Role of bike in suffrage campaign

A talk is to take place to highlight the important role the bicycle played in the women’s  suffrage campaign which championed the right for women  to vote.

The illustrated talk by historian Dr Sheila Hanlon explores the culture and politics of women’s cycling in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century Britain with a special focus on the suffrage campaign.

Women suffragettes used the bikes to ride around their locality handing out leaflets and spreading their message, but as the suffragette movement always courted controversy, women on bikes were not always welcomed into the community

Northumbrian suffragette Emily Wilding Davison, was a keen cyclist and was known to ride a bicycle made in the suffragette colours.

Event organiser Philippa Raper said:  “The talk is really interesting and informative and  makes you appreciate the place of the bicycle in the lives of suffragettes such as Emily Wilding Davison and her cycling sisters.

“From the fashionable lady cyclists of the Victoria era to the politically motivated suffragette scouts of the Edwardian age, the bicycle has long been associated with women’s emancipation.

“Some of Sheila’s pictures showed huge rallies of women from all over the country who were able to meet and campaign independently.

“The technology of the bicycle changed social attitudes and  even fashion.”

The talks take place on Friday, June 14, starts at 7pm, at The North East Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers, Newcastle, and at 1pm on Saturday, June 15, at Morpeth Town Hall.