Actress Sheila Hancock spoke of her feminism during a visit last week in which she praised the suffragette movement and its strong tradition in Wimbledon.

The 79-year-old visited William Morris House, in the Broadway, on November 22 for an evening entitled Wimbledon’s Radical Tradition and the Suffragettes of Wimbledon, attended by 140 guests.

Joining her was Dr Diane Atkinson, Author of “Suffragettes: The Purple, White and Green: London 1906 – 1914 and “Suffragettes in Pictures.”

Merton Councillor Peter Walker, the chairman of William Morris House – the headquarters for Wimbledon Labour party, said it was most well-attended political meeting he had attended since he moved to SW19 13 years ago.

He explained how the purple, white and green colours, long associated with the feminist movement for the vote, are also now associated with the Wimbledon tennis championships.

Wimbledon had its own branch of militant suffragettes led by Rose Lamartine Yates, who lived at Dorset Hall, Kingston Road, and once held a protest meeting on Wimbledon Common, despite the Government drafting in 300 policemen to prevent public meetings.

Coun Walker said: “It was great to see so many local people come to hear about Wimbledon’s radical history and the role feminists played, such as our own local suffragette, Rose Lamartine Yates.

“I was also delighted that Sheila Hancock could be with us.”

Also in attendance was Caroline Pankhurst, a project co-ordinator at Morden Hall Park, who is a relative of Emmeline Pankhurst, the suffragettes movement’s leader and founder of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU).

WSPU’s Wimbledon office was opened in 1909 by Rose Lamartine Yates next to what is now Morrison’s in The Broadway.

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