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A Suffragette in the Family? 24 Apr 2009
Alice Hawkins
How to find out if an ancestor was involved in the women's suffrage movement?

A hundred years ago the campaign to secure women the vote took a new and dangerous turn. In 1909 the imprisoned suffragette, Marion Dunlop, refused to eat. Soon afterwards other jailed women did the same – the great suffrage hunger strikes had begun. The authorities decided to intervene and the picture of women being held down and force fed became a powerful image of the campaign. One of those who took part was Alice Hawkins, a shoe machinist from Leicestershire. Her family have one of the best collections of suffrage memorabilia in Britain. They know a great deal about what she did - if a woman was imprisoned, her political activities are far easier to trace. Nicola Swords visited the Women’s Library to find out how you might track down a radical relative, and spoke to Alice’s descendents including Pat Malone and Joan Nelson.

"Alice Hawkins: And the Suffragette Movement in Edwardian Leicester" by Dr Richard Whitmore is published by Breedon Books £14.99 ISBN 9781859835548

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