The Women's Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide, 1866-1928

By Elizabeth Crawford | Go to book overview

B

BABB, CHARLOTTE (1830-1906) An artist, from 1859 she campaigned for the admission of women students to the Royal Academy Schools and in 1861 was one of the first to be admitted, recommended by the Heatherley School of Art. She painted all her life and exhibited widely. In 1866 she signed the petition for women’s suffrage. She was a member, and with her brother a generous supporter, of the CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE NATIONAL SOCIETY FOR WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE from its formation in 1871. In 1871, wearied by what she conceived as the futility of suffrage petitions, she launched a campaign for “no taxation without representation”. She allowed her goods to be distrained and sold in lieu of tax and repeated this resistance on 12 occasions over a period of a further 13 years. She wrote many leaflets, including A Word to Woman Householders; Practical Protests; Political Outcasts, 1874. Although she did not achieve much of a following she was friendly with at least one fellow resister, Rose Anne Hall (c. 1823-92), who had signed the 1866 petition while living at Orange Hill, near Edgware and in 1877 was a fellow member of the West Middlesex branch of the NATIONAL SOCIETY FOR WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE. Miss Hall had been in correspondence with Helen TAYLOR, enthusiastically supported the LONDON NATIONAL SOCIETY, the Central Committee of the National Society from its formation (she addressed its annual general meeting in 1877), the MANCHESTER NATIONAL SOCIETY (1870-78), and from 1888 the CENTRAL NATIONAL SOCIETY. In 1871 Miss Hall refused to pay state taxes and her goods were seized; she continued the protest until her marriage with Charles Anderson, who himself had subscribed to the Central Committee in 1872-3. The connection between Charlotte Babb and Rose Anne Hall (which exists in a corrupt printed form in a footnote to C.A. Bigg’s chapter “Great Britain” in Stanton, Anthony and Gage (eds), History of Woman’s Suffrage, 1886, which refers to “Charlotte Hall”) is made in a studio photograph taken of the two of them together, which forms part of Helen BLACKBURN’S collection in Girton College archives.

In an obituary of his sister in the January 1907 issue of the Englishwoman’s Review, John Staines Babb, who was also an artist, wrote that Charlotte Babb had maintained that tax resistance was the most peaceable and practical way of asserting the right to the parliamentary vote. She thought a great opportunity had been lost because her movement had not had more widespread support, “because a measure of a reasonable character [presumably the ‘reasonable’ qualification was the exclusion of married women] extending the franchise to women in the same terms as to men might have prevented the lowering of the franchise to the male voter of an inferior description, an unfortunate event which came about later, and has thrown back all women’s chances indefinitely”. Charlotte Babb was also, in the 1880s, a member of the Vigilance Association for the Defence of Personal Rights. In December 1884 she, with Henrietta MULLER, who had also in that year refused to pay her taxes, Viscountess HARBERTON and Mrs Ashton DILKE, spoke at a meeting of support of the claim of women ratepayers for the parliamentary franchise which was held at Bromley Town Hall. She signed the Women Householders’ Declaration in favour of women’s suffrage of 1889-90. A few days before she died she sent a donation of £5 and a message of good will to the WOMEN’S SOCIAL AND POLITICAL UNION.

Address: (1866) Hotel D’Antin, rue Biot, Paris; (1903) 12 Albert Square, Clapham Road, London SW.

Photograph: in Blackburn Collection, Girton College.

Bibliography: obituary in Englishwoman’s Review, January 1907; D. Cherry, Painting Women, 1993.

BAINES, [SARAH JANE] JENNIE, MRS (1866-1951) Born in Birmingham, daughter of James Hunt, gunmaker, and his wife Sarah Ann. At the age of 11 she worked with her mother in a gun factory belonging to Joseph Chamberlain. She later observed that she had been schooled by the Salvation Army from earliest childhood in the spirit of rebellion. Mrs PANKHURST is quoted by A.E. Metcalfe in Woman’s Effort, 1917, as saying that it was Salvation Army methods that the WOMEN’S SOCIAL AND POLITICAL UNION adopted from its earliest days, “Just as the Booths took religion to the street crowds, so we took suffrage to the general public”. Jennie Baines was well practised in these methods. She recorded that she had at this early age been arrested “for free speech” and in prison had her first glimpse of social degradation. On 16 September 1888 she married a bootmaker, George Baines, and spent 16 years bringing up their children. During this time she worked for the temperance movement in Bolton, was an active member of the Independent Labour Party and for two years was a member of the Stockport Unemployed Committee. She says that in 1903 she met and was influenced by Mrs Pankhurst and was present at the meeting at Manchester Free Trade Hall on 13 October 1905, witnessed the brutal treatment (as she termed it) meted out to Christabel PANKHURST and Annie KENNEY, and immediately joined the WSPU. In 1906 Mrs Pankhurst asked her to go to London as an ORGANIZER. She went on her own to London, with her husband’s support and leaving a daughter to manage the home. She was arrested on 13 December 1906 while speaking outside one of the entrances to the House of Commons and served a sentence of 14 days’ imprisonment in Holloway, an experience that reinforced her concern for the treatment of women prisoners, which left her, she said, more of a rebel than ever. In particular she cites the case of Daisy Lord, who had been convicted of infanticide, and whose fate invoked much correspondence in the pages of Votes for Women. In 1907 Jennie Baines went to Birmingham as a temporary organizer and in April 1908 was made a full-time organizer, at £2 a week, in the Midlands and North of England. She was the main speaker on one of the platforms at the WSPU June 1908 Hyde Park demonstration and her short biography in Votes for Women, 7 May 1908, noted “She has the power of holding a very large audience.” In 1908 she wrote a handbill, published by the Woman’s Press, titled “The Labour of Married Women: a working woman’s reply to Mr John Burns”. In November 1908 she was the first suffragette to be tried by a jury, on a charge of “unlawful assembly” in Leeds. She was defended by Frederick PETHICK-LAWRENCE, who attempted, without success, to subpoena Herbert Gladstone and Asquith, as Christabel Pankhurst had done at her trial in London the previous month. Jennie Baines was found guilty, spent six weeks in Armley Gaol, and on her release was drawn in a carriage for three miles by women dressed as mill-hands in clogs and shawls. She then went to London where she was met by a triumphal procession and taken to a meeting in Trafalgar Square.

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The Women's Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide, 1866-1928
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Illustrations vi
  • Introduction ix
  • A 1
  • B 24
  • C 90
  • D 156
  • E 182
  • F 212
  • G 235
  • H 256
  • I 299
  • J 303
  • K 313
  • L 331
  • M 363
  • N 434
  • O 472
  • P 485
  • Q 585
  • R 586
  • S 613
  • T 671
  • U 693
  • V 697
  • W 699
  • Y 763
  • Z 766
  • Appendix - The Radical Liberal Family Networks 767
  • Acknowledgements 769
  • Archival Sources 771
  • Select Bibliography 774
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