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Discrete CollectionsThe Women's Library
TitleBalls, Miss Norah
Ref No8SUF/B/147
Box Fetch NoBox 1: Disc 31
Date16 Apr 1977
Extent147a- 46:03 mins, 147b - 32:39 mins
Admin Biographical HistorySee biography for Norah Balls
DescriptionInterview took place at Crewe Lodgings, Bamburgh Castle, Bamburgh, Northumberland NE69 7DF.
Interview in 2 parts: 8SUF/B/147a and 8SUF/B/147b.

Interview summary:
0:00 mins:
Norah Balls' introduction to the suffragette movement. Attending a talk by Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, later meeting a group who persuaded her to join the Women's Social & Political Union (WSPU). Her initial work for them. Going to London to present petition to Asquith. Arrested three times, on the third occasion for assaulting a policeman. Specialised in campaigning in bye-elections 'to keep the Liberals out'. Abuse from the crowd and her collection of missiles. Meeting Richard Pankhurst [son of Sylvia Pankhurst] in Addis Abba, Ethiopia. Interest in the Fawcett Library. Her work during the First World War. Family occupations. Tyneside Council of Social Services. The William Balls ships in Cutty Sark exhibition. Her work for the BBC. Her brother. A councillor for Tyneside for many years. Attitude of opposition to lady candidates. The poverty of her ward.

15:00 mins:
Her parents and their background. Childhood, home, education. Becoming a magistrate. Social work, Council of Social Services. Youth clubs. Her mother's social work. The local electricity board. Lady Parsons. The Girl Guide Movement. Twenty years as a Regional organiser. Did not want to become mayor. Second World War, experiences as Air Raid warden, work for the Ministry of Information. Travelling abroad. Parents' attitude towards WSPU. Admiration for Flora Drummond. Norah Balls' hatred of destruction and violence. How she learned to be a public speaker. The first time she chaired a meeting.

30:00 mins:
Mrs Pankhurst's congratulations. Her friendship with Lady Parsons and her husband, the engineer Sir Charles Parsons. Their home. Fifty years as Chairman then President of Electrical Association for Women. Her parents' attitude towards her arrests. The work done by the WSPU at the Bye-elections. Lady Parsons' generosity. Lady Constance Lyttleton. The Newcastle Branch of the WSPU. Relationships between militant and non-militant suffragettes in Newcastle. Attitude of passers-by to suffragettes. Her experience in a London hotel. The disturbances at meetings. Mrs Pankhurst's response. Mrs Pankhurst's character. Sylvia Pankhurst.

00:00 mins
Staying in the background as WSPU activities became more extreme. Second World War. Bombed out and moved to Bamburgh Castle. The events during the deputation and arrests. Dr Ethel Williams. Her wait in the police cell and being bailed out, by Frederick Pethick Lawrence and Mr Loue. Emily Wilding Davison and her mother. How the suffragette movement changed Norah Balls' life. Lady Parsons and the Girl Guides.

15:00 mins:
Her work for the BBC. Her refusal to take full-time employment, her duty towards her parents. The organisation of Newcastle WSPU branch. The various grades of work in the WSPU. Christabel Pankhurst. Suffragettes as crusaders. Difficulty in organising meetings in rural areas. The importance of the bicycle. The young suffragettes and attempts to look older. Organisation of meetings.

30:00 mins:
Her move to Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland where it was too remote to continue her activities. Suffrage movement an opportunity for women as young as 17 or 18. Touring abroad and animal safaris. Admiration for statesmen of the day.
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsInterview recordings are available online and can be accessed at the link provided in this record.
Former Reference NumberTape 54
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