The Vote Road Trip: Day 4 Wells and Bristol
7/30 On the way to our next in-the-footsteps of suffragettes stop—Bristol—we spen
We stayed in a harborside hotel in Bristol that required driving over a one-way bridge, labelled “weak bridge,” just one of the many driving challenges of our trip. The car rental company did not have the car we ordered and we reluctantly ended up with a mini-SUV, a too big vehicle with poor visibility for narrow city streets and one-lane country roads. I did the driving, while Linda managed the tempermental GPS and spotted landmarks. In Bristol, we visited two blue plaques. (Attached to a building, a blue plaque notes a person, event, or a former building on the site. The system dates back to 1866.) One, bedecked with a
The other blue plaque we found in Bristol marked the house where Florence Davenport Hill founded the Bristol and West of England Society for Women’s Suffrage on January 24, 1868. The text reads: “One of the earliest groups to campaign for votes for women.
International connections is one of the themes in The Vote: Women’s Fierce Fight. For example, news of the 1850 National Woman’s Rights Convention in Worcester, MA, published in the international edition of the New York Tribune, motivated a group of women in Sheffield, England, to petition the House of Lords for the right to vote. At the 1851 convention, a letter was read from two French feminists, Jeanne Deroin and Pauline Roland, who were imprisoned for their activism in Saint Lazare in Paris. “DEAR SISTERS,” they wrote to the convention delegates, “Your courageous declaration of Woman’s Rights has resounded even in our prison . . . from the depths of the jail which still imprisons our bodies without reaching our hearts, we cry to you, Faith, Love, Hope, and send to you our sisterly salutations.”
I am not a big breakfast eater but I could not resist ordering (at a fast food type place) a “poached egg pot” with mushrooms, tomatoes, avocado on a bed of spinach! Heavenly! We are off to Birmingham. I am acutely aware that Bristol and Birmingham were the main British ports for the Transatlantic slave trade and that many women and men who fought to enfranchise women were abolitionists. The issue of race is another theme in my forthcoming book The Vote.