Rose Lamartine-Yates and the Wimbledon WSPU: Reconfiguring Suffragette History from the Local to the National.

Alexandra Hughes-Johnson

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This doctoral thesis examines the suffragette movement in Wimbledon and the suffrage and political career of Rose Lamartine-Yates, the organising secretary of the Wimbledon branch of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). By focusing on the Wimbledon WSPU, a branch that has been described as one of the most successful (prosperous) branches of the WSPU, this thesis will move the focus of consideration away from the WSPU’s national leadership, and London-centric organisation, towards the branch, where the majority of suffrage campaigning and individual political and feminist development took place.

Initially the research project constructs a local suffrage history of Wimbledon by examining what daily life and activism was like at branch level for the individuals who sustained Wimbledon’s local suffrage organisations. Although the thesis focuses predominantly on the daily life and activism of WSPU women, demonstrating how the Wimbledon WSPU operated as an individual branch that initiated their own developments and took part in a vast range of militant activities, the thesis also considers the ways in which Wimbledon’s local suffrage campaign was sustained by other suffrage organisations. These include; the London Society for Women’s Suffrage (LSWS), the Wimbledon, Merton and Tooting Men’s Federation for Women’s Suffrage (MFWS) and the Church League for Women’s Suffrage (CLWS).

In addition to this, the thesis moves on to explore the relationship between health and suffrage by examining the ways in which different types of militancy affected the physical and psychological health of suffrage activists. Furthermore, by reflecting upon the significance of supportive friendships and networks, the research project demonstrates the ways in which suffragettes and suffragette sympathisers, within Wimbledon and beyond, used their homes as centres for refuge and recuperation from 1908-1914.

The final part of the thesis moves, to some extent, away from Wimbledon’s suffrage activity and with Rose Lamartine-Yates as its focus, considers instead, daily life after the WSPU. By exploring the responses of Rose and the Wimbledon Union to the First World War and the cessation of militant activism, the research demonstrates that Rose’s suffrage story and political career did not end when the WSPU disbanded in 1914. By examining Rose’s involvement in the establishment of the wartime organisation, The Suffragettes of the WSPU, her role as a London County Councillor from 1919 and also her contribution to the Suffragette Fellowship Collection, the thesis demonstrates the centrality of Rose to every cause and organisation that she chose to support and establish and argues that although the fight for enfranchisement was a extraordinarily important part of Rose’s life and political career, it alone, did not define her.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Windscheffel, Alex, Supervisor
  • Moss, Stella, Advisor
Award date1 Jun 2018
Publication statusUnpublished - 28 Jun 2018


  • Wimbledon
  • WSPU
  • Suffrage
  • Suffragette
  • Rose
  • Lamartine Yates
  • CLWS
  • Suffragettes of the WSPU
  • LSWS
  • CSWS
  • political
  • local
  • Women's History
  • Suffrage History

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