Talks on Alice Hawkins - a Suffragette
Alice Hawkins

Alice Hawkins

Alice's Story

Alice’s Commemorative Plaque

Alice’s commemorative plaque

Many people today believe the suffragettes comprised of middle class ladies with time on their hands, but Alice Hawkins was none of this.

Born in 1863 into a very poor working class family, Alice was one of nine children. A strong socialist and trade unionist, Alice worked as a machinist in a Leicester shoe factory whilst raising a family of six. Frustrated at the lack of progress on many women’s issues of the day, including equal pay, Alice joined the suffragettes in 1907 after being arrested outside the Houses of Parliament and jailed in Holloway Prison.

Following her release from jail, Alice formed the Leicester branch of the Women’s Social and Political Union with the help of the Pankhurst sisters and went on to be imprisoned on a further four occasions in her fight for the vote.

Unusually Alice’s husband Alfred also supported the suffragette cause and so Alice and Alfred were as one in their marriage and also in their political beliefs. Alfred would often attend meetings to heckle politicians on the issue of women and the vote and heckled Winston Churchill on two such occasions, being injured in the process.

The family still have much of Alice’s suffragette memorabilia, including her sash, prison notes, letters from the Pankhurst’s and much more and is perhaps one of the best collections in the UK today still with the descendants of those valiant women.

Peter’s mother remembers her granny Alice saying to her, ‘you must use your vote, we suffered for it’.

Words from all those years ago as true today.

For more about Alice and her fight for women’s rights go to

Votes For Women sash

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