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Struggle and Suffrage in Southend-on-Sea (Paperback)

Women's Lives and the Fight for Equality

P&S History > Social History Women of History > Struggle & Suffrage World History

By Dee Gordon
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Series: Struggle and Suffrage
Pages: 131
Illustrations: 25
ISBN: 9781526717658
Published: 17th April 2019


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While Southend-on-Sea, like many seaside towns, may not have been at the forefront of the struggle for suffrage and equal rights in the lives of women between 1850 and 1950, there are surprisingly famous names linked to the town and its women. Novelist Rebecca West, living in nearby Leigh-on-Sea during the First World War (and her lover, H.G. Wells) played a key role in the suffrage and feminist movements and in women’s entry into the scientific and literary professions. Princess Louise, a visitor to the town, was known to be a feminist, regardless of her position, and Mrs Margaret Kineton-Parkes (founder member of the Women’s Tax Resistance League and involved in the Women’s Freedom League) gave a number of talks to the town’s female population. The most high profile of local residents was Mrs Rosa Sky, the one-time Treasurer of the Women’s Social and Political Union and an active member of the Women’s Tax Resistance League, but others were quietly active behind the scenes.

This book is not about the distinguished and illustrious, it is about women from all classes, from all kinds of backgrounds, who entered the world of business, who rebelled against the traditional roles of mother, home-maker or domestic servant. It is about women struggling to come to terms with changes at home, in marriage, in education, in health care and in politics. It is the first to look at these issues as they impacted on a town whose population and visitors were growing in line with the expectations of its female population.

I found this book to be historically accurate, very interesting and a really good read, apart from the obvious use as a research document.

Essex Family History Society

Dee Gordon’s book provides a superb backdrop to the history of the suffrage movement in the Southend on Sea district a powerful and most enjoyable slice of social history!

Read the full review here

Books Monthly
 Dee Gordon

About Dee Gordon

Dee Gordon is an East Ender who has been a Southend resident for nearly thirty years. She started writing in the 1960s, selling many teenage romances (picture stories) to the likes of Romeo, Marilyn, and Mirabelle. However, when she got a “proper” job – in the recruitment industry – she found that the only way to succeed was to focus on the job and let the writing slide. Having had her own successful recruitment business for nearly twenty years meant that, in 2000, she was able to take the opportunity to write pretty much full time – allowing for the demands of her autistic son, that is. Before picking up her pen, the first thing she did was to complete her English Literature degree with the Open University, something that she had wanted to achieve to prove she could write more than training manuals and business plans.

So far, her published work encompasses novel (Meat Market – about recruitment, what else – and My Little Brother, My Little Life, due for publication August 2015), a self-published poetry anthology (Bad Girls which was launched at Southend Library as part of their National Year of Reading programme) and twelve local history books including Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in and around Southend-on-Sea for Pen-and-Sword. See www.deegordon-writer.com for more information on Dee, the talks she gives to raise money for Southend Mencap, and, of course, her books.

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