Some people might remember their grandma as a gentle soul who was tucked up in bed by nine with a cup of cocoa.

But not Eleanor Redshaw, whose grandma, Eleanor Higginson, was "a window breaker, a fire starter and a jailbird".

Mrs Redshaw, former head of geography at Greenacre School in Banstead, returned to the school last month to talk to year 9 history students about her hell-raising grandma’s past.

Born in West Ham in 1881, Mrs Higginson had five children and moved to Preston in Manchester where she was a teacher and opened a health food shop before joining the suffragette movement in 1910.

Mrs Redshaw, 64, who lives in South Croydon, described to the girls the day her grandma escaped arrest during infamous King’s Thursday in 1914 when thousands of suffragettes travelled to London to hand a petition calling for the women’s vote to King V which he refused to accept.

She said: "There was a huge disturbance. Some of the suffragettes were cutting policeman’s braces with scissors.

"My grandmother was not arrested on that day but went to a safe house, the address of which she had to memorise from a bit of paper which was then burnt.

"They waited a very long time and eventually some suffragettes arrived with two suitcases full of large stones from the beach at South End on sea.

"There were no available munitions in London so some suffragettes had gone by train to South End on Sea, filled two suitcases with stones which they then gave out to those suffragettes in London.

"Grandma didn’t throw them through shops fronts in Regents Street like many suffragettes, but through the windows of the Red Lion pub in Whitehall because her father had spent all her money on the ‘demon drink’."

Mrs Higginson was later arrested for throwing stones and imprisoned at Holloway Prison where she went on hunger and thirst strike which led to force-feeding by guards.

He granddaughter said: "They tied them to a table and put a metal funnel into their throat and poured gruel down their throats.

"We listened to a tape of another suffragette who described the excruciating pain of the force feeding."

Mrs Redshaw later played a recording of her grandma appearing on the BBC’s Women Hour in February 1968 celebrating 60 years of the suffragette movement.

She said: “For me this was like hearing my grandmother’s voice from the grave because I didn’t know that this recording existed until a few years ago.”

The girls also had the chance to try on some memorabilia including the blood stained sash Mrs Higginson was wearing the day she was arrested.

She said: “On this sash there is some dried blood of the suffragette who was standing beside my grandmother who lost some teeth when she was arrested. One girl was wearing the sash and hat my grandma was wearing when she was arrested, which is over 100 years old.”

In 1918 women were awarded the vote, but only if they were aged 30 or over and were a land owner.

It wasn’t until 1928 when all women over the age of 21 were allowed to vote, matching men. In 1969 when the vote for both men and women was decreased to 18.

Mrs Redshaw ended her presentation by telling the girls they should always exercise their right to vote.

She said: "I always vote in every election whether it’s local, national or a European election because my grandmother went to jail to get the vote for women.

"I’m very proud of her. She was a small woman but she had an indomitable spirit.

"She was a vigorous campaigner, a window breaker, a fire starter and a jailbird."

Mrs Higginson later moved to Bognor Regis where she lived in a house named ‘Pankhurst’, named after Emmeline Pankhurst, leader of the suffragette movement, painted in suffragette colours of green and white.

She died in 1969 at the age of 88 at a retirement home in Chichester.