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

By Elizabeth Crawford | Go to book overview

O

OBAN committee of the EDINBURGH SOCIETY FOR WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE Formed in 1871 as a result of lecture tour there by Jane TAYLOUR and Agnes MCLAREN. The Oban society associated itself with the new CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE NATIONAL SOCIETY FOR WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE in 1872. By 1913 the society had been revived by an organizer working for the GLASGOW AND WEST OF SCOTLAND ASSOCIATION FOR WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE and was a member of the SCOTTISH FEDERATION OF THE NATIONAL UNION OF WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE SOCIETIES. Secretary (1913) Miss Busby, at Dungallan House, Oban, Argyll.

OGSTON, HELEN CHARLOTTE ELIZABETH DOUGLAS (1883-?) (later Mrs Townroe and then Mrs Bullimore) and CONSTANCE AMELIA (1884-?) Both born in Aberdeen. They were the daughters of Francis Ogston, professor of forensic medicine at Aberdeen University; in the 1870s he abstained from voting on a proposal that Aberdeen University should admit women as students. Helen Ogston graduated with a science degree from Aberdeen University and then came to London where she qualified as a sanitary inspector. The Ogston sisters joined the WOMEN’S SOCIAL AND POLITICAL UNION in 1908 and in June Helen Ogston was a speaker, on the same platform as Marie BRACKENBURY and F.E.M. MACAULAY, at the Hyde Park Demonstration. In October she was speaking for the WSPU in Battersea Park. Constance may have remained in Aberdeen; she was certainly supporting the WSPU there in early 1909. On 5 December 1908 Helen Ogston achieved a measure of notoriety by wielding a dog-whip in the Albert Hall. She volunteered to attend, as a WSPU heckler, a meeting held by the WOMEN’S LIBERAL FEDERATION, chaired by Lady MCLAREN and with Lloyd George as its principal speaker, at the Albert Hall. However, before the meeting she told Sylvia PANKHURST, who was expecting the women to be attacked by Liberal stewards and had organized in advance a press conference at which their injuries were to be displayed, that she intended to take a dog-whip to defend herself from “indecent assault”. Sylvia Pankhurst attempted to dissuade her, thinking that a whip would be too deliberate and indiscriminate a weapon and suggesting that instead she arm herself with an umbrella. In spite of this advice Helen Ogston took the whip and used it, she said, when a man put the lighted end of a cigar on her wrist and another struck her on the chest. Although Frederick PETHICK-LAWRENCE deplored both Helen Ogston’s action and the fact that she had acted on her own initiative, Sylvia Pankhurst thought that, on balance, the incident attracted sympathy to the WSPU, highlighting the violence of the treatment to which its members were subjected. Before the WLF meeting the WSPU had been in correspondence with Lloyd George, intimating that unless he pledged government action on women’s suffrage, or at least himself resigned from the cabinet on the issue, he would be subjected to WSPU heckling. It is now clear that Lloyd George considered that the WSPU could only do its cause harm by disrupting a meeting held to discuss the suffrage issue, and that in the event Helen Ogston’s action, on which the press concentrated, may, from the government point of view, have distracted attention from the fact that he had nothing new to offer. One side-effect of the turmoil at the Albert Hall was that Lloyd George in future barred women from all his meetings and the government introduced the Public Meetings Bill.

In 1909 Helen Ogston was based in Brighton, certainly speaking in the town in January and June and conducting a campaign through southern England in November. In 1910 she presumably left the WSPU when she was appointed as an organizer for the newly founded NEW CONSTITUTIONAL SOCIETY FOR WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE. Helen Ogston married, first in 1912 and for the second time in 1929; Constance married in 1920.

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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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