HomeLADY RHONDDA

Mrs Pankhurst in full flow

WHEN MRS PANKHURST CAME TO TOWN

The Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) was a group led by Emmeline Pankhurst. Their aim was to gain equal voting rights for women. Emmeline gave speeches encouraging women to take action in order to achieve this goal. The WSPU, at the time, became known as a 'radical party', which means they used extreme methods in order to get their message heard. Because these methods were sometimes violent, WSPU members became the first women labelled as 'suffragettes'. Members were known to smash windows, damage public property and even start fires. This got many women in trouble with the police and some even sentenced to time in prison, where they were treated very badly. When the stories of bad treatment reached the newspapers, it actually helped to increase support for the suffragette movement.

Lady Rhondda became secretary of the new Newport branch in 1909 and  organised activities including a speech and visit from Mrs Pankhurst, eagerly anticipated by her Newport audience.
The Cardiff Times report of the event is below

SUFFRAGETTE POLICY. MILITANT TRUCE WILL SOON BE OVER The Lyceum Theatre at Newport was crowded on Thursday afternoon, when Mrs. Pankhurst spoke on the subject of votes for women. A good many men were turned away at the beginning of the proceedings, as the meeting was intended to be for women only. Several women who were expected to be in favour of a "row" were also not admitted. Thus a quiet and attentive hearing was assured for the speakers. The chair was taken by Miss Barrett. Mrs. Pankhurst spoke with great feeling when dealing with the moral aspect of women's political and social work. It was intended, she said, to carry on a mission in all the large towns of the country during the next few weeks ; A large number of questions were asked. Mrs. Pankhurst explained that the suffragettes opposed the Liberals at the election because they were the party in power-the party who could give the vote if they wished. What the suffragettes hoped was that neither party would have a large majority in Parliament. Thanks to some extent to the suffragettes, the Liberals now had only a majority that they could depend upon of two. The Government could not depend upon the Irish or the Labour party. ("Oh."); they could not depend upon either of those parties unless they gave them something—and if the Welsh party was sensible they would endeavour to get something also. Unless the Government did something for the suffragettes, the militant truce would soon be over. A vote of thanks to Mrs. Pankhurst was carried. 18 February 1910