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Discrete CollectionsThe Women's Library
TitleMorrison, Miss Sybil
Ref No8SUF/B/038
Box Fetch NoBox 1: Disc 9
Date3 Apr 1975
Extent96:10 mins
Admin Biographical HistorySee biography for Sybil Morrison
DescriptionInterview took place at 6 Apollo Place, Cheyne Walk, Chelsea.

Interview summary:

0:00 mins:
Plans to go to Oxford University (Somerville College). Childhood. Death of her father when she was three months old. Mother's second marriage and move from London to Glasgow at the age of eight. High school. Ambitions to study English at university and become a writer. Stepfather's financial difficulties. Her father and what she knew of him, comparisons made between her and her father by her aunts. Sadness at not knowing her father. Stepfather's alcoholism. Her sister's marriage and family. Her niece, artist Joan Eardley. Involvement with the Women's Social & Political Union (WSPU). Hearing Emmeline Pankhurst speak in Glasgow, a brilliant orator. Newspaper cartoonists' unfair depictions of suffragettes and advice given by WSPU on wearing feminine dress and avoiding prison before the age of 21. Joining the WPSU and activities she was involved in - giving out leaflets advertising meetings. Taking a business training course after school and working as a typist. Interest in suffrage movement amongst fellow office girls. Fawcett Society and views on militancy. John Stuart Mill and effect of First World War on the suffrage movement. Education at high school, boarding school in England (Wycombe Abbey) and teachers. Her mother and her views on the suffrage movement. Conservative views of family. Collapse of her stepfather's business and his death in 1914. Her mother's character. Finances after her stepfather died. Her sister's views on the suffrage movement.

15:00 mins:
Sister's sympathy for the suffrage movement. Sister's marriage during the First World War and move back to Glasgow. Activity during the war. Move back to London and becoming an ambulance driver. Seeing a Zeppelin shot down over London and decision to become a pacifist. Dr Orchard and the Kingsway House and his influence on her. Religion. Work as an ambulance driver, work patterns and duties. Learning to drive. Leaving ambulance service and finding a job at a garage. Naïve ideas about business. Standing up to her boss and being sacked. Work not being a necessity for her and how this affected her behaviour. Travelling to India in 1920 to visit her mother's sister (married to Sir Hugh Fraser). Views on the Raj and her discomfort at what she saw. Visit to Ceylon. Meeting Dorothy Evans and Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence. Government House and moving in high circles in India. Her ability to sing. India, Lloyd George and decision to become a socialist. Character of Lloyd George and her move away from the right wing views of her upbringing and beliefs about class.

30:00 mins:
Rejecting views of her upbringing. Hearing Lloyd George speak and his views. Hearing Jimmy Maxton speak and his speaking ability. Speaking herself on Tower Hill and meeting Dorothy Evans. Coming back from India in 1924 and starting a furnishing and decorating business in South Kensington with a friend. Second World War and collapse of business. Becoming a 'professional' pacifist, working for Peace News when John Middleton Murry was editor. Her last job in the peace movement. Her views on Middleton Murry and their clashing personalities. Biography of Middleton Murry written by his son. Living in Chelsea. Winding up business in 1938. The No More War Movement in the 1930s. Meeting John Morrison (no relation) and Dick Sheppard. Influence of religious ministers on her beliefs. Dick Sheppard's letter to the press asking young men to send postcards renouncing war. Writing 'I Renounce War', a book about the movement and writing a regular column. Involvement with the Peace Pledge Union. Role as chairman of Status of Women Committee in England. Peace Pledge Union and speaking on Tower Hill, being appointed campaign organiser in 1948. Public speaking, her natural ability and dislike of using notes. Opposition and hecklers. V-bombs. Other people's belief in her courage. Religion, Anglican Church. Dr Orchard and Kingsway House. Comparison between Dr Orchard and Dick Sheppard. Elaine Kay's biography of Dick Sheppard.

45:00 mins:
Activity in the 1930s and meeting Dorothy Evans. Women's Social & Political Union (WSPU) and involvement in women's movement. First Equal Pay Campaign Committee, Mavis Tate. Suffragette Fellowship, joining the Six Point Group. Influences of others on her life. Grace Roe. Religion. Working with Dorothy Evans and being on the Six Point Group committee. Status of Women Committee, vice chairman to Joan Vickers. Inadequacy of legislation. Equality of pay. Learning to be a good chair. Influence of Dr Alex Wood (Peace Pledge Union) and Dorothy Evans. Differences between women and men. Teresa Billington-Greig. Memorial meeting for Dorothy Evans. Working in the Women for Westminster offices in Paddington Street, London. Disagreements with Teresa Billington-Greig and her dominant personality. Involvment with 'Peace News' up until 1944. Peace Pledge Union in 1948. Dorothy Evans and Teresa Billington-Greig. Charlotte Marsh, Monica Whately and Theresa Garnett. Leaving Women for Westminster. Chairmanship of Six Point Group, membership.

60:00 mins:
Six Point Group, Dorothy Evans's personality and attitude to work. Phyllis Vallance. Monica Whately - personality, religious beliefs and appearance [1930s/1940s], standing for Parliament. Lady Edith Summerskill. Dorothy Evans's organisational skills, energy, cancer in later life. Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence - personality, flat in Lincolns Inn. Esther Knowles. Sybil Morrison as chair of Women's International League for Peace & Freedom (1955). Vice chair of Status of Women Committee. Nina Popplewell. Roxanne Arnold. Her arrest and experiences in prison (1940). Peace Pledge Union and contact with Mahatma Gandhi. Dislike of housework. Relationships with other prisoners and warders.

75:00 mins:
Disagreement with prison warder. Being in prison during the Battle of Britain. Activity after release from prison and views on prison. Torchlight procession and police intimidation. Prison Governor's views on her crime. German internees in Holloway Prison and [Oswald ?] Mosley. Women's struggle in prison, not used to being on their own. Lady Constance Lytton's imprisonment. Views on the women's liberation movement. Involvement in an ITV programme with Eamonn Andrews and Germaine Greer, objection to Greer's views. Political beliefs, membership of Labour Party and disagreements. Mother's maiden name (Fawcett) and married names (Morisson, Parker). Family background, artistic heritage. View of herself as an anarchist. Support of decentralisation, dislike of chain stores.

90:00 mins:
Support of small shopkeepers. Boarding school (Wycombe Abbey). Excelling at sports. Views on vegetarianism and health food. Doctors and forcible feeding. Dorothy Evans's experiences of forcible feeding and prison. Fenner Brockway. Crossover between various movements.
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsInterview recordings are available online and can be accessed at the link provided in this record.
Former Reference NumberTape 13
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