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Discrete CollectionsThe Women's Library
TitleShaw, Miss Betty & Blake, Mrs Anne
Ref No8SUF/B/044
Box Fetch NoBox 1: Disc 10 & Disc 11
Date22 Apr 1975
Extent44a - 30:58 mins, 44b - 86:56 mins
Admin Biographical HistoryShaw worked with Marian Lawson. Blake was Marian Lawson's companion.
DescriptionInterview took place at 44 Mount Street, London W1Y 5RD. Interview relates to Marian Lawson. Also see interviews with Marian Lawson [8SUF/B/023, 8SUF/B/024]. Betty Shaw was secretary to the managing director of the bookbinding firm of which Marian Lawson was chairman. Mrs Blake was Marian Lawson's companion.

Description of Marian Lawson as grand dame, generous hostess. How walking with a cane added to her physical presence. Having all her clothes made. Discussion over her style of dress. Her professional and technical knowledge and ability to work in a male environment. Described as good saleswoman-mentions records to that effect from 1926. Friendship and professional relationship with Gilbert Smith. Men's difficulty accepting her as the boss. Current state of feminist movement and Lawson's lifelong commitment to it. Her success after the Suffrage Movement. Miss Lawson's secretaries before Betty Shaw--Alice Combe [?] and another woman. Her working relationship and friendship with Betty Shaw. Her demands as an employer. Comparison with Christine Murrell and Lawson's relationship with her. Her character and personality.

15:00 mins:

Miss Lawson's housekeeping and treatment of household staff. Her sarcastic nature. Her concern about her appearance throughout her life. Putting make-up on to go to bed. Description of her appearance as an older woman. More about her style of dress. Her enjoyment of life and meeting people. Her drinking habits. The difficulties of entertaining businessmen. Establishing accounts at Frescati's [?] and Scott's. Her lack of concern over what her house looked like, and her pride in the renovations done by Mrs. Blake. Blaming her lack of domesticity on chronic pain from an accident she had in Italy at age 76. Mrs. Blake coming into her life at that time. Her organisational skills and file keeping. Her pleasure in teasing Alice Combe. [?]

30:00 mins:

Her love of food. Her attitudes towards healthcare and her shoulder surgery. Chronic bronchitis. French doctors. Her attitude toward her injuries. Her daily routine and reading. More about her drinking habits. Being in France and playing backgammon. Her love of gambling, and it's motivation for going to the south of France, Monte Carlo. Daily trips to the casino, even when injuries kept her from walking. Letting her win at games. She like the theatre, disliked concerts. Her need to always make an entrance. Social life in England and France.

45:00 mins:

Her character and ability to make friends and attract people to her. Her intelligence and political acumen, which was relied upon by other suffragettes. Delegation of domestic tasks to others. Her staff and caretakers. Her dislike of shopping. Shopping habits. More on her nature and character. Her family and her relationships with them.

60:00 mins:

Comparison with her older brothers. Her parents. The nature of her relationship with Mrs. Blake. Meeting Mrs. Prods[?] in Menton. Her house "Four Winds" built with three others. Trips to Menton to relieve her bronchitis. Her accommodation there. Going to Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo in winter. Medical treatment in France. Her medical regime. Her death. Her opinions on France and living abroad. Her French language skills. Her last three months, spent in France. Surgery at age 76/77 and its effect on her health. Her religious practices and beliefs.

75:00 mins:

Looking younger than she was. Her 90th birthday party. Not acting her age. Her good memory. Television appearance after [BBC television documentary 1974 series] Shoulder to Shoulder-commentary on the programme. Her opinion on Shoulder to Shoulder and militant feminism. Her life at Hotel de Paris. Her charisma and way with people. Participation in Civil Defence and the Home Guard in the Second World War. Mentions of letters and photos with that record. Serving as back-up for Grace Roe in the Suffragette Fellowship. Death of Secretary/Treasurer Esther Knowles. Campaigning for a commemorative statue for the suffragettes.

90:00 mins:

Starting the Christine Murrell Memorial to help women doctors. Leaving her money to the organisation. Her accent. Her opinion of London. The sale of the Sheridan firm to another bookbinder. Death of TS Clarke. Her engagement and death of her fiancé in First World War. Her love life and independence. Mrs. Blake being invited to join Lawson in the south of France. Mrs. Blake's purchase of a nursing home, where Lawson would visit her. Her close nursing and personal relationship with Lawson. Taking holidays together.

105:00 mins:

Their trip to Lawson's birthplace, as well as Mrs. Blake's. Visiting suffragettes in the Cotswolds. Staying active and travelling after her accident. Family trouble with her niece. Mrs. Blake's assistance during that time. The money and property she left. The sale of Four Winds house after the war. How the house came to Miss Lawson. Their continued visits to the house grounds. Her relationship with Dr. Bone and Christine Murrell.
The interview is in two parts 8SUF/B/044a and 8SUF/B/044b.
Related Record8SUF/B/023
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsInterview recordings are available online and can be accessed at the link provided in this record.
Former Reference NumberTape 12
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