Wednesday 7th May 2014

I am spending the day with Irene Cockroft and Kate Willoughby at Irene’s house. She has kindly invited Kate and I to watch a new documentary from Australia about Muriel Matters.

Irene’s home is full of wonderful arts and crafts original pieces and wonderful suffrage posters – my eyes dart from one beautiful image to another.

We get started with the documentary. Insightful. I’m struck by how intrepid Muriel was, perhaps because she hadn’t been brought up in the UK.  The film charts her journey travelling in a caravan from town to town promoting suffrage, to her famous leaflet drop from an airship. Again, I felt that this was something I could have done – I’ve already made an artwork using a hot air balloon. That went off course too. Beware the winds; they’ll get you every time!

Excitingly, Irene had one of the Women’s Freedom League banners, complete with original red wine stains. I held it up. It made me feel a little bit closer to them.


Holding the Women’s Freedom League banner on loan to Irene from a private collection. Image: Kate Willoughby

We spend the rest of the day talking about feminism and the current wave of new young feminists. How the bravery of women that have gone before us has changed the quality of our lives today.

I left inspired and privileged to know such determined and knowledgeable women.

Come back on Thursday 11 August 2016, when Mary explores the women’s suffrage collections of the Museum of London…