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Discrete CollectionsThe Women's Library
TitleHinton, Mrs Vere
Ref No8SUF/B/091
Box Fetch NoBox 1: Disc 19
Date1 Jun 1976
Extent91a - 27:26 mins, 91b - 55:01 mins
Admin Biographical HistorySee biographies of Vere Hinton and Charlotte Despard
DescriptionInterview took place at 30 Brackendale Avenue, Pitsea, Basildon, Essex. Interview in 2 parts: 8SUF/B/091a and 8SUF/B/091b. Interviewee was the ward of Charlotte Despard.

Interview summary 8SUF/B/091a:

0:00 mins:
Why Charlotte Despard became her guardian. Charlotte's husband, and how after his death her wealth enabled her to carry out social work. Charlotte's domestic arrangements, how she treated her staff. Their flat in Battersea. Her nanny Miss Mansell. Various clubs run from the flat, including mothers' meeting, girls' club, a clinic and a soup kitchen. Children could get dinner for a penny. Charlotte's involvement in projects at the local school, including school dinners for children. Charlotte's dedication to improving the lives of workers in her locality. Charlotte went to Dublin, Ireland, to help the unemployed during the depression, and gave her house to the council to carry on her work. The house was renamed Despard house in 1929. Speeches and processions she attended. Charlotte's speaking style, her appearance, including dress and hair, and how this was influenced by her time in India. Their house in Oxshott, Surrey.

15:00 mins:
Charlotte's attitude to religion. Her relationship with the working people of Battersea. Her social work in Battersea and how it was organised. People could come and visit Despard house any time of day, and ask for anything. The house in Oxshott was used mostly in the summer for holidays, or when Charlotte needed to write. What the house in Oxshott was like. Charlotte's relationship with her servants. Charlotte turned her house in Dublin into a jam factory, in partnership with her friend Maud Gonne MacBride. Miss Mansell's organising role for Charlotte.


0:00 mins:
The Minerva Club at Brunswick Square between the wars. Everything run by Marian Reeves. What the house was used for. Meetings held in the dining room. Lots of meetings when Charlotte was away. Women's Freedom League (WFL). What Charlotte was like with children. The advice she received from Charlotte. Maternity baskets always ready for emergencies in the clinic in Battersea. Projects that Charlotte worked on at the local infant school. Various trips Charlotte took her on - to coal shafts, factories and elsewhere. How living in India had influenced Charlotte, her vegetarianism. At 86 years old Charlotte went to Russia as part of a delegation to see how it was advancing under communist rule. Maud Gonne MacBride and the Roebuck Jam company. Raids on houses in Ireland. When she was visiting Ireland once Vere was taken on a raid. Charlotte protested and demanded to accompany the raiders. This incident reached Whitehall and Charlotte was never raided again. How people including her staff took advantage of Charlotte.

15:00 mins:
Charlotte was very generous with money; her staff and their friends brought about her bankruptcy. Charlotte died at the age of 96 in Ireland. Through Charlotte she met many suffragettes, councilmen, MPs and lady doctors. Charlotte was president of the Women's Freedom League. Dr Elizabeth Knight, her personality and dress. Charlotte's closest friend was her brother, although they were politically different - he a militant and she a pacifist. Charlotte's attitude to Vere in her capacity as her guardian. Miss Mansell provided her with motherly love and affection. Charlotte Despard's personality. Oxshott an Elizabethan house, other houses Charlotte went on to own in the country. Charlotte's love of gardening. Miss Mansell's background. Description of the house at 9 Elms in Battersea. The clinic provided free treatment; Miss Mansell a trained nurse. Children would bring themselves to the clinic sometimes.

30:00 mins:
Charlotte had a private ward for children in St Thomas' hospital. If they said they had come from Despard's they could go straight in. Charlotte's attachment to individual children. The food available to children. Suffragettes and others helped to serve food to the children. The Women's Freedom League put funds towards the clinic and the soup kitchen. Charlotte's death in 1939. Vere had to go and close Despard house down, it wasn't being run properly and there were negative reports about it. No suffrage or political meetings took place at Despard house, just council meetings for the welfare of local people. Charlotte would have political meetings upstairs in her flat, separate from the clinic. Charlotte was not class prejudiced. Health and sanitary conditions in Battersea in the mid 1920s. Fever vans

45:00 mins:
Charlotte's desire for her to get a good education, sending her to very good schools. Vere considered being a vet, then chose nursing. Being treated once by Marie Stopes. Her difficulties with reading, how Charlotte tried to teach her. How Charlotte got on with working men's wives. Charlotte would visit people if somebody was ill or needed help. Charlotte did not speak to her about the women's movement. Charlotte was acquainted with many politicians, including Keir Hardie.
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsInterview recordings are available online and can be accessed at the link provided in this record.
Former Reference NumberTape 29
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