Marjorie’s memories of growing up during the Suffragette movement

Marjorie Hodnett is sharing her memories in a new series of short documentaries about life growing u

Marjorie Hodnett is sharing her memories in a new series of short documentaries about life growing up World War One. - Credit: Archant

A centenarian from Sidmouth has shared her memories of growing up during the time of the Suffragette movement.

Marjorie Hodnett was four when the Representation of the Peoples Act 1918 was passed allowing women over the age of 30 the right to vote.

The 103-year-old caught Sidmouth Museum’s attention at a suffragette tea party, held for some of the older members of the community.

After sharing her memories of her great aunt the museum asked Marjorie if she would talk about her life for a series of short documentaries.

Marjorie said; “I had a great aunt, who although the word was never mentioned, she was so involved with liberal women’s politics in Portsmouth that I came to the conclusion she must have been a suffragette. What I remember is when we used to sit round the table the conversation would go on over your heads but certain words would keep coming up and in connection with her I kept hearing the words Women’s Liberal Party.

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“I can’t believe of anyone who was so involved wouldn’t have been a suffragette.”

Marjorie cast her vote for the first time in 1935, seven years after the Representation of the Peoples Act 1928 which allowed women aged 21 to vote – the same as men.

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Marjorie said: “I can’t remember my first vote but I have voted at every election since. I always think that it is right and proper that every woman should vote and I have never yet voted for a Member of Parliament.”

The retired teacher, who completed her training at a teaching college, said job opportunities were limited for girls compared to now.

Marjorie said: “I was in the London area, there were civil service jobs, there were a lot of members of the family in banking but my father wouldn’t let me do that because there were no prospect, you would never get on the counter as a girl. You would sit in the back and wouldn’t do very well and there really wasn’t much option.

“There was the GEC (General Electric Company) in Wembley but other than that there was very little women could do, other than nursing and I was no good at nursing, the sight of a drop of blood, and I would faint.

“They [women] can do anything, they can become engineers, you couldn’t do that in my youth. Teaching was inevitable for most girls.”

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