Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Isobel Logan resigns from the Women's Liberal Association

Time for another extract from Alice Hawkins and the Suffragette Movement in Edwardian Leicester by Richard Whitmore. The first dealt with the Market Harborough branch of the Women's Social & Political Union (WSPU).

This one deals with events in (I think) 1909 when Christabel Pankhurst made a special effort to win the support of women and position:
One such woman, Miss Isobel Logan, had been a committed Liberal in her own right but had become increasingly dissatisfied with the lack of action by organisations like the Women's Liberal Association [WLA], as her resignation letter makes clear: 
"To my mind the question of women's suffrage is so important  and its continued denial so great an injustice to women, that it is impossible for me to belong to an association that does not put the question before others. For the same reason I am sorry that I can no longer resubscribe to your funds." 
Clearly, what was bad news for the coffers of the WLA proved beneficial to the WSPU, for Isobel Logan was a wealthy woman of some local standing and often cut a dashing figure as she attended suffrage meetings in her motor car. Yet this conversion went much deeper than just financial support. Without doubt, close contacts with the working women of the Leicester WSPU had a profound effect on her, and soon after joining the WSPU she took employment as a bookbinder. 
In some ways this might have been seen as a token gesture by a woman who clearly didn't need to work, but not only had she been converted to socialism and the need for working women to be independent, but she also argued that women should be allowed to enter the labour market on equal terms with men. However, this conversion to socialism was also tempered with a little luxury, and in August she invited Alice Hawkins and the Clarion Cycle Club to attend a picnic in the grounds of her father's house in East Langton.
Nina Boyd is researching a group of women who committed their lives to animal welfare from the beginning of the twentieth century until the last of them died in the 1960s. They include Isobel's sister Nora Logan, who was also a supporter of women's suffrage, though perhaps a less prominent once than Isobel.

If anyone comes across more information about the Logan family, both Nina and I should be interested to hear about it.

Finally, a reminder that this blog's hero J.W. Logan (Liberal MP for Harborough 1891-1904 and 1910-16) was himself a strong supporter of votes for women.

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