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Discrete CollectionsThe Women's Library
TitleLidiard, Mrs Victoria (née Simmons)
Ref No8SUF/B/079
Box Fetch NoBox 1: Disc 17
Date28 Mar 1976
Extent106:27 mins
Admin Biographical HistorySee biography for Victoria Lidiard
DescriptionInterview took place at Flat 1, 14 Palmeira Avenue, Hove, Sussex.

Interview summary:

0:00 mins:
Her time in Holloway Prison - two months from 5 Mar 1912. Mrs Pankhurst. Smashing windows on Oxford Street. Police and physical attacks on suffragettes. Smashing a window in Whitehall. Going to Bow Street police station. Dr Smyth [Ethel Smyth ?]. Life in Holloway Prison. Being allowed to go to communion on Easter Sunday. Lady Constance Lytton. Communication between the prison and the outside world. Description of her cell. Keeping her spirits up by singing. Food in prison, her vegetarianism. Fellow inmates. Reading in prison.

15:00 mins:
Reading in prison, routine. Fancy dress. Daily exercise. Attitude of prison wardresses. Loss of memory about this time in her life, trauma of experience. Her sisters and their support of suffrage movement. Mother and sisters hearing Annie Kenney speak in Bristol. Motivation for joining Women's Social & Political Union (WSPU). Mother's visit to first woman doctor in Bristol. Father's anti-suffrage views. Writing on pavements ('chalking'), being chased by a policeman. Brothers' attitudes to suffrage movement. Father - interests, background, profession. Household in Clifton, Bristol, servants. Father's bankruptcy and mother's background.

30:00 mins:
Mother's maiden name and childhood. Parents' marriage. Father's views on women. Lack of knowledge about family planning. Parents' roles. Her husband and their marriage. Jobs as opticians in Maidenhead and High Wycombe. Working at the London Refraction Hospital. First woman staff refractionist. Education and evening classes. Leaving school at 14. Family religion. Working, photography. Asking for a salary increase. Moving to Margate to work with her sister who had a photographic studio. Returning to Clifton. Approaching previous employers, increased salary. Mother's views about her career. Talent for ballet dancing. Sisters' occupations. Siblings. Father's first wife. Motivation for supporting the suffrage movement.

45:00 mins:
Selling 'Votes for Women', animosity of general public. Ambition to be a public speaker. Vera Wentworth and public speaking in Bristol. Speaking from lorries at the Bristol docks. Police concern for their safety due to drunk male audience. Pelted with bananas during public speaking. Christabel Pankhurst speaking in Hyde Park. Vera Wentworth and Elsie Howey hiding in the organ at Colston Hall, Bristol [1909]. Husband's membership of the Men's Political Union and support for suffrage movement. Annie Kenney, physical appearance and speaking style. Mrs Pankhurst's serenity and pacifism, religious views. Meeting her husband. Activity during the war. Running a guesthouse in Kensington for professional women, making ammunition at Battersea Power Station. Husband's career as an optician, their training as opticians.

60:00 mins:
Husband's progressive views. Her membership of Fabian Society. Running guesthouse for professional women with her sister. Dr Jessie Murray, first woman psychiatrist. Women's movement in Kensington. Photography as a career for women. Father's death before the First World War. Mother's role as a housewife, poor health, children and miscarriages. Religious upbringing. Christian Endeavour. Friendships in suffrage movement, social element. Family holidays in Weston-super-Mare. Financial constraints. Reverend Todd Ferrier's visit to Bristol to give a lecture on vegetarianism, impact on family. Her vegetarianism. Sisters' deaths from cancer. Pollution, battery farming.

75:00 mins:
[Harrison's wife is also present]. Battery farming. Changes in eating and cooking habits. Attending lectures in her youth. Birkson's book on laughter. Hearing George Bernard Shaw speak at the Fabian Society. Voting for the first time. Membership of National Council of Women. Involvement in anti-cruelty to animals movement. Her vegetarianism since the age of 15. Going to Westminster School for public speaking, nerves about public speaking. 'Shoulder to Shoulder' television programme and book.

90:00 mins:
Questionnaire for BBC. Support for anti-cruelty to animals movement. Millicent Garrett Fawcett's movement. Mrs Pankhurst's views. Marriage in 1918. Mrs Pankhurst's death in 1928. Withdrawal from women's movement. Working as an optician. Her political views and her husband's views. Joining the League of Nations after the First World War. Running two optician practices during the Second World War, first aid eye casualty work, Air Raid Protection (ARP). Sense of social justice. Mother's reaction to Victoria's imprisonment. Views on hunger striking. Her fear about throwing stones at Whitehall. Frederick Pethick-Lawrence and Mr Marshall. Seeing Mr Pethick-Lawrence at a University Federation for Animal Welfare meeting. Going to London for the first time to support suffrage movement. Police, crowd reaction.

105:00 mins:
Trial for chalking pavements. Proposal of university student. People's reaction to her imprisonment and involvement with suffrage movement. Women learning to drive, taking up war work. Mrs Pankhurst's woman chauffeur [Vera Holme]. Earning a living. Father's education and skills, attitude to work.
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsInterview recordings are available online and can be accessed at the link provided in this record.
Former Reference NumberTape 25
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