Mrs Despard and the Suffrage Movement written by Lynne Graham-Matheson & Helen Matheson-Pollock and published by Pen and Sword Books. Hardback – £19.99 – Pages 210.
Mrs Despard was a social reformer and suffragette in the late 19th and early 20th century, she wanted to see improvements for everyone but especially those who were poor and having to live in the slums of London. Despard was clearly a strong and independent woman, she was one of those strong matriarchal women who was always happy to say what she thought whether you liked it or not. Unlike Davison and Pankhurst, Despard doesn’t get much attention and I must admit I had heard only a little about her previously. In my opinion, Despard doesn’t get the attention because she was an elderly woman, and not a ‘pretty lady, who might have looked nice on the front of a newspaper. But certainly after reading this book, Despard has achieved a lot, on a par with Davison and Pankhurst. Anyone who campaigned and wanted to help the lives of ordinary people in their lives and work places deserves our respect, especially as she died penniless.
A thoroughly good read, a book where you learn a lot, and one that I hope could be read by more people than it will seem to. The book is very comprehensive and looks at Despard’s life from the beginning and upbringing, through to her marriage, why she became a suffragette, and her life supporting women, the working class and her campaigns to help in Ireland. The book is very well written by this mother and daughter authors, which went into excellent detail but kept the story alive. There was a couple of points in the book that I found the book a little repetitive but this shouldn’t deny what I thought was a well written read.