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Discrete CollectionsThe Women's Library
TitleConingham, Miss Eva
Ref No8SUF/B/101
Box Fetch NoBox 1: Disc 22
Date20 Jul 1976
Extent44:57 mins
DescriptionInterview took place at 30 Hounsden Road, Winchmore Hill, N21 1LT. Interviewee is the niece of suffragette Emma Perry (she was the sister of Eva Coningham's mother Caroline Coningham). Interview relates to Emma Perry.

0:00 mins: Eva's family's living arrangements as a child. Emma Perry, her Aunt teaching niece's alphabet pre school age. Eva's childhood memories. The closeness of Emma and her sister Eva's mother. Eva's parents' domestic problems and Emma's financial support. Religion in the family. Emma's care of her mother, her lack of male friends. Her reasons for becoming an active suffragette. Her campaigning for others, including the miners and men affected by the dock strike.
Eva's parents' separations. Emma financing the mother's home in Westcliffe. Eva's recollection of the first films. The Father's violent behaviour and domestic violence she witnessed. Protecting her mother. Common situation for wives, influence on father of Irish origins.

15:00 mins: Eva's life at Greenwich and on Isle of Dogs. her winning a scholarship and inability to continue her studies. Her unfulfilled ambition. Aunt purchasing a home for Eva's family. Mother passive, not interested in Suffrage, Emma joined Women's Social & Political Union (WSPU) and was active at corner street meetings and in shop. Eva also went to meetings and carried a banner and served in shop. The shop at 32b Romford Road, Eva's father becomes less prone to violence ad Eva's understanding of the cause. The Silvertown explosion (1917), its effect on father's illness and his death. Emma's career in education. East end practice of sewing children into their clothes. After death of father Eva running a sub post office with Emma's help.

30:00 mins: Emma's labour affiliations. Emma's support of Eva throughout her life. Eva's admiration, her influence on Eva. Her success as a headmistress; her beliefs in that all should share and strong commitment to labour politics. Her interest in painting and strong religious belief. Active in the NUT and using her vote for the first time. Eva and Emma rescued from a mob after a WSPU meeting in the East End. Emma's character, her friends. Her later years after her retirement from teaching

Biographical note: Emma Perry (1872-1974) was born and lived until her retirement in the East End of London. After training as a pupil teacher at a Church school in Barking she took a post at Custom House School in the East End and finally as the Headmistress of a girls' secondary school (Hallsville Secondary School) She joined the Romford Branch of the WSPU and was active at street meetings and in the shop in Romford Road. Her niece Eva Conningham also carried banners at meetings, made sweets to sell in the shop and served the customers. She belonged to no other women's' organisations but was an enthusiastic member of the National Union of Teachers. She was also involved in the Women's Masonry Movement. She worked for the equality of women and supported the miners during Lansbury's administration. She was always concerned with the condition of the poor stemming from the Dock Strike and observing starving dockers seeing food they could not have. She was a strong Labour supporter believing in equal shares for all. She was not a pacifist and religion played an important part in her life
Throughout her life she supported both financially and emotionally her sister and her niece.Until her death at the age of 102 her mind remained active and she spent much of her time reading.
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsInterview recordings are available online and can be accessed at the link provided in this record.
Former Reference NumberTape 34
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