them for themselves:-

►  Shelter (have slept rough for 1 or more nights)

►  Food (have had fewer than 2 meals a day for 2 or more days)

Heating their home (have been unable to do this for 5 or more days)

►  Lighting their home (have been unable to do this for 5 or more days)

►  Appropriate clothing and footwear.

►  Basic toiletries (soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush)

These are the main factors tipping people into destitution:-

►  Low benefit levels, delays in receiving benefits and sanctions.

►  Harsh and uncoordinated debt recovery practices by public authorities and utility companies.

Pressures caused by poor health or disability.

High costs for housing and other essentials.

People largely become destitute following longer term experiences of poverty, with single, younger men at highest risk. 75% of those in destitution were born in the UK and rates are highest in northern English and Scottish cities and some London boroughs.

Campbell Robb, Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, commented:- "Many of us rely on public services such as social security when hit with unexpected circumstances like job loss, relationship breakdown or ill health. Yet actions by government, local authorities and utility companies are leading to 'destitution by design' forcing people into a corner when they are penniless and have nowhere to turn. This is shameful.  Social security should be an anchor holding people steady against powerful currents such as rising costs, insecure housing and jobs, and low pay, but people are instead becoming destitute with no clear way out. To be destitute doesn't just mean getting by on very little, it's losing the ability to keep a roof over your head, eat often enough, or afford warm clothes when it's cold. You can't keep yourself clean or put the lights on. This shouldn't happen to anybody, let alone over 1 and a ½ million people in the UK. It doesn't have to be this way. The reduction in benefit sanction rates has meant that some welcome headway has been made, but there is a real risk that once Universal Credit is embedded across the country, more people could again be at risk unless we make changes. We all want to live in a society where we protect each other from harm, and we need to put things right to protect people from this degrading experience. We can start by redesigning our social security system so that it provides the basic protection people need."

Food was cited as the most commonly lacked item, with 62% within the group reporting that they had gone without over the past month. 47% had lacked basic toiletries, with 46% lacking suitable clothing and 42% having to go without heating. 20% of people who were destitute reported lacking lighting at home, and 16% had recently slept rough. Nearly ½ of all destitute households reported lacking 3 or more of these essentials in the month before they were surveyed.

One man in the study said:- "They made me go 8 weeks without any money… I did have to live basically out of a food bank… [and] … how can I pay for heating and that when I didn't have any money coming in?"

Depression, severe stress and anxiety were commonly reported, with a few interviewees saying that they had felt suicidal. The lack of essentials and inability to maintain a sense of personal dignity undermined mental health and well-being. Destitution dented people's confidence, leaving them dispirited and resigned.

JRF is calling on the UK Government to:-

►  End the freeze on working age benefits so they at least keep up with the cost of essentials.

►  Change the use of sanctions within Universal Credit so that people are not left destitute by design.

►  Review the total amount of debt that can be clawed back from people receiving benefits, so they can keep their heads above water.

Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick of Heriot Watt University, lead author of the research said:- "It is clear from the people we spoke to that destitution has a huge impact not only on the practicalities of life but on people's dignity. Destitution has many different causes such as sickness and ill health, debt, or even the direct result of social security policy, especially the sanctioning regime. Most often it's the end point of a build up of problems associated with deep and ongoing experiences of poverty. While no 1 should ever have to be destitute, we estimate that levels have declined by around a quarter since 2015. This is good news. It's likely that this has been driven by a decline in benefit sanction rates and falling unemployment and immigration. However, the apparent higher levels of sanctions in Universal Credit are a sharp warning that destitution could increase again as the new benefit expands in the coming years. Rebooting and improving the funding for local welfare assistance in England is 1 element of a package to provide the crisis support that people in destitution need."

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