Alice Hawkins Suffragette - a Sister of Freedom
Alice Hawkins

Alice Hawkins

Alice's Timeline

1863:
Born in Stafford to Henry and Helen Riley one of nine children. Henry was a “journeyman shoemaker”.

1876:
Family moved to Leicester to find work in the shoe trade.

1884:
Alice marries Alfred Hawkins. Met at an early socialist meeting.

1886:
Alice joins the Equity Shoes as a shoe machinist. The company, being a very early workers co-operative, supported Alice in her political life.

1894:
Joined the Independent Labour Party.

1902:
As a member of the Clarion Society Cycling Club, reported in the local newspaper for “outraging public decency” by wearing bloomers!

February 1907:
Alice decides to join a suffragette meeting in Hyde Park on the day of the state opening of Parliament. Arrested on the same day for disorderly conduct at the gates of the House of Commons and given fourteen days in Holloway with twenty-eight other women, including the Pankhursts.

April 1907:
Alice convenes the inaugural meeting of the Leicester branch of the WSPU. Sylvia Pankhurst present and gives a stirring speech.

Summer 1907:
Alice invites the Pankhursts to Leicester to meet the workers of the Equity Shoes. Sylvia Pankhurst sketches Alice whilst at work.

1909:
Alfred heckles Winston Churchill at a public meeting in Leicester. Alice imprisoned for fourteen days for trying to force an entry into the meeting hall.

1910:
Alfred severely injured after again heckling Winston Churchill and being thrown out of a public meeting in Bradford.

1911:
The Men’s Political Union takes the young Liberals to court to sue for Alfred’s injuries. Alfred awarded £100!

September 1911:
Alice and other colleagues in the shoe trade form the Women’s Independent Boot and Shoe Trade Union in an attempt to gain improved pay and conditions of work.

1911:
“Black November”. Mass battles in London. The police severely beat up the suffragettes. Alice given fourteen days for breaking windows at the Home Office.

1911:
Alice and Alfred’s youngest son, Tom, dies suddenly of blood poisoning. The Pankhursts write a moving letter of condolence to them both.

1912:
Alice meets Lloyd George at Parliament with other women to put over her point of view.

1914:
Great War breaks out. Alice’s time as a suffragette comes to an abrupt end.

1946:
Alice dies at the home of her son, Alfred, aged eighty-three.

Post Events

1992:
The Leicester City Council fix a blue plaque on the wall of the Equity Shoe factory in memory of Alice.

2002:
Leicester City Museum service bids at Sotheby’s for a pastel sketch drawn by Slyvia Pankhurst whilst visiting Leicester in 1907. Largely considered to be that of Alice.

Alice's Votes For Women sash

© Copyright Peter Barratt 2009-14

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