Woodhorn Museum launches project to mark death of Emily Davison

YOUNG history buffs are being targeted in a special education project launched to help remember the ultimate sacrifice made by a famed North East women’s rights campaigner.

Year 9 students from Ashington High School examining newspapers in the Woodhorn archives

YOUNG history buffs are being targeted in a special education project launched to help remember the ultimate sacrifice made by a famed North East women’s rights campaigner.

This year is the 100th anniversary of the death in 1913 of leading suffragette, Emily Wilding Davison, who is buried in a churchyard in Morpeth, Northumberland.

She came to national attention for her high-profile activities in campaigning for women’s right to vote – and paid the ultimate price when she died following a protest at the 1913 Epsom Derby.

Now, as part of events and activities to mark the 100th anniversary of the tragedy in June, Woodhorn Museum has launched new education workshops examining the suffragette movement here in the North East.

Leading suffragette, Emily Wilding Davison
Leading suffragette, Emily Wilding Davison

Year Nine students from Ashington High School recently became one of the first groups to get hands-on experience of the workshops, which are being run by Woodhorn archives staff in a joint project with Beamish Museum.

Local schools are being encouraged to use the wealth of research resources at Woodhorn to learn more about how local women fought for their rights more than a century ago.

Students taking part in the workshops can delve into 100-year-old newspapers to read accounts of the activities of suffragettes. They are able to listen to oral history recordings and study photographs, recalling both the peaceful activities and some of the more violent tactics employed by the women in pursuit of their goal.

Woodhorn’s education officer, Victoria Coxon, said: “These workshops are a brilliant example of how a national curriculum topic can be explored and brought back to life using local history.

“The public archives here at Woodhorn make learning about history so much more relevant to students, showing them how the events from the past affected their own communities and even families.”

Emily Davison died in hospital on June 8, 1913, four days after suffering fatal injuries when she stepped out in front of King George V’s horse Anwer during the Epsom Derby.

Originally from Blackheath, her father died while she was a teenager and her mother moved to Longhorsley, near Morpeth, where she is believed to have run a bakery.

As a campaigning suffragette, Davison went on hunger strike and was force-fed during a spell in Holloway prison.

There was a huge turn-out at her funeral in London. Her coffin was transported by train to Morpeth, where she was laid to rest in the family grave in St Mary’s Churchyard.

 

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