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New map highlights women’s battle in the Mearns to win the vote

The suffragette struggle.
The suffragette struggle.

A new map has highlighted the lengths to which women went to fight for the right to vote in the Mearns.

The document shows the areas of historic suffragette activities in the north-east between 1867 and 1918.

The Scottish Suffragette Cities Project, led by Robert Gordon University communication and media professor Sarah Pederson, has initially focused on Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

Prof Pedersen said: “The activities of Scottish suffragists and suffragettes have been overshadowed by what went on in London, to the extent that the history of the movement being taught at higher level in schools in Scotland focuses mainly on English action.

“Our research into the locations of the Scottish suffrage campaign has initially focused on Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

“The website maps the activity of the women who fought for the right to vote and also contains further information about their fight for the vote.

“We hope that the public will engage with the project and contribute their own information.”

Suffragettes fought for the vote across Angus and the Mearns.

Although there was no leader of the suffragette movement in Scotland, its recognised figurehead was Dundee’s Ethel Moorhead, who became the first woman to be forcibly fed in Scotland.

In 1905 Emmeline Pankhurst decided on militant methods to generate the publicity they thought would be needed in order to obtain the vote.

A meeting of the WSPU took place in Stonehaven during the April 1908 Kincardineshire by-election campaign.

Rosie Garland, dressed in the uniform of a suffragette

The Dundee Courier reported an altercation took place between Mary Gawthorpe of the WSPU and Jane Key Ford of Glasgow, a Good Templar agent.

Ford accused the suffragettes of not caring about purity, morality and righteousness because of their support for barmaids.

Mary Gawthorpe pointed out in response that she was a temperance reformer as well as a suffragist.

A meeting of the Women’s Freedom League also took place in Stonehaven Auction Mart during the April 1908 Kincardineshire by-election campaign.

The speakers included Teresa Billington-Greig and Mary Molony.

A meeting of the Women’s Freedom League also took place in Auchenblae during the April 1908 Kincardineshire by-election campaign.

Meanwhile, the Market Stance in Laurencekirk saw speeches from two different militant suffrage organisations on April 13 1908.

Firstly onlookers were given a speech by Mary Gawthorpe of the WSPU.

When she had finished, Teresa Billington-Greig of the Women’s Freedom League arrived and spoke to the assembled crowd.

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