Suffragette demonstration in Alexandra Park, Ipswich in 1912 [copyright unknown]. This postcard appears to have been scanned from somebody's photograph album and was shared on Facebook without any provenance.
By 1912 Grace Roe was the ‘consummate organiser’ of the Women’s Social & Political Union (WSPU – formed in 1903) in Ipswich. ‘The WSPU loved big events, and now Grace Roe came up with the most ambitious so far in this area – she gained permission to have a demonstration in Alexandra Park in July 1912.
‘Unfortunately, none of the press reports give the numbers that attended, but all suggest they were very large. Following the practice of similar events in London, there were three platforms (waggons) located at different places in the park. Each platform had a chairwoman (Grace Roe, her East Anglian co-chairwoman Olive Bartels, and London-based Kathleen Jarvis), and two speakers (the names of four speakers are given: Georgina Black, Barbara Wylie, Miss Douglas Smith from London, and Margaret West, the WSPU organiser in Norfolk fresh from a successful by-election campaign).
‘In view of what was happening in the national campaign, it is not surprising that the speakers sought to justify the recent militant window-smashing, referring to how men had felt forced to resort to violence in their fight for the vote years ago. They also spoke of the forty years of protest that had already passed with no result, and the thirty bills in parliament which had received a majority in favour of giving women the vote, but with no outcome. There was a group of about a hundred "hooligans" who went round with their bugles, heckling. According to the East Anglian Daily Times reporter, "they did not get the best of it", suggesting big, supportive crowds. At the end of each session a motion was put forward:
'That this great meeting in Alexandra Park protests against the non-inclusion of women in the Franchise Bill now before Parliament. It calls upon the Government to put an end to the militant campaign by … carrying through all its stages in the House of Commons this session, a real reform granting the vote to men and women on equal terms.'
[Information from Joy Bounds' book A song of their own: the fight for votes for women in Ipswich . The History Press, 2014. Copies available from https://www.joybounds.co.uk/a-song-of-their-own/]